DAMAGE CONTROL OR HYPE?
Here’s the thing… Pitching a new live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie for today’s audiences is not an easy task. Not only does it have to connect to new fans but it also has to please the millions of passionate TMNT fans who have been waiting years for a reboot. Especially with all the technological advances filmmakers have access to now that they didn’t have in 1990.
When Michael Bay took over the franchise, people were skeptical but that’s what Michael Bay haters do. I for one, enjoy Michael Bay movies. They aren’t Oscar contenders but 2 hours of action, explosions, battles and laughs is time well spent if you ask me.
Yes, people groaned but then he hired Jonathan Liebesman to helm the film and slapped a release date of December 25th, 2013. The haters were silenced. Michael Bay was bringing the Turtles back!
Ahem… Then he screwed it all up by telling the world his Turtles were from an alien race. Or did he?
The fallout that ensued after his comments has been fascinating to follow but personally, I think the filmmakers behind the movie are thrilled with the response. It made national news! It rocked Twitter! People everywhere were debating every syllable of that sentence. People were angry and frustrated while others were intrigued and curious.
Regardless of what side of the line you stand on, people are talking. The hype for this movie will now be massive as details emerge. The last few weeks probably proved to the studio that a new Turtles movie was a good idea.
Now lets address the big ol’ alien elephant in the room…
Mutant Alien Ninjas…
Alien ooze? A planet full of talking Turtles? Mis-used Alien technology? Michael Bay did follow up by stating the mythology we all know and love remains in tact. It was simply expanded upon. That could mean anything. Did they change the origin to give them a reason to include Krang in the mix?
I think the Ooze is the Alien here. I just don’t see a planet full of giant turtles especially because they still have to explain Splinter somehow. Regardless, even the people who are angry about the ‘changes’ are going to be following this movie all the way up until it’s release.
Michael Bay and Co. know people are watching and it’s up to them to turn the doubters around. How?
1. The design of the turtles. Will they be suits or motion capture? Combination of both? What will they look like?
2. The Villain. Shredder is pretty much a guarantee. (Isn’t it?) With Shredder comes foot soldiers but what about the aforementioned Krang?
3. The Style & Tone. Will this be Batman Begins with Ninja Turtles? Dark and gritty? Is that a world where Michelangelo can still scream ‘Cowabunga’? How will they achieve that balance? I think the tone of the 1990 original was spot on.
4. Stills, Trailers & Viral Content. This one is tricky. Until we get more clarification on the ‘alien’ comment, people are going to be skeptical but skeptics can always be turned if you WOW them.
5. Be true to the mythology. People want The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I really think that’s exactly what we are going to get. The most encouraging comments I’ve heard through all of this came from the director himself:
“Look, it’s so funny—if everyone was such a die-hard fan, they would know that the TCRI canisters where the ooze comes from. That is alien ooze. Now I’m not saying what Michael said is exactly what the movie is, because we’re sitting in a room now figuring everything out. So we don’t know, but we are like Michael said: we’re expanding it, and the expansion will be true to the mythology. I promise you: fans will love it.”
Whatever mythology we’re building on or expanding is coming from that guy, Kevin Eastman’s head, who created the Turtles in the first place. And so everything will tie in with the mythology; fans will be extremely excited with what we’re coming up with. A lot of it is stuff he’s wanted to do for a long time, but just hasn’t had the opportunity because now we have the budget and things on this film to expand it in the right way. And so, I’m happy that everyone is extremely passionate, and they will not be disappointed. It’s all coming from the best possible place for this franchise.
We’re definitely into the action, but for me what’s more important than that is that it’s a story about brotherhood and friendship and responsibility. Right now, I’m with the characters because those are what attracted me to the movie. They’re the best characters I’ll have had a chance to deal with.” (Jonathan Liebesman)
More recently, Michael Bay defended the project while commenting on the title being shortened to Ninja Turtles:
“Paramount marketing changed the name. They made the title simple. The characters you all remember are exactly the same, and yes they still act like teenagers. Everything you remember, why you liked the characters, is in the movie. This script is being developed by two very smart writers, with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles. They care VERY MUCH about making this film for the fans. Everyone on this team cares about the fans. Just give them a chance. Jonathan the director, is a major fan of the whole franchise. HE’S NOT GOING TO LET YOU DOWN.”
Below is a collection of links that chronicles the ‘controversy’ surrounding the film. They are full of insight, opinions and features from around the web.
TURTLES FROM SPACE
Yup… He said it… Alien Race.
FIRST SHOWING | (KRANG?) New ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Movie Makes Our Heroes Aliens?
CHILL OUT PLEASE?
IN DEFENSE OF MICHAEL BAY
AROUND THE WEB
ANOMALOUS MATERIAL | 10 Alternate Michael Bay Remakes Featuring Aliens
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ORIGINS
THE ATHLETIC NERD ON NINJA TURTLES
EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY…
I’m not saying the alien comment isn’t at least a little concerning. I grew up with the Ninja Turtles and I don’t want to see their story changed. But tons of film adaptations have changed major elements from the source material that is readily accepted now. For example, the age of the Hobbits in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Some people were extremely angry. (Some probably still are) But they made those changes while staying true to J.R.R Tolkien’s work and people love those films. Even the doubters are anxiously awaiting the new Hobbit films in 2012 and 2013.
Sometimes change is good. I think this is a wait and see situation. No matter what, the new movie is meant to be successful they aren’t out to screw it up on purpose. I can’t wait to see what the new turtles will look like. I can’t wait to find out more about the filmmaker’s vision for the franchise.
I’m looking forward to a brand new live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie!