You know who has a good handle on how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles should look? Peter Laird; after all, the guy co-created them. It turns out Laird isn't sold on the new nostrils and lips design of the Turtles:
[W]ith those noses and very expressive lips, their faces look too human. Perhaps it is just my own personal preference, but the “noseless beak” look for the Turtles which Kevin [Eastman[ and I used in all of our comics, and in pretty much all of the licensed material during the Mirage days (and which was really there from the very beginning, when Kevin drew that first “ninja turtle”) is, in my opinion, a great way to immediately show that these guys are not human — they’re mutated reptiles. Creatures.
Of course, I could be wrong about the new design — maybe in the context of the movie, it will work fine. From what I have seen so far, it is an excellent example of state-of-the-art character CGI. Perhaps it will become more popular than the noseless style which was used for the first twenty-five years. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Laird is also unsure why the Turtles need so much extra flair on their persons:
It may just be a personal preference of mine — and one informed by twenty-five years with the Turtles as co-creator working on those green dudes — but the extra “stuff” added to the Turtles’ outfits just seems extraneous to me, and a bit silly in spots (I mean, thin bamboo armor for a Turtle’s shell?). Maybe it will work, but right now, I don’t see it. I prefer the simpler versions.
It's worth noting that despite co-creating these characters, Laird has no knowledge of the film - everything he discusses comes from seeing the same trailer you've seen. The trailer where it's revealed that perhaps the Turtles were purposefully created. If true, this is a retcon that bums the creator out:
As you know, in our original conception of the TMNT, the Turtles’ existence as mutated beings WAS the result of an accident… or several accidents, if you count.
– TCRI canister jolted out of truck
– canister bouncing off head of young guy saving old man from getting run over by truck
– canister on new trajectory now hitting and smashing open glass container with the pre-mutated turtles in it
– canister and turtles falling into manhole together
– turtles crawling around in ooze from canister
– Splinter (in pre-mutated form) observing all of this, and then getting into the ooze himself as he gathers up the turtles.
I have always found that accidental, somewhat random series of events culminating in the creation of the TMNT to be a significant part of the charm of the story. Somehow, retconning it to make their origin the result of deliberate action seems like a mistake. However, perhaps the writers have found a clever way to make this seems more palatable. We’ll have to watch the movie to find out.
Laird's being pretty even-handed with his criticisms, but one anecdote he shares sort of lets us know exactly where his heart is. He talks about the first time someone wanted to option the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
I do have to make one further comment about it, though. When I watched that trailer for the first time, and came to that bit near the end where Michelangelo takes off his bandana, revealing his full face to April, complete with human-looking nose, I immediately flashed back to the early days, back in 1984 or 1985 when we were living in Sharon, CT and just beginning to take steps into the world of licensing the TMNT. It was during that time that we received a letter from a small movie company — I think it was New World — offering us a deal to do a live-action TMNT movie, wherein they suggested that the way to go was to choose some (at that point in time) “hot” young comedians, dress them up in Turtle costumes, but leave their faces bare… except for a layer of green paint, so their zany comic expressions could be easily visible.
As you probably know, we turned that one down. Remember, this was well before the first animated TMNT series was even a glimmer in anyone’s eye. It’s intriguing to contemplate what the history of the TMNT might have been had we accepted that first live-action movie offer.