So the Velcro the Ninja Kat books have been out for some time now, yet in all that time, I've never really given my own thoughts on them. Not that I intend to review my own books or anything like that, but I would like to just give a little insight here or there, and perhaps provide just a little peek behind the curtain, so to speak. And to start off, I'd like to discuss the first book in the series, Velcro: The Ninja Kat, and specifically one reaction in particular towards that book that was perhaps the most prevalent when it originally released.
When the book first came out, there were actually quite a number of people who read it who came away with the reaction that they'd love to see it made as a movie. Now, I have to admit that I was a little confused by this reaction at the time, as I personally felt that the story played out more in a manner suited to something like an ongoing anime series, as opposed to the confines of a two hour long film. But then recently, it actually clicked with me how the first book actually could work as a stand alone feature.
See, most of the first book takes place within a single location, that being the military brig known as The Web, which also acts as the base of operations for the villainous Spider. The Ninja Kat breaks into the prison along with her hamster allies in order to free their friends who had been imprisoned after their home village had been attacked by the Devil Corps, and the majority of the book sees them making their way through the Spider's lair and all of his various traps he's set for our heroes along the way.
Now, in certain regards, this set up might sound somewhat similar to a couple of films that had released some years back (the same year as when Velcro: The Ninja Kat released, now that I think of it. I guess everyone had their own different take on a similar idea at the same time), those movies being Dredd and The Raid. Both of these films saw their heroes storming into a building where they find themselves trapped inside and having to fight their way back out in some manner. Only, unlike both of those films, my story deals with anthropomorphic animals. And, well, as we've seen with the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films from the 90s, it is in fact possible to convincingly pull off anthropomorphic animals in an action film, even in live action.
The writing would of course have to be tweaked in certain regards from the novel in order to make the transition into this new medium seamless, but there's honestly not too much that would need to be changed, and the end result could definitely work. And in fact, I already tried to do this very thing on a much smaller scale in the short film, Kip, which does in many ways visually resemble the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and which was precisely the look I was trying to go for. Now, imagine taking that more gritty look of that initial Ninja Turtles movie, and placing it in a setting not too dissimilar from something such as Dredd or The Raid (and perhaps toning down the action to more of a PG-13, as opposed to a hard R), and you've more or less got what I envision a live action feature length adaptation of the first Ninja Kat book to look like in a movie. So basically, the Ninja Turtles meet The Raid.
Personally, I would definitely want it to be done as practical as possible, meaning actors in full costumes performing on screen, and to avoid having to rely on CGI as much as possible. I'm not exactly looking to use last year's adaptation of the theatrical production CATS as any sort of inspiration, for instance. And I have to emphasize that the look from the original 90s Ninja Turtles movies would be a most ideal approach, as it's sort of crazy just how much those movies still hold up visually today, especially compared to the newer movies from the 2010s, in which all of the turtles are done in CGI. I think this just comes down to the fact that what you're seeing on the screen is actually physically there, and it looks and feels organic, it looks more real, because in a sense, it is real, whereas the CGI characters don't quite have the same effect.
Pictured above: NOT what we're going for!
But anyways, this is definitely a goal of mine to achieve one day, though I still need the resources to actually pull off such a project. I believe it could definitely be done on a low budget, but not quite the micro budget the likes of which I'm more used to on my own films. The Kip short still cost several hundred dollars, and most of that money went into the costumes. So having to expand that to a full cast of characters in a full feature production, yeah, that would definitely add up to more than I can personally afford out of my own pocket right now, though it does still feel like something that's realistically achievable someday.
Of course, I still feel like the Ninja Kat is ripe for the likes of comics and animation (and in fact, a brief comic book run does currently exist), but it's nice to think that a feature length live action adaptation could be realistically achieved. And hey, who knows? Should we make this initial project and it actually succeeds, then there's plenty of more material to work off of for the sequels, such as Velcro: The Green Lion, where we can further expand the story and this world, similarly to how The Raid 2 opened up its own world quite drastically as compared to the single locale of the first film. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here, and perhaps stop it there, as we look ahead to what may yet come. And as for now, feel free to check out the short film Kip to get a bit of a better idea of what a live action Ninja Kat film might look like: