Yesterday, the first teaser trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hit the web and the film, directed by Jonathan Liebesman and produced by Michael Bay, has already amassed 8 million views on YouTube, showing that the quad of tubular turtles still have mad turtle power nearly 30 years after making their debut on CBS’ Saturday morning cartoon lineup in 1988.
When the show first debuted, it became an instant hit, resonating among kids around the world as being the most fearsome fighting team due to their wacky personalities. What kid could resist a mutant turtle that wielded nunchuks and was completely and totally obsessed with pizza? Those of us that grew up in the 80s can remember the turtle fever the swept the nation. On Halloween, it seemed like the world had suddenly turned into a little ninja turtle society.
Although interest has understandably waned in the last decade or so, that doesn’t mean that fan dedication was lost. When Michael Bay announced last year that Transformers star Megan Fox had been cast as April O’Neil, it sent the internet into a frenzied debate over the beloved Channel 6 reporter that becomes one of the ninja turtles’ greatest allies and whether Fox was the right choice for the role. Many fans were angered that such a “hottie” had been cast as April, spewing venomous criticism about her acting abilities.
And yet, this is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Does anyone really think Megan needs to be able to deliver an Oscar-worthy performance to be a kickass April?
The views on the Ninja Turtles trailer could easily be attributed to negative response, with legions of former Turtles fans simply watching to scoff and laugh at the CGI quality and vent Michael Bay hatred (Hip Hop Wired has compiled a list of Twitter reactions). But for every Bay-hater, there are likely a dozen kids who don’t care about “ruined childhoods” or “horrible writing.” The film is clearly meant to draw in older fans with a more serious storyline, but the fact of the matter is there’s no getting around the “party dude” comedy routine of the ninja turtles themselves, so why are fans taking a movie about mutant ninjas so darned seriously?
My own son is eight-years-old and last year while we were looking for something to watch on Amazon, we came upon the old 1990s live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Though I’d been a diehard fan of the cartoon with my little brother back in the 80s, I found the movie painful to watch, but my son had a ridiculous amount of fun with the film. Now that he’s being treated to mega-gorgeous comic book/cartoon films such as The Avengers, Iron Man, G.I. Joe, Batman, and Transformers (when is someone going to make a Voltron or Robotech movie?), it’s almost a done deal that we’ll be heading off to see this newest Turtles incarnation.
For nostalgia’s sake, here’s the old 1980s cartoon intro:
And here’s the teaser from yesterday again: