There’s an awfully large group of mid twenties ladies and gents who grew up with a certain quartet of mutated, pepperoni and cheese gobbling reptiles trained in martial arts watched over by a giant rat. Now, to anyone else, this might sound weird. But, to anyone born in the 80s (and I’ll even stretch it to the early 90s. No further than 1992 though.), this is a piece of our childhood that we hold very dear to us. It’s not weird, it’s the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
The last live action Turtles film, which I believe I speak for all fans when I say we’ve all since forgotten, came out in 1993. Much in the way of Batman and Robin in 1997, it put that franchise so far into the ground it wound up in China. Or Japan, it would seem. Seriously? Feudal Japan? That’s exactly what I want in a TMNT movie! Ugh. Anyway, with such a long absence from the big screen, it was almost inevitable the Cowabunga Kids would return in this age of remakes and reboots. Eventually, it would come to pass, and the news broke: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were returning. Sort of.
As the details rolled in, fans made their mind up very quickly. They went from being super excited that Leonardo was again leading, Donatello was going to be doing machines, Raph was going to get to be cool but rude once more and Mikey was going to party, dude! Then the bomb dropped. Michael Bay had the rights to the property. Michael Bay: Ruiner of Childhoods. Bay had already put his stamp on the Transformers and destroyed all coolness they had to their name by making them about a whiny teenager just looking to hook up with the hot girl. Bay already made his presence felt on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by stating the Turtles would be CGI like Optimus and Bumblebee, and they wouldn’t be teenagers or mutants. Ninja Turtles was all we were left with.
He was going to make them aliens from Dimension X. Because, apparently Michael Bay feels like he can just re-write established histories of beloved characters because he’s Michael Bay. Whatever. Anyway, fans responded negatively and he essentially told them to sit down and shut up. He promised that fans would accept this new incarnation as a worthy entry and reimagining of the origin story. If that’s what he was trying to do, then he mustn’t have been trying too hard, casting the most obvious choice for crafty, street smart yet always in trouble reporter, April O’Neil: Megan Fox. Seriously?! That’s when it hit me. Michael Bay is a 16 year old in a grown man’s body. All he cares about is cool, loud, colorful explosions to keep him distracted and then flash some butt and boobs to keep him titillated (pun totally intended). He doesn’t care about the important things, like, you know, acting ability. Who needs that when you’ve got big boobs and look good in short shorts?
Christopher Nolan nailed it by taking an outrageous idea for a character and story and grounding it in reality. That’s what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles needed. Not, CGI turtles and a terrible actress who’s at her best when her lips aren’t moving and no sound is coming out. It’s clear from these choices that Bay isn’t a fan of the TMNT. He’s just a greedy, money hungry jerk who sees dollar signs instead of red, blue, orange and purple awesomeness. He has enough money already, he’s not getting mine. And if he knows what’s good for him, he won’t cast Shia LeBooBoo as Casey Jones. If he does, the smart money says he won’t live to see the premiere.
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