Leo TMNT Teaser 2014

Seriously, I can’t be the only who thinks this looks cool?

I’m a huge fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. How much of a fan? Well, let’s go through my TMNT collection:

  • a reprint of the original first issue (CNA bargain bins for the win!)
  • a few of the 90’s figures (I was poor damn it)
  • the original TMNT VHS tapes
  • almost the entire Archie run of TMNT Adventures (yep, Archie Comics did more than Archie comics)
  • TMNT Bodycount graphic novel
  • all four of the new Nickelodeon TMNT figures (I couldn’t get my hands on Splinter and Shredder before they sold out)
TMNT 2012 action figures
Image from http://www.taylorlymbery.com/2012/08/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-2012-toy.html

I have also seen all of the first 1987 cartoon series, a fair amount of the second 2003 cartoon series, and a few episodes of the third 2012 cartoon series (sadly being an “adult” leaves me with less Turtle Time than I would like). I have also read any/all TMNT related comics I can get my hands on. So yeah, it’s safe to assume that I have a bit of a soft spot for our green heroes.

So why is it that I’m one of the few die-hard fans who isn’t angry about the new movie, which is being produced by Michael Bay and directed by Jonathan Liebesman? And why do I think that there’s a chance it might actually be good? Let’s take a look at what TMNT 2014 has going for it, and what it has that counts against it.

The Bad

Evan Daugherty (Co-writer)

Evan Daugherty

No offence Evan, but your writing credits don’t exactly give me much hope that TMNT 2014 will turn out well. I may entirely wrong, but we can only wait and see…

Public outcry regarding the new designs

TMNT leaked poster

Most people know the cute TMNT designs from the TV show and that “set the standard” for what the Turtles should look like. The new Turtles look quite different and people aren’t happy with their cute childish Turtles being given the “realistic” makeover. What do I think? Sure, they’re ugly, but I think it’s cool that they’re ugly! They’re MUTANTS! These guys ARE monsters, but they fight to protect us. How fucking cool is that! There seem to be a lot of people who may skip this movie based purely on the Turtle’s designs, and I think that this will be a huge mistake. Why? When Mikey spoke in the trailer, holy cow, they nailed his character DOWN. All I could think was “Oh my god. It’s Michelangelo!”

Now before you all come at me with pitchforks and torches, I’m not saying the designs are perfect. Even for “realistic” mutant Turtles, I think the designs could use a few tweaks (I think they could actually do with slightly less muscles) but I just don’t think it’s necessary to dial it all the way back to “cute” Turtles.

But, apart from the fact that the Turtle’s looks have been changed, I think there’s another issue here.

This reminds me of a problem I had with the X-Men. In the X-Men, only good looking mutants got to be superheroes, and the ugly mutants were either relegated to supporting roles (at best) or villains (at worst). Case in point? Marrow. When she was first introduced as a potential X-Man in Operation Zero Tolerance, Marrow was frequently disfigured by her bone growths. She occasionally looked normal, but when she did her bones would usually appear like a really bad acne breakout and disfigure her.

Marrow after fighting Wolverine by Carlos Pacheco
Marrow was ugly and bitter and cynical and angry… and we all loved her for it.

She became quite a popular as a character, so Marvel gave her a certain degree of control over her bone growth. She was occasionally reminded of her “true self” when she lost control of her bones and they randomly burst out. Later on in the comics, she is placed in a Skrull healing pod and out she pops as a pretty little X-Princess.

Marrow post Skrull healing pod
Thanks for missing the point Marvel…

Of course, I’d almost forgotten that only pretty mutants get to be superheroes.

The Unknown

The Michael Bay Factor

Honestly, Michael Bay did a reasonable job with the first Transformers movie, and then proceeded to shit on the sequels. Michael Bay isn’t directing this film, but we have no idea how much of an influence he’s had over the production.

Michael Bay Transformers
Image from http://screenrant.com/michael-bay-direct-transformers-4-reboot-storyline-benk-154761/

How many liberties have been taken with the source material?

So it looks like Shredder’s white, which means Oroku Saki is out (at least for now). April O’Neil is no longer a redhead, and is played by Megan Fox (a part of me died inside considering how many gorgeous, talented actresses they could have cast as April instead).

Better choices for April ONeil
From top left to bottom right: Amy Adams, Felicia Day, Karen Gillian, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Brie Larson, Isla Fisher – Any of these lovely ladies could have been an awesome April O’Neil.

Oh, and let’s not forget that The Foot now appear to be some kind of special ops team.

But hey,  at least we know that they ditched the “Turtles from outer space” idea. So the question is what else have they changed? And do these changes at least make sense?

Johnathan Liebesman

Jonathan Liebesman
Image from http://collider.com/jonathan-liebesman-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-interview/

Johnathan’s directing credits don’t exactly stand out  which makes the decision to allow him to direct such a potentially big flick a bit unusual. He’s had one above average movie, and three way below average films. However, being a South African, and considering what I saw in the trailer, I am putting him down as an Unknown factor since the trailer gave me a glimmer of hope that this might actually be decent.

The Good

Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec

Josh Appelbaum Andre Nemec
Image from http://www.valeriemaconphoto.com/#/portraits/133049915_VM_7683_BD2CBA736CE3DCB2EB7925D63BC501B9

Both these guys have a ton of writing experience, and some of their work is really good (writing credits for episodes of Early Edition, Alias, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol stand out). If these two have gathered together some of the Turtle Power they have, and that’s made it into the script, I think it’ll be hard for either Johnathan or Bay to mess it up.

Michael Bay (and his bundles of money)

Scrooge McDuck
Image from http://cdn.bleedingcool.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/sport-of-tycoons-carl-barks.jpg?9098e0

Michael Bay’s movies tend to be easy on the eyes, with the exception of a few shoddy action scenes in the later Transformers movies. There’s no doubt that at very least the new TMNT will have pretty awesome special effects, and will be shot extremely well thanks to Michael Bay’s deep, deep pockets. Here’s hoping that he dumped a fair share of his Optimus Dime into the script development.

So at the moment, I’m definitely very excited for the new film. It’s been a while since I saw anything Turtles related, and I’m interested to see how this new angle on the Turtles franchise turns out, particularly since it isn’t Bay himself directing.

And if by some chance you’ve managed to get through this entire article with no idea what I am talking about, check out the teaser trailer and the teaser spot below to find out what’s going down in TMNT 2014!

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