Paramount’s hype-building for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot continues today with a pair of new TV spots (watch the first one, above) – and frankly, what’s shown here supports our assessment of the film, based on footage shown at a recent press event: that director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle Los Angeles, Wrath of the Titans), producer Michael Bay (Transformers: Age of Extinction) and the many other people involved, have basically made a live-action TMNT cartoon feature.
Will this latest repackaging of a 1980s-born property – one with great nostalgic value for certain people – therefore turn out better that recent similar projects (a la Transformers and G.I. Joe)? It seems possible, based on what we’ve seen thus far; for example, in Liebesman’s TMNT reboot, not only do the Turtles appear to not have been over-shadowed by the human characters (a grievance frequently cited with the Transformers series), they also still seem to have distinct personalities.
Mind you, such storytelling qualities – like the way that April O’Neal (Megan Fox) and the Shredder’s henchman Eric (William Fichtner) have been made more integral to the Turtles’ history and, therefore, relevant to the movie’s narrative – don’t, per se, make TMNT more than a pop action flick. They do, however, suggest that there are some actual decent storytelling qualities to the TMNT reboot – and thus, it starts to make the whole thing feel a bit more like a legitimate attempt to modernize the property (rather than just a gimmick/commercial exploitation of the Turtles brand).
As for the TMNT reboot’s technical aspects (see the TV spot above, for more) – the fight choreography, camera work, and general color correction seem up to snuff, while the motion-capture performances don’t seem anywhere near the heights scaled by acclaimed genre blockbusters like the recent Planet of the Apes installments. Still, early indicators suggest that the film will be overall solid in its visual construction, in part thanks to cinematographer Lula Carvalho (who also shot the RoboCop reboot that released earlier this year).
Basically, it looks like Liebesman, Bay, and the film’s screenwriters - Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) along with Evan Daugherty (Divergent) – have crafted a TMNT movie that will ultimately get a nod of approval from most die-hard Turtles fans, even after all the pre-release controversy. Whether it’ll be anything more remarkable than that, well… it may be best to not hold your breath.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens in U.S. theaters on August 8th, 2014.