TMNT Creators Speak Out
The creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have come out with their thoughts on the Bay remake of their property. Kevin Eastman (the original creator Bay said had working with him) had this to say:
“Hey Guys, Sorry to have been away for so long–completely swamped with work–but it is some pretty exciting stuff. I had been invited to check out the TMNT film development by my friend Scott Mednick over the years, and a while back had a full look behind the curtian at what writers Appelbaum and Nemec, director Liebesman, and producer Bay are doing–and trust me–it IS AWESOME. I’m officially on board, and will share more as I’m allowed… thanks all!”
While seemingly a good thing to hear, Peter Laird was a little less than optimistic. If anything, he has cautioned for us to wait and see what we get. In his blog written here, he states:
“…I would actually encourage TMNT fans to swallow the “chill pill” Mr. Bay recently suggested they take, and wait and see what might come out of this seemingly ill-conceived plan. It’s possible that with enough truly creative brainpower applied to this idea, it might actually work. I’m not saying it’s probable, or even somewhat likely… but it IS possible.”
He goes further into some details about others always asking about a possible fifth Turtle, which they did in the live action series; Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. They introduced a female turtle; Venus De Milo, which Laird didn’t agree with at all. Hate might be a better word for it. As for her backstory, it pretty much went with the idea that she was a fifth turtle in the bowl that got covered with the ooze and then was flushed away accidentally. She ended up in Chinatown and a Shinobi master took her to China and brought her up on his teachings. Upon her master’s deathbed by an enemy (the Dragons) he reveals her origins and send her to his dream real friend; Splinter. This is something that he was trying to avoid happening from the get go. Now enter the aliens…
He said that he could see how it could work out given the right backstory. That there is the potential for a lot of Ninja Turtles if done well. My problem with this is fairly a simple one. I think everyone could easily see it. Let’s use Superman as an example here. We know that he was rocketed to Earth by Jor-El and Lara to save his life from the doomed planet of Krypton. He lands and is raised to believe in Truth, Justice and the American Way. (Yeah, I still use it! It’s symbolic, like he is.) Now we get to the point where he knows he’s the last and no others will show up. Then, sometime later, Kara shows up! He now has a cousin. I’m behind that idea. A female Kryptonian is good for a little spice of life, give a perspective that Superman can’t since he’s lived on Earth all his life. Then, if we take the Death of Superman story into play and not the 50s stories in particular, we get Superboy! A clone meant to be a replacement. He had his own unique powers for awhile, and eventually got the full Kryptonian set that Kal-El had. Again, another perspective with some of his own issues to work out. Of course we get a few Kryptonian baddies here and there to spice things up. This demonstrates what would happen given that Superman were evil. I don’t mind one or two of those, as long as they don’t stick around. However, I think the number should stop there. We’ve had enough Kryptonians. It starts to dilute the character as it were. We can’t have them all act like Big Blue, nor can I stand the constant nature of a ton of people having Kryptonian powers. If that weren’t enough to convince you, then let’s talk about how completely stupid this makes Jor-El and Lara. It really makes it seem like everyone got together behind the scenes and agreed with Jor-El’s findings, but decided he was too smug about it. They would let the kid survive, but not the rest of the family.
Having said all of that, I can understand the point of view that these extraordinary characters will always stand out no matter how many of them you make. But the origin story of what made them that cool in the first place has to shine somewhere. A few things getting mutated thanks to the same ooze (not necessarily at the same time the Turtles got doused with it) is understood. Much like Superman, I’ll always understand how some survived through alternative means such as the Phantom Zone for criminals and some people buying into Jor-El’s beliefs. However, we have to accept that there were limitations put in place at first because it can run wild quickly. I agree, working without limitations can be a great deal of fun. The problem is that not everyone can be trusted with that sort of power in their hands. Sometimes the challenge is to tell a story within the confines of the world you’re given. Again, I point to Bay’s track record and say he’s not proven enough to handle this.
I hate to disagree with Eastman or Laird on this, especially since it IS their creation. I’ll swallow the pill only to the extent that I won’t see the movie. I’ll sit by and let others see it and find their reviews on it. Maybe if something comes of that, I might watch. Emphasis on MIGHT. It’s not within me to trust directors of special effects to tell a story. If people love his work, so be it. I accept that and happily say, enjoy! One movie out of all of his IMDb listings doesn’t a storyteller make.