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‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ And A Thought on The Hyper-Grotesque

With the entire Internet already yakking about the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer, it hardly seemed necessary to bring it up here. But for the sake of posterity, here is the trailer for the Jonathan Liebesman-directed film, which will open on August 8th:

Unlike many online commenters, I wasn’t bothered by the visual appearance of the Turtles, nor did it even merit an eyebrow-raise because they look and feel similar to most every other creature that has appeared in films and videogames over the past decade. I haven’t found any good term to describe this new aesthetic, but I personally refer to it as the hyper-grotesque:

Filmmakers and game producers are still learning to harness the vast (and ever-increasing) possibilities of digital technology, and in many cases, their creative instincts are overwhelmed by the abundance of choice. Whether it’s CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Peanuts, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, or even an original idea, these projects are guaranteed to be slathered in an unwieldy amount of rendered detail.

It’s hard to view the hyper-grotesque as anything more than a novelty act with each producer attempting to outdo the other by adding as much detail as allowed by their budget and the current state of technology. At some point, audiences may tire of the illusion, though the consistent decades-long financial success of this entertainment style suggests that hyper-grotesque digital art is unlikely to peak anytime soon.