If you haven't heard the news as of yet, Michael Bay has jumped onto the upcoming Teenager Mutant Ninja Turtles film, set to be released the the end of 2013, as producer. Stuff We Like has the official video of said announcement. Here's the direct quote from Bay about what he wants to do with this ever-expanding franchise:
"When you see this movie, kids are going to believe, one day, that these turtles actually do exist when we are done with this movie. These turtles are from an alien race and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely lovable."
The first word anyone pays attention to is the word "alien." The Ninja Turtles have never been alien, and as soon as you throw that word into the mix, it's going to cause a heap of trouble. As the news traveled, the complaints about Bay's alien direction came through the intrawebs faster than you can say "total reboot." One of the most interesting complaints came from Robbie Rist who was the voice of Michelangelo in the first set of TMNT films. TMZ reported on a letter he wrote to Bay:
"You probably don't know me but I did some voice work on the first set of movies that you are starting to talk about sodomizing."Rist added, "I know believing in mutated talking turtles is kinda silly to begin with but am I supposed to be led to believe there are ninjas from another planet?"
Obviously, Rist feels incredibly passionate about the project, and even though his work on the the movies was brief, he feels this may be a mistake. Aside from Rist, many people on the internet are clamoring, including many comic book creators, especially on twitter.
[Nightwing Writer Kyle Higgins] I respect MichaelBay's ability to get the same looking movie made over and over (how does he do it!) but this Turtles move goes too far
[Chew Artist Rob Guillory] Michael Bay is like the Ravishing Rick Rude of film. "All you fat, hairy fanboys take a look at what a real man's about to do to your TMNT!"
[Batgirl Writer Gail Simone] If Michael Bay made an Easy Bake Oven movie, it would be about Jell-o.
Michael Bay fired back at the outrage on his forum Shoot for the Edit.
Fans need to take a breath, and chill. They have not read the script. Our team is working closely with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles to help expand and give a more complex back story. Relax, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world.
So far, the best reply to this comes from Jill Pantozzi on her twitter page:
No, Michael Bay, you chill.
Personally, I think that's a pretty darn perfect retort, and there's plenty more like it on twitter. However, it's not just twitter. Every social media site and news site has something to say about this film, and most of it is extremely negative. But why?
Michael Bay's idea, changing the word "mutant" to "alien," completely changes everything about what makes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but again, that all depends on how Bay and his writers put this thing together.
Obviously, they won't be mutants any longer, but why change it?
Why can't they be mutants? Why can't you bring in some super-cool scientific elements into this movie to explain their backstory without relying on the easy "these things are from space?" The idea that there's a mutagen that evolves beings, or even one that kind of splices two species together, seems pretty darn cool to me. In fact, it's much cooler than having people come down in a space ship to hang out on Earth, which we've seen hundreds of times in movies.
They won't be teenagers.
Again, this depends on how the film turns out, but if you have these "teenage" aliens come down to Earth, they really won't be what we know as teenagers. Being a teenager is a cultural thing more than anything else. Sure, it's a term that describes anyone between the ages of 13 and 19, but the word "teenager" is so much more than that. It describes a time, in a human's life, when their bodies are developing, and when it comes to humans, an the turtles, it describes attitude, style, and sometimes rising up against authority.
How could an alien race have all these qualities in a teenager? It would be the biggest coincidence in the universe, aside from the fact there is life on other planets that is intelligent, and knows how to speak English.
They won't be ninjas.
Unless they have the art of Ninjitsu on their planet. Most likely, if the film tries to use Ninjitsu in the film, you'll probably get a little story about how they watched the martial art from their planet and decided to practice it and teach it to their people, but that's the quickest and lamest story I could come up with.
The won't be turtles.
They'll be aliens.
TMNT has so many elements of American culture in it, and that's why I am a tad perplexed about this change in the upcoming film. However, a lot of these ideas get thrown out of the window if the aliens are sent here Kal-El style as babies though, and Michael Bay doesn't seem, for me, to be the right fit for the job. TMNT shouldn't be a gigantic, over-the-top, explosiothon. Sure, they'll be out kicking some butt, but TMNT is more than that. While Bay isn't directing, if you check out the films he's produced, most of them are flashy and substance-less. They aren't designed to have lasting appeal. They're designed to make a ton of money quickly, which he is good at.
All-in-all, these latest developments about the TMNT movie are disappointing to fans. It's like remaking the Karate Kid, but setting it in China, and Mr. Miyagi is played by a professional stuntman, and they're learning Kung Fu, not Karate.... wait... that happened.
I'd rather see people working on this film that could give TMNT the credit it deserves. Aside from having Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird involved, personally, I'd like to see Sam Mendes (Road to Perdition) on as director, and aside from the obvious Nolan brothers writing it, I think Luc Besson (Unleashed, The Professional, The 5th Element) would by a perfect writer for a film like this.
Well, it's going to happen, and while many are screaming that Bay has murdered their childhood, they only do it because they love TMNT. It is their childhood, and when someone comes on to a film and makes a major change like that, or course they'll be outraged, and there's no reason anyone needs to "chill out." Sure, each incarnation of the turtles had a different take, but as of now, no creator has strained from the original source this much. I guess we'll have to wait and see though.
What do you guys think about this growing development? What creative teams would you like to see on this film?