Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (formerly known as Ninja Turtles) is an American action film based on the franchise of the same name. A reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film series, the film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman and stars Megan Fox, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Danny Woodburn, William Fichtner, Will Arnett and Whoopi Goldberg. The film was announced shortly before Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird sold the rights to the franchise to Nickelodeon in 2009. The film is to be produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Michael Bay's production company Platinum Dunes, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film was released on August 8, 2014.
April O'Neil, a reporter for Channel 6 news in New York City, has been watching a mysterious organization called the Foot Clan terrorizing New York. She stumbles upon a robbery they are committing one night and notices a strange looking figure having foiled it. She tries reporting back to Channel 6 about her findings, but no one believes her.
The Foot Clan then terrorizes a subway next. She goes to the scene again in an attempt to find the vigilante and find evidence towards his existence. She sees four vigilantes this time, as they all fight off the clan and then disappear. She manages to spot them climbing atop the rooftop however, and tries to take a picture of them with her camera to prove to her co-workers they are real. They discover her and delete the camera images however, and tell her not to tell anyone of their existence or they will personally find her. She asks them who they are before they leave, and claim to be "Ninja Mutant Turtle Teenagers".
She returns to her apartment and finds a July 1999 footage in her camera of a laboratory she was a part of when she was a little girl. She notices that the turtles she took care of from the laboratory 15 years earlier seem similar to the mutant turtles she had seen on the rooftop. She also remembers that her father was testing a type of Mutagen in the laboratory. She continues doing more research and eventually pieces together that the Ninja Turtles were the same ones from the laboratory.
She tries again to explain to her boss at Channel 6 news about the existence of the Ninja Turtles and that they are fighting secretly against the Foot Clan, but her boss now is so infuriated that she fires April. April thus tries explaining to her co-worker, Vernon Fenwick, whom also has strong romantic feelings towards her, about her findings, but he also does not believe her. He does agree to take her to the old laboratory where she first owned the Turtles, however, and she finds her father's lab associate there, Eric Sacks.
April discusses the Ninja Turtles and how she believes they are fighting against the Foot Clan and shows an image to him of them. Sacks explains to her the history of their experiments with the mutagens, and that he and her now deceased father were planning on using them for healing properties. He realizes what must have happened and that the mutagen must have somehow affected the turtles when the laboratory was exploding and caused them to mutate into human like beings.
Meanwhile in the sewers, the Ninja Turtles tell their master, Splinter the truth about April having spotted them. Splinter orders they find April and bring her to their lair, as she is now in great danger from the Foot Clan since she made contact with the Turtles.
The Turtles find April and knock her out unconscious so she will be unaware of their lair's location. They take her to their master Splinter, who explains to her how she saved their lives from the laboratory by saving them from the fire and releasing them into the sewers. She tells them that she told her father's associate Eric Sacks about them, and was unaware that Sacks was actually allied with the Foot Clan's leader, the Shredder, whom Sacks then relayed the information to. Now that Shredder knew of their existence, he and his Foot Clan minions go into the sewer to capture them so they can use their mutagen to spread a deadly virus throughout New York. Splinter and the Turtles fight against them, but are ultimately defeated and their home destroyed. Shredder kidnaps three of the Turtles, Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo and leaves Splinter greatly injured. Raphael is not captured because the Foot Clan believed he was already killed in the battle.
April managed to hide from the Foot Clan during the fight, and attempts to tend to Splinter's wounds. Raphael is then found and discovered to be alive. Splinter instructs Raphael and April to save the other three Turtles before Shredder can extract the mutagen from them that he plans to use to poison New York. April calls Vern to give them a ride to the laboratory where the other three Turtles are being held hostage.
When the trio arrives, April frees the other three Turtles while Raphael fights the Shredder. After they are freed, they join Raphael in fighting them. Shredder escapes after defeating them again however, and April leaves with the Turtles and Vernon to return to the Turtles' lair for a new plan. During the escape, they are pursued by Shredder's Foot Clan in trucks but eventually manage to defeat them.
At their lair in the sewers, the Turtles plan they will attempt to hold off against the Shredder on the rooftop of Sacks' building before he is able to finish extracting the mutagen he had acquired from them when he kidnapped them, while April and Vern attempt to gather the mutagen from inside the building. April eventually manages to acquire it and heads onto the rooftop to give it to the Turtles. While the Turtles hang from the rooftop, they manage to give April the momentum she needs to kick him off the building, finally defeating him as he falls onto the ground greatly injured and taken into authorities.
The film ends with Vernon attempting again to catch April's heart with a new car he had just bought, but the Turtles arrive in a new car they had just built and accidentally destroy it when Michelangelo presses the missile button. Vern begins getting very upset, As police respond to the explosion, the Turtles offer her a ride in the new car, which she kindly rejects. The Turtles leave, but not before Mikey tries to serenade April with "Happy Together" by the band The Turtles, much to his brothers' annoyance and April's joy.
- Pete Ploszek as Leonardo
- Johnny Knoxville as the voice of Leonardo
- Noel Fisher as Michelangelo
- Jeremy Howard as Donatello
- Alan Ritchson as Raphael
- Danny Woodburn as Splinter
- Tony Shalhoub as the voice of Splinter
- William Fichtner as Shredder
- Megan Fox as April O'Neil
- Will Arnett as Vernon Fenwick
- Whoopi Goldberg as Bernadette Thompson
- Minae Noji as Karai
- Abby Elliott
Following the news of the buyout, it was announced that Nickelodeon would produce a new film through Paramount Pictures with an expected release date sometime in 2012. In late May 2011, it was announced that Paramount and Nickelodeon had brought Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners Bradley Fuller and Andrew Form on to produce the next film that will reboot the film series. Bay, Fuller, and Form would produce alongside Walker and Mednick. For the script, the studio originally hired Matt Holloway and Art Marcum to write the film for close to a million dollars. According to TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman, the John Fusco version was a little too edgy for what Paramount wanted. A year later the Studio turns to writers Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec to rewrite the script. In February 2012, Jonathan Liebesman was brought in to negotiations to direct the film beating out Brett Ratner. Later in March, it was announced that Paramount had pushed back film's release date to Christmas Day 2013.
In early March, Michael Bay revealed at Nickelodeon's 2012 upfront presentation that the film will be simply titled Ninja Turtles and that the turtles will be "from an alien race". News of Bay's creative change was met with criticism from within the fan community. In response to the announcement, actor Robbie Rist who voiced Michaelangelo the first three films, wrote to Bay accusing him of "sodomizing" the franchise. Rist later remarked that he could have been out of line since Bay makes more money than he does. In response to the feedback, Bay issued a statement asking fans to calm down since a script had not been revealed, his team was working closely with the creators, and would include all the elements that made them fans to begin with. Both Brian Tochi, who voiced Leonardo in the first three films, and Judith Hoag, who played April O'Neil in first film, have voiced their support towards the creative change. Peter Laird expressed his thoughts on the change asking fans to take Bay's advice and wait until more of Bay's plan is made available. Laird also stated that he felt the "ill-conceived plan" could be a "genius notion", as it would allow fans to have the multitude of bipedal anthropomorphic turtles that they have been asking for. He would point out that while the concept of a turtle planet back story made for a great run of the mill science fiction story, it had no real place in the Ninja Turtles universe. The franchise's co-creator Kevin Eastman stated that he had been invited behind the scenes of the film, and concluded that he was officially on board with the project and that, although he could not say much, he believes it to be "awesome". Via Twitter, Corey Feldman, who voiced Donatello in the first and third films, voiced his support for the film saying that he loves Bay's remakes and he is eager to reprise his role. In response to the backlash, Liebesman stated that he was glad to hear about the fan's response, since he and Eastman had been locked in a room working on ideas that, from his own perspective as a fan, everybody will love. While he would not confirm whether or not Bay's comment did represent the film's premise, he did stress on the ooze itself and its background in the original comic, reminding that the ooze was the product of alien technology. In regards to how the Turtles would be rendered, Liebesman would not say exactly what visual direction would be taken, but he did state that he did enjoy Weta Digital's work in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He also pointed out that the film would not be exclusively about action but will also focus on brotherhood, friendship, and responsibility.
In late March, Michael Bay posted on his website explaining the title change and stressing that nothing had changed regarding the Turtles. He stated the reason the title was shortened was a request by Paramount to make the title "simple". He continued that the Turtles were the same as fans remember and regardless of the title change they still act like teenagers. He urged everyone to give everybody who was involved a chance, as they had the fans interest at top priority and would not let anybody down. On June 12, Eastman revealed some of the things for the film stating that April would not be 16 years old like in the 2012 cartoon series, he feels Ken Watanabe would make a great Shredder, he would like to bring Reyes back as a Foot lieutenant, and martial arts wise they are looking at Fist of Legend and The Raid: Redemption. Three days later, it was reported that production for this project has been shut down. While the release date has been pushed back five months, the work stoppage for the film was said to be "indefinite". However, other sources say that the film will be released on May 16, 2014 due to problems in that script that need to be corrected. In July 2012, Eastman called it "easily the best Turtle movie yet". Jessica Biel told Collider that she would consider playing April O’Neil in the film. Kevin Eastman mentioned to Comic Book Resources that the movie is creating its own story but has to be true to the source material or else they will get "murdered".
An early version of the script, dated 1/30/12, titled "The Blue Door" and written by Appelbaum and Nemec, was leaked online. It features major changes to the origins: the Turtles hail from another dimension that consists of turtle warriors, Splinter is an alien from the same dimension as well, Shredder is "Colonel Schrader", a government agent who is secretly an alien who can grow blades from his body, "The Foot Clan" is just "The Foot", an elite Black Ops unit led by Col. Schrader, Casey Jones is an 18 year old security guard/amateur hockey player that finds the Turtles and is the focus of the movie, April is also 18 and is having relationship troubles with Casey because she is moving to New York due to an internship at CBS, Raphael is the comic relief instead of Mikey, and Mikey falls in love with a turtle woman from his home planet. A cease and desist order was sent by Paramount Pictures to a website that was hosting the script. Peter Laird read the script and commented on his blog that "all true TMNT fans should be grateful to the new 'powers that be' that they did not allow this wretched thing to go any further." On January 12, 2013, Production Weekly revealed the film will start filming in April 2013 in New York. Variety reported Megan Fox had been cast in the role of April after beating out Elizabeth Olsen, Jane Levy and Anna Kendrick. That same month, the studio pushed back the film's release, once again, date until June 6, 2014, and a new writer Evan Daugherty was brought on board. Peter Laird commented on the casting of Megan Fox on his blog saying "it is safe to say that there are probably hundreds of better choices for the role of April O'Neil." But that he couldn't get himself "too worked up about it".
Filming began March 22, 2013 in Tupper Lake, New York. On March 24, Deadline reported that Alan Ritchson, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard and Noel Fisher were cast as Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo respectively. On April 2, 2013, Will Arnett was cast in an unspecified role. Shooting is scheduled to begin in April in New York City and at Jones Beach State Park on Long Island, New York.
- The Turtle being "aliens" due to comments from Michael Bay and the above-mentioned script leak, led to mass criticism from fans and even TMNT co-creator Peter Laird. These rumors were later proven to be "completely false". This was referenced in the film when Vernon was asking if the Turtles are aliens, only for April to tell him that's a stupid idea.
- Received a "PG-13" rating from the MPAA for "sci-fi action violence", making it the third film from Nickelodeon Movies to receive that rating, as well the first in the TMNT franchise to do such.
- Shown in the 4DX format, featuring motion enhanced-based special effects, aroma, strobe lightning, etc., making it the second Nickelodeon Movies film to be shown in that format, the first being The Last Airbender's South Korean release.
- Received an international IMAX 3D release, making it the third Nickelodeon film to be released in IMAX, and their first live-action film to be released in IMAX 3D.
- Second Nickelodeon film to star Johnny Knoxville.
- Also marks his first voice-acting role in a feature film.
- It is currently Nickelodeon's highest-grossing film.
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