Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: What We Know So Far

It's been a verylong time since we've written anything in here, mostly because there has been nothing of interest to really talk about. The Michael Bay movies came and went (while acknowledging that the turtles being aliens was a very stupid idea, I like to think the initial leak had something to do with it), they weren't really anything to write home about, and I really saw no reason to give a review to either (CASEY JONES IS A COP, SERIOUSLY!?!).

But now, we have a new iteration of the Ninja Turtles coming out: Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And, wow... it does not look good.

There's been a lot of heavy criticism coming out based on the information that has been provided. The criticism rages from Raphael being the leader, Donatello being the “cool turtle”, April being a black teenager, and their overall design.

First off, let's look at their overall design; it does not look good.

Just... that art style...
Just coming from a visual perspective, it already looks way too different. And are they in the future? Also notice, Raphael and Mikey both have different weapons. Was this move to make the property a little less violent, seeing as how it's on Nickelodeon?

Then we have the Raphael and Donatello role changes. Now... it would make sense at some point in time, Raphael would take a leadership role, even just temporarily. Raphael has the general attitude and mannerisms of someone who would become a leader, and a true leader knows when to lead and when to follow, which would fit Donatello's character. However, Donatello as the “cool” turtle? Where does that leave Mikey, seeing as how that was his main character attribute?

Then we have probably the most controversial of the changes: April O'Neil being changed into a black teenager.

Let's get this out of the way right now: It's always a pandering, useless gesture when franchises change the race of a character. It's never to enhance the story or give them another perspective; no, it's always done in the name of “progress” so they can win those brownie points from HuffPost readers. It usually never yields positive results.

However, changing April to a black person isn't really that much of a stretch, since April, in the beginning, was a black woman.

She was either a black woman with a white father, or a Latina with a white father.
Now, of course, Nickelodeon probably didn't know this at the time, so this pandering change could be completely coincidental, but by changing her to a black person, they're really not changing her character since at one point in time, she was (especially since it was in her first appearance). The real gripe I have, personally, is that she's a teenager. What, exactly, will be her role in the dynamic? Are they just making her a teenager just so she happens to be their age? April was their lifeline to the world above; I can't really see what a teenager could do to help them in their exploits. She's not a news reporter, she's not a lab assistant, she's not... whatever she was in the CG TMNT movie; she's not even an adult with a place where the turtles can lay low when shit goes down. She's just a kid (that doesn't know martial arts).

These changes are stupid, but I am happy that they didn't go with one direction that some were urging Nickelodeon to go: Making the turtles vegan. PETA wrote a letter explaining why the turtles should be vegan, claiming that more and more people are becoming vegan and pizza joints in NYC are adding vegan options to follow suit. Only thing is, the number of vegans/vegetarians in the country is debatable: Some say it's 8%, some say it's 6% and some say it's less than 1%. That's not a lot. Not to mention, a high concentration, of course, would most likely be in New York, with popular pizza joints adding a vegan choice after being scolded for not having a vegan choice, and folding so that they don't get further bad Yelp reviews. Cities like New York and Chicago are generally considered big pizza cities, and the turtles are considered pizza lovers. And I personally think mutated turtles that spend most of their time living in the sewer would likely care very little about political topics like the Animal Agriculture industry. Why change what's already been established to placate a very small minority that more than likely won't even watch your show in the first place?  I'm glad that at least Nickelodeon (probably) saw that.

Not to mention, have you ever actually tried vegan pizza? Spoiler alert: You're still hungry after.

However, there's one silver lining in this: There will be a villain voiced by John Cena. So, there's at least one good thing going on from what's been announced.

Bottom line: Will the series be good or bad? It's too early to tell. But from what we got so far, it doesn't look good. It seems like they're trying to market to a small, young, left-leaning audience that might not even have cable (let alone, watch Nickelodeon), with a nostalgic property that they've more than likely never heard of (or really even cared about in the first place). So really, the show is targeted to nobody. I don't know why they just didn't continue the show they had going on before; it really wasn't all that bad. It wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible.

If you haven't already, Like our Facebook to keep up to date (now that this show has come about, I got stuff to write about again). Also, since the whole “turtles as aliens” angle has pretty much been squashed, the blog is probably due for a new nickname. Give your thoughts on what that should be.

Also, make sure to check out the initial leak of the original Teenage Alien Turtles script that we did way back when that caused all that trouble, and get ready to cringe.


The Trailer Is Here

Production for the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie (officially renamed TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, by the way) has officially been under way for some time. And while it's supposed to be a vast improvement over the original script that somehow made its way to the Internet a couple years ago, it has still proven itself to be full of all sorts of fail, like casting Megan Fox as April and the banker with a shotgun in The Dark Knight as Schrad... er, white Shredder.

But, after a little more than a year since the announcement that production is under way, we finally have our first look at the movie. And...





Wait for it...





It doesn't look that bad...

From the first look, we can already see it has it's set of problems: subtlety has pretty much gone out the window, cookie-cutter Transformers-style chaos fills almost the entire scene, unnecessary lens flares, unnecessary origin change (anytime I think about combating crime, I know my first thought is purposely exposing reptiles to toxic waste), the fact that Megan Fox is April and so much more.

But the turtles themselves seem pretty intact. Their personalities are there (at least, Mikey's is) and they look pretty damn good. I really like the look of the "raggy" headbands; after all, they are sewer mutants, so it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that their headbands would be made of torn-up recycled tshirts.

Of course, ignorant media outlets with no real insight into the franchise have to chime in. The Hollywood Reporter referred to the trailer as "what we'd expect from a regular superhero movie", and went onto say this might actually be a "good turtles movie", insinuating that one has never existed.

First off, we already have a "good turtles movie"; it was made in 1990 and it's still amazing even today. Secondly, the turtles were never "regular" superheroes in the first place, but by trying to portray them as such, most of the magic that made the turtles unique in the first place is taken away. Remember in TMNT '90 when April was about to be attacked by The Foot in the subway? It wasn't the first reveal of the turtles in the movie, but it helped play a big part of their build-up in the trailer. Remember how you felt when you saw Raphael slowly pick up the sai off the ground? It was like, "Oh shit, that's Raf! It's about to go down!" There didn't need to be mass panic and shit flying everywhere to convey the build-up. But now, that's what's there; violent flashes blasting the screen with Megan Fox's stupid face filling the frame as she tries to poorly convey an amazed and curious expression in the loudest way possible. Like I said: subtlety is out the window, and it's a damn shame.

Then again, it is being produced by Michael Bay (and producer is higher than director, in case you wanna argue that point).

Anyway, it was only about a minute and a half, and while we still have to wait (and pray) to see if things get better, that small clip still spoke volumes. While working on the awesome designs, they should have at least tried working on a closer-to-property story.

And if they still turn out to be aliens, so help me God...

What did you guys think? Did it look at all promising, or have you already tapped out and given up hope?


Michael Bay: King of the Trolls

Earlier today, Michael Bay released a very small and vague statement:

TMNT: We Are Bringing Megan Fox Back Into The Family

Michael Bay

At that moment, the Interwebz blew up with, "OH EM GEE!!! MICHAEL BAY CASTEDED MEGAN FOX AS APRIL!!!" And even Variety elaborated with an uncited and incredibly shaky story revolving around the post.

First off, this is even assuming that the production was put back online. The production closed; the only thing that has said otherwise was a small, uncited tweet saying when filming was going to start. Mortal Kombat fans will remember that this kind of thing used to happen all the time, and nothing that they described ever happened (thank God, because Threshold sucks).

But, for the sake of argument, let's say it did go back on schedule. Who's to say that he actually casted Megan Fox? Maybe he's trying to cast her, and is incredibly confident that he'll be able to get it done. And if he did cast her, what says she's gonna be April? Because she's the female lead? Since when is Michael Bay not above creating new characters that don't belong in the property? He could have made Shredder into a female; who's to say when it comes to Michael Bay?

People are reading way too much into this, and a part of me feels like that was Bay's intention. We all know Bay isn't above lying, like when he claimed he wasn't involved in a certain script that got leaked, when all evidence suggested otherwise. This has caused me to name Bay as King of the Trolls. Not just because of his online talking habits, but also because of his career. He pulls one over on the general public, gets paid for it, and laughs his way to his next trolling opportunity.

What's sadder is that people are buying this nonsense. You post something on a website with no proof whatsoever, and people believe it without question. I guess all I'm trying to say is, I am Michael Bay, and you've all been falling for this beautifully. Honestly, where do you think I got the leaked script from? I actually almost got in trouble for that, just so you know. Thank you for giving me all the ideas I need to actually make a better TMNT story (can you say "robot augmentations"?) and ammo for any of your ridiculous criticisms when it comes out. And for the last time, WAIT FOR THE MOVIE! Trust me, you'll love it!



Breaking News: TANT Filming Rumor

Well, that lasted long.

According to a tweet from Production Weekly, principal photography for TANT will start in April (the month is currently unknown).

While we are hesitant to believe it, we are still not ruling out the possibility.

We will cover any new developments.


This Blog and Its Future

When I started this blog, it was initially a knee-jerk reaction to Michael Bay's announcement of his plans with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I wanted to make some kind of impact, but I never expected it was going to make the dent it did. And I certainly didn't expect that it would (arguably) play a part in pretty much ensuring that the production would stay in indefinite hiatus.

Then comes to pressure in figuring out what to do next. With no new news, there's really nothing else to bring to light, outside of restating and discussing the same facts over and over and over again. This blog has, surprisingly, accomplished what it set out to do. It's not only a personal victory, but a victory for anyone who loves TMNT, and for the property itself.

That's why this site will not be updated in the foreseeable future. Instead, it will stand as a passive beacon to the mess that could have been, and the potential for the future of TMNT on the big screen. And the Facebook group will stand as a collection of fans who don't want their intelligence questioned by Hollywood anymore. Soon, I will start a blog dissecting Nolan's Batman trilogy, and stating why better Batman movies can (and will) be made in the future without his assistance.

However, this site won't be closed forever. When Bay rears his ugly head back out and talks about TMNT, I will be back. But for now, rest.


Brave Little Toaster: Live-Action Remake

This really has nothing to do with TMNT, as a whole. However, it does have to do with taking every single animated film imaginable, and remaking them in 3D to sell to children.

Waterman Entertainment, the people behind the live-action adaptations of Casper, Stuart Little and Alvin and the Chipmunks, are planning a live-action reboot of The Brave Little Toaster. The Brave Little Toaster, arguably, wasn't too much of a household name; while it garnered popularity, you'd probably still find people in their 20's who've never heard of it. So, why this movie? You might as well make a CG remake of The Land Before Time; at least that did well in the box office at its initial release. Now, I'm not knocking The Brave Little Toaster at all, I'm just commenting on the randomness of this endeavor. That, and with the mention of "modernizing" the talking electronics in this movie, I doubt this will ever see a theatrical release. Just look at The Christmas Story "sequel" (sequel is in quotations because if it's made almost 30 years later, but still takes place in the same period of time as the first, then it's not a sequel; it's a waste of time). Just like that movie, it wreaks of direct-to-DVD.


Franchise Changes vs A Bad Script: How Profound Is The Original Material?

Since the leak, Michael Bay apologists have been in full force. Of course, they do what they're expected to do; call us pathetic fanboys because we actually enjoy something while hypocritically insinuating that we have no lives. However, one thing they “understand” is that we're automatically opposed to any kind of change. After all, Michael Bay can do no wrong, so it's our fault that we don't accept it.

What a load of bullshit.

First of all, look at any adaptation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In fact, let's just look at the first movie that came out in 1990. It was an adaptation that was very faithful to the comics. However, instead of sporting the same uniform dark-red bandana, the turtles had their multi-colored bandanas that debuted in the cartoon series (that, aside from April being a news reporter, being some of the few things that were carried over from the cartoon). That change, as well as the turtles not saying things like “we turtles are not dogs without honor”, was well-accepted. On the flip side, I think it's safe to assume that most of us saw the movie when we were children, not knowing any other medium outside of the first cartoon. That movie was so unlike the cartoon, but we accepted it all the same. Yeah, we were children; but keep in mind, the story most likely went over most of our heads (for evidence, see anything that Splinter said, including the profound “death comes for us all” speech at the end of the movie). But we didn't care, because at the time, we loved it regardless.

Change is to be expected (preferably minimal change), so most of us can endure. However, when you change so much that it's pretty much unrecognizable, there's a problem.

It's easy to say, “They're just humanoid turtles who do martial arts; who cares?”

With that logic, why try to make any movie a good movie? Why not just make every movie in production as unrealistically stupid as possible? Yeah, they are humanoid turtles, but that's not all that defines their character. It matters how they were brought into this world, how they were raised, and so on. TMNT has always focused on isolation, brotherhood and forced tradition. It was also about Splinter training and raising four boys as his own, knowing they will never know or meet their parents (since they were regular turtles). Yeah, the subject is very abstract, but very profound storylines have been crafted with it. It's an insult when one of Bay's asskissers says, “It's not high art; it's just turtles hitting eachother. Who cares if their aliens or mutants?”

It matters because once you change the turtles into aliens, all of those profound qualities go out the window, and you've just demoted them down to fodder meant explain why all of the explosions are happening. The turtles deserve better. You can call us fanboys for seeing it, just like we can call you fanboys of Bay for denying it.

However, the backlash over the leak was not so much about that change, as it was about how bad the script was. The story, the setting, the script itself, the changes to the other characters; it was formulaic, badly-written crap. Even people who aren't big fans of the turtles were able to see that it was garbage after reading the script. And if you're going to write a script about turtle-aliens, at least have it be “good”. If great stories can be written about humanoid mutated turtles that practice Ninjutsu, then it could be done. We just don't want to see it; save it for a graphic novel instead.

If you're going to stick up for Michael Bay, first off, figure out that TMNT is not just some toy-cartoon from the 80's. Then, at least “read” the shit Bay's blamed for commissioning. And when he full-out lies about how he wasn't involved with the writing of it, at least look into whether he is or not before saying, “So, when Michael Bay says he has nothing to do with it, you just blame him for lying!?” It just makes you look (even more) stupid.