Jonathan Liebesman’s upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot doesn’t even hit theaters for another month, but it has already proved to be one of the most divisive movies of the summer. Longtime fans are pissed off about everything from the new look of the title characters—their rounded faces have been replaced by weird looking, more humanoid features—to the significant alterations to their origin story. Instead of happening across the mysterious radioactive ooze discarded in the New York City sewers, these new versions were created in a lab, by their arch nemesis Shredder (William Fichtner), no less. No matter your feelings, this latest TV spot won’t do much to change your mind on this Michael Bay-produced monstrosity either way.
If you’ve been paying attention to the build up and promotion, this will all be familiar to you at this point because you’ve already seen everything here. There’s footage of the Turtles sliding down a snowy mountain, which is actually an ingenious use of their shells. You also see more of that rocket powered skateboard contraption, as well as that look at Shredder that makes him look like some sort of robotic salad slicing device. They even recycle that moment at the end that has played into so much of the footage that has been released, when Michelangelo takes off his mask for April O’Neil (Megan Fox).
That last bit has been the most endearing part of marketing thus far, and the moment actually does a nice job of capturing the spirit and humor traditionally associated with the Turtles. Aside from this, the rest feels like generic action movie fare. Lines like “live, fight as brothers” and “nothing is as strong as family” are flat and don’t do much to add to the atmosphere of the movie or actually make you want to watch.
If the film embraces the feel of source material and the versions that have come before, there’s definitely a still a chance that TMNT could be a fun enough movie. As long as they’re able to pull that off, I’ll probably be okay with most of the changes, but the closer we get, the less optimism I have. There are two big points that stick with me and give me the most worry. First, Shredder is traditionally a badass martial artist, where as this iteration makes him seem more like some dude wearing a massive suit of armor that is way too heavy for him to move, let alone fight. Second, when you look at Donatello, which you don’t really have the chance to do in this video, you’ll notice that he has all kinds of gadgets and gizmos and looks like he’s wearing Batman’s utility belt and one of the proton packs from Ghostbusters. He’s always been the smart, inventive member of the team, but you can’t help but worry that from his appearance he’ll rely more on toys than his actual fighting skills.
For good or ill, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens everywhere on August 8.