TMNT: The Movie at 30: Toy Chest Theater

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Yeah, I’m a little late on this one. Sue me.

These Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie figures from NECA have practically become a staple of the toy photography community. And for good reason. They’re absolutely amazing.

I’ve featured them here a few times before. But in honor of the 30th anniversary of the movie, I’ve opted to spotlight some of my favorites that haven’t been on the site yet.

Let’s start with one that’s if nothing else, timely…

This shot from Yunus Unen serves to remind us that even our mutant friends must protect themselves from the dreaded Coronavirus. Apparently a tiger at the Bronx Zoo was just found to have it. That’s bad news for Tiger Claw

Another quarantine-inspired shot, this time from French photographer Joe Hume. According to the Instagram post where this shot originated, it was inspired by #coronamaison, a hashtag that means “corona house” in French. It challenges artists and illustrators to create a quarantine scene using a house with a staircase on the left side of the frame. Other than that, they’re free to do as they will.

I’d say this shot fits the TMNT pretty well. Imagine these guys being under quarantine. They already can’t leave the lair during the day! Now they’re stuck together 24/7!

In the caption for the #coronamaison photo above, Hume mentioned closer shots are more his element. Looking at this shot of Shredder, I can’t dispute that. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be the scene in the movie where he’s talking to all the Foot recruits, or if its another setting entirely. The shot seems to suggest it’s snowing. Which is an interesting idea.

In any event, the shot plays to the strengths of the figure/character design, as well as the character itself. The armor and the mask are easy to see and well defined. But the man behind them is shrouded in mystery…

I like this shot by Duane Perera not just because it goes all in on the nostalgia element, but because of the way the Turtles are posed. It’s very believable that they’re all crammed into some ’90s kid’s little room, playing with all his stuff.

Bonus points for the Donnie and the Dunkaroos. I’m always amazed at how toy photographers are able to miniaturize that kind of stuff. Whether it’s an actual prop or a trick of the computer, it almost always looks so real.

We’ll close it out with something downright spooky looking. You can be a little more moody and menacing with Raph, as it fits his personality. Mike of @fullblowntoys definitely nails it hear with the dim lighting and the green steam effect. Not only does it fit the character, but it fits the look of the film. This could have taken place in the sewers, or just the wrong part of town…

For more NECA TMNT goodness, check out That Damn Swimming Level…”, “Leo in the Sun”,¬† and Bird Box Starring TMNT”.

Email Rob at at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

TMNT: The Movie at 30: Fan Film Inspiration

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

In my experience, fan films are very hit or miss. And as far as Ninja Turtle fan films go, it’s almost always a miss. The reason is very simple: A fan film simply doesn’t have the budget to create Turtle costumes that suspend disbelief. It’s primarily a lip sync issue. Hell, in a lot of them the mouths don’t move at all.

But two TMNT fan films have won me over with sheer nostalgic charm, thanks to a connection with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie.

The first, and I’d argue most impressive, is Casey Jones. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, it’s clearly intended to be a prequel to the 1990 movie. The filmmakers are clearly going for similar lighting. The lead actor looks ike Elias Koteas (who played Casey in the movie). But the ultimate cherry on top? Robbie Rist, who voiced Michelangelo in all three original films, reprises his role here. And he’s obviously older, he does a fine job recapturing that Mikey magic.

My one big critique? I wouldn’t have put April in the yellow jumpsuit. Yes, we all love the old cartoon. But that’s clearly not the vibe you’re going for here.

Up next is Back in the Shell, which was to be a TMNT live action fan series. The idea is awesome, of course. To their credit, these folks at Prop Shop Garage make some of the most incredible Turtle costumes I’ve ever seen. I even gave them a little press when I first caught wind of it. The influence from the 1990 film is as plain as green on a Turtle. Sadly, the series never got off the ground. But we did get this awesome trailer…

I should add that I was originally going to spotlight a third project here. It came out around the same time as the first Michael Bay TMNT film. It saw Raphael, played by his movie voice actor Josh Pais, interrogating “Megan Fox” about what the new movie would be like.

But apparently, much like the Turtles themselves the film struck hard and faded away…without a trace.

Email Rob at at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

TMNT: The Movie at 30: The Alternate Ending

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

As those of us who fell in love with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie as kids have grown into geeky adults, more and more curiosity has generated regarding unused content from the film, or scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor.

For instance, cut footage exists of a scene where Shredder fights off the street punks that got caught after mugging April. And he does it while sitting down.

Other bits and pieces supposedly exist. But what you see below is, to my knowledge, the closest thing we have to an actual deleted scene from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie. This was to have been an alternate ending, in which April and Danny pitch their story to a comic book publisher while the Turtles look on…

While this is a cool thing to see all these years later, I think it goes without saying we were better off without it in the actual film.

Robbie Rist provided the voice for Michelangelo in the movie. Obviously that’s not him at the end. Would have been cool, but I can’t bring myself to complain about something like this.

Astoundingly, we’ve never gotten any kind of deluxe edition of the film in the United States. But for some odd reason, the German release of the movie contains not only this scene and some alternate takes, but commentary by director Steve Barron.

Totally bogus, dude.

Email Rob at at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

TMNT: The Movie at 30: Original Trailer

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

If you’d have told me in say, February, that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie was about to turn 30, I’d never have believed it.

But after “social distancing” at home for a mere week and change, I absolutely believe it. Heck, I’d believe ya if you told me it was 50.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie is 30 years old as of yesterday. If you’re a child of the ’80s, this is one of the movies that shaped your childhood.

But it’s more than just a great nostalgia movie, or even a great comic book movie. It’s a great movie. Period. It’s about more than martial artists in turtle costumes. At its core, it’s about family. The family you’re born with, and the family you choose.

So as we celebrate Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie this week, I invite you to take a look at the film’s original trailer…

Obviously, much was unfinished when this trailer hit screens. Most notably the voiceover work. But thanks to the magic of internet geeks and YouTube, we can now watch a “remastered” version of the trailer with the correct accompanying voice work.

God I love this movie.

Email Rob at at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Toy Chest Theater: Leo in the Sun

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The right lighting really does make all the difference.

Of course, this pic from SGT Bananas Toy Photography calls back to a scene from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie. It’s the scene where Leonardo hears Splinter calling to him from the astral plane.

For comparison’s sake, here’s a corresponding screenshot from the movie…

I don’t see the image as a recreation of this moment, but rather the creation of a similar scene set in the early morning. There’s something surreal, and somehow beautiful about this absurd fantasy creature bathed in the natural sunlight.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.

Toy Chest Theater: Bird Box Starring TMNT

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’ve got a soft spot for Bird Box, for obvious reasons. Mrs. Primary Ignition and I finally got to watch it the other night, and really enjoyed it.

So naturally, I love this image from Eric, a.k.a. @heatfour on Instagram.

In Bird Box, Sandra Bullock’s character has to guide to children through the wilderness as a ghostly monster pursues them. To further complicate matters, all three have to be blindfolded. It’s a very TMNT-ish look, so this shot is a natural play-off of the movie. Plus, using the figures based on the 1990 film always gets you extra points with me.

Intended or not, this image also has a certain intrigue to it in terms of the kids. How the heck did we get young mutant turtles? Are they supposed to be Raph’s kids? If so, how did that process work?

This image needs a backstory. Just sayin’.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.

TMNT Fan Series Back in the Shell – Just One Question…

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Falling down a social media rabbit hole yesterday, I stumbled across this little treat. A behind the scenes look at an upcoming six-episode Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan series called Back in the Shell

The series is coming to us courtesy of the folks at Nerdbot. The Turtle suits are coming from Prop Shop Garage, who make some stellar looking TMNT costumes akin to the ones in the old ’90s flicks, which¬† Back in the Shell is obviously trying to capture the spirit of. (As if that track from Spunkadelic wasn’t a dead give-away!) A teaser is is being advertised for next week. You can officially call me intrigued, dudes and dudettes.

I do have one question, though.

This is a fan-series, undoubtedly made with a fraction of the money used to make the Paramount/Nickelodeon TMNT movies. So how is it that this, a teaser for a teaser, can get me more excited than those two movies did? Not individually, mind you. Combined.

The answer is pretty obvious to me. But I’ll let you decide for yourself.

For more on Back in the Shell, check out its official Instagram page, as well as Team Ninja Turtle on Facebook.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com!

Toy Chest Theater: Raph, Leo, and a Hell of a Crowd!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The TMNT are back in this second edition of “Toy Chest Theater.” I didn’t necessarily want to do a double dose of Turtle Power. But after seeing this beauty from Jax Navarro at Plastic Action, how could I resist?

I’m a sucker for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie. Almost 30 years later, it’s still my favorite take on the concept. So any toy photographer that can find something creative to do with those NECA figures gets points with me automatically.

But what puts this one over the top is that it’s so beautifully random. The Ninja Turtles playing street ball? Pretty damn cool. But the Ninja Turtles playing street ball in front of such a…wide assortment of characters? Awesomeness, personified in plastic!

What’s more, the way some of the background figures are posed is not only very natural, but very in-character. The best example? Han Solo leaning against the wall with his forearm on C-3PO’s shoulder. Even the way Threepio’s body is leaned looks perfect. Harley looks great too. The combination of her behind Thor is odd, but somehow pleasing.

Also, the detail on the background is incredible. It actually looks like a real place. There’s something about that red lighting. It actually serves as a camouflage of sorts for Spider-Man, Red Skull, Superman, and the other characters Navarro has up on that ledge. I actually missed most of them at first look.

For plenty more from Plastic Action, check Jax Navarro out on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com!

Astonishing Art: TMNT by Matt DeMino

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

It honestly wasn’t my intent to do another “Astonishing Art” so soon after the last one. Much less another dedicated to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But today’s piece popped up in my Instagram feed today, and I simply couldn’t resist.

Chances are at some point you’ve seen the image at right, or at least some version of it. It’s the classic Norman Rockwell painting “The Runaway,” which made its debut on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1958. It’s textbook Rockwellian America. A naive young runaway sits in a diner under the protective eyes of a policeman and the counterman. As one might imagine, artists have been tipping their hat to it for a long time.

Cast in point, our subject today: A TMNT-inspired spin on “The Runaway” by Matt DeMino. This piece first appeared on the official TMNT Twitter account yesterday.

Damn. Right in the feels. Especially as an ’80s kid who grew up on a steady Ninja Turtles diet. Who among us didn’t run around with a pillow on our backs and a ninja headband on? The boys in green were our heroes, This image could have been plucked from the dreams of a million kids back then. It still could today.

But this one is clearly for the ’80s/’90s crowd. The references to the three original live action movies are pretty blatant. Casey Jones is sporting his look from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie. You’ve got the Shredder helmet from that same movie on the counter. The scepter from the third movie is sitting at Raph’s feet. And on the lower left, you can see the broken canister from The Secret of the Ooze. Yeah, you might say I’ve watched those movies a few times…

This isn’t the first time DeMino has been commissioned to work on the Ninja Turtles. The piece at left came out on Thanksgiving last year. Note the same analog Coke can design in both scenes.

Clearly, DeMino’s take on the Turtles and Splinter is very reminiscent of the old movies. Hey, that’s how I’d do it too. That original Steve Barron film is still the definitive presentation of the TMNT, for my money. After all these years, it still holds up.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.