The heroes in a half shell are back on the big screen, with a difference.
Produced by Michael Bay and directed by Jonathan Liebesman, this new celluloid version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles steers away from the existing lighthearted, kid-friendly film and cartoon versions, and returns to the edgy, gritty themes of the original comics.
The movie teaser trailer, which has gone viral with about 15.7 million views, depicts a city undergoing chaos and destruction. Armed bad guy run amok, then get beaten up by the Turtles, who remain largely in the shadows (Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight, anyone?).
Megan Fox stars as TV reporter April O’Neil, and tries to use her smartphone to capture some TMNT footage.
William Fichtner, who is set to play the Turtles’ traditional arch-nemesis Shredder, provides voice-over, and hints strongly at a different origin story for the Italian Renaissance artist-named mutant reptiles.
“Heroes are not born. They’re created,” says Fichtner, which suggests he might have a hand in the Turtles’ genesis.
The Turtles themselves have gotten a more “realistic” make-over, marking a trend in on-screen comic book heroes of late. This makes them appear slightly frightening, and even scary to gaze upon. It’s little wonder that April faints when Michelangelo removes his mask, revealing scaly skin and more reptilian features.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will star Pete Ploszek as Leonardo (blue Turtle), Alan Ritchson as Raphael (red Turtle), Noel Fisher as Michelangelo (orange Turtle), Jeremy Howard as Donatello (purple Turtle), Danny Woodburn as Splinter, William Fichtner as Eric Sachs/The Shredder, Will Arnett as Vernon Fenwick, and Whoopi Goldberg as Bernadette Thompson.
Paramount Pictures will release “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” in theaters on August 8, 2014.