Monday, May 19, 2014

Just Sayin' with Shawn - Ninja Turtles Theorizing

The upcoming Ninja Turtles film, directed by Johnathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles, Darkness Falls) has been on the receiving end of a sh**storm of controversy since the moment the project was given the go-ahead.


First off, it was quickly announced that Michael Bay would be producing this blockbuster.  That's right, Bay, producer of endless hipster punchlines with his critically-reviled but occasionally enjoyable films, including: Transformers 1-3, Friday the 13th, Armageddon and The Purge.

Second, shortly after Bay came out as producer fans got wind of the news bite that, in this film, the turtles would be aliens and to say this irked some fans would be an understatement. Bay came out against the rumors a little later with this cavalier comment.

“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 [Teenage Mutant] 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.”


Part of me liked the idea of them being aliens. The turtles need an endgame other than defeating the baddie of the day and going back to the sewer. They are four good dudes with a loving rat for a father - its enough to let us believe they can become insanely skilled ninja warriors despite all the pizza they eat...but for them to remain amongst themselves practicing zen martial arts forever? Any good story deserves to have an endgame and, for the turtles, their needs to be an ultimate goal other than just saving the day.  Their has to be a desire to grow up and see the world free of the sewers like coming-of-age ninja that was hinted at wonderfully well in the first film but is the juice of endless possibilities left to explore in this one. This isn't the late 80's early 90's anymore and this is a Bay production - maybe its time to expect some big changes.  Maybe some Drugs, Sex and Rock n' Roll?

Well they tried the rock thing in the early 90's. It was horrifying.  As for drugs, c'mon, the turtles are too way cool for drugs as this PSA corroborates - although, personally, a little pothead subplot sounds like just about the most natural direction one could take with a party dude like Michelangelo but this is a big-budget movie so bad idea for now - but the subject of sexuality is a hard conversation to have when your three brothers are the only other members of your species. But then again...

Nothing odd at all about Raph's expression here...

In just about every incarnation of this story I have read or watched...and believe me as a child of the nineties and card-carrying comic book nerd I have seen just about all of has been established that all four turtles are attracted to human females. I am not even going to try to get into their history within the comic book canon because there is just too much to talk about, including; Michelangelo settling down with a human girlfriend to write comics about his brothers adventures, Leonardo's cute  relationship with Karai, multiple female turtles and the many alien conquests of Raphael. They also have been known to throw back a few so who knows who else visited the sewers off-panel.

Now you might think, oh well that's just in the comics, they would never put that in any of the mainstream material. Well, first of all, shut up because the comics are where these turtles are truly from and what they're all about and second of all WRONG! In the original movie - one of my all-time favorites - they each have a crush on April (particularly Raphael) but are cool with it when Casey gets with her at the end of the movie. Committing second-degree murder to finish off the shredder earned him some points.  There's material for the argument in each sequel but lets jump to the present - in the current cartoon one of the popular kids series long-running jokes is that Donatello has a thing for April. The fan videos are just insane...what are we doing to kids these days?

Anyways, the big point is that I believe that the reason for all this alien conversation was merely an effort on the part of the producers to flesh out their world and create more of an endgame. Whether its a love interest or what have you...these turtles need to have lives outside of kicking ass and eating pizza or they're just going to get old before they're no longer teenage. They live in New York City for cripes sake - home of the melting pot and every type of strange that ever existed - there are many creative opportunities to play with there and if they were aliens than there would be a socially acceptable way for them each to get laid.

 But that's not what I think is going to happen here...especially based on the trailer which reveals that the Turtles were an attempt to "create heroes" by the Shredder and April's Dad (don't have high hopes for that bit)...however, through the magic of CGI the turtles now look more human than ever before and their wardrobe seems to imply some anatomical adjustments to their physique as well, as in, what do you think is behind the loin cloths hmm?
Add to this the fact that two unrequited conquests human female characters in April O'Neil and Karai are both going to figure big in this movie and that there is also going to be no Casey Jones for April to end up with this time around and...well, did I mention Megan Fox is playing April this time around? Now the trailer and some earlier reports (since taken down) lead me to believe that Raphael is going to be on a mission to save his brothers and Splinter once they are kidnapped by the Foot Clan. His only ally left will be the two will be spending a large part of the film together. Oh, and did I mention Alan Ritchson is playing Raphael? You know...this guy.

Juuust sayin' ...

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