Friday, March 28, 2014

Why most of the complaints about the new TMNT trailer are unfounded

After months of annoyance and frustration of Paramount and Nickelodeon being hellbent on keeping all the info on the new TMNT movie under wraps we finally have a trailer.

Personally I liked it, but I keep reading articles and comments about how "terrible" it  looks and how the Turtles look too "ugly" and that it looks too "gritty" for Ninja Turtles. Truth be told there isn't enough actually in the trailer to actually to make any arguments for itself, I just so happen to have enough expert knowledge on the rest of the TMNT franchise to strike down at least 90% of the upfront complaints.

1, Micheal Bay, Megan Fox and William Fichtner
Many people aren't happy with Michael Bay's involvement in the movie (and I'm certain that there's a good number of people hating this movie for no other reason than that) but there good reason not to worry about that. Jonathan Liebesman is directing and TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman is helping with the script. I know some of you are thinking: "Bay's still the producer and his name is the first thing that comes up in the trailer." Just remember two things: 1.) Transformers 4 began production a month after TMNT so Bay was probably too busy to have any real influence. 2.) Bay's name is there just for publicity. Remember how Steven Spielberg "presented" Tiny Toons, Animaniacs and Freakazoid? Yeah, he pretty much had JACK SQUAT to do with the actual production of those shows. He didn't create them and he didn't write for the episodes. Go ahead, look it up and tell me if you can find anything Spielberg did for these show other than try and get Charlie Adler fired. So there you go the only reason Bay's name is first is because he's more famous than Jonathan Liebesman so his name is there first.

As for Megan Fox, like I said there isn't much material in the trailer to work with. I will say though that she looks a lot less "fanservice-y" than usual. No more so than the actual April O'Neil.
To be honest, I think that  Mary Elizabeth Winstead would play a good April O'Neil, but since she doesn't do big name movies anymore what are you gonna do?

As for William Fichtner playing a white Shredder, like Megan Fox there is very much to go on, even though Ken Watanabe would have been great for an Asian Shredder. Although, I do find it very amusing that the same people who supported a black Human Torch, a female Dr. Doom and a gay Spider-Man are annoyed over a white Shredder.

Also, his I hope his voice over in the trailer is different is in the movie because it sounds less like he's talking to April but more like he's reading a narration.

2. The Turtles' Appearances
A lot of people say the Turtles look too ugly. If you've read my other articles, you know I've been wanting a more realistic-looking style of Ninja Turtles for a while now and my first thought is that most people thinking this are more used to the various animated series where the Turtles are given the same artistic styles as everyone else and all four of them looked the same. I like to think that the TMNT designs have been going through a type of progression for years now. The first time the Turtles were given their own unique appearance and clothing was in the Next Mutation and that show was so terrible it killed the franchise for a couple years. When the 2012 series came around, Nickelodeon decided to give all the Turtles were given their own unique characteristics (Leo's average, Mikey's the shortest, Raph's the stockiest and Donnie's the tallest) and it migrated it's way to the IDW comics. The next stage of design progression is TMNT: Out of the Shadows where the Nick designs were given a realistic makeover.

Now we have the movie designs, that upgrade the Turtles again by not only giving them their own unique heights and styles, but making them ultra-realistic to fit in with the live action actors.

Fans of the 1990s movies are probably thinking to themselves "What about the costumed Turtles, they were awesome!" I liked the original movies as much as everyone else but let's be honest here: they were products of their time, all the Turtles looked the same, and when Jim Henson died all the costumes went to crap.

And as great as the Jim Henson suits were, can you look at them and honestly call them "handsome?"

Also, the Turtles are huge for some reason. The Turtles are usually only over five feet tall, but here they're towering over April (and yet if you look closely at the clip with Donnie fighting the Foot soldiers, he's only a little bit taller than them). I'll need to see more of the movie before I can comment on this adequately.

3. Gritty Tone
Even though the movie's already confirmed to have a lighthearted tone, I feel the need to comment on how some people aren't aware of Ninja Turtles' dark history and how too much goofyness has been a bane on the series.

The very first issue in original Mirage TMNT comic had the Heroes in a Halfshell killing a dozen Foot soldiers before Leo gutted Shredder. And no, the series didn't get any lighter when the cartoon became popular.

Then there's the Image series, where not only were the Turtles just as violent, but the Turtles were constantly getting gruesomely mutilated and fitted with cyborg parts.

Then there is the Archie series that spun off of the 80s cartoon but quickly became it's own thing. It wasn't dark or gritty, but has much more seriousness to it than it animated progenitor. Also, this continuity includes
the infamous TMNT porno comic.

Currently, there's the IDW comics, full of gang violence, parental abuse, genocide and at the start of the "City Fall" storyline Casey gets stabbed onscreen by the Shredder.

Now lets talk about the TV shows. The one a lot of older fans are familiar with is the one from 1987. There's a reason this show was mocked in Turtles Forever, and that reason was it is ultra-goofy (though not as goofy as TMNT or Next Mutation). It tried to get serious in the last couple "Red Sky" seasons by ripping off Power Rangers and giving the Turtle the secondary mutations from the unproduced fourth live action movie but that didn't work. 

I would view this show more positively they had used Kirby from the fourth movie, that way we could him as the fifth Turtle instead of Venus de Milo.

Speaking of Venus, let's talk about Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, the worst thing this franchise has to offer. It was so bad that TMNT co-creator Peter Laird has made it a rule among TMNT writers never to mention it. Between the awful jokes, the stupid fight scenes with the lamest villains ever, and making the Turtles losers and moronic jerks so that Venus de Milo could get across her Girl Power message there was no room for grittiness.

 Then there's the 2003 series, the one I grew up with. I consider the best show, perhap because of nostalgia or perhaps because it combined the humor of the 1987 show and the seriousness of the Mirage comics. It's hard to believe this show was produced by 4Kids, it has the Mirage backstory of Shredder killing Hamato Yoshi and Shredder was "killed" onscreen twice. Then there's Baxter Stockman, who was mutilated until he was just a brain in a jar. He was even part of the episode banned due to  it being too graphic. Yes, this is the only TMNT cartoon with a banned episode.

Now there's the 2012 series. It's not as serious as the 2003 series, but it's still good. This also the first TMNT show where the Turtle actually act like teenagers and the first time their designs are different enough to tell them apart without their masks. The tone is more goofy than the 4Kids show, but stays leveled thanks to the plot introducing serious elements and characters.

As for the actual movies, you will notice that the first film, which is considered by most to be the best Ninja Turtles film, is was WAY more serious than the 1987 show. It was really a toned down version of the Mirage comic. Really the only thing taken from the cartoon was the colored masks, the love of pizza and just enough humor to keep at a "PG" rating. And I haven't even mention the violence and profanity.

The second movie is good, but has way too much silliness in it. It was supposed to an epic two-movie adventure, but thanks to executives and the Soccer Moms of America it was got really toned down. 

The third movie focused mainly on humor and had a terrible plot and no one liked it.

The fourth one in 2007 once again brought us humor and action balanced evenly.

The point of this little history lesson was to point out that while TMNT has always been at it's best when it evens out the humor and violence, no TMNT production has ever failed by being too dark. In fact, most of the failed TMNT productions failed by being too silly.

4. The Change in Origin
The last thing that is seeming to grind peoples' gears is the fact that Shredder assisted in the Turtles creation.

As stated by Andre the Black Nerd, there has pretty much all the origin stories of the Turtles are different. Whether it's Splinter being Hamato Yoshi's pet rat or Hamato Yoshi himself, the mutagen coming from Utroms or being made in a lab accident, and so on and so forth.

Heck, in the IDW comics Krang and Baxter Stockman create Splinter and the Turtles, in addition to being the reincarnations of Hamato Yoshi and his family who were murdered in Feudal, Japan by Shredder who himself is the reincarnation of a warlord who made a deal with Krang to use the mutagen to get eternal life.

I think this film will be good despite what all the haters are saying. I remember when the first trailer for the 2012 show came out and everyone proclaimed it to look terrible and now it's one of the highest rated kids shows out right now. However, before anyone can truly make a conclusive opinion we need more info on the movie and let's hope it comes quicker than the first trailer.

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  1. This is well thought out. I do agree that getting mad about Bay producing it is petty. But I still stand by Megan fox being a bad choice. Because SHE CANNOT ACT. April was a damsel in distress people LIKED. That kind of character is tricky to balance. I doubt that Megan Fox can handle it.

  2. Thank you sooooo much for this