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Indie comics news: Michael Bay's "Ninja Turtles" revealed

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With filming for Paramount Studios and Platinum Dunes' reboot of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" film series underway, more about the film has been discovered by news hounds and posted online. This includes images of what the fully rendered motion captured Turtles will look like, as well as a peak at their enemies as well!

Several websites posted images from toy expos and other various places online; while Comic Book Therapy's scoop of an official promotional stand for "Ninja Turtles" remains online, many of the original scoops of similar images from Comic Book Resources and Comic Book Movie.com were ordered removed by Paramount. Fortunately for us, leaked images hitting the web is like unleashing a genie from a bottle, which is difficult to clamp down on completely. Slashgear has posted the entire slew of images from these leaks.

Instead of using rubber suits and puppetry like the first three films from 1990-1993, or making it a pure CGI animated film like the 2007 film, this new movie merges both techniques to use "motion capture" computer techniques atop of real actors' performances as the Ninja Turtles. The fully rendered Turtles have nostrils, lips, are quite burly, and have garb which reflects their personalities. Donatello is wearing hi-tech gear, while Leonardo is wearing some samurai bits on his shell while Michelangelo seems to have raided a 90's era rapper's wardrobe details. Additional images also show a look at the Shredder himself, which looks similar to usual incarnations albeit with more blades and a heavily detailed mask. Slashgear highlighted some details and have theorized that this film may take a nod from the 2003 era animated series which aired on FoxKids/4Kids TV. By that it may be that instead of having the Shredder be Oroku Saki, he may end up being an identity used by one of the brain-resembling aliens called Utroms - possibly Krang himself. In the 2003 cartoon, the "Utrom Shredder" was an original character named Ch'rell, while Krang was an original villain designed in similar ways back in the original 1987 cartoon.

The release of this film has been the ultimate goal of Viacom after purchasing the rights to the franchise from co-creator Peter Laird and the bankrupt company 4Kids Entertainment for $50 million back in 2009-2010, right after the celebration of TMNT's 25th anniversary. Since then, the comic book license wound up with IDW Comics and a new animated series has aired on Nickelodeon for two seasons (and counting), but the real goal has always been a new blockbuster film (or two). Michael Bay, hot off his success with "Transformers" as well as his production company Platinum Dunes, was tapped to produce the film in 2011, but since then it has been a mess of script re-writes, leaked script drafts and assembling a cast; the release date of the film was pushed back several times over this until the final one of August 8th, 2014 seems to have stuck. Jonathan Liebesman, director of "Wrath of the Titans" and "Battlefield: L.A." was tapped to direct the film with Bay as co-producer. To date there are six producers and six writers who have worked on this.

The cast list currently stands as: Pete Ploszek as Leonardo, Alan Ritchson as Raphael, Noel Fisher as Michelangelo, Jeremy Howard as Donatello, Danny Woodburn as Splinter, Megan Fox (who won't need motion captured rendering) as April O'Neil and William Fichtner as the Shredder/"Eric Sachs". Additional casting decisions reveal that the producers of the film appear to be intent on capturing some of the trappings first developed in the 1987 cartoon instead of the comics. To this end, not only is April O'Neil a reporter in this, but the film will also have her cartoon cameraman Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) and Whoopi Goldberg as Bernette Thompson - a female version of "Channel 6" news chief Berne Thompson from the 1987 cartoon.

This year will be a heavy one for comic book film adaptations. "Captain America: the Winter Soldier" debuts in theaters in April. May will kick off with Sony's "Amazing Spider-Man 2" and end with Fox's "X-Men: Days of Future Past". "Ninja Turtles" will be arriving only weeks after that, and it will remain to be seen how well it will do and whether it will be the hit both fans and Viacom hope it will be after nearly three years in development.

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