Surprising announcement for fanboys and fangirls in Fresno and all over the world today as the very first trailer for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot has premiered online.
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman and produced by Michael Bay, the film is a reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film franchise, based on the characters created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, that has so far seen three previous live action theatrical films as well as the animated 2007 film TMNT. It is also the first film in the series to be produced by Nickelodeon after the company purchased the rights to the franchise in 2009, which so far has led to their hugely successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series that they have run on their network since 2012.
The trailer, which can be viewed here, opens with a narration by actor William Fichtner, who in this film plays the man who is secretly the Shredder, about how crime, violence and fear have run rampant in New York City, and that the people want justice restored to the world, namely, that the people want heroes. The person he is saying this to is the young April O'Neil (played by Megan Fox), with whom Shredder acknowledges that, apparently, he and April's father had worked together of some secret project to create such "heroes." We see footage of armed soldier, presumably members of the Foot Clan, being tossed around by an unseen force as April tries to get a photo of it on her phone. As Shredder addresses how heroes are not born, but created, we see some images of the mysterious green ooze inside a canister labeled "TCRI." What follows in the usual Bayham we can all expect, but with more collapsing towers than literal explosions. There is even a brief shot of Fichtner looking at what is clearly his Shredder armor for the film. But most important of all, we get our first official look at the Turtles themselves, very clearly actually, as Leonardo drops on front of April and Michelangelo approaches her from behind, thinking that taking off his bandanna will not make her faint at the sight of a giant mutant turtle. The one big reveal they have not made in this trailer is the new look for Splinter, the turtles rat sensei, but that would have been far too much, too early.
The trailer itself is only a minute and a half long and reveals quite a lot in that limited amount of time. I serious thought that this film would build things up like the first Transformers film in that they went out of their way to reveal as little of the robots as possible until the film's release. But here, we get to see at least two of the Turtles very clearly and even get to hear them speak. The turtles themselves look very different than we are used to, looking much buffer and with more accessory garments than the norm. Plus, of course, they are being represented as motion capture CGI characters this time instead of actors in rubber suits. The implication that April's father and Shredder are now, apparently, both directly linked to the turtle's origins is an idea I've never seen explored before, so I am curious to see where that angle will take this latest re-imagining.
Does the trailer make the movie look promising? Well, it is very hard to tell at this point. The imagery looks like a toned-down version of Michael Bay's usual fare, but still, the casting of Megan Fox as April is still a very controversial decision. Similarly, it has also been controversial to cast character actor and Bay alum William Fichtner as the Shredder instead of a legitimate Japanese actor. The turtles themselves look intriguing, but given Bay's influence only project (remember, he is only producing the film, not directing it), and the differing appearance of character seen here, i do hope that we will not be treated to an overly pandering portrayal or one that relies too heavily of stereotypes or anything potentially offensive like with, say, Skid and Mudflap from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; in other words, I am hoping that their appearance here does not indicate that the turtles will be played too urbanized.
At only a minute and 30 seconds there is not a whole lot more to say about this trailer, other that it obviously gives fans a better idea of what they have to look forward to on August 8, 2014. Will the film be a hit? Will it have any chance of achieving the popularity of previous incarnations, namely the original live action film from 1990? Only time will tell, so we'll just have to keep an open mind.