Bay says Ninja Turtles from space, so what?
Seriously, are people up in arms because the core premise of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film is changing from four turtles who were mutated from radioactive waste along with a rat that taught them how to fight like Ninjas, who named themselves after famous artists from the Renaissance period and who live in the New York sewers and fight criminals for the good of humanity?
Are people really complaining that Michael Bay's production company is taking the origin story and changing it to deliver the creatures from an alien race? The answer is apparently yes, or rather blogs and media outlets are.
Personally I couldn't care less. Let's face it the previous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles offerings have been such huge successes and bastions of art and intelligence that we'd be horrified if anything altered what they were since they were created...[Richard's note: Sarcasm]
Yet they have been altered, time and time again, and the quality of the offerings on television and film has been far from high. Look back on them now and they are outdated and indeed at times rather cringe worthy.
Really, do you think the pitch of the small, slow, and generally unexciting creatures that have been altered by radioactivity to become crime fighting ninjas really would sell these days? For modern audiences it's clear that it would need a major overhaul, and perhaps Michael Bay and his team are the people to do just that.
A snippet of a video of Michael Bay was released just recently where he was talking about his company's idea for the new film Ninja Turtle which Jonathan Liebesman is going to be directing and it revealed that the Turtles will be alien in origin, saying:
"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."
"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...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? The rape of our childhood memories continues."
I think the key here is where Rist stated quite clearly "mutated talking turtles is kinda silly to begin with". Yes, indeed they are, and if you have a problem with them coming from space then there's something wrong with your imagination. It's surely easier to believe in them being an alien race in this day and age rather than radioactivity could mutate them without huge periods of evolution.
The Guardian rant on about it too, although they are a bit more even handed in the full article:
"Making the turtles aliens would ruin everything - their desire to be accepted, their bizarre late-1980s street lingo, their fondness for pizza. Everything...Are we really meant to believe that there's an alien race of giant turtles who just happen to all be named after renowned Renaissance artists from this planet, and speak English, and who came to Earth with a giant elderly rat who's presumably from the same race, just to live in sewers and loudly eschew anchovies at every opportunity?"
Yes. Just as we're all willing to believe that giant robots with sentient abilities and the power of reasoning, understanding and emotion have been living and breeding on a planet deep in space and came to Earth for no good reason and are now doing battle over humanity while they take on the shape of various vehicles from our planet rather than huge, people killing, alien weaponry.
For me it makes more sense them coming from space, and it's more acceptable in this day and age, just like it's more acceptable that they don't shout "Cowabunga".
Rist said something else "The rape of our childhood memories continues." It does, but at the same time I always remember the famous quote, which may have originated from Stephen King when asked how he felt about his books being ruined with the latest film adaptation. He replied something along the lines of "no they're not, they're all still up there on the shelf."
Exactly. Now go back and watch the cartoons and the films and tell me that these classics should be left as is and there's no room for growing up, moving with the times, and general improvements.
The problem here is that Michael Bay said it, and while I'm happy to criticise the Transformers films for not being great films, I am neither happy to criticise them because they don't match identically to the outdated cartoon nor am I happy to have a go at them just because Michael Bay is directing them, and that's what I believe is happening here.
Michael Bay's company is indeed working on them but there are writers and a director lined up for the project and they are working on it right now. Here's what he said in defence of the film over at his ShootFortheEdit site:
"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."
I can accept that, it sounds positive doesn't it? Do you remember fans before Transformers and look at the success they have become. No, don't try and pull the argument about them not being great films, about the shallow plot, the silliness, etc. Have you seen those original cartoons and what they came from? They weren't dramatic thrillers you know. Yet in comparison to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the television cartoon you might well assume they are.
Defend radioactive mutated turtles who turn into human sized, ninja warriors trained by a similarly mutated rat, shout "cowabunga", eat pizza, and quip comedy while fighting crime and defending a humanity that flushed them down the sewers if you want.
Me? I'm ready for a rework of the entire idea. Something that would mean it would be much more acceptable, and looking at television and film these days that does suggest space.
Michael Bay, bring it on. If I'm really that hungry for the original I'll go watch the original television series and films, but to be honest I'd rather watch Transformers than inflict that on myself.