Artist From 2014 ‘Ninja Turtles’ Film Reflects on “Devastating” Criticism of Characters’ Looks After Viral Tweet

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A member of the team that worked on Paramount Pictures’ live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot is reacting to feedback from over the years that was not quite bodacious.

Actor Devon Sawa tweeted a meme Wednesday showing a still of Leonardo from the Michael Bay-produced 2014 theatrical release; the character is pictured alongside a doctored version without the film’s nostrils, but instead featuring facial features more reminiscent of the design used for the original theatrical trilogy that launched in 1990. In his tweet, Sawa noted that he wasn’t sure who created the new version but that it was a “huge fix.”

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This led to a response from Jared Krichevsky, who is credited as a creature designer on director Jonathan Liebesman’s 2014 film. “Welp, time to relive this time in my life over again,” he tweeted Wednesday. He also referenced Paramount delaying the release of its film Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) to redesign the title character after online backlash to the first trailer: “Nowadays this would have been Sonic’d so fast it woulda blast me into an alternate dimension.”

Krichevsky, who has since worked as a concept artist on Wonder Woman, It and 2023 release Dungeons & Dragons, pointed out that he wouldn’t necessarily design the Ninja Turtles characters the same way again. “Like, I know I would do them differently today, there’s a lot I would change, but at the time, it was a dream job and it was awesome,” he wrote. “Maybe, one day, I’ll get to redeem myself with the TMNT.”

He wrote that he felt so close to the project that the negative reaction was “not good for my mental health.” Krichevsky added that “it being my first BIG IP that I dreamed of working on since a kid, it was well…devastating. I’ve learned since then to keep up that emotional wall.”

The artist also quipped, “And I’ll still fight for the nostrils god dammit.”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles currently holds a 21 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes but grossed $191 million at the domestic box office and spawned a 2016 sequel.

In The Hollywood Reporter’s review of the 2014 film, critic Justin Lowe wrote, in part, “The castmembers portraying Splinter and the turtles achieve a persuasive level of realism that was never possible with the elaborate puppetry required for the original film series and adequately fulfill expectations for their characters.” He also wrote that “the motion-capture process employed to facilitate live-action integration with cutting-edge VFX looks superior onscreen.”

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