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.


Michael Bay's Comment On The Leak

Michael Bay actually took time out of his day from being an unimaginative hack to comment on the leak:

The leaked script for Ninja Turtles that different sites continue to comment on was written well before I, or anyone at Platinum Dunes, was involved with the project.

That script saw the shredder a long time ago.

This is tired, old news -- Wait for the movie!


First off, this is even more confirmation that the script is the real deal.

Secondly, Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes were announced to produce the reboot in May 2010; the script was dated in January 2012. So, either the date was wrong, or Michael Bay is a liar. I'll go with the second theory.

Third, if they don't plan on working off of this draft, it still means that the same two guys who wrote the script are still working on the film. How is this progress?

"Wait for the movie!" No, Michael. We don't want to wait for the movie. Because by then, it'll have been too late.


Latino Review's "Exclusive" Review of the TANT Script

Today, Latino Review posted an "exclusive" review of the scrapped TANT script (the parenthesis is because the story isn't all that exclusive), and made a video summarizing the story.

The Script and Review Takedown: The Proof of Paramount's Embarrassment of the Terrible Reboot Concept

If you're on this website, odds are it's because of the script leak you heard about. Perhaps you read about it online and had to see if this was real. Indeed, it was here. Was. Paramount was very adamant at making sure it was taken down and the fire was put out, despite the fact that once something is on the Internet, it's out there. And once it's out there, you can't stop it, no matter how hard you try.


Cease and Desist

Earlier today, I received an email from a law firm that represents Paramount Studios. It demanded that I cease and desist from hosting the screenplay on this blog. Here's the notice in full.

To whom it may concern:

This letter is being written to you on behalf of Paramount Pictures Corporation (“Paramount”). Paramount is the owner of copyright and other intellectual property rights in and to the unreleased “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” motion picture (hereinafter referred to as "TMNT"). No one is authorized to copy, reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use “TMNT” without the express written permission of Paramount.

Notwithstanding this, Paramount has learned that you are reproducing excerpts of the unreleased TMNT screenplay at the URL located at http://tmntnottant.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-tant-script-reviewed.html#more; and are distributing the screenplay as a .PDF file located at https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B22ZbuTtrOA3aDdpWFhUNGRacWs/view?pli=1&sle=true.

Paramount hereby demands that you immediately cease all distribution of the TMNT screenplay and remove the TMNT screenplay from this website and any other website where you may have reproduced and/or distributed it. Please further remove or disable the link to the .PDF file referenced above.

We further demand that you immediately provide us with written confirmation that you have complied with Paramount’s demands.

Please contact me at [withheld] to discuss the source from which you obtained the screenplay and the scope of your distribution.

This letter is not a complete statement of Paramount’s rights in connection with this matter, and nothing contained herein constitutes an express or implied waiver of any rights, remedies, or defenses of Paramount in connection with this matter, all of which are expressly reserved.

Very truly yours,
Dennis L. Wilson
Keats McFarland & Wilson LLP

As such, I have decided to comply and take down the script.

For those of you who have read it, this should be further confirmation that what you read is the real thing. And now, Paramount is obviously starting to take notice.


Peter Laird Comments On The Leaked TANT Script

Someone posted a comment on Peter Laird's blog, and linked him to the TANT script that I posted a couple of days ago. This is what he had to say about it:

Someone else alerted me to the existence of this script, and I just a few minutes ago finished reading it. If it is, in fact, the actual draft that was rejected and caused the production of the next TMNT movie to be pushed back to 2014 because the script was unsatisfactory, then I think all true TMNT fans should be grateful to the new "powers that be" that they did not allow this wretched thing to go any further. It could definitely be taken as a good sign if that is the case.

It reminds me of one of the reasons I am glad to not own the property anymore... because I don't have to tear what little hair I have left out while trying to fix junk like this. -- PL

I think I speak for everyone when I say that if the production stays closed (and is later picked up by a production firm not lead by Michael Bay) then we will be very grateful. Because that script wasn't at all satisfactory.

To read the script for yourself, just click here for my review of it.


The TANT Script: Reviewed [Taken Down]

I know what you're thinking: "Hey, isn't there supposed to be a review of the leaked Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot script on this blog?"

You'd be right. However, because of certain "legal" reasons, the script and the review are no longer here. You missed out. And if you didn't miss out, and you're just coming back because you're a glutton for punishment, then I feel sorry for you.

If you want details on the how, the what and the why, read all about it here. It's a tale of embarrassment, legality, and pissedoffedness about mediocrity.