Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might wind up being the most divisive film of the summer. Everything from the look of the Heroes in a Half-shell themselves to the casting of Megan Fox to the significant changes made to the origin story, have all made fans of the series bristle with outrage. The latest trailer for the Michael Bay-produced feature isn’t going to help matters any.
Up to this point I’ve tried to stay optimistic. Okay, a whitewashed Shredder (William Fichtner) and April O’Neil’s (Fox) are responsible for creating the Turtles in a lab in a quest to manufacture new heroes. I can deal with that. Sure, the more humanoid noses are weird looking, but for all the ways this diverges from the source material, the previous trailer we saw seemed to capture the sarcastic sense of humor of the earlier comics, cartoons, and movies. As long they managed to do that, I was, not excited for TMNT, but cautiously optimistic. I’m sorry to say that my stance has shifted somewhat.
If you’ve already been turned off to this reboot, this trailer is only going to give you more ammunition for that particular battle. As much as I tried to give this movie the benefit of the doubt, this trailer doesn’t make that easy. Paramount is doing their level best to put the action heavy nature of the film front and center, and while that’s fine, it doesn’t do anything to distinguish itself from every other high-tempo actioner out there, even if it has been compared to The Raid. Are those guys with the masks supposed to be the Foot Clan? And if Shredder is in fact a white guy named Eric, where does the ninjitsu aspect come from? You would think if he made the Turtles, he had some input on their training. When he’s talking to April there is a Japanese-looking tapestry hanging on the wall. Maybe he’s a student of Eastern culture, but you do have to wonder how they’re going to fit that in.
And while not a huge fan of the look of the new Turtles, but what we’ve seen so far wasn’t a deal breaker. Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael are the ones we’ve seen the most of, but this new footage features Donatello, which isn’t good. It isn’t necessarily the character design, but I bet that I’m not the only one asking why the hell he’s wearing high-tech goggles and carrying what looks like a proton pack leftover from Ghostbusters. He’s always been the smart one, the inventor of the group, but weighted down with gadgets and gizmos is not how we want to see our mutant ninja Turtles. How much do you want to be that he’s going to rely far too heavily on those toys rather than his ass kicking martial arts skills?
This trailer also provides our first look at the Shredder costume, and though it is only a quick glance, it looks okay. The same goes for another peek at the Turtles’ mentor, Splinter, seen from behind. We’ll have to wait for a better view of these two in order to really judge, but considering what we’ve already seen, are any of you out there all that hopeful?
Unless rumored delays and reshoots actually come to pass, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens everywhere on August 8.