The heroes in a half shell are returning to the big screen (spoiler alert: Vanilla Ice said he'd love to make a cameo), but the future film is already getting a bad rep, despite only being in early pre-production stages. It all began when producer Michael Bay (that's right, folks, he's producing) casually stated the lovable Turtles would be aliens. Then to add insult to injury, an early script leaked and had quite a few hideous changes to the franchise. Bay and the team involved have told everyone to stay patient and assures you'll love the final product.
The "keep calm, bro" tactic isn't working, though. In fact, it has completely backfired. Every time I see an article about the upcoming reboot the comments section is filled with pure haterade. In spite of the less than stellar news, I'm still holding onto hope. And hopefully when you're finished reading this you'll agree... or at least think I'm not crazy.
"Michael Bay is killing my childhood! "
First and foremost, when people hate on Bay it is often due to his involvement in another beloved franchise: Transformers. The key difference here is Bay directed those films, and because of this, had far more creative say for the trilogy. Such isn't the case with Ninja Turtles. As a producer he's clearly getting a chance to speak his mind, but I fail to see why he's the man receiving all of the blame by the internet masses. Was it foolish of him to make that first statement about extraterrestrials? Certainly, but he's hardly the man with all of the input surrounding the film.
Also attached are director Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans, Battle: Los Angeles), Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol writers (by the way, awesome movie) Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec. So, if this film does turn out to be an abomination, there are far more people to blame than Bay. It's perfectly fine if you're not a fan of his style -- just be sure to keep in mind he isn't directing this one.
"That leaked script burned my eyes!"
I'll be the first to agree that blatantly unnecessary changes can be tiresome. Shredder is Colonel Schrader and the Foot Clan is a Special Operations unit? We're dealing with humanoid Turtles, surely the idea of a notorious Ninja clan in the modern era isn't so absurd it needs to be changed. Also, there was a key focus on Casey Jones and his relationship with April O'Neil instead of the heroes. Sounds a bit like Transformers, eh? Michael Bay once again took to the internet to respond and claimed that was a very early version that "saw the shredder." Is there any truth behind those words? This question brings me to my next point...
Originally set to release December, 2013 (because nothing says "Happy Holidays!" like a good "Cowabunga!"), pre-production has been delayed and the release date has been pushed back to May 16, 2014. Word was floating around that the delay was to allow for more focus on the script, but Eastman gave 2 other reasons. First, it's to assure director Liebesman can get the quality of visuals he wants for the movie and to work on making sure the fight scenes are top-notch. Secondly, it's allegedly to celebrate the franchise's 30th anniversary, which happens to be May 5, 1984. It is worth noting that the TMNT co-creator had high praise for the film, dubbing it the "best" Turtles movie yet and claiming it will be sporting "The Raid:Redemption-style fight scenes." That's definitely raising the bar pretty high, Eastman.
As for the effects, Liebesman is aiming to duplicate the successful look that Rise of the Planet of the Apes brought to the big screen. In my opinion, this is the best road to take. Costumes can look great, but when the action begins (and I sincerely hope there's plenty of it), matters can get clunky and become an unfriendly reminder of how Power Rangers looked back in the day. With the proper technology, the Turtles will not only look great, but also be able to provide us with some stunning fight sequences and inhuman displays of agility.
What's especially important to keep in mind is the movie is still in its very, very early stages. It's far too soon to jump the gun and deem this movie terrible and a disgrace to the franchise. We simply don't have all of the facts and barely any official information. Clearly the outcry from fans has reached the ears of those behind the project and they'd be quite foolish to disregard all of the concern. So far we haven't received more than a few official blurbs about the final product. Instead of releasing the nerd-rage Kraken over what the movie might become, let's wait until we see what the film will be. In short, don't get upset over what could potentially be in the trash-bin at this point. Let's wait and see more official releases surrounding the movie before completely shunning it. When the trailer looks like garbage, you have my permission to vent. Until then, try to keep an open mind.
Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter for more TMNT rambling.