Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: A Trailer Review

Published: Apr 07, 2014 11:18am EDT
By shaunmerritt, Entertainment/Sports Writer for Konsume Entertainment

Please Note: This article was updated Apr 07, 2014 @ 01:14pm EDT


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started as a comic back back in May of 1994. It was not until December of 1987 that the television series that made them popular began airing. It lasted years years, producing 193 episodes, quite a feat for shows back then. There was a live action show that aired for a year then the series took a break for five years. Returning in 2003, the series has been airing ever since in newer reincarnations. 

However, it's the 1990 live action film that most people who grew up on the show who remember the most. An origin story of sorts that pretty much ignored the television show, it became the most successful film in the series to date. Two sequels were made, but we won't mention those, and an animated movie was made in 2007. Although not a horrible film, it got a 34% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and all hope for a new series of films was squashed, until now.

Announced in October 2009, the new film went through many, many incarnations and directors before a final script was settled on in February 2012 and Jonathan Liebesman was hired to direct, but that is not what most people have focused on. Michael Bay was producing the film and Megan Fox was going to play April O'Neil. The fan base went berserk. Leaked "scripts" had the turtles being aliens, the title was going to be shortened to just Ninja Turtles at one point, and members of the original films accused Bay of "sodomizing" the franchise. Suffice it to say, there was serious trepidation about this film. Cut to March 27, 2014 and a teaser trailer was finally released. 

Before we break down the trailer, let's get one thing over with... the turtles look awesome, way better than I thought they would. They look like actual mutant ninja turtles. While I will always be partial to the Jim Henson suits on the 1990's film, these motion captured turtles might actually do them better. There are some noticeable differences this time around that many people have mentioned.

First, they have noses. I know that seems like a minor detail but when I researched for  opinions on the trailer  for some reason, this came up quite a bit. They're turtles, they breathe air, get over it. Second was William Fichtner as The Shredder. Every incarnation of the character before has been Asian so having the character now portrayed as a white business man was quite puzzling. This is easily the biggest change they have made (at least from the trailer), but I am not 100 percent sure where they are going with it. It does give the character an updated feel and works in the modern world, but how it all plays out in the end will need a major payoff to please the fans.

There is also a bit in the trailer where he is speaking to April about how he and "her father" worked on creating heroes, cutting to shots of the ooze that made the turtles. So he created the turtles now??? That really had me doing a double take. There has always been a connection between Shredder and Splinter, the turtles' mentor, but now that connection is between April and Shredder. Since we have not seen Splinter at all, I am extremely curious to see how that plot point develops. Quite an interesting spin that could either make or break the story, but that leads me to the other thing people are noticing (or complaining) about the trailer.. Megan Fox.

I won't say I am a big fan of hers nor will I  deny that the only reason she gets rolls is because she is good looking, but to blast her for being in this movie is a waste of time. The only April O'Neil that was worth a flip was in the first animated series and that show was so campy its hard to use it as a standard to judge all other incarnations by. She has red hair, she is a reporter, and she has her "sidekick" Vernon Fenwick (played by Will Arnett), so things are not all that bad. I think its comical how she doesn't say a single word in the trailer and people are already panning her for ruining the character because we all know Judith Hoag and Paige Turco did the character justice right? I'm not saying Fox is going to win an Oscar by any means, but it's a character that doesn't take a Shakespearean actress to play, so let's just wait and see how it goes.

Putting all that aside, there are things that I really liked about the trailer. First, it didn't reveal too much but gave us enough to make us want more. If there is one thing I cannot stand about movie trailers, its the teasing. If done right, it works, but 99.99 percent of the time, it's done completely wrong. We see some of the Foot Clan, who now look like SWAT members, not so sure about that, and we see the turtles in action for a brief moment. Each turtle does get a little of their own screen time. Leonardo confronts April, looking stoic. We see Donatello, with some tech gear on his back, fighting some Foot soldiers. We then see Raphael going down a snow hill, after getting boosted by Donatello, doing a barrel roll, destroying a Humvee, but where this trailer really shines is when Michelangelo appears.

After Leonardo confronts April, Michelangelo jumps behind her, trying to calm her down. He tells her to relax, pointing to his face saying, "Its just a mask." He takes off his bandana, smiles, and she faints. It captures Michelangelo's personality perfectly. The way they showed each turtle clearly shows that they are taking each characters personality traits seriously. Leo is the leader, Don is the tech, Raph is the fighter, and Mickey is the comic.

In just under a minute that made sure we knew the turtles were still fundamentally the same and this is why I think this movie will be okay. There have been changes to the voice acting, mainly Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub voicing Leonardo and Splinter, but considering that Jason Biggs and Sean Astin did voices for the latest animated series and no one complained I am willing to wait and see on this too. 

So many remakes try to take source material in a new direction, abandoning what made the original so good. This appeared to do the same when the news broke, but after seeing the trailer I think they are heading in a good direction. They are keeping a lot of the spirit of the original series alive while making it modern. There are references to the first movie and series and if you pay attention, you will see a couple nods to the comic as well.

In the end, I am really excited to see this movie. It might disappoint of course, but from what the trailer has shown us so far, it has promise. A lot of "purists" will not like the changes, but if you want to see a movie based on the past series go see the 1990 film. However, if you wanted to see a more modern twist on the turtles, this might be the film for you. There are still eight months left until its release and more trailers will be released, but until then... things are looking good. 


Comments (1)

  • Bob Phelan   Apr 11, 2014 @ 05:24PM
    I was pleasantly surprised by the trailer. I've been expecting the worst all along but at least the turtles look good. The original movie is one of my favorite films of all time to this day. No way this can even come close but I'm excited to be able to take my daughter to see a new ninja turtle movie in the theater. -

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