The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) franchise has been a mainstay of pop culture since the mid-1980s. From comic books to action figures, video games to television series, and several films, TMNT has proven it's staying power. The 1987 animated series is perhaps one of the most iconic iterations, ingraining itself into the fabric of 80s and 90s pop culture. Now, in 2023, the franchise gets a fresh spin with the film "TMNT: Mutant Mayhem". This new take seems set to honor the roots of the franchise while providing a fresh perspective. Let's dive into the top five differences between "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem" (2023) and the beloved 1987 "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" animated series. Animation and Design: The 1987 "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" series featured traditional 2D animation, typical of the era, with the Turtles and other characters designed in a comic book style. On the other hand, "Mutant Mayhem" is a computer-animated film. The animation was provided by Mikros Animation in Montreal and Paris and Cinesite in Vancouver, influenced by school notebook sketches. However, detailed character designs for the 2023 movie have not been explicitly described.
Target Audience and Tone: The 1987 series was primarily targeted at a young audience and featured a more relaxed, humorous tone. It introduced many elements like the Turtles' love of pizza and catchphrases such as "Cowabunga!". In contrast, the 2023 film seems to take a more mature approach. According to producer Seth Rogen, "Mutant Mayhem" leans heavily into the 'Teenage' aspect of the Turtles, suggesting a focus on their adolescence and related issues.
Voice Cast: For the first time in the franchise's history, the Turtles in "Mutant Mayhem" are voiced by actual teenagers - Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr., Nicolas Cantu, and Brady Noon. This is a departure from the 1987 series and most other iterations where adult voice actors portrayed the Turtles.
Storyline: While the 1987 series had various episodic storylines often involving fights against Shredder and the Foot Clan, "Mutant Mayhem" follows the Turtles as they seek to be accepted as normal teenagers through acts of heroism. They find themselves against a mysterious crime syndicate and an army of mutants.
Music: The 1987 series is well-known for its catchy theme song and upbeat music that complemented the light-hearted nature of the show. For "Mutant Mayhem", the musical score is composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, known for their work on films like "The Social Network". While the exact style of the score isn't known, given their past work, it may take a more contemporary, atmospheric approach. This year, the Turtles are back in a new form in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem," a 2023 American computer-animated superhero film set to be released in the United States on August 2.
The film features an ensemble voice cast including Micah Abbey (Donatello), Shamon Brown Jr. (Michelangelo), Nicolas Cantu (Leonardo), Brady Noon (Raphael), Hannibal Buress (Genghis Frog), Rose Byrne (Leatherhead), John Cena (Rocksteady), Jackie Chan (Splinter), Ice Cube (Superfly), Ayo Edebiri (April O'Neil), Giancarlo Esposito (Baxter Stockman), and Seth Rogen (Bebop) among others.
Though the character designs and traits in the 2023 movie have not been fully detailed compared to the 1987 series, it is clear that "Mutant Mayhem" represents a new direction for the franchise, focusing more on the teenage experiences of the Turtles while introducing a new visual style and tone. Fans old and new alike are sure to find something to love.