Thoughts on Michael Bay’s Reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
So if you haven’t heard by now, Michael Bay is rebooting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise with a brand new movie. While normally this would be good news, there’s just one small detail that ruins everything. Michael Bay has been quoted 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. (via stuffwelike)
While this could simply be a misquote and we might all just be getting our knickers in a twist over nothing, I’m going to assume (since we are dealing with Michael Bay) that this is in fact 100% true. I’m not upset that they are rebooting the franchise with a new movie. In fact, I think it’s great that they do this because it would introduce the Ninja Turtles to an entire new generation of children. I’m upset because you can’t change the mythos of the story like that.
Heroes in a half shell!
It might seem like I’m just another person complaining about this, but the Ninja Turtles hold a very special place in my heart. Being a child of the 80’s, I was obsessed with TMNT. My biggest exposure to them was definitely the 1987 cartoon series. I watched this show so much that my parents bought a few episodes for me on VHS so that I could watch it when it wasn’t scheduled to air. I ended up watching those tapes so much that I wore a few of them out.
In addition to the cartoon series, I was obsessed with the video games as well. I played little league soccer when I was young and we’d always go to Pizza Hut after games. I still have fond memories of asking my mom for just one more quarter so that I could keep playing the original arcade game. Eventually, my dad bought me the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game. Let me restate that, he did not buy TMNT 2: The Arcade Game, but the original game that was hard as shit. And I fucking loved it.
Real talk: Fuck this level.
I imagine my family must have some fond memories of this time too. It was incredibly easy to shop for me during this period of time. As long as anything had Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, or Raphael on it, I would absolutely love it.
In 2003, Mirage Studios worked with 4Kids and rebooted the franchise with a brand new cartoon. The cartoon took more elements from the comic (especially the heavy sci-fi theme with Utrons) and left behind staples from the 1987 cartoon (which were never part of the original comics to begin with). I’d watch the show from time to time and I thought it was interesting, but I didn’t get too invested in it. Still, it was nice to see the Turtles back in pop culture and being introduced to a new generation of children
When I graduated from college, I started working at Ubisoft where I had a lifetime dream come true. Not only did I get to work at a video game company, I got to work on two TMNT games. And while these games weren’t the best in the series (I still say give Reshelled a chance), it was incredibly fun to work professionally on something I was so passionate about as a child.
While working on these games, I was introduced to the original comic series by a coworker. Reading the original story for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was incredibly fascinating and reignited my passion for Turtle Power. It was interesting to see how dark the actual comics were compared to both the 1987 and 2003 cartoons. It was also fun to see how closely the 1990 feature film followed the original storyline of the comics. I would go as far to say that it might be one of my favorite comic book adaptations.
In 2009, Mirage Studios put an end to an era by selling the entire franchise to Nickelodeon. While I was sad to hear this news, I was also excited to see what would happen next. If Nickelodeon could put an Avatar spin on the TMNT franchise, I would be incredibly stoked to see it.
But all this was shattered the other day when I read about Michael Bay’s change. The story of the Ninja Turtles is amazingly simple. Four turtles fall into the sewers and come in contact with a green ooze called mutagen, which causes them to mutate into anthropomorphic turtles. This origins story is the core to the entire franchise and to change it would be blasphemy. Similar to Peter Parker always being bitten by a radioactive spider and Bruce Wayne’s parents always dying, this is the one thing that needs to be true in order for the story to work.
So Michael Bay, I don’t give a shit if there are a million explosions in this movie or if you cast Josh Duhamel as Casey Jones. But don’t make a film that causes children to believe that the Ninja Turtles are some alien species from some distant planet. Don’t ignore twenty-eight years of this franchise’s legacy. Don’t take a big fat Michael Bay shit on my childhood. Please.
OR ELSE THERE WILL BE SHELL TO PAY.
COWABUNGA - I MADE A FUNNY.