Predicting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (with LEGO)

Matt tries to work out the plot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with some new LEGO sets...

Spoiler alert: this article may feature spoilers. We don’t know. If you don’t want to read spoilers you’ll have to guess how good we are at guessing.

The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film comes out either very soon or quite soon depending on where you live. In the US, it lands on 8th August, which is very soon. Here in the UK, we’re not getting it until 17th October, which is the far end of quite soon. As someone who is eagerly anticipating the film I’d like to take this opportunity to loudly boo the later UK release. Boo!

Thanks to the weird way in which the world of international movie promotion works, all of the LEGO sets based on the film will be coming out in the UK on 1st August. That means that the average person living in the UK has two and a half months to work out roughly what happens in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film based on the LEGO sets, should they be so inclined (and I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t be). However, my knowledge of Teenage Mutant Ninja Trivia and a misplaced belief that I’m marginally above average has made me confident that I can perform the task quickly and with 100 percent accuracy. Therefore, I have.

I’m basing my guesses mostly on the LEGO sets, although I may mention the trailers for the film from time to time. Regarding spoilers, I’ve guessed that this film is pretty out there, so there shouldn’t be too much overlap between my predictions and what happens in the film. Makes you question the point of the article, doesn’t it? If I’m being honest, this whole thing is just another entry in a series I like to call ‘articles I have written that are excuses to write about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles LEGO’. I like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles LEGO. 

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So, yes.  Den Of Geek puts together the three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie LEGO sets and try to construct the plot of the film. Here’s how I got on.

Turtle Lair Invasion

Villainous Shredder leads the Foot Clan in an attack on the Turtles’ lair is the obvious interpretation of this set. That’s why I don’t think that’s what happens in the movie. Too simple. Nice try, Michael Bay.

Before I get to that, I should mention that my LEGO building was hampered by distractions. My neighbours had seen some of my previous, admittedly disastrous, LEGO attempts and, having been LEGO fans growing up, kept shouting “You’re ruining our childhood!” through the wall. My neighbours grew up with every privilege in the world and they’re never even going to see my finished LEGO. Someone from upstairs popped down, too, and shouted “You’re never going to put together LEGO as well as someone has previously put LEGO together – I hope something awful happens to you!” through my letterbox. I’m surrounded by idiots.

LEGO construction

The first observation I made, and it’s one that’s stuck with me putting these three sets together, is that the brilliance of LEGO is that the construction element forces you to notice how incredibly detailed and well-designed they are. That said, on a set as large as this one there comes a point where you start to resent LEGO for making you build something so detailed. I’m much more slapdash than this, LEGO. Where are the shortcuts?

This is a really big, detailed set, too. The lair has a bunch of different levels and slides and doo-dahs and things. Although I can’t yet confirm if it’s fully movie-accurate, I can confirm that it’s fully awesome.

Each set comes with a bunch of figures. This is the only one that includes over-bladed baddie Shredder. I did not cut myself on LEGO Shredder. I cut myself on the steak knives I was attempting to tape to his arms to recreate the shot in the trailer of him mega-ing up. I’d love to show you a picture of it, but I was losing a decent amount of blood and it likely would have ruined the photo. Here’s a screenshot of the moment as it appears in the trailer, though (or a recreation using an action figure and some colouring pens, whatever). 

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Part of the lair features a bank of screens. The contents of the screens probably aren’t important to the plot of the film, because otherwise I wouldn’t have accidentally ripped one of the stickers. It is also my opinion that the stickers are meant to be placed on the LEGO wonky, even if they did unhelpfully leave this out of the instruction booklet. It’s either part of the story or a design choice. Do keep an eye out for wonky graffiti and off kilter monitors in the Turtles’ lair in the film.

What’s obviously happening

This set is called Turtle Lair Invasion, which suggests two questions; what could the Turtles’ lair invade, and how could it do it? Let’s assume the Turtles’ lair has attacked Foot HQ, because they’re fighting the Foot on the box.

Now let’s think about the how. While it might seem extraordinary that a chunk of underground sewer could attack anything, we’re dealing with a story about mutated animals who are skilled martial artists, so there are already examples of abnormality. There’s also an implied method; the lair is clearly doused in mutagen, comes to life and gets fighty. It’s weird that they’ve not included any footage of this in the trailer as it will no doubt look spectacular. While I didn’t spot any robot controls when putting the set together, it also possible that the lair is a giant transforming robot. That seems unlikely, though.

A moving lair, with the Turtles and Splinter battling Shredder and his masked henchmen inside it, doesn’t have any precedent in Ninja Turtles lore, but I think we’re all expecting some new ideas to be explored in the upcoming movie. I’m absolutely certain that this is going to be one of them.

Turtle Van Takedown

It’s very important to note that this set includes a LEGO Will Arnett. Purchase accordingly, guys.

You might think that this set is based on a sequence that will see cameraman Vernon Fenwick (played by Arnett, aka LEGO Batman) driving the Turtle Van as TMNT Raphael rescues his brother Michelangelo from the Foot. That’d explain why this set includes a restrained Michelangelo and why the LEGO box features the van firing an explosive at a Foot soldier. Again, though, that seems too easy, doesn’t it? We’re not falling for it. Clearly, something more complex is going on here.

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Before we get to construction, I again have to report that I was working in less than ideal conditions. I was struggling with my neighbours again. “We’re not keen on the new designs!” They were pounding their fists against the wall. I know no one gets on with their neighbours but mine were judging my LEGO work based on information that had been leaked about what LEGO sets I was putting together which may not have even been accurate. They’re awful people.

Then the dimwit from upstairs was back at my letterbox, shouting “Why couldn’t you get some toys that were more like the cartoon I used to watch? Why?!?!?!” I opened the door to explain that I had loads of new Ninja Turtles toys, some of which were based on the old cartoon. If he was so interested, why didn’t he come and shout through my letter box when I bought them? But he was gone. He’d shouted his complaint as though it was something he was passionate about but then moved on without ever giving it a second thought. I should move.

LEGO construction

After the previous set turned out to be so big that I probably should have contacted my local council before erecting it, this smaller one was something of a relief. Smaller LEGO sets are great if you’re rubbish at building.

The Turtle Van set comes together quite nicely. I spent a little while following the instructions and making what appeared to be a blocky, colourful mass of nothing. Then, you start clipping the big blocks you’ve made together and it all starts to make sense. “Ohhh. That’s what I’ve been making! It goes on here? How? Oh, no, of course. Yeah, that’s dead cool, that is.”

In fact, for me this was the noisiest one to put together. With all the ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ noises I was making and the Gob/Arrested Development quotes the Will Arnett LEGO caused, I was being a downright chatterbox. I was also saying “Oh look, that piece wasn’t missing. It was there the entire time!” roughly every five minutes, but that was consistent across all sets.

What’s obviously happening

It’s worth noting that this set is called Turtle Van Takedown. What does that tell us? We have to take the Turtle Van down. How frustrating, to spend ages constructing a LEGO Turtle Van only to have to take it apart as soon as you’ve finished. I mean, I’ve deconstructed movies before but this is ridiculous!

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I’m sure the good folks at LEGO wouldn’t waste my time, so expect this to have some relevance to the plot. The scene, as far as I can tell, features Vernon and Raphael driving the Turtle Van somewhere and then taking the van apart while a Foot solider restrains Michelangelo for safety reasons before blowing himself up. This is not something that has previously happened in any Ninja Turtles iteration I’m familiar with, so I can’t trace any particular comics or TV episodes they might be referencing. Looks like they’re really doing their own thing here.

Big Rig Snow Getaway

A snow chase sequence involving the Turtles fighting Karai (traditionally a Foot Clan leader and sometimes Shredder’s daughter) and Foot soldiers on a truck driving through snowy mountains?  That’s the easy explanation you might come up with if you’ve been watching the trailers and looking at the LEGO box. But you couldn’t be more wrong, I would guess.  

Before we get too into this, I would like to take a moment to be a bit genuine and to offer some praise to LEGO for including Karai in this set. She’s a cool character who is often overlooked, particularly with Ninja Turtles toy creators who act like they’re afraid of girls.

I was able to put this one together in peace. My neighbours had all gone to bed. There was so much LEGO and my attempts to put it all together took me well into the night. No one shouted through my letterbox either, although upstairs had kindly left me a flaming bag of dog poo.

LEGO construction

After my LEGO odyssey I was ready to ease off, pop this one together quickly and go to bed. Then I opened the box and five sacks of LEGO bricks and three instruction books fell out. To overLEGO is a real thing you can do, it turns out. I put on a pot of coffee and got to work.

There’s something a bit exciting about getting a bit of pace going when you’re putting LEGO together, and I got onto a bit of a run when building the truck. It’s a hell of a job, though, and eventually (toy) bricklayer’s fatigue set back in. Some people might suggest that that’s why it took me five tries to get the number plate sticker on straight. Personally, I think they intentionally made it fiddly to draw attention to it. What could ’BM53116’ mean and what has it got to do with the plot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Something important, I’ll bet.

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The big rig can spill out yellow ooze pots with a stylish ‘S’ logo on them. Possibly, this is the logo of villainous ‘is he/isn’t he Shredder’ Eric Sachs’ company. However, I think they’re flagging these up as important, and that the ‘S’ stands for story. These have something to do with the ‘S’tory of the film. If only we knew what. It could also mean ‘S’now, which would tie into a theory I go into in the next section.

This set also comes with a tiny LEGO Megan Fox. So far I’ve put LEGO Megan Fox on top of my TV and told my wife that Megan Fox is on TV, I’ve taken Megan Fox to a nice restaurant and I’ve built a friendship with Megan Fox. I’ve also narrowly avoided being divorced by my actual, not-made-of-LEGO wife, who does not find Megan Fox LEGO jokes funny, no matter how hilarious they are. 

What’s obviously happening

Big Rig Snow Getaway? Oh, this is priceless. The Turtles and April are clearly stealing the Foot Clan’s snow. They’re putting it in ‘S’ containers and driving it away in a big rig while Karai and her henchmen chase them.

This suggests two questions; why does the Foot Clan need snow and how are the Turtles able to get it away from them? Well, the Foot Clan are evil so it’s unlikely they’re just trying to get into the spirit of Christmas. 

We’ve seen how heavily bladed their leader, Shredder, is in this film. Is it possible they’re freezing the world’s water supply in an effort to reduce the risk of leader rust? While there’s no precedent for it in previous Ninja Turtles stories, there’s also no precedent in this article for any of our explanations fitting in with existing Ninja Turtles stories, so let’s not worry about that. It’s also possible that Shredder is building an evil snowman army or that he’s planning on flinging a meteor-sized snowball directly into the face of New York City.

As for how the Turtles are able to get away with the snow, there’s a big hint on the box of this LEGO. They use a big rig.

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So expect a scene involving the Turtles driving a truck full of stolen snow down a mountain while Karai and the Foot chase after them. Shredder will no doubt watch from somewhere dry.

Final Plot Description

I believe that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be about the Turtles’ lair coming to life and attacking the Foot Clan, resulting in Ninja Turtle Michelangelo becoming captured. Raphael and Vernon will then drive the Turtle Van somewhere and take it apart. A Foot Soldier will blow himself up for fun and then Michelangelo will be free. April O’Neil will use her LEGO phone to rent a truck. They drive up a mountain and steal snow from the Foot Clan in an attempt to make Shredder rusty.

This film sounds terrible. I’ve no idea why they’ve deviated so dramatically from the source material.

But obviously we can’t judge the movie just on my guesses, no matter how accurate they may seem. You can’t take tiny pieces of information, guess what they mean and then expect any judgements you make based on them to be correct. That would be a ridiculous thing to do.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie LEGO is out now and is awesome. All the sets pictures above contain all the bits they’re shown with – we didn’t mix any of them up. Well, real Will Arnett and real Megan Fox aren’t included. Also you don’t get a regular Shredder action figure or steak knives.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes out in the US on 8th August and in the UK on 17th October. (Boo!)

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