Michael Bay Tells Fans to ‘Chill’ About his Alien ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Movie
Michael Bay, Earth’s foremost expert on filming explosions and actresses running in slow motion, confounded fans a few days back when he revealed that his plans for the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie reboot included depicting the Green Machines as aliens rather than Earthly turtles mutated by a strange ooze. Surely the project’s executive producer meant something else when he stated “These turtles are from an alien race and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely lovable,” right? No. They’re going to be the from-another-planet kind of aliens, guys. And if you think that’s a worse idea than Venus de Milo, Bay says you need to “… need to take a breath, and chill…”Here’s Bay’s full quote from his Shoot for the Edit forums:
“Fans need to take a breath, and chill. They have not read the script. Our team is working closely with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles to help expand and give a more complex back story. Relax, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world.”
At a glance this seems like a fairly patronizing thing of Bay to write, but like millions of other masochistic weekend warriors, I surrendered my (occasionally) hard-earned money to three increasingly confounding Transformers films precisely because I HAD chilled. Much as I’d love to blame my buying habits purely on wanting to indulge in irony, there was a part of me that hoped some part of the film would resonate with my nostalgia for various older incarnations of the Robots In Disguise. I suspect no matter how much of a deliberate departure this upcoming TMNT film will be from what I like about the franchise, the same abuse-seeking part of my brain that caused me to sit through scenes of Bumblebee urinating on a guy and Optimus Prime spouting quasi-genocidal dialogue will put me in front of whatever Bay does to my beloved Turtles. Perhaps fans with more certified-turtleified integrity will be able to resist Bay’s cinematic sorcery?
At TMZ, former live action TMNT movie voice actor Robbie Riss responded by writing an open letter to Bay, stating in part that, “I know believing in mutated talking turtles is kinda silly to begin with but am I supposed to be led to believe there are ninjas from another planet? The rape of our childhood memories continues.”
Silly as I think Bay’s current alien plans are, I think characterizing changing a single component of such an extensive franchise as “rape” is similarly wrongheaded. This is principally because comparing changing the origins of talking turtles who practice martial arts to a despicable crime is stupid and lazy, even if you’re just being tongue-in-cheek. It also ignores the fact that Nickelodeon’s upcoming CG animated TMNT series, Playmate’s corresponding toys and IDW’s new and reprinted TMNT comics do retain the classic Turtle story and therefore won’t… alienate… fans.
I hope Bay and company change their minds on the extra terrestrial turtles plans before the film’s Christmas 2013 release date, but in an effort to avoid a depression-inspired pizza binge, I am taking his advice. I’m taking deep breaths, I’m chillin’ and I’m remembering a more innocent time when all filmmakers wanted to do to change Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s gritty, black and white indie comic was add a heaping helping of Vanilla Ice.