After months of silence, the discussion surrounding the reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has finally begun to heat up. Just days after word of drastically re-imagined turtles had fans outraged, followed by gritty, traditional ninja designs that swung the pendulum once more, another image has entered the fray.
Concept art and scale models can be set aside for an actual piece of promotional material: what looks to be an official poster for the upcoming reboot. There's no doubt it will prove divisive among fans, but at least it puts some questions to rest - while raising even more.
The poster in question has surfaced via Reddit, and proves that much of what has been reported about the Turtle designs is accurate. Leonardo's bamboo armor, Raphael's sunglasses, Michelangelo's puka shell necklace, and Donatello's technical-looking goggles are all intact. Some fans had voiced their concerns that the Halloween costume designs were too childish, others that the mock-ups seen in set photos were too dark or adult. In the end, the most official look at the designs sits somewhere in the middle.
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What jumps out immediately is the title in the top right-hand corner: 'Ninja Turtles.' Those who have been following production will recall the first time the film was revealed to be dropping the 'Teenage Mutant' portion of the name, a move which made more sense once word spread courtesy of Michael Bay - whose production company Platinum Dunes is handling the reboot - that the characters were being re-imagined as alien warriors.
Bay later refuted those claims, promising that nobody involved was looking to enrage the existing fanbase. Bay had claimed that the change in title was a decision of Paramount's, favoring a simple name. Rumors later spread (whether related to fan outcry or not) that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles name had returned, but this image implies otherwise.
At the end of the day, if every other aspect of the fiction is honored, fans will likely get over the shortened title. What we can say about the Turtles themselves is that it's fairly hard to design a Ninja Turtle without keeping at least some tradition intact - they are humanoid turtles with martial arts weapons. Their faces are confirmed to be humanlike, but we'd remind everyone that real-life turtles and tortoises are blessed with 'lips' too:
What you take away from the poster depends largely on your feelings about the reboot as a whole, not to mention the abilities of director Jonathan Liebesman. If cynical, then the use of Raphael's sunglasses (he's the cool one!) and Donatello's glasses (he's the nerd!) fits perfectly in line with producer Michael Bay's often pandering, on-the-nose sense of humor (we won't even mention Michelangelo's necklace).
If you're optimistic, then the designs are, actually, fairly fresh ones. It's just a poster, after all, and the designs certainly have what it takes to offer a more faithful depiction of ninja clothing and fighting styles. But until we see the Turtles in action, debate and opinion is all Paramount is giving fans to go on.
What do you make of the image? Is it more promising than you were hoping, more worrying, or exactly what you'd expected? Hopefully, this leak will urge the studio to provide more details - even focused on that painfully small toy version of Splinter in the bottom corner - soon.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will open in theaters on August 8th, 2014.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
Source: Reddit, Maikel Vargas
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