Imagi Studios proudly brings you the long-awaited return of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
With the Shredder defeated, the Turtles have grown apart. Leonardo has been away on a worldwide training regimen. Michelangelo has become weary of life in the sewer while Donatello is consumed by his world of computers and gadgets. And hothead Raphael is secretly leading the double life of a controversial vigilante who prowls the streets of New York City at night.
But when the brothers start to notice a bizarre migration of monsters into the city, they must struggle to come together as a team.
Max Winters, the billionaire technology tycoon, appears to be filling New York City with monsters and demons! Old friends April and Casey return to help the Turtles stop Winters from recreating a terrifying monster army, which holds the key to an ancient secret. And to make matters worse, Raphael may have just put the Turtles at the top of his most-wanted list.
With time ticking away and the city getting more panicked by the day, the Turtles must learn to unite once more as brothers in the greatest battle they've ever faced.
Directed by Kevin Munroe from his own screenplay, developed in consultation with Turtles co-creator Peter Laird, TMNT is produced by Thomas K. Gray, Galen Walker and Paul Wang with Felix Ip as co-producer. The executive producers are Francis Kao, Peter Laird, Gary Richardson and Frederick U. Fierst.
The first all-CG-animated movie in the long and phenomenally successful history of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was released domestically on March 23, 2007 by Warner Bros. Pictures. The Weinstein Company is handling international distribution.
"The Ninja Turtles are back and better than ever."
"With a plot kids and adults will love and top-notch animation, these Turtles have come out of their shell."
""Fun for Turtle fans of all ages! The latest installment of the franchise truly captures the spirit of the TMNT. Cowabunga Dude!!!""
"By far the best TMNT movie yet!"
"The movie really gets inside the Turtles' shells."
"A fun, action-filled adventure."
"A great family adventure. Easily the best TURTLES film ever. Fun and fast and full of charm."
"Cowabunga! The Ninja Turtles are cooler and stronger than ever."
"A staggering comeback in the first 3D digital animation film of a young and talented director, Kevin Munroe."
"Amazing 3D pictures."
"Well-animated and action-packed."
"An ultra-cool remake full of witty lines and blistering action."
"The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back in business. More fun, more adventure!"
"Striking production design and resounding score... loaded with
"The animation technique is amazing!"
"The Turtles are back on screen,and better than ever!"
Having grown up a comic book and animation fan, Kevin Munroe spent the last decade in the animation industry doing just about everything, including developing, writing, designing, directing, and producing.
He hasn't limited himself to any medium either, whether it be working on video games (Freaky Flyers), television (Hey Arnold!), CGI animation (Donner), feature films (The Ant Bully), and even his own original comic books (Olympus Heights).
As a "rising star of CGI animation" according to Animation Magazine, Munroe kept working towards bigger projects. Luckily for his directorial debut, Munroe had the opportunity to tackle a franchise that's about as big as any, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
How does someone go from being a comic book / animation fan to being the director of a high profile, big-budget movie?
Good question! It's always been about telling stories for me, regardless of the medium I was working in. I just wanted to create worlds and then let interesting characters interact in them. TMNT was a chance to combine all my experience in CGI animation, big world comics, writing and design work into one project. It was an amazing experience.
What is your typical daily schedule?
Right now it's mostly coming into the office and spending a couple of hours on the phone answering press questions, then working on GATCHAMAN, my next project with Imagi. But in the thick of TMNT, we'd start with dailies where we look at work done in Hong Kong for most of the morning. Then usually answer a large amount of emails during lunch, then have production meetings with all our departments in the LA office – design, lighting, etc. Then the day would normally end with a video conference with the Hong Kong office. Usually at night I'd end up answering more emails from Hong Kong before I reluctantly shut off the computer at night. It makes for a very long day.
What was your vision for the resurrection of the Turtles in CG?
In my initial pitch to Peter Laird, I knew that we could hit the action in TMNT really well. Not that it was easy, but the action was sort of a given. I really wanted to concentrate on FAMILY. I think the characterizations to date in the movies have been pretty one-dimensional – a lot of one-liners and almost caricaturish. I wanted to have the Turtles feel like a real family, filled with brothers who don't always get along. I knew if we could hit that, that we'd have a special movie on our hands.
How did you deal with fan reactions during the filmmaking process?
It's a slippery slope. At first, we hoped everyone would see what we saw in the movie. Then, there was this really cautious reaction from fans, thinking that CGI TMNT meant a light-hearted comedic romp in this world. It was hard not to get defensive about it when reading chat boards, etc. Then after San Diego Comic-Con in 2006 when we debuted the teaser trailer, it was great for us to get that immediate positive reaction from the fans. At some point, you have to just make the movie for yourself and your team, but being fans, we knew we were safe as long as we knew we were staying true to the franchise.
How did you create a darker tone while keeping a PG rating?
We had a phenomenal production designer named Simon Murton working on the movie. I love that his background was all live-acton films, so it immediately created a darker visual sense to the movie. Story-wise we were dealing with more family dynamics than in any other movie incarnation, so i knew that we could get a little darker with their relationships. Leo and Raph's relationship in particular was a great study in brotherly tension. We had an attitude of just doing what felt right and then dealing with the rating afterwards.
How did you come up with your idea for the villains?
Peter Laird was very specific in that he didn't want to use The Shredder again – he said they never intended him to become the "Darth Vader" of this franchise. So we decided to create a new villain – one that spoke to modern times. A tech industrialist was a good start, but we thought we'd layer in an air of mystery and history to him, making him obsessed with an ancient South American civilization. We also share a love of monsters in movies, so we also have a monster migration to New York City. We also have our villain working in cahoots with Karai (Japanese Foot Clan leader) and the original Foot Clan. It's a crazy cast.
What was your first Ninja Turtle experience?
I actually bought the original issue #1 in 1985 in a used comics bin in Eastern Canada where I grew up. Instantly loved the franchise.
You worked pretty extensively with Peter Laird on script and design. Did you ever get to meet Kevin Eastman?
I actually knew Kevin years before I met Imagi and Peter Laird. He's a great guy who has a bunch of projects and ventures underway. He's a very enterprising guy, and I would easily rank him among some of the nicest people I've met in the business.
With so many versions out there, what version of GATCHAMAN are you leaning towards?
We're going back to the well, and drawing from the original 1972 series. Katse and Galactor are most definitely the villains and there will be lots and lots of mecha. Otherwise, it's a great story about finding family in the least suspected places and becoming masters of your destiny. We're doing it as a PG-13 movie and we'll be examining a lot of political storylines... mind you, all buried in an action-packed sci-fi adventure. Fans and non-fans will be pleased.
What attracts you to stories about superhero teams?
I love the idea of trying to recreate the level of excitement you had from childhood. That unadulterated ability to just enjoy broad characters and action-packed worlds. The trick is just making it entertaining for a discerning audience. I like making stories about real characters stuck in surreal circumstances – I guess a hallmark of any good hero story.
What was your first job?
First unofficial job was as a tattoo artist in 5th grade with a multi-colored pen and charging 10 cents a design. My first legitimate job was as a McDonald's cook when I was 15. And now I have a Happy Meal coming out with TMNT... I guess that's somehow karmic.
How did you get into production?
I started in design, mostly. Character design was my forte, but I also worked in storyboarding, layout and prop design. Writing came a little bit later.
If you weren't involved in the animation world, what would you be doing?
If I didn't find animation, I would probably have gone to law school and been bored out of my mind right about now.
How can someone young get into the animation field?
Practice practice practice. You have a lot of bad drawings to get out of your system, so get to drawing. Find artists you like and emulate their style. Figure out why you like what they do, and then eventually create your own style. Animation schools are popping up all over the place now. And I'm biased, but I think a solid 2D animation background will put you miles ahead of others when you turn to 3D animation.
What does your director's chair look like?
It's black leather. Not terribly expensive at all. I have a bad habit of playing with thumbtacks, poking the arms of the chair as I speak on the phone. It's well-used.
Who would win in a fight between TMNT and Gatchaman?
Despite Gatchaman's extensive battery of gadgets and weapons, I'd like to think that TMNT's heart can triumph over just about anything if they're working as a team and as a family. Ask me again in a year, and I'll probably have 10 reasons why Gatchaman would win hands down...