Michael Bay Gives ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ a Modern Makeover

A new trailer for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film has been released, showing stars Megan Fox and Will Arnett grappling with the strange reality of giant, crime-fighting turtles in a film that will be Michael Bay’s second assault on moviegoers’ senses this summer.

Bay is just the producer on this one — it’s being directed by Jonathan Liebesman — but the trailer promises lots of Bay’s signature overwhelming special effects. The Ninja Turtles were created using some impressive CGI and are voiced by Johnny Knoxville (Leonardo), Noel Fischer (Michelangelo), Alan Ritchson (Raphael), and Jeremy Howard (Donatello). Those familiar with the Turtles’ story know that they live in the sewer below New York City and are trained as ninjas by their sensei, Splinter, who will be voiced by Monk star Tony Shaloub.

Fox plays journalist April O’Neil, who tries to get the story on the Turtles’ activities. Paramount calls April “fearless” in its description of the film but still includes a shot of her fainting in the trailer. Arnett plays Fox’s cameraman, Vernon Fenwick, and Whoopi Goldberg plays their boss, Bernadette Thompson, at the news station they work for. Meanwhile, the Turtles fight to protect the city from their arch enemy, Shredder, who has some impressive new armor to aid in his evil-doing.

Fox’s involvement with the film was a surprise when it was first announced, given her public conflicts with Bay during the filming of the Transformers movies that made her a star. In 2009, Fox compared Bay to Hitler in an interview with Wonderland magazine and said “he’s a nightmare to work for.” Bay later fired her from the franchise. The pair have since reconciled, and in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in April, Fox called Bay “loveable.”

One thing that might have helped is Liebesman’s involvement as director and his insistence that Fox’s character not be sexualized the way Fox’s character in Transformers was. “I’m completely clothed for the entire movie. There’s no gratuitous skin or sexual anything. Jonathan was really insistent on not wanting her to be sexualized or to take that sort of typical role we’ve seen women take in movies thus far, and that I’ve taken in particular,” Fox told Entertainment Weekly. Bay has been criticized in the past for his depictions of women in his movies.

“She’s more of a leader when she explores her relationship with the turtles instead of just the human companion that gets dragged along on the adventure,” Fox said of the changes to April’s character. “It’s more representative of a modern woman.” And yet, a main gag in the new trailer is April fainting.

Judging from the trailer, the movie will retain the Turtles’ signature humor and lots of action that will likely please kids and fans of Michael Bay, though it doesn’t appear as though the references to 1980s pop culture that many loved about the original cartoon series will be present in the movie, a decision made likely because such references would fly over the heads of today’s youth.

Bay’s other big movie this summer is the fourth installment in the Transformers franchise, Transformers: Age of Extinction. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is set to hit theaters August 8.

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