Luke Owen gives a few reasons to be excited for [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles](movie:323027)…
We’re only a couple of months away from the release of the Michael Bay produced and Jonathan Liebsman directed reboot to classic comic book series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Since the movie’s announcement, it’s been met with mostly negativity from the Internet Community, who feel that the director of the Transformers franchise is going to ruin another piece of 80s nostalgia.
The first trailer came out and it silenced a few critics. Then on Tuesday, a second trailer was released and it silenced even more critics. It doesn’t look as bad as many had feared. The action looks solid, the comedy is light and it doesn’t feel like the giant train wreck some were expecting.
However, there are still those who feel like this is going to be a giant waste of time. A good 80% of our writing staff felt this way in the Flickering Myth Reaction and the tweets about the trailer are also showing that a large portion of the cinema audience (and TMNT fans) are not happy with this new film.
But come on guys – it’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Let’s get excited!
So, to try and put some minds at ease, let’s look at 5 reasons to get excited about the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
1. It’s dark in tone – like the original comic series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may mostly be remembered for the 1987 cartoon series with its wild and wacky antics, but the comic on which they were based was a lot more serious with a gritty and dark edge. Hell, they decapitated Shredder to finally put an end to him.
In the same transition Godzilla took in the 1960s and 70s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became heroes to children and were far removed from the brooding comics series. In fact, many fans of the comic series slammed creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird for “selling out” their creation to become nothing more than a glorified toy commercial.
On the flip side of that, there are those who feel that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles should not be dark and should be in the same vein of the Marvel movies – light and fun.
What some people have seemed to have forgotten is that the first live action movie, which is held dear by many of the franchise’s fans, was also dark. It had its fair share of Cowabungas and pizza power, but it also featured Raph getting beaten half to death, children stealing and smoking and Shredder being crushed by a garbage truck.
This latest reboot has that tone and it has that edge, but also looks to have the right balance of humour. Eastman and Laird have both said that this entry into the franchise is in-keeping with the comic’s original tone, so maybe this is going to be a good direction.
2. Sequels, glorious sequels
If there is one thing the original movie series never capitalised on, it was exploiting the bad guys from the already established Universe. Shredder was one of the main adversaries of the Heroes in a Half Shell, but using him all the time would be like having The Joker be the baddie in every Batman movie.
A classic example of this is in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze in which the filmmakers had the opportunity to introduce cartoon favourites Beebop and Rocksteady and instead created new bad guys in Tokka and Rahzar. When it came to the third movie, did we get villain we recognised? No, we got some new samurai who on one cared about. The same can be said for the 2007 animated movie, which again featured a bad guy created solely for the movie.
It’s not like the Turtles are low on bad guys to choose from. You could have had Leatherhead, Slash, Rat King, Baxter Stockman or – at a big push – Krang.
This new movie is bound to have sequels – it’s the way the industry works – and this means we could finally see big screen versions of characters we love. It’s already introducing Baxter Stockman, so there is a chance that he could be the main villain in the next movie – maybe even in his fly form. And if they go all the way, what’s to say the post-credits sequence doesn’t tease the possibility of Dimension X and the introduction of Krang?
Pretty exciting eh?
3. It looks to have great action
Say what you will about the trailer and its terrible choice in music (Dubstep? Really?), but the action looks like it could be a lot of fun.
Sword fighting, ninja fighting, Shredder fighting – it all looks like it will bring a smile to the face.
Jonathan Leibesman is not a director auteur and his track record is nothing but failure after failure, but if he has had some tips on shooting action scenes from Michael Bay… well we might be in trouble.
Because if Transformers is anything to go by, it will be a hard to follow mess.
But, if the trailer is anything to go by, it might be alright.
4. It could have been a lot worse
Remember when the Turtles were going to be aliens? Exactly. This movie could have been a lot worse.
It’s been a rough time for Bay since announcing this project, and calling it Ninja Turtles with that little change in origin story didn’t help him. Fans lost their minds and flooded message boards and websites with hate filled comments about how he was ruining something they love so much.
But, credit where credit is due, he listened and the movie returned to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
But anyone who has been following this movie’s journey since its early inception will remember a leaked script that Michael Bay claims was “before he came on board”.
It was a horrible, horrible script filled with dreadful dialogue, bizarre changes to Turtles lore and a lack of Shredder who was replaced with “Colonel Schrader”. It was an abomination.
No matter how much you hate the trailer – or indeed hate the film – it could have been so much worse.
5. It can’t be as bad as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
And speaking of something much worse, one thing we can all agree on is that Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will not be as bad as the awful, horrendous and downright insulting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.
Every franchise has black marks on their record and nothing has a flawless run, but some don’t come quite near as bad as the 1993 third entry into the live action franchise.
Because the dark tone of the Steve Barron’s 1990 movie, New Line (pushed by angry parents) felt that the movies needed to be a lot lighter and fluffier. Its sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, was just that. The Turtles didn’t swear, they didn’t use their weapons and the whole movie was more comedic – even leading to a music performance with Vanilla Ice.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III however took things too far.
It’s hard to know where to begin with how bad the movie is. The costumes are worse, the story is stupid, the jokes are lame and the action flat out sucks. It was the Batman and Robin of the Turtles franchise and it killed their movie business dead until it was resurrected in 2007, which was mostly down to the success of the 2003 series.
This new version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might not be great. It might even be horrible. But they will have to do something pretty spectacular to be as bad as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.
So there you have it. You won’t find many articles praising the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and quite rightly so. It has a director with a poor track record and a producer known for treating his explosions with more care than his characters. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to be excited about
It might still be garbage – and it probably will be, but as Master Splinter once said, “have patience my sons, it might be good”.
Okay, so he only said the first half of that.
Luke Owen is one of Flickering Myth’s co-editors and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.