In the past few months, we have been assaulted with picture after picture from the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Now, although most on the internet seem fated to berate the new version of the Turtles, I have had no problem with the bulkier and nosier versions. I've even held my tongue in reference to April O'niel being played by the Franchise killer, Megan Fox (To be honest, as far as I know, she's only been involved in one Franchise killing and she had help...*cough*Transformers*cough*!)
But now, after viewing the few trailers we've been graced with, I find myself having to speak out against the movie, but not for any of the above reasons. No, it isn't the more humanish Turtles that irritate me. And it isn't Megan Fox. It isn't even the new version of the Shredder that, in my honest but old school opinion, falls short. NO. It isn't any of that. It's the Foot.
But before I go into a full on rant, let me share some history. (Honestly, you knew that was coming!)
The Foot Clan are the most feared clan of warriors and assassins in Japan.
That is the defining phrase concerning Eastman and Laird's original creation. In the beginning, the Foot Clan was founded in Feudal Japan by two men named Sato and Oshi. Oroku Saki was later adopted by the clan and was trained to become a fierce ninja. When he was ready, Saki was sent to American to head the New York branch of the Clan using the persona of "The Shredder". Under his leadership, it took only a year for it to become a powerful and fearsome group.
This is the backdrop which all of the NINJA Turtles developed in.
But, in all reality, what Eastman and Laird had developed in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a parody of sorts that took on its own life and developed its own mythos. For originally, it was intended to parody four of the most popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel Comics’ Daredevil and New Mutants, Dave Sim’s Cerebus, and Frank Miller’s Ronin. The Foot Clan was originally a parody of the criminal ninja clan the Hand in the Daredevil comics. In addition to the obvious similarity in their names, both clans originate from Feudal Japan, practice ninjutsu and black magic, and are now powerful global organized crime rings.
The next incarnation of the Foot Clan and the Turtles themselves appeared in the 1987 cartoon series and the spin-off TMNT Adventures comics. Once again, the origin of the Foot is steeped in ancient Japanese Fuedalism.
The Foot is an ancient Ninjutsu clan, founded in Japan in 1583.
However, it wasn't very long before the new handlers began to monkey with the FOOT. For very soon, Saki (who became known as The Shredder) allied himself with the alien warlord Krang, and replaced the human Foot Ninja with robotic Foot Soldiers. However, these robots are no match for the Ninja Turtles.
This 'robot' concept had a reasoning behind it however.
The Foot robot concept allowed the Turtles to destroy the Foot soldiers without any moral thoughts, allowing Leonardo and Raphael to use their weapons more offensively. Meanwhile the series could keep its younger audience and remain a "family show". This principle also benefited the video games.
So, once again, marketing to children severly effects a legendary storyline. BUT, to be honest, if the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were never marketed to kids back in the 80s, would we really be discussing this now?
In the first two movies, the Foot Clan were depicted as a group of ninja thieves and assassins founded by the Shredder in Japan, but later stationed in New York. The Shredder had taken what Foot Soldiers he had from Japan, and began taking kids from the streets and training them in Ninjutsu himself. His second-in-command is another Ninjutsu master called Tatsu. In the films, the Foot use the kanji Oni (鬼?), which translates to "demon" or "ogre", as their symbol.
The Foot remained ninjas in TMNT (the fourth Turtles movie) under the leadership of Karai, who has taken control after the Shredder's death.
The next step in the evolution or possibly de-evolution of the Foot came at the hands of SABAN Entertainment where there was an attempt to use the live action look of the original Turtles movies to further market the brand. However, this is the same SABAN who produced the MIGHTY MORPHING POWER RANGERS. Now, I do love the Power Rangers, don't get me wrong. But SABAN used the same formula that he's always used and tried to mold the Turtles with it.
Therefore, the Foot of this series appear a lot more clumsy and less intelligent (due to comic relief values), much to Shredder's irritation. The Turtles became Power Rangers and actually shared screen time. Now, you can imagine why this version was short lived only lasting from 1997-98.
In 2003, another Turtles cartoon appeared and returned to its roots a bit.
The Foot Clan are a group of warriors and assassins that Shredder created 700 years ago in Japan. The Shredder, who in this series is a long-lived Utrom, has led the Clan since its creation and has turned it into a fearsome and secret group present across the world. The Foot emblem is a red, trident-like footprint (hence the name of the clan), an inverted version of the "Three-Toed Sign of the Dragon", the symbol of the five warriors who had defeated the original demon known as the Shredder in 300 AD. Thanks to Shredder's knowledge of Utrom technology, the Clan has weapons and equipment centuries ahead of human technology.
This version not only had the grunt FOOT, but also included Elite Foot, Gunner Foot, Technician Foot, Sumo Foot and even Geneticists Foot. So a higher tech group, but still ninjas. The old school feel apparently fit well as the series ran from 2003-2009.
The final and third cartoon incarnation of the Turtles and, of course, the foot, comes with it's current owners, Nickelodeon. This computer graphic version still runs today and seems to stay with the Ninja these concerning the foot although they seem to resemble the Foot from the original films. The story-line of a ninja clan that also works as a criminal organization stays solid here.
So, why go through all of that? Well have you seen the new versions of the Foot Clan?
So far, it seems they are being sold in the trailers as a gang of mercenaries who need high powered guns to do their talking. They look more like a terrorist organization than a group of killer ninjas! What are they thinking? Terrorists are so ten years ago...lol.
But, no, really. Here again, I am praying for a story that will redeem the pictures. Like I said before, I forgave the casting of Megan Fox. I forgave the deadpan, non-oriental Shredder. I even forgave the Turtles with nosey faces. But the Foot...well, they need the boot!