The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot hasn’t had an easy time convincing fans to embrace its existence – but a fair number of people (new fans and old) are starting to come around. The first TMNT teaser trailer revealed a modernized (and Americanized) take on the characters and their origin; but it also revealed character designs that weren’t the complete disaster that many predicted we could get. That was a good sign, which helped balance out fears that Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes and director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle Los Angeles) were going to ruin the childhoods of ’90s kids everywhere.
The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV spot is a lot more brief than the first teaser – but also more revealing, ironically enough. The biggest takeaway is definitely our first fleeting glimpse of the Ninja Turtles’ mutant rat sensei, Splinter, who we now know will be voiced by Monk star Tony Shalhoub. In the clip, we see Splinter twirling a sword about to throw down with his nemesis Shredder, played in the film William Fichtner (Lone Ranger). That’s a pretty geektastic moment for any hardcore TMNT fan to witness.
Here are some images of Splinter from various TMNT comics, cartoons and movies. Of the various versions, the comic book version (with its heavy Asian influences) seems to be the closest comparison. How the Fu Manchu will play on a rat, we’ll have see.
Beyond the Splinter reveal, this first TV spot gives us distinct (if not quick) looks at each individual turtle – Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello. It’s been clear from early marketing materials that in this version of the franchise, the turtles won’t just be distinguished by the different colors of their masks – they will have distinct appearances which reflect distinct personalities. Further marketing materials will likely focus on who each of our turtles are as a person(?!) – though if you’re a longtime fan, you can probably guess. For now: Michelangelo has a rocket skateboard! Cow. A. Bunga.
Visually, Ninja Turtles is still looking pretty solid, with the TV Spot CGI effects and character animations looking slightly more textured and real than the teaser footage. That’s not to say that every design choice will be universally loved (see: Michelangelo’s around-the-waist hoodie), but in terms of standing on par with other big summer blockbusters, TMNT definitely seems to have the potential it needs.
TEASER TRAILER ANALYSIS
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be in theaters on August 8, 2014.