This is the revolution that “Into the Spider-Verse” started. Not that other movies began to copy it, but that it allowed other American studio movies to experiment with their visuals and deviate from what became the norm in the 3D CG landscape, while also making a lot of money. As Rowe said, the animated superhero movie “showed that a movie can look like the concept artwork and can be critically and financially successful. That opened a lot of doors.”
Now, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” is following in those footsteps by delivering a kinetic, hilarious, and heartfelt superhero origin story that truly makes the ninja turtles feel like actual teenagers, casting kids to voice the characters and recording them together to properly capture the spontaneity of youth. This is one of few iterations of the franchise where each of the turtles actually looks distinct from one another, with their personality informing their character designs.
The problem, according to production designer Yashar Kassai, was convincing the “very highly trained, skillful artists who are also ultra-talented” involved with the film to, well, draw poorly. “We’re drawing like teenagers, [I’d tell them] I need you to draw that again but I need you to peel away all those years you spent in art school learning your craft and draw like your 15-year-old self,” Kassai said. “But once everyone relinquished the conventional design wisdom of animation, we had a lot of fun.”
Indeed, the final product is full of sketched-out textures in the environment, and the characters themselves have designs that don’t look symmetrical or conventionally attractive, but like what a rebellious teenager would picture the world as in their imagination.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” will cowabunga into theaters on August 2, 2023.