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Michael Bay On 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle' Alien Controversy: "Fans Need To Take A Breath, And Chill"

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by Oliver Lyttelton
March 20, 2012 10:41 AM
10 Comments
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Hell hath no fury like a fanbase scorned. From Bryan Singer's "X-Men" abandoning their traditional yellow spandex to Jennifer Lawrence being too blonde and pale to play Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games," internet fandom is not one to lay down silently when a filmmaker tinkers with iconic elements of their beloved franchises. Most recent to attract the ire of a group of fans was Michael Bay, who gave an interview over the weekend where he said that his upcoming live-action/CGI reboot of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" would reimagine the reptilian heroes as members of an alien race.

As soon as NinjaTurtlesAreNowFromAnotherWorldGate broke, the internet exploded, with several petitions appearing from outraged fans who are horrified at the change in the origins for the new film, which Bay is producing. Jonathan Liebesman ("Battle: Los Angeles," "Wrath Of The Titans") is directing the script, written by "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" scribes Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec. Even Robbie Rist, who voiced Michelangelo in the original live-action movie, weighed in, describing the change as "the rape of our childhood memories" (can we please, please call a moratorium on that insensitive fucking analogy already? There's honestly no better way to get us to disregard any opinion you might ever hold than by using that rape in this context).

Well, Bay's never one to fail to appease the fans, and has taken to his Shoot For The Edit messageboards (via Movies.com) to defend the decision, and to ask fans for a little faith. The director wrote "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 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."

Bay raises a decent point here. Over-protective fans are frequently horrified at any changes to their beloved source material, even when there's a valid reason for making them. To whit: McG's bold, surprising ending to "Terminator: Salvation," which would have been by far the most interesting thing in that disaster, leaked to the internet while the film was in production, and the resulting uproar persuaded the helmer to reshoot an alternate version as half-baked and compromised as the rest of the movie. Bay is at least sticking to his guns, and it's possible that fans might be won over when they discover exactly what the filmmakers have planned.

That being said, while it pains us to pass up an opportunity to make fun of grown men who get this angry about a group of pizza-eating humanoid turtles, we do sympathize. Messing with an origin story this heavily is a little like having Batman becoming a crime-fighter after being bitten by a radioactive bat, and doesn't bode well when it comes to an understanding of the material. But you know, we'd cross the street to avoid a theater showing this movie, so we're perhaps not the best people to ask. After all, where was the outrage of TMNT fans when they hired the guy who made "Battle: Los Angeles" to direct? Get your priorities straight, people... Like it or not, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" will hit theaters on December 25th, 2013.

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10 Comments

  • WillyD | March 20, 2012 11:03 PMReply

    "Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." -C.S. Lewis.
    Maybe it's time we stop fighting over whether TMNT it worth saving and unite against what is, in fact, a bad idea from a filmmaker who long ago lost his right to ask for the benefit of the doubt.

  • David Ehrenstein | March 20, 2012 7:13 PMReply

    Michael Bay needs to go fuck himself.

  • jayc | March 20, 2012 4:47 PMReply

    At least Michael Bay continues to work from literary sources that are within his intellectual capacity. If ever you wondered what a 10 year old boy would do with a 400 million dollar net worth...just look to Michael Bay for your answer.

  • Ken | March 20, 2012 3:34 PMReply

    "Even Robbie Rist, who voiced Michelangelo in the original live-action movie, weighed in, describing the change as "the rape of our childhood memories" "

    If he said this using Michelangelo's voice, it'd make my day.

  • Jesse | March 20, 2012 12:48 PMReply

    Hey man, no one is happy that this fuck-tard is directing the movie, we're obviously pissed about the direction he's going.
    Also, I don't think many of us saw Battle:LA. I, in the other hand, did subject myself to the torture. I'd like to forget it, thank you. ;,(

    Here's hoping some crazed fan does the world a favor and assassinated Bay for this.

  • Ted | March 20, 2012 11:34 AMReply

    Alien turtles huh.

    So basically he wants to make "Turtles: Revenge of the Reptiles" right?

  • Gabe Toro | March 20, 2012 11:20 AMReply

    Sure, Michael, I'll relax and chill when I HAVE YOUR FUCKING HEAD ON A STICK.

    I'm sorry, I got a little out of control there.

  • Nik Grape | March 20, 2012 11:10 AMReply

    The fans in this case are way out of line. It makes perfect sense that walking, talking and wise cracking turtles are part of an alien race. But even though comparing Batman to the Ninja Turtles is like copmaring Nutella to dog shit, I guess I can sympathize. Kinda. Either way, there will be too much cheese on this one for me.

  • tristan eldritch | March 20, 2012 11:06 AMReply

    Man, people really need to stop using the word "rape" outside of the context of actual rape. Its offensive and cliched.

  • 30HomeGames | March 20, 2012 11:03 AMReply

    Indeed "Get your priorities straight, people". These haters need to say what they mean, the mistrust doesn't come from the change itself as much as the person who's steering that change. Michael Bay trying to pacify people by saying "Geez guys chill out, just wait till its done" doesn't exactly give the doubters comfort.
    Clearly the only solution to this would be to make multiple TMNT movies simultaneously helmed by different directors with their own spin on the origin. That way everyone's happy.

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