Splinter deserved better than this.
Even before the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer hit the Internet, many fans were already up in arms about Michael Bay producing the reboot. Now that the trailer has dropped, the anger certainly hasn't subsided. If anything, these fans now have specific grievances. The CGI featured in the trailer “looks like a video game.” The Turtles look like a “nightmare slimy ogre.” Michael Bay “is shit.” The bitch list goes on and on. And to be fair, Bay has, in all likelihood, produced a very stupid film. That said, people are forgetting one important fact: The TMNT franchise is already complete shit.
Say what you want about Michael Bay and his films, but this fear that he will somehow cheapen or dishonor the Ninja Turtles legacy is laughable. It’s not like the guy’s trying to reboot The Godfather. He’s remaking a ridiculous story about talking, pizza-loving reptiles, and it’s a story that’s already been whored out to a level that would make Farrah Abraham blush. Michael Bay’s version will almost certainly be a mess, but it’s not as if Secret of the Ooze was a real thought piece.
With that in mind, here are five reasons Michael Bay cannot possibly cheapen the TMNT franchise.
5. The Original Movies Aren’t Good
And the Oscar goes to...
Have you tried watching any of the original TMNT films lately? They’re horrible. Keep in mind, I say this as someone who recently dressed his dog up as Splinter for Halloween (it’s a lonely life I lead). I fully admit that I loved the franchise as a child, and still have many fond memories associated with it. You know what else I loved as a kid: Hypercolor shirts and couch humping. However, now I’m old enough to know that one of those two things was wrong.
My point is, nostalgia is what makes us pretend that the original Ninja Turtles movies were wonderful, rather than extended commercials for shity plastic dolls. And there’s a reason that nostalgia was once considered a neurological disease. It causes people to fondly remember “the good old days,” a wonderful time and place that never actually existed. In other words, nostalgia for the Ninja Turtles franchise allows you to remember all the happy memories associated with your childhood without having to remember that the movie was awful and you were molested by an usher in the movie theater’s bathroom.
Luckily, I have a way for you to overcome your nostalgia and face reality. All three of the original movies are on YouTube (keep in mind, studios don’t usually let their best films sit on Youtube for free). Go ahead and spend the next six hours watching them, and then come back. I’ll wait.
Back so soon? How far did you get before you cringed? I made it to the one-minute mark, where the epidemic of New York crime was symbolized by a white-ginger kid passing off a stolen wallet to a ninja. Man, demographics sure have changed since the early '90s.
4. Which Version Of 'TMNT' Is Michael Bay Ruining?
What the hell is this?
At this point, if you’re not punching your screen in a vain attempt to hurt me, you’re probably thinking, “So what if the Turtle franchise is shit? It’s my shit, and Michael Bay has no right to change it.” Well, I can sympathize. When George Lucas started pulling “midi-chlorians” out of his ass, I was none too pleased (even though it was his story to begin with). So watching an outsider like Michael Bay waltz in and meddle with the TMNT story must be pretty frustrating. That said, there are already various Ninja Turtle stories out there, so which one is Michael Bay shitting on?
For reasons we’ll get to in a moment, the original cartoon differs greatly from the comic books. And the original films differ greatly from the cartoons. In some versions, Splinter is a pet rat belonging to Hamato Yoshi. In other versions, he is a mutated version of Hamato Yoshi himself. In the movies and cartoons, Shredder is a long-running antagonist, where as in the comics, he’s killed off early and (for the most part) never heard from again. Bebop, Rocksteady, and Krang were created for the cartoons, while Tokka and Rahzar were created for the films. It goes on.
Since there are already many competing versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story, and they don’t all mesh, which version do we hold up as canon?
Granted, some of the early rumors about the turtles being aliens rather than mutants were concerning, but those don’t seem to have panned out. So unless Casey Jones is portrayed as a steam-punk trans-rights activist, let’s keep things in perspective.
3. The Creators Ruined It Years Ago
Is that sadness in their eyes? Nope, it's the reflection of money!
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise began as a one-off parody comic created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The two used money from a tax refund to create a dark, tongue-and-cheek send-up of popular 1980’s comics such as Daredevil and The New Mutants. By the time the cartoon series rolled around in 1987, the only tongues and cheeks involved belonged to high-end coke whores sitting atop piles of Eastman and Laird’s money. The two had sold out in a major way, and to be completely honest, who can blame them?
Iconic phrases like "Heroes in a Half Shell" and “TurtlePower” are well known to fans. But what most fans don’t know is that they were developed by a creative-marketing team put together by Playmates Toys Inc., not Eastman and Laird. Basically, the entire cartoon series that catapulted the Turtles into widespread fame was nothing more than an advertisement to sell action figures.
This is known as "Pulling a He-Man."
By 1989, Eastman and Laird were unable to continue writing the comics themselves because they were too busy running the multimillion dollar Ninja Turtle empire. As such, work was farmed out to other writers, which also explains the previously mentioned variations in the Ninja Turtle storyline. So many fans of the original comic were upset by the blatant sell out that the authors were forced to defend themselves in an editorial, claiming that while the television show depicts the turtles’ “wacky side,” the comics will remain true to the original concept. This was in 1989, well before the ridiculous movies even came into play. Now, a quarter century later, children weaned on the “sell-out” cartoon are outraged at the thought of the franchise being cheapened. As Groucho Marx once said, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."
In case you're wondering, Kevin Eastman has been very supportive of Michael Bay’s upcoming film, which makes sense, given he’s a paid consultant on the film. To many, that might seem hypocritical. But what I find more hypocritical is Peter Laird bitching from the sidelines about various aspects of the new moive, including the casting of Megan Fox. He might not be wrong, but if he’s so worried about how the film depicts his creations, I have to wonder where he was when they were making the Coming Out Of Their Shells Tour, a live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles concert.
Apparently, Laird is ok with a bunch of dudes in turtle suits singing “Pizza Power,” but Megan Fox’s hot ass is a problem.
2. Merchandizing, Merchandizing, Merchandizing (It's Too Forgone To Ruin)
This is for naked asses to sit on while defecating. Turtle Power!
It's one thing to say Eastman and Laird sold out. It’s another thing to see the staggering degree to which the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles name was used and abused. Do a Google Image Search for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles products,” or go use Bing if you want to be a weirdo. The results are astounding.
I could put together dozens of galleries filled with ridiculous Ninja Turtle merchandise, and maybe I will. But for now, these two videos will give you some highlights.
The first is a bizarre Canadian Christian video warning about the dangers of TMNT. While I don’t subscribe to the belief that the Turtles were indoctrinating kids into Hinduism, the video still does a nice job of showing just how much Ninja Turtles bullshit you could buy in the 1990’s, including baby teething biscuits. Also, the dudes are hilarious, and one of them says “Kraft Dinner.”
The second video showcases a toy known as the "Flushomatic," which allowed kids to “flush” ooze onto their Ninja Turtle dolls. I don’t know how this got by the Canadians, but it certainly seems to be indoctrinating kids into the wonderful world of scat.
Again, how is Michael Bay going to cheapen a franchise that willingly sold toilet toys to children so they could pretend poop slime onto the characters?
1. Vanilla Ice Ruined It
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for:
Make sure you watch the interview at the end! Amazing!
Was there ever any doubt? What can Michael Bay possibly do to a franchise that was once handed over to this guy with the instructions to “make it Ice.” The new movie could have Justin Bieber playing a mutant warthog anmed “Bieber-bop,” and it still wouldn’t live up to this insanity. Michael Bay might make some shitty, overhyped garbage, but he looks like Stanley Kubrick compared to anything that has the Ninja Turtles name on it. So quit bitching.