It’s hard to imagine that there were any worse designs than the ones selected by Jonathan Liebeswhatever for the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The turtles, cast in a perpetual chiaroscuro, were green, oily, and indecipherable: life, pre-Neutrogena.
Then in comes Anthony Francisco from Guardians of the Galaxy, an otherwise skillful conceptual illustrator who went deep into his brain and pulled out these holy sh*t unmedicated nightmares. According to CBM, Francisco approached Producer Michael Bay with his designs, and while “the meeting went well,” “we did not get the gig.”
I imagine it’s hard to conceptualize animated adolescent ninja turtles, but here’s a hint: don’t give them Tina Turner legs. That’s weird, and also: terrifying. I understand that Francisco wanted to make the turtles lifelike (as lifelike as you can make a turtle that identifies as both a mutant, and a ninja), but these amphibians are for too grotesque for an otherwise saccharine storyline. Curvy hips. Skinny lips. Hooves. A penis vein? Also: GUNS.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was designed for kids, and while I’m all for bridging the gap between childhood entertainment and grown-up “film,” please, keep the AK-47s away. Let the turtles do their weird, semi-racist ninja fighting. You can keep the bullets in every other single movie Hollywood ever makes ever.
It’s Rodin on a speed trip, Michelangelo on an acid one.
I kinda liked ‘em.