‘TMNT’: Set Photos Reveal Pre-CGI Heroes in a Half-Shell

Bryan Enk
Movie Talk

Cowabunga! Pics from the New York City set of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (formerly known simply as "Ninja Turtles" before producer Michael Bay came to his senses) have been popping up all week, with the latest batch revealing the pizza-loving, wisecracking reptilian martial artists themselves.

Well ... sort of. We've certainly come a long way since 1990, when the first live-action "TMNT" was released. The actors in that film had to endure clunky body suits; today's technology allows the Turtles to come to life via performance capture technology.

Which makes for an even more humorous sight than any Ninja Turtle costumes could provide. The four actors -- Alan Ritchson (Raphael), Noel Fisher (Michelangelo), Jeremy Howard (Donatello) and Pete Ploszek (Leonardo) -- are dressed in grey and black motion capture suits, which contain gizmos that feed their every move and gesture into a computer. By now we've grown accustomed to the sight of mo-cap suits, though certainly not ones that accessorize with giant turtle shells.

The set pics also reveal what appear to be the newfangled members of the Turtles' arch-enemies, the Foot Clan, dressed completely in black and armed with automatic weapons. The set itself appears to be a garbage-strewn alley -- familiar stomping grounds for the Turtles.

The project got back in the good graces of fans (at least somewhat) last month when Michael Bay announced that the plans involving giving the Turtles extraterrestrial origins had been scrapped in favor of the traditional mythology, which indeed has the heroes as "Mutants" that evolved from a substance known as the Ooze. Apparently, they're also teenagers again, as the full title of the film has been officially changed to "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

Now all Bay has to do is confirm a Vanilla Ice cameo and we're really in business.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" will hit theaters on June 6, 2014.