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The Creature Shop's work on the original TMNT movies was amazing

Discussion in 'Fantasy Worlds' started by rexcrk, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. rexcrk

    rexcrk Well-Known Member

    I've been rewatching the Ninja Turtles movies lately (since I just saw the new one, thought I'd go back and watch the old ones). The first two are such great movies, and part of that is due to the absolutely amazing special effects.

    The turtles AND Splinter all look so real, like real living breathing organisms. The Creature Shop really outdid themselves for those movies.

    Then of course they didn't work on the third one, and the results were absolutely disastrous >_<
  2. GonzoLeaper

    GonzoLeaper Well-Known Member

    The Jim Henson Creature Shop did an amazing job on the first two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies- I definitely agree.:)
    And yes- you can definitely tell the difference in the third movie, though I don't think the third movie is a bad movie- I enjoy all of the first three movies. I enjoy "TMNT" pretty well too.... I haven't been real enthused with this most recent Ninja Turtles movie, so I don't know if I'll see it... I'm kinda thinking I may when it hits the dollar theaters.....
  3. rexcrk

    rexcrk Well-Known Member

    The new one was pretty good. Obviously I'm a fan from the '90s, but I didn't feel like the new one was "disrespectful" in any way at all. It was basically what I expected from a Ninja Turtles movie that had Michael Bay's name attached to it :p
  4. Nasubionna

    Nasubionna Well-Known Member

    100% agree. The first TMNT movie is one of my favorite movies of all time, and those Creature Shop turtles will NEVER not look real to me. Simply magical. Of course, they were pretty top-notch in the second film as well, but the more kid-friendly and cartoonified design didn't strike my fancy quite as much as the more realistic ones in the first film.
    It makes me depressed that they went with CGI/motion capture for the 2014 TMNT movie. If the Creature Shop created such incredible turtles back in 1990, I can only imagine what they could have come up with nowadays as far as facial expressions, etc. What a shame. But we'll always have those first two movies to enjoy!
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Actually, the kindest thing I could say about TMNT'14 is that the mo-cap suits are a step up from flat CGI paste jobs like you'd see in kid's movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks and Garfield. Even the CGI characters have detail and care behind them... too bad that care didn't go to the script.

    While nothing beats the original suits from the first two movies, I doubt anyone would have bothered with something like that ever again. What Henson did was amazing, the third movie less so, and Next Mutation even less. And DO NOT get me started on the horrifying abominations that sang Christmas carols. You could see light through their mouths! I'd say the suits are expensive, even the "you can see the eye holes under the masks" ones from The Next Mutation... the show wasn't cancelled due to low ratings, it was due to high cost. This wasn't exactly 20 year old Japanese footage Saban was playing with this time. But CGI is also very expensive, especially something along the lines of the last movie. Green Lantern didn't lose money because it had a low budget. I give them credit for having actors in suits to be CGI'd over in this one because at least they aren't the same old cheap(er) bouncy Yogi Bears or Jar Jar Binks you usually see.

    That said, in all fairness, I hate the second film. Even with the new one, it's still my least favorite. The Henson built suits for the Turts and Tokka and Rahzar were amazing. The dumbing the script down for kiddies and inclusion of the BLAM with Vanilla Ice not so much. I tend to find the first TMNT movie one of the best comic book movies ever made, and especially in the 80's/90's when they weren't a thing and we came off of Howard the Duck among others. They found the right blend of comic series and cartoon, and were actually true to the comics (with characters switched around). The second one was a Casey Jones-less toy commercial and nothing more. Maybe I need another viewing, but I didn't like it last time I saw it, so...
  6. Nasubionna

    Nasubionna Well-Known Member

    Yes, that is true. As a lifelong Turtle fan, I saw the 2014 movie twice - the first time I was kind of in shock, the second time to just process what I was seeing a bit better, LOL! I agree with you that the mo-cap was well done, and obviously care was taken with the characters (even though I'm not a huge fan of the designs), and yeeeeah, the script left A LOT to be desired. I was pretty disappointed in that regard.

    I liked the second film when I was a kid, but I hated that they changed the way the turtles looked and that they changed Donatello and Raphael's voices, and the actors for April and Shredder. But upon rewatching it as an adult, yeah, I can enjoy some things about it, but it's pretty hard to take the cartoonishness and dumbing down. And when I read that they hardly let the turtles use their weapons because parents complained, well, that is pretty irritating. Did they miss the NINJA part of the title? And I HATED the third movie. One of my saddest childhood memories is going to see it on my 12th birthday, and even as a kid I knew it was crap. I haven't watched it again since.

    Anyway, you're right - what Henson did was amazing, but so labor intensive (and hard on the actors!) that it does seem unlikely that anyone will ever bother to do it again. Makes those movies even more of a treasure.
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The worst part is, it wasn't so much a bad movie, so much as it was a movie with a lot of potential that was wasted. The bits with the turtles were genuinely good, but the whole buildup with April and Eric Sacks was dull an uninspired. It felt like they had a movie about a contagion conspiracy and threw the turtles in it to pad the timing out. Except it wasn't, which made it worse. The worst thing I think they've done was listen to the complaints about how Shredder was a white guy now (even though the intention was to have Shredder as an inherited title), and include Oroku Saki Shredder into the film. In essence, Eric took the role of Oroku Saki and Baxter Stockman (his would be first appearance in film), shoving actual Saki Shredder into the background. You can tell by his fascination with the Mutated Turtles. That was totally a Baxter Stockman sequence. If they made the entire movie the same way and replaced Eric with Saki and Baxter, it would have been a much less disconnected film.

    But I have to admit, it has seeds of being a genuinely good movie in there, and I hope the first film serves as the infodump for a much better sequel. Other than that, I'm the only one that genuinely enjoyed the look and detail on the Turtles. They seem to have a vibe of mixing all the different styles of the turtles from the comics, especially Michael Zuli's realistic turtles work.

    Yeah. on the one hand, I can see why they turned the second film more into the cartoon series, and I can see why they had to bow down to whining parental groups. On the other hand, a lot of the damage they did themselves. I get the whole excuse that they couldn't have it be a TCRI container and they didn't want to reveal the scientist was actually and Utrom, because kids would have been confused into thinking it was Krang. But the Shredder revenge plot wasted potential for any other TMNT villains to appear, and the ending with Mutated Super Shredder was too Disney to take serious or enjoy. Cuz that's what happens to most Disney villains, they get bigger somehow, to the point where Emperor's New Groove parodies it.

    But the childish dumbing down was disappointing (retroactively anyway) considering how unapologetic in darkness the first movie was. They found the right mix of comic and cartoon, and it's one of the most accurate comic book movies out there. Remember... this is when Batman's film at the time said that Bruce's parents were killed by soon to be The Joker for the sake of the film, rather than Joe Chill in the comic lore. As for the third, while I don't regard it as a great movie, I find it closer to the comics than the second one. Almost a Tales of the TMNT type movie (like the fourth one was). Plus, it was great to see Casey back instead of the generic ninja kid from the last film. Too bad the reason they traveled through time wasn't because of Rennet. That seems like a lost opportunity.
  8. Nasubionna

    Nasubionna Well-Known Member

    I pretty much agree with everything you've said here! :)
  9. SpookyMania

    SpookyMania Well-Known Member

    I just watched the movie for the first time today since I was about four or five. I agree, the Creature Shop's work was fantastic, as well as the performers'. Great job all around.
  10. Scooch

    Scooch Member

    Thank you guys. The first one was tough going but worth it in the end.
    Nasubionna likes this.
  11. Scooch

    Scooch Member

    Me, then ...[​IMG]
    Beakerfan, Nasubionna and Buck-Beaver like this.
  12. Nasubionna

    Nasubionna Well-Known Member

    OMG, awesome! Are you working a turtle face??? I would LOVE to hear more about this photo, as well as anything else you're willing to share about the experience! :D And also, a personal thank you from my 9 year old all the way up to my current 33 year old self for your contributions to this film. I can't even describe how meaningful and magical it is to me!
  13. Beakerfan

    Beakerfan Well-Known Member

    The Creature Shop turtles were amazing. It was such a wonderful display of the art that I wish more films would utilize.
    As a kid, I felt like they were real - like I could really go out there and touch them and be friends with them - because they *were* real. Nowadays you don't get that in films because everything is so obviously CGI.
    As for the recent TMNT, I thought it was absolutely terrible.
    mr3urious and Nasubionna like this.
  14. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The new one at least bothered with guys in motion capture suits. I have to praise them for that. All these other CGI hybrid films have ugly characters pasted on with the actors reacting to nothing and something being off. Then there's the Star Wars prequels where the bright and cartoony CGI characters dancing around only made the bad direction the actors were getting more obvious. I'd say there was at least care into TMNT's appearance, just not in the writing.

    What I really liked was Where the Wild Things Are blending the two mediums as one. You need something to react to. I don't care how good an actor is, reacting to tennis balls isn't the same as at least a guy in a suit to edit something on top of later. But yeah, animatronic/puppeteered suits are a lost artform. Glad to hear that Star Wars 7 is going for practical effects.
    mr3urious likes this.
  15. mr3urious

    mr3urious Well-Known Member

    Even down to mo-capping the actors' faces a la L.A. Noire, which gives them a much more detailed and fluid movement.

    But there's still going to be some CGI characters, though as Serkis Folk (with the real Andy Serkis playing at least one of them).
  16. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    It sounds like they're going to do both right.

    The prequels might as well have been completely animated. At least it would have made the humans more lively. I'd say those films have the opposite problem with most movies. It seems like the humans are pasted on and the CGI have nothing to react to. :zany:
    mr3urious likes this.
  17. uncle deadly333

    uncle deadly333 Well-Known Member

    The movies were just fantastic because of the storys and most importantly the look of the turtles.
  18. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Well... the first one, anyway. The second film went into "wants to be the cartoon series, but not using the cartoon characters" territory. At least the third one had a nice "Tales of the TMNT" style plot they kinda messed up.

    Seriously, the second film was disappointing when you look at it from an adult comics fan attitude. The first movie followed the comic, not exactly to the letter, but with reasonable enough substitutions based on how they'd fit in a movie. Some characters get switched around, but it's essentially a story arc from the original comics. Some small influences from the cartoon were added out of necessity. Nothing more than April being a reporter, the turtles having colored masks, and "Cowabunga" being their catchphrase at the end (when it's only Mikey's, and has ONLY ever been Mikey's and only in that iteration). The second one devolved into wacky cartoon kiddy time. I blame New Line Cinema for kowtowing to the angry parental groups. Casey Jones tossed aside for being inappropriate to be replaced with a generic karateman that didn't offer anything. That... Vanilla Ice thing that's not even So bad it's good bad. And of course, Shredder turning into a Disney Villain/1980's-90's video game end boss (the kind that you have to fight twice, and the second time it's inexplicably bigger). Not to mention replacing April with a more cartoon looking version of her (the first movie managed to have the comic book version's frizzy 1980's Cher hair) and cutting an awesome nod to the Utroms because kids would confuse him with Krang. Yeah. No... Raphael being constantly angry instead of being one of Rob Paulsen's signature jerk characters and Mikey being a goofball instead of a laid back surfer... no... that wasn't confusing at all.

    Tokka and Rahzar are the only good thing about the second film. And maybe that weird cameo by the Bart Simpson cup and the "A little too Raph" line.
  19. backpackmina

    backpackmina Well-Known Member

    Why did the JHC pull out of the last 2 original movies? I heard it was because Jim disapproved of violence but if that's so, then why did he work on the first one?
  20. mr3urious

    mr3urious Well-Known Member

    I guess budget reasons was the reason they went with a different company.

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