It has been approximately two weeks since Paramount and Platinum Dunes mutated Internet users into ranting monuments of confusion by releasing the first theatrical trailer for Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The vidoe probably couldn’t have been more polarizing even if they introduced Adolf Hitler as the Shredder. But while the opinions of the web-based masses aren’t a strict indicator of how the film may do at the box office, it’s much more interesting to hear the thoughts of Peter Laird, one half of the creative team that invented the Ninja Turtles back in 1984. (Not that his words will sway audiences either.)
Speaking with Comic Book Movie, Laird gives his impressions on everything from the look of the CGI to the story hinted at in the trailer. In doing so, he finds as many ways as possible to say, “But maybe it’ll be good. We’ll just have to wait and see.” This is the easiest way not to sound like a bitter artist, but the fact that he says it so often is a good indicator of how he really feels. Which is to say, he thinks it belongs in the sewers. (My words, not his.)
While Laird says he is impressed with the production values, he says the Turtles’ designs “fall into the ‘fixing what is not broken’ category.” He does add that it’s possible they’ll work within the context of the movie and his opinion could change. But he also says what most of us have been thinking all along: they should have just used something similar to the Jim Henson Creature Shop costumes from the first live action movie.
“One thing that comes to mind,” he said, “is how cool it would be if someone did CGI versions of those same Henson designs, with all the incredible flexibility and seamless action potential available with today’s CGI.” But instead, we get giant green behemoths with nostrils, lips, and flair.
As for the add-on items the Turtles will sport, including Michelangelo’s shark-tooth necklace and Leonardo’s bamboo armor, Laird calls it all “extraneous,” and says he prefers the simpler versions. As well, he still chooses the noseless beak look as this is “a great way to immediately show that these guys are not human.” He’s right. It’s both unsettling and annoying that these characters now look like some alien/human hybrids. “Of course,” he says, “I could be wrong about the new design.” Dammit, Laird, just show us your dartboard with Michael Bay’s picture on it, we all know you have one.
All in all, this interview is a solid read, though the creator doesn’t always delve as deeply into things as one might want, mainly because he’s trying not to step on anyone’s toes, regardless of if they have five or three. Among other things, he says he prefers an accidental version of the Turtles’ origin story than the conceived one in the film, and he’s interested in seeing if the Shredder is going to show off more of his “civilian identity” or his “evil ninja clan leader identity.”
We’ll all have to wait and see on August 8 when the flick shellshocks its way into theaters. That isn’t too far away, especially considering they just hired Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub to voice Leonardo and Splinter, respectively. Want to see the trailer again? You’re welcome.