“Yes, dudes and dudettes, major league butt-kicking is back in town!”
The Super Bowl debuted a TV spot for the new TMNT movie, TMNT : Out of the Shadows, and faith might just be restored! We know, we know. The first one was bad. It was really bad. It had some charming moments, but they were outnumbered by a brain-numbing, mindless plot that ripped of the Spider-Man reboot and featured far too much Megan Fox. Michael Bay continued his streak of making movies about our favorite childhood heroes that AREN’T about our childhood heroes. The sequel looks to erase the mistakes of the first film while capitalizing on the four parts that worked: the titular Turtles themselves.
“The main thing is, we’re [adding] more Turtles into this movie.” says Noel Fisher, the actor in the shell of Michelangelo, in an interview with Collider. There’s a new emphasis on the Turtles and the things that make them tick. Their brotherhood, their ninjutsu, their chemistry—these important points of characterization were severely lacking from the first flick. The new focus comes from a new director, Dave Green (Earth to Echo). In the same chat with Collider, Alan Ritchson (who plays Raphael) claims, “…To Dave’s advantage—he desperately wants to make a love letter to the Turtles, the authors (Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird), and the fans. And there’s a lot less battle to make it happen.” Sounds like good news for fans who wanted more heroes in the halfshell and less of their human counterparts. Regardless of the director, producer Michael Bay’s influence can be seen throughout the first film and the new trailer. He’s good at blowing things up, but his strong suit serves no benefit in terms of character development, story, or emotion. I hope a new director and a new focus on the characters rejuvenates the Turtles’ current film run.
Besides the film’s stress on characters, it looks like the cast and crew have found a renewed focus in general. The first film was all over the place in every sense. Based on what we’ve seen so far, it looks like the people behind the lens for Out of the Shadows have found the tone they’re looking for. It appears they’re eschewing the current comic book movie flavors of dark and gritty, instead favoring the off the wall, over the top silliness of the ’80s TMNT cartoon that helped the Turtles achieve mainstream success. You see the Turtles evading a tank, riding a plane, and battling Krang. Yes, Krang! Fan favorites Rocksteady and Bebop were shown off in the initial trailer alongside Shredder and Baxter Stockman. The revelation of Krang adds another layer of Sci-Fi and another character that fans know and love. The Turtles would almost be outgunned, but the addition of Casey Jones balances the odds. I’ll try and forget the fact that he’s utilizing rollerblades to escape Rocksteady in the trailer, instead paying more attention to the fact that he destroys some Foot Clan ninjas with nothing but a hockey stick. Speaking of which, the Foot actually look like NINJAS! Their appearance in the 2014 movie was more akin to a militarized S.W.A.T team, but this time around they look and feel more ninja-esque. Nostalgia levels are high, and I love it!
This new Turtles has a lot of bright and shiny goodness that inspires optimism. Even though they’re gargantuan, pro wrestler-sized mutants, the Turtles talk about the main aspects of being ninja. Mikey is being funny without being a creep towards April. Krang looks dope with the modern update on his retro design. There’s still some things that worry me regarding the story: Casey Jones’ rollerblades and April O’neil being played by Megan Fox. If the Turtles are the main characters and they’re done right, I’ll be more than content. It’s hard to maintain hope, but someone has to. I’ll bear that shell-sized burden until the film comes out.
Cowabunga, my friends.