In case it wasn’t apparent enough yet, Ninja Turtles are very special to us here at punch, kick, all in the mind. I personally have been a Ninja Turtles fan about as long as I’ve been a gamer, so they hold a special nostalgia for me. I haven’t kept up with the new Turtles show as well as I’ve liked, but what I’ve seen of it was rather good. I have been reading the recent IDW comics which have been awesome, however.
When it was announced that Micheal Bay was producing the new movie, and that Meagan Fox would be in it, I wrote this whole thing off. Then, this trailer hit yesterday:
While I’m not saying this teaser has made me reverse my decision, it is forcing me to take a second look at it. So, below are a few notable things about this teaser.
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’
One of the things that caused the most controversy was the idea that these weren’t going to keep to the basic premise of the story — namely that the “Turtles” would be aliens from another dimension or something completely unfamiliar to the fan-base. The fact that they are keeping the title shows that if that ever was on the table, they’ve passed on it at this point — at least to some degree.
Turtles: Into Reference
One of the things I noticed was that the teaser was full of nods and clips that felt familiar to the original. The New York cityscape flyby is reminiscent of similar shots in the original movie and it’s sequels. The giant glowing machine that Shedder(?) unveils reminds me of the TCRI lab featured in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Secret of the Ooze. Speaking of TCRI, TCRI appears on the side of a canister of ooze. Also, the low-light shots of a fight in the subway while April tries to nab photos of it takes me back to the opening scene of the original movie, as well as April’s first confrontation with the foot in that movie. The way Shredder says ‘Miss O’Neil’ sounds like the lead foot soldier in the confrontation scene also.
All of this made me feel nostalgic again. However, I am aware that these were all likely done that way for that very reason, not necessarily out of respect for the material.
I’ve heard conflicting opinions on this aspect, as this is the first we’ve seen of the Turtles at all yet. I will say this, Leonardo looks awesome, and I think he’s really what sells this new look. His size, the way he moves, and the way the new ‘clothes’ enhance his features I think really works. I also like how their shells look like armor, the part behind their head almost reminiscent of Japanese Kabuto, which would be highly appropriate. The idea that their shells are their armor makes me less concerned about their new size and considerable weight — being turtles, it makes some amount of sense.
The downside is the face. Michealangelo actually speaks in the trailer, and his face seems to belong on a green rabbit, not a turtle. We do see a full shot of Raphael, but it’s a little to dark to see him clearly; we barely see Donatello at all. Overall, I am warming to their look, but I still ere on the side of caution on this one.
Speaking of Michaelangelo, he’s the only on that gets more than one line in this teaser, and it’s a pretty funny bit. The actor portraying him (Noel Fisher), seems to be channeling a little of both the current cartoon Mikey and the original movie Mikey, both good references. I’m afraid though that the joke may not be as good within the context of the movie.
The last thing to note was the tone. This seemed to be going for an almost Dark Knight-esque affect through most of the teaser, until Michaelangelo showed up at the end. Also, I did see that tip of the skyscraper falling over — I guess if you’re working with Michael Bay something has to blow up. This has me a little wary about what the tone of the actual movie will be. One of the problems with translating this series is finding the right balance of action, drama, and comedy, and it’s not one even the original movies got right all the time. Going too gritty omits the younger audiences from the proceedings; going too goofy will turn older audiences off. The trailer seems to imply there’s some balance to this, but it’s unclear.
One the plus-side, I owe someone $10 — looks like Michealangelo is not the ‘jive’ Turtle. Thank the Lord!