5 Things Michael Bay & Others Should Take from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

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As many of you know, Michael Bay is producing the latest live-action film of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As a hardcore TMNT fan, this brought major concerns. Though I love his work on Bad Boys, Armageddon, and Pearl Harbor, Bay’s history with established franchises still has me worried. I’m not a major fan of Transformers, but hardcore fans have often said how Bay has ruined it. Seriously, type ‘Michael Bay ruined Transformers’ in Google and be amazed at the blogs and Deviant Art pages dedicated to that phrase.

Recently, I had the pleasure of playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (let’s call it OOTS for short) on my brother’s Xbox 360. Despite the reviews on it, I still give it a solid 7/10. There a few things from the game I think Mr. Bay (and director Jonathan Liebesman) should incorporate before a ‘Michael Bay ruined TMNT’ search box appears on Google.



Photos of the film’s actors running around in green screen suits on the web tells us that the Turtles will be complete CGI instead of the animatronic suits of the past. This is a nice step as long as they don’t look too weird. I feel that OOTS struck a nice balance in their designs. They’re not too realistic or too cartoony, which I can imagine is difficult to capture. And as a bonus, they don’t look like carbon copies of each other like they did in the 1987 series: Raphael’s a little bulkier, Donatello is taller and leaner, and Michelangelo is a bit shorter to emphasize that he’s the youngest. Hopefully the game shows us what they’ll look like in the 2014 film.



Although Splinter did teach his sons the many aspects of ninjutsu, I’m sure he encouraged them to find their own fighting style. OOTS really did their homework here in giving each turtle a style that fits their personality. For example, Michelangelo’s has a style that is similar to capoeira that matches his free-spirited attitude. Raphael, the more hands-on fighter, uses more of a Muay Thai/MMA style. Donatello’s moves with his staff reminded me of Donnie Yen in Once Upon a Time in China 2. In the more recent show revolving the Turtles, Leonardo supposedly uses the Niten Ryu style of kenjutsu. Hopefully someone at Nickelodeon and/or Paramount took the time to add this in to make the fight scenes in the movie more interesting.



One of the main aspects of being a ninja is practicing the art of stealth. Though highlighted a lot in the first TMNT film, this aspect was more or less forgotten in sequels and cartoons that followed. Thankfully more recent shows brought this concept back. In OOTS, players were awarded extra XP for taking down enemies using stealth and using shuriken for attacks. A few well-placed stealth takedowns and fights in the dark (maybe due to a knocked out light or a smoke screen) would really set the tone and overall flow of the movie.


TMNT OOTS Donatello

After watching the old TMNT live action films as an adult, I noticed the Turtles’ movements were very clunky for master martial artists. Not surprising really, as I’m sure the suits the actors wore probably weighed about 50 pounds or more. But thanks to cartoons and CGI, their movements are a lot more fluid and fitting. In fact, one of my favorite scenes from 2007’s TMNT is the last scene showing the Green Team’s parkour skills on New York’s rooftops. OOTS highlighted this feature a lot, allowing players to jump across rooftops, do backflips off walls, etc. Hopefully some actual parkour users were hired and given CGI suits to show off these same skills.


Out of the Shadows Intro Screen. This is a nod to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 comic
Out of the Shadows intro screen is a nod to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 comic

Within the first 2 minutes of OOTS, I was already excited because Red Fly Studio, the developer of the game, used ‘Turtle Power’ as the game’s opening theme song. For those unaware, the song was featured in the closing credits of the 1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and in 1993’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. Not only was I nostalgic after hearing it, but it was nice to know that almost 25 years later, that song still fits the tone of the franchise. If it gets remade, I just hope they change that one line about Raphael being the leader. I still can’t believe no one changed that before the film’s release but oh well.

Is there anything you hope to see in the upcoming film? Do you think Liebesman and Bay will do a good job? Drop a comment below!

Comic book reader. Video game enthusiast. Occasional slacker. Misunderstood genius. Anyway you describe it, it's all me. I grew up in Louisiana but felt the need to explore and find my future. So after graduating from college, I moved to Phoenix and never looked back. In addition to the work I do with Unleash The Fanboy, I work as a mild mannered forest ranger (it's my secret identity, so don't tell anyone!), I'm in school earning a degree in Screenwriting, all while writing scripts on the side! But enough about me, enjoy yourself in my space sector of the UTF universe!
  • Mike S.

    OOTS is based on the cartoon, not the movie. I’m excited to see how different the CG turtles come out!

    • StaticShox480

      I think he’s saying that he hopes they take the few good things that came from the show and put it in the new movie. Otherwise Michael Bay will completely crap on it!

  • Imagine a Bayless World

    To this very minute, Bay hasn’t produced anything that I found entertaining or artistically competent. For example, I turned off the Transformers film before the zenith was even reached in the opening scene which was such a ridiculous military cliché. I tried a second time and LaBeouf, hot pants girlie and the talking muscle car had me hitting stop once again and I never finished the film. I wasn’t even aware that Bay was making that series until Transformers part 2, and even then, I sat uncomfortably in the theater seat out of courtesy – that’s not to say that there haven’t been moments of intrigue by a scene segment or two, but as whole productions, he has yet to show consistency of competence. And that is what I fear the new TMNT film will be forever remembered by as well.


    I am not looking forward to this movie at all…and it has everything to do with Bay. By the way, check out facebook. It is chock full of anti-Bay / Turtle blogs and pages. Look I am sure the movie will make money…somehow all of the Transformers movies did. Which is all the studios care about. Change is a scary thing, and for the most part with a feature film change can be a good thing to move story or develop a character (April for example) further or better. But the moment Bay opened his big fat mouth about the Turtles being aliens. I was already facepalming, since it was a change that did nothing but spit in the face of the already established fan. Something as simple as taking out the word Mutant from the title, sent every TMNT fan off on a tizzy. So much so Bay had to put it back. That event right their tells me there is going to be a lot more changes than he has spoken about and I do not have a good feeling about this.