The opening sequence of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” trailer starts with establishing shots of the Manhattan skyline before zooming in on an NYC sewer manhole cover. Before the needle drop starts blasting the hip-hop classic “Can I Kick It?” by A Tribe Called Quest, an acoustic piano quietly plays the opening notes from the original theme song from the animated series.
Of course, it has to be a brooding, melancholy version because sad song covers in movies are all the rage, nowadays. This may become a trend, seeing how the new trailer for the “Super Mario Bros. Movie” features Mario and Luigi singing the first verse of the 1989 “Super Mario Bros Duper Show!” cartoon.
Clearly, Seth Rogen and the higher-ups at Nickelodeon and Paramount wanted to pull at the heartstrings of long-time turtle fans. The song is just as much a part of the TMNT legacy as New York City is. The original black-and-white comic from Eastman and Laird is much darker than the Saturday morning cartoon version, but the comic firmly establishes the Big Apple as a character.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” wants to pay respect to that and make sure to shout out the original films. The opening scene of the 1990 film opens exactly the same way as the teaser for “Mutant Mayhem” with daytime establishing shots of NYC. Reporter April O’Neil is heard reporting on a terrible new threat to the city, namely Shredder and his army of ninjas.
The “Secret of Ooze” sequel starts with night shots of Times Square with literally everyone enjoying a slice from Roy’s Pizza. It’s these little connections to the originals that show how Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg still have a fondness for the originals that should make “Mutant Mayhem” feel like part of the TMNT universe while still offering something new and fresh.