Monday, March 19, 2012

A Reel Opinion: Turtle Soup

FACT: Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes company is well into pre-production for the upcoming live-action adaptation of the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, which will serve as yet another reboot. This will be the third rendition of the mutated warrior turtles on the big screen, with the first being a live-action camp flick from the early 90’s (powered by Jim Henson’s puppet-wizardry) with two sequels, and then an animated film in 2007.

The Platinum Dunes production will be for Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount, and speaking at the Nickelodeon Upfront last week, Bay spoke about the direction the turtles will take this time around:

"When you see this movie, kids are going to believe one day 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 loveable."

This approach is a departure from the “accepted” canon, in which the turtles are from Earth and mutate after encountering a radioactive toxic substance.

OPINION: As expected, bloggers and Bay-haters are already sharpening their pitchforks and spewing vile hate across the internet over this decision. For most, Bay and his company get automatic backlash no matter what they do, so the venom across the web thus far is not all unexpected. On the surface, the new idea seems a little hokey (although we are talking about talking turtles), but this Blogger can come up with a few good reasons why this deserves a fair shake, and why it can work:

1. It’s a new idea in an old world. Later this year, Spider-man gets a reboot in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and fans are groaning over having to sit through another goddamn origin story all over again (here comes wimpy Peter, here comes the spider, etc…). The film is not tracking well because of this alone. Bay and co. are clearly looking to avoid this. Why bore audiences with the same old concept they’ve already seen a billion times before?

2. Aren’t we sick of the radioactive shit already? The concept of radioactive material effecting people (and animals) goes back to the 1950’s and the birth of the atomic age. Stan Lee used it to empower most of his comic heroes (coughspideycough), and the TMNT films, comics and cartoons used it over and over again. It’s an old concept that is as dull as a doorknob. Yawn.

3. Kids are a lot smarter these days. Tech-savy kids these days are not as easily fooled as they once were. They nearly demand sharper and smarter entertainment than this Blogger’s era of pre-CGI films. If Bay and co. are setting out to capture a new generation of kids, then they have to do things differently.

4. Screw the “accepted” canon. Diverting from the source material is a necessity in filmmaking. Literal adaptations simply do not work (example: RED TAILS). Bay and co. are under no obligations to the angry nerds out there who want the same stories they grew up with 20 years ago repeated word-for-word on the big screen. Besides, the original live-action film made quite a few deviations from the source material (how quickly we choose to forget), and through all the variations of TMNT, comics, cartoons, and films…there was always a heavy element of science fiction; space-travel, time-travel, mutations, laser-guns, etc., so this new concept is not that far off the mark. Besides, its science-fiction; which means the sky is the limit.

What say you?

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