TMNT Movie: They’re Baaaaaack
I confess that I'm hardly the target audience for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie which opened in theaters today: I am not a child (though my wife might beg to differ), nor do I have a child. And while I do certainly have affection for these characters, that affection is based on having read and enjoyed the original TMNT comics by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird when they hit the stands in the mid-'80s. Little did Eastman and Laird know that their creation –an off-the-wall pastiche of Frank Miller's groundbreaking run on Daredevil– would trigger not only the woeful discovery of indie-comics-as-investment-properties by comics speculators, but a worldwide Turtlemania phenomenon via the ensuing cartoons, movies and associated merchandising. Oh, and lest we forget, there was also the embarrassingly amateurish horde of TMNT knockoff comics that suddenly began littering the stands of one's local comics shop in the wake of the Turtles' massive success (Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, anyone?)
But I digress...
Where was I? Oh yeah, so the only Turtles comics I've read since the original series were their crossover appearances with the Flaming Carrot (and if you don't know the Flaming Carrot, I implore you to hop on over to flamingcarrot.com and see what you've been missing), which were thoroughly entertaining. Time for another confession: Though I've read the comics, what I have not done is seen any of the cartoons or movies based on those comics. Y'see, the comics weren't for kids. Or rather, they weren't only for kids, as evidenced by having taken Frank Miller's superhero noir as inspiration. The cartoons and movies, however, seemed to be made for, and marketed to, a legion of kids. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course, but it seemed that something had to be, of necessity, lost in translation.
Anyway, having said all that, I must also say that it is certainly worth noting that from what I've seen, Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo haven't looked as good as they do in this new movie's CGI since the original black & white TMNT comics by Eastman and Laird. While the Turtles passed me by a long time ago, I suspect that the last wave of kids who loved them have also now grown up and moved on as well. It's time for a new generation to develop their own affection for these characters, and this looks like it may be just the movie to do it.