TMNT…Without the ‘M’ or the ‘T’

In all my other reviews and articles, I try very hard not to put on my ‘raving fangirl’ gloves.  That was partially in an effort to keep my self feeling vaguely credible, but mostly, it was because I’ve been saving those gloves.  For a moment like this.

Up until last Sunday, my opinion of Michael Bay was a resounding ‘eh’.  I love The Rock and I like the first Transformers, but everything else he’s done I’ve either not enjoyed or just been straight up bored with.  But now that’s changed.  Rather drastically.  Maybe it’s because he’s now set his sights on my childhood.  Maybe it’s because I’ve realized that he’s quickly becoming Uwe Boll with a budget.  Either way, a nerve has been touched, and Michael Bay is now firmly stationed at the top of my directorial shit-list.

I was born in ’87, so I missed pretty much all the 80’s cartoons.  I passed Transformers, GI Joe, and He-Man all by in favor of Darkwing Duck, Reboot, and Mummies Alive.  But there was one series that somehow managed to bridge the gap, and that was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I loved it to absolute pieces.  While everyone was running around the park playing normal games like ‘tag’, my cousin and I were re-enacting the finale of Secrets of the Ooze as Raphael & Donatello (respectively).  The first Halloween costume I have any real recollection of making was a Casey Jones costume.  Even years later, I hauled myself on a bus across two cities to watched the 2007 TMNT movie, by myself.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have always been, and will always remain, near and dear to me.  So, as you can well imagine, when Michael Bay announces he’s taking the ‘Mutant’ and the ‘Turtles’ out of the equation, I and the rest of the internet exploded in a mixture of disbelief and fury.

In case you aren’t aware, Michael Bay has been in the process of producing a reboot of the TMNT franchise for a couple years now.  But aside from that one possibly fake prosthetic Michelangelo head, we never really got much news.  Until now.  At Nickelodeon Upfront New York on March 14th, Michael Bay got up in front of the crowd, and this happened.

You can almost hear the crunch of childhood dreams beneath his feet.

There are so, so many thing wrong with this, but I guess I’ll just go bit by bit.  

“When you see this movie, kids are going to believe one day that these turtles actually do exist.”

Firstly, what?  Creating a false sense of reality…is that a selling point for things now?  This also ties in with another red-flag trigger word of mine; “edgy”.  Alright, I love all his work to bits, but damn it Christopher Nolan, why did you have to ruin everything for everyone.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore, admire, and respect how he’s single-handedly raised the bar for comic books movies everywhere.  But at the same time, a sort of obsession with being gritty and realistic has been created as everyone tries to duplicate his success.  The days of whimsical imagination and suspension of disbelief are getting further and further behind us, and I for one am heartbroken to see them go.  This leads us right into the big glaring problem with this announcement.


Even Giorgio Tsoukalos knows how it's supposed to go!

Yes, Michael Bay’s pockets are apparently so deep he’s permitted to ignore something so inherent to the series — it’s in the damn title.  And there’s just…there’s so much wrong with this I don’t even know where to begin.  So many terrible, Michael Bay typical, doors open with this.  Splinter can’t be a mutated rat anymore if there’s no ooze, so he’ll probably just end up being the name of their ship or something.  The Foot Clan is likely going to be replaced with some silly slightly comic relief secret Area 51 type government agency.  April and Casey will be high schoolers (April reporting for the school paper and Casey being that slacker smart aleck with no friends who eats lunch on the bleachers).  And maybe there’ll be some other alien…thing…I don’t even know anymore guys.  Everything I’ve just said scares me enough as it is.  I don’t care if whatever Bay’s take on it is fresher or even better, it’s not the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  It’s not even close.  Could you imagine what would’ve happened if he’d pitched a Transformers movies that rewrote the Autobots and the Decepticons as mutant cars?  Bay responded to all the negative response on his site, telling fans to “take a breath, and chill.”  No, I don’t think we should chill.  Because if we do, this will keep happening.  I’m honestly beginning to hate the word ‘reboot’ as much as I hate ‘remake’.  The animated movie from 2007 was amazing.  It followed the same canon as the other movie, building on a world we already knew, but stood firmly on it’s own two feet as well.  Is that so bad?  Do we have to turn everything into a franchise, and reboot it in a different direction if it fails?  Is there really that little faith in the source material?  I’m just…I’m sad, guys.  I really am.  How are they even going to explain their names?!  Do they have Renaissance artists in space?!

I guess the bottom line here is that I’m tired.  I’m tired of this idea that stories aren’t credible unless they’re realistic and edgy.  I’m tired of everything vying for a franchise.  I’m tired of Hollywood getting it so…so wrong.

But then I watch this, and I realize that Michael Bay isn’t the worst that could happen to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles after all.

And now, cause I want to feel happy (and you probably do too):

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