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Comic-Con 2014: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Panel Shows Off a Big Chunk of New Footage

Comic Con 2014 Ninja Turtles
Paramount Pictures

Megan Fox and Will Arnett were on hand at Comic-Con with director Jonathan Liebesman to show off a little footage from the upcoming ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘ movie. This is a movie that could use a little positive buzz after a lot of negative reactions to the early looks at the Michael Bay version of the Turtles. At today’s panel, we saw our best look at the movie yet to see if it’s as bad as people are worried it could be.

The first clip shown was about eight minutes long and it’s a scene from the movie that you’ve seen a lot in the trailers. April O’Neil’s father used to work with Eric Sachs (her father has since died). Sachs inspires April to become a real journalist, as opposed to the celebrity beat she’s currently working on. She’s sitting in traffic with Vern (Arnett) when they see a crowd running from something inside a building in New York City.

Cut to the Turtles (from behind, we don’t get a good look at them yet) watching a bank of monitors from their underground lair in the sewers. “Heavy Foot Clan activity … Let’s rock ‘n roll, boys!”

April, seeing her chance to capture some real news, bolts out of the truck and into the subway underneath the building. As she’s snooping around, she’s abducted from behind from some Foot soldiers. She’s dragged into the subway corridor where a number of hostages are being held while soldiers plant bombs around the walls. It becomes clear they’re there for one reason: to lure the Turtles out of hiding. “Come out or we’ll start executing hostages!”

Then the lights go out and the Turtles come riding in on the top of a subway car. They’re taking out the Clan in the dark while April records the action from her iPhone. All the terrorists are freed and go running out of the station while the SWAT team moves in. The Turtles try to escape but April sees them and gives chase. On the top of the building, the Turtles are huddled up, proud of their work. “Like shadows in the night! Completely unseen…” Just then a flash goes off and we see April climbing up the fire escape taking pictures of them. The Turtles, still mostly in the shadows, grab her and bring her up on the roof. From off-screen we can hear Michelangelo: “She’s so hot! I can feel my shell tightening!”

Raphael steps in and is more intimidating, trying to scare April into giving up her phone with the pictures. Leonardo jumps in and stops him (that hero shot you’ve seen in the trailers). There is some tension between the two. Raph means business, but Leonardo tries to protect her. They do warn her to keep things quiet saying, “We will find you,” but it’s Michelangelo and he has to immediately apologize for sounding creepy.

The second clip takes place near the end of the film as the Turtles have been kidnapped by Sachs in his snowy lair on the top of a mountain. April and Vern are there to break them free and escape. As they, now with the Turtles make their way to the truck, a group of soldiers open fire on them. “Oh my gosh, they have guns!” The Turtles are surprised to find out that the bullets just bounce off their shells and plastron (the underneath part of a turtle). In fact, Raphael has figured out that he can hold the bullets in his chest and then, by flexing, fire them back out. “We’re bulletproof!”

They’re being chased by Foot soldiers down the snowy mountain as Vern finally realizes that April wasn’t making all of this up. “I can’t believe you’re not crazy!” (He says this while ogling her ass as she hangs out a window.)

The action is happening fast and you’ll recognize some of the beats from the trailer (including surfing down the mountain on their shells and ramming the side of a Foot vehicle). Here, we get a good look at Michelangelo, who now has a rocket-powered skateboard, which he uses to snowboard. At the end, the truck — with Leonardo, April and Vern inside — falls off the side of a cliff. Michelangelo tries to grab them but he can’t make it. “They’re … DEAD.” Raph: “They’re not dead, numbnuts.”

It’s all very … goofy. Don’t go in to ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ and expect ‘Batman Begins.’ This really is a kids movie and, from what we were shown, it’s playing that up. The adults in the audience might not laugh at the Keyboard Cat jokes but we’re not sure they were ever meant to.

We’ve give the look of the Turtles a lot of grief (and rightfully so based on some of the earlier materials), but that’s not even one of the film’s problems. In the context of the film, they look fine. The mo-cap is done really well and while they don’t look like the classic Turtles of old, they’re not what’s holding the film back. One thing that really did take us out of the moment was the voice of Johnny Knoxville, who, with his Tennessee drawl, just doesn’t have the right sound for Leonardo — the no-nonsense leader of the team.

In the end, this movie seems like it’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by way of the new ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ movies. Light and fun and goofy, but with very familiar action beats and cartoonish heroes.

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ will open on August 8.

For more information on ‘TMNT,’ watch our interviews from Comic-Con 2014.

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