We knew this would happen sooner or later: the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," that rascally band of mutant reptiles, is returning to the big screen. Back in the '80s and early-'90s, the Turtles were it -- there was a line of popular action figures, comic books, a Saturday morning cartoon, an elaborately produced live show that I may or may not have attended, and a series of weirdly dark live-action movies from New Line that featured wizardly puppets from Jim Henson's Creature Shop. But it's 2014, Michael Bay is producing the new movie, and the characters are fully performance-captured marvels. And you know what? Based on the new teaser trailer, that's a-OK.
The trailer features ominous voiceover by William Fichtner, the wonderful character actor last seen snarling his way through "The Lone Ranger." "Our great city is being destroyed," he says. "People want justice restored to this world. People want heroes." Then we get glimpses of an oddly "Super 8"-style subway sequence where presumably the Turtles show up and whoop ass, and it's revealed that Fichtner, who plays the Shredder, teamed with April O'Neil's father to create the turtles. Or something. (Canonically, they were created by accidental exposure to radioactive waste.) Lots of showy clips, including the turtles sliding down the side of a snowy mountain, and finally some money shots of the Turtles themselves, including a great moment when Michelangelo tells April not to freak out because it's just a mask... and then takes off the slender mask covering his eyes.
All in all, this teaser has us super pumped. Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman seem to have maintained the original film's grittiness while updating it, technologically, for the modern age. And while we're feeling somewhat iffy about the new backstory for the Turtles, this isn't exactly Shakespeare and should be molded appropriately. We might be most excited about the fact that April is played by Megan Fox. Yes, Fox is cute, but she's also an underrated performer; anyone who saw her in Judd Apatow's "This Is 40" or the criminally underrated horror comedy "Jennifer's Body" can attest to that. That and the effects work by Peter Jackson's WETA workshop (the same folks behind the apes in the new "Planet of the Apes" movies) has us very content and excited.
August 8 can't come quickly enough.