The first panel for the Paramount presentation was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While the film reboot will debut in a few weeks, we got a chance to watch some footage from the movie before its release. Before the panel started, its moderator led the Hall H audience in a prayer. While I was extremely put off by the statement, I soon realized that he wanted everyone to sing the theme song from the original TMNT animated series. " [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles](movie:323027) / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / Heroes in a half-shell / Turtle power!" This was an appropriate way to kick off the panel.
The footage screened featured three short scenes from the movie. We got a good look at April O'Neil (Megan Fox) investigating a foot clan terrorist attack. In the new film, the foot clan is more military based, rather than ninja assassins, as they're depicted in the animated series and comic books. While this seemed very off putting at first, it worked for the reboot.
She enters the subway station to see the Foot Clan hold a group of bystanders as hostages. April O'Neil captures the action on her iPhone, while the turtles are watching the event on their security system. I'll say this about the turtles, they look great! They have a weight to them that seems fitting for a bigger reboot movie. We got a good look at the action in the film, which feels fluid and in-depth. Overall, it seems that there's no weight to the CGI characters. The turtles are bigger and bulky, but still move fast and quick, as if there's nothing to them. It's a weird thing to watch on the big screen.
The next scene that was screened was April O'Neil's introduction and meeting to the turtles. It's an extended scene that we've been seeing again and again in most of the movies TV spots and trailers. The turtles are celebrating stopping the Foot Clan on a New York City rooftop, while Ms. O'Neil secretly finds and takes a picture of them. They hear her iPhone capture a photo and they pause. While April is trying to get away, the turtles introduce themselves to her. Raphael is a brute, while Leonardo is a sensible leader. Raph wants to hurt her, but Leo just wants to erase the footage on the iPhone. Michelangelo is the funny one and reveals that it's only a mask, but of course, she's scared because they are 6-foot turtles.
We finally see another scene where the Turtles bring April to their sewer lair to meet their Master Splinter. They meet and Splinter tells her "It's been a long time ms. O'Neil." Does April and Splinter have a pre-existing relationship to this meeting?
Lastly, Paramount reveals another clip from the new reboot, but this time we get to watch the film's action unfold. The scene starts with the Foot Clan opening fire on the turtles, April, and Vernon (Will Arnett). The turtles use their shells as a shield to protect the humans, while April and Vernon try to hot wire a truck and drive away. The action scene quickly turns into a car chase scene with the Foot Clan trying to catch them. We get to see the turtles in action. They're big yet agile, which looks a bit out of sorts because it doesn't look very believable. If the filmmakers went out of their way to make the turtles bigger, why make them move as if they were not? The car chase scene then goes off road, down an icy mountain side. This was one of the more absurd chase scenes I've seen since the barrel chase in [The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug](movie:512310). The action (again) seems to video game-y to believe in. There really does seem like there's no weight to it, as the turtles move very fluidly. Watching Megan Fox and Will Arnett in the middle of the action adds to the scenes unbelievable and weightlessness. It's almost on the comical side and makes me really worry about the film's quality. It just didn't work.
Overall, the panel was light and fun. There was even an embarrassing moment when the moderator thought Megan Fox was a random fan when she asked if the audience could ask more questions. I feel very mixed on the footage screened during the panel. On one hand the CGI turtles look great and the new take on TMNT mythology is interesting to say the least. But on the other hand, the action doesn't feel like it works with the live-action world. It feels like these two things are not working together, but rather separately as action sequences. This could just mean that the scenes aren't completely finished, so I'll reserve judgment until I watch the film. However, the filmmakers landed the personalities of the turtles - Leonardo is a true leader, Raphael is a tough guy with a heart of gold, Donatello is the smart nerd, and Michelangelo is the goofy cutup. We'll see how the film turns out when it's released on August 8th.