For over two years, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot has been a contentious project – especially when it was first revealed that former Transformers-lead Megan Fox had been cast as beloved Turtle ally April O’Neil. In the months since, skeptics have reacted with equal outrage to a host of other revelations from the Turtles’ visual makeover (now with nostrils) to the addition of Johnny Knoxville (voicing Leonardo), as well as long-rumored changes to the heroes’ origin story, among others. As a result, frustration has routinely been directed toward producer Michael Bay (a man regularly blamed for “ruining childhoods” via his Transformers franchise) – while the film’s actual director, Jonathan Liebesman (Clash of the Titans) has mostly flown under vitriolic fan radar.
Much of the anger comes from a perceived failure on the part of filmmakers to deliver the type of TMNT movie that longtime fans want – as opposed to the TMNT movie that Paramount Pictures believes new (read: younger) fans will love. Now, in a move that will, without question, be an affront to returning Ninja Turtles (and Vanilla Ice) enthusiasts, the studio has unveiled an updated Ninja Rap for this new generation of moviegoers.
In addition to the film score by Brian Tyler, Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles features a new Turtle-powered theme song, “Shell Shocked” from Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign (and featuring Kill The Noise & Madsonik).
Listen to the full song in the video at the top of this page (updated with lyrics).
Despite some eye-rolling lyrics, the song should serve as a catchy credits track – as well as background music in the final run of TMNT trailers. Understandably, moviegoers who have already written-off the TMNT reboot will find “Shell Shocked” to be another soul-crushing affront to the Ninja Turtles brand (even more so than the “Coming Out of Their Shells” tour). Still, it’s hard to argue that the new song is any more audacious than Vanilla Ice’s campy appearance, and the subsequent “Ninja Rap” dance-battle, that was featured in the final act of 1991’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Original fans remember the sequence with heartwarming nostalgia (for good reason) but, looking back, there’s no question the scene was mostly ham-fisted branding – and, given that the song still produces a guilty pleasure smile for many fans, that branding worked.
Don’t remember the 1991 song? Check out Vanilla Ice’s “Ninja Rap (Go Ninja Go!)” music video below.
Once “Shell Shocked” was unveiled to the masses, Paramount released a new poster and pair of extended TV spots for the film backed with the new track. The videos are composed of mostly old footage but there are a handful of fresh shots for fans to pore over.
Have a look at the new poster as well as TV spots “Justice” and “Knock, Knock” below:
The new teasers once again reinforce what we stated in our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles footage preview – specifically that Liebesman’s film might surprise viewers with an entertaining blend of over-the-top action and the same cheeky humor that made the original cartoon series (and live-action movies) 1990s pop culture phenomenons. While certain fans will continue to long for a grounded and gritty adaptation of the original graphic novel series (as well as select print spin-offs), TMNT 2014 is shaping up to provide today’s kids similarly campy Turtle fun with modern blockbuster visuals.
We’ll know soon (from the time of this writing) if the final film succeeds in that goal – and whether this generation of young moviegoers will respond with the same enthusiasm for Turtle Power as the last.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will open in theaters on August 8th, 2014.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.