Why I Care About Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Again

Last week, I wrote a piece on why I’m now disinterested in the upcoming film Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. If for some reason you haven’t read that and are somehow actually interested in reading it before going any further here, click these other-colored words.

Yesterday, the first trailer for the sequel to 2014’s reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film franchise, surprisingly called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, was released, likely to much ignorant and needless Michael Bay hate. This sequel, subtitled Out of the Shadows, represents a chance for the rebooted movie series to show how much fun it can be from the second romp out. If you haven’t seen the trailer, for your convenience, it can be viewed below.

Right out of the gate, I’ll admit that the trailer totally had me worried when it began like a Transformers: Dark of the Moon rip-off. Michael Bay’s influence is obvious here. But I don’t consider that a bad thing. The only complaint I really had about the above-mentioned Transformers outing is the way in which Starscream died. I would’ve loved to see Megatron blow him away. That could just be my incessant romanticism toward the 1986 Transformers animated movie, though.

Anyway, once past the rip-off portion of the new trailer, things kick up with the appearance of the Turtles in their van. Hey, who doesn’t love Run-DMC? And who doesn’t love a good chase scene? And who doesn’t love manhole covers being shot out at bad guys? Seriously, the moment I saw those covers flying out, I immediately thought of the Turtle Van toy that I’ll eventually resist buying. It also made me think about how much that scene didn’t make sense, but in a good way.

I mean, I wasn’t confused by the scene; it was totally easy to see what was going on. What didn’t make sense was this picture of four giant turtles driving around in a tricked-out van, shooting manhole covers from their grill, with not a single cop stopping them for being four giant turtles driving around in a tricked-out van, shooting manhole covers from their grill. Maybe the cops don’t care because the Turtles are green, not black.

But like I said, it didn’t make sense in a good way, and neither did the rest of this trailer. It seemed like it was haphazardly slapped together from whatever portions of the film were finished enough to be cut into a trailer and viewed by a wide audience. If we tear it down, we get an ominous opening, the Turtles tussling with some unidentified “bullies,” a man using hockey as a weapon, someone who looks to be Shredder, the long-awaited film debut of Bebop and Rocksteady, and a collage of scenes that include splashing in water and, of course, Megan Fox going all bare midriff on us, as if that’s something we haven’t already seen.

And while there was a sense of fun throughout this trailer, it seemed like a wasted opportunity to have this ominous opening and then play it straight until we get to the fun stuff rather than to crack a joke at the ominous opening, perhaps at the fact that, like I said, it’s a total rip-off of a certain other Michael Bay movie. It just felt like a rocky transition. I think some humor at the expense of the opening would’ve been a better way to segue to the fun nature of the remainder of the trailer.

And then there’s Casey Jones. I admit that I got some bad jitters the moment it was announced that Stephen Amell was cast in the role. He normally leads a cast of heroes as Oliver Queen in the CW television series Arrow. While I like Amell on television, I’m not sure yet if he can hold his own on the big screen and this trailer does nothing to allay my fears yet. In fact, and this is probably going to sound stupid, but I think he smiles too much in this trailer.

See? Sounded stupid.

My problem here is that I have another actor with whom to compare Amell, the Casey Jones from the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Elias Koteas. The thing I loved about Elias is that he really looked the part. He looked like a tough guy. He looked like he’s been through some scrapes. Not only that, but he acted like it, with his brazen attitude and willingness to arrogantly jump into a fight even when he knew he was likely outmatched. From what I can see in this trailer, Amell shows pretty much the opposite, seeming more like a hero for the younger kids rather than someone a slightly older audience and, as a realistic extension, adults might find enjoyable. But again, this is simply from what I’ve seen from, literally, seconds of a trailer, so I could end up being wrong on this one, and I hope I am. And again, my completely positive perspective on Elias Koteas’ portrayal of Casey Jones could simply be my incessant romanticism toward the 1990 TMNT classic film. I admit that I have a sort of rose-colored glasses way of looking at films I enjoyed while growing up, as it is with any other adult. Nostalgia, yo.

So with all of this what looks like complaining being said, you’re probably wondering why this post has a positive title to it. Well, like I said, this trailer didn’t make sense in a good way. The Turtles fighting bad guys while tossing out jokes was fun. Getting a small taste of their fight with Bebop and Rocksteady was way cool, especially that scene in which Rocksteady raises his arm to the firing of a tank cannon. And the subtle overacting the scientist guy was doing made feel like this movie wasn’t going to try to take itself as seriously as the first film attempted. These, I feel, were things that I found enjoyable about this trailer and really made me want to see this film.

I’ve loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles since their debut back in the 80’s. On their way up, I religiously tuned into their cartoon, played their video games, and watched their first two live-action movies. On their way down, I watched their third live-action movie, sat through their concert tour, and wondered if they were down for the count. Thankfully, though, the delightful 2014 reboot and this trailer for Out of the Shadows have truly rekindled my love for the Turtles. If each Turtle represented one of the four parts of my heart – we’ll call Michelangelo the left ventricle – then you could say that I have a heart of green. (You could also say that I have a hard shell around my heart, but let’s save my personal problems for another post.)

Not only that, but this trailer actually filled me with a sense of wonder, that sense we have when we’re kids, an innocent curiosity that made me ask questions whose answers I can’t wait to discover. Questions like: “Are those ‘bullies’ the Foot Clan?,” “Is that a new guy playing Shredder?,” and, “Did they really have to get a Canadian to play Casey Jones? I mean, what does hockey have to do with Canada?”

June 3, 2016 can’t come soon enough.

8 thoughts on “Why I Care About Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Again

  1. Once again, you’re talking way over my head, but I love to pick up bits and pieces here and there. Hey, I might even catch the movie and for sure I’m going to eat a pizza 🙂

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