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.


  1. I would like to point out that the Turtles love for pizza, and their catchphrase cowabunga were also carried over from the cartoon to the first movie.

  2. What they really need is Peter Laird. He's the one who really understood the Turtles and why the script is utter shit! Kevin Eastman is awesome but now I can't trust anything he says if he thinks the script was actually "good".

  3. Pffft, best guy for a TMNT flick I think would be Joe Carnahan. He made NARC some years back. He did a badass thrill reel for a late 70's re-boot of DAREDEVIL not long ago. Apparently that project is toast, so he might still be blue balls for the period. Re-set (or RE-re-set) TMNT in the late 70's, use those scary worlds....Alphabet City, Canarsie, South Bronx. Have them trapped in the middle of a drug war. Shredder's the big heroin dealer, and the Turtle lair sits right in the sewer he where he wants to set up a direct trade route from the Bronx to Brooklyn.


  4. Franchise is not always proven best and profitable but sometimes if you choose wrong franchise to start business then if will be problematic for you to accept big loss in your business.

    bad franchises

  5. C'mon guys? Casey Jones as an ex-Marine. April O'Neal as kind of a J-Irish, Franny Leibowitz type?

    Start the thing with a murder, of a fifth Turtle....call him Caravaggio.

    Have a Bernard Kerik/Raymond Kelly/Popeye Doyle-esque cop character who connects us to their world. Have him be a military buddy of Casey's who helps him uncover everything that's going on.

    Come on you guys. William S Borroughs meets Peter Laird.

    Director....David Cronenberg.

    This should be easy. Real easy.

    PS if anybody takes these ideas and uses them successfully....I'm gonna get a piece, one way or the other. HA!