Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle: Mutan Mayhem

Get Physical: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Hear ye! Hear ye! It has been decreed that the animation era of asymmetrical designs and misshapen character designs is upon us.

Gone are the days of crisp lines and finely crafted character designs that always looked like they woke up with that ready to go glamour look. We can say farewell to the detailed environments that felt like a whole new world with so much to explore in every frame. They have been replaced by a depth of field that gets worse the further away things are.

Similar to the clean cut straight-A student who gets overshadowed by the new bad boy in town, the disheveled look is now in style.

One needs to look no further than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (read Victor’s review) for proof of this. A film that finds rejuvenated creativity and youthful energy in embracing the messiness of art.

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The latest work to come out of the Spider-Verse era of animation, where artistic freedom comes from breaking the shackles of uniformity and changing up styles, sometimes on a per sequence basis, has allowed Mutant Mayhem is one of the year’s pleasant surprises. A mosaic of unabashed creativity, whose vibrancy is only rivaled by its slamming old-school hip-hop soundtrack, the film succeeds in bringing the decades spanning franchise into a fresh new era.

What makes the mixture of hand-drawn and CG animations styles so exhilarating to behold is the fact that it succeeds in embodying the reckless teenage aesthetic of its central characters. Much fuss has been made about the film casting actual teens to voice the heroes in a half shell, but it is the notebook inspired visuals that stick with viewers the most.

Director Jeff Rowe, working off a script whose list of writers includes Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, really captures the messy broken line images that come when a teen is doodling in class when they should be taking notes.

It is a simple concept that feels a tad radical for those of us who had the notion of “colouring within the lines” engrained in us from youth.

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Whether it was a parent seeing potential genius in the development our childhood motor skills, or a teacher thankful to no longer chisel off crayon marks caked to desks, we were taught to celebrate uniformity. The popular cartoons we watched on television, the hand drawn-Disney classics from the golden eras, and event the Pixar computer animated hits that ruled the box office for a decade, all presented a clean aesthetic.

While there will always be galas to get all clean shaven for, it is nice to have the option to rock out in clothes that are less formal.

Such is the reason that films like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and its sequel, the equally great Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, felt so refreshing. It boldly changed its clothes often, sometimes from one sequence to the next, and did not care who was watching. Mutant Mayhem may not be as bold as those films, but it is clearly playing in the same field.

Ever since Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made the leap from comic book pages to the small screen, and eventually, big screen, the have felt carefully contained. A product designed to be mass consumed across toys, multimedia, and other accessories.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem brings back the sense of rebelliousness that the turtles lost decades ago. It just took drawing outside the lines to get them out of their shell.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem arrived on Blu-ray on December 12.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Bonus Features: TEENage Mutant Ninja Turtles; The Mutant Uprising; New York, New York: The Visual World of MUTANT MAYHEM, Learn to Draw Leo

Get Physical is a regular column featuring ramblings loosely inspired by the latest physical media releases.

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