Still not sold on Michael Bay's "Ninja Space Turtles"

Good news coming from the "Ninja Turtles" front! A leaked script found by Latino Review's El Mayimbe contains references to the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles villains Bebop, Rocksteady, and Krang.

But this also comes with bad news, because there is apparently a synopsis floating around as well. It mentions the turtles "[coming] to Earth" with Splinter from their "recently destroyed planet." No. The only thing that should be coming from a destroyed planet to Earth is the ooze that turns the Earth turtles into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Because those guys are from New York, thank you. The fact that TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman is allegedly responsible for some of this script does not make me feel better. This reboot is definitely going to lead me into a What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? moment, I can just feel it.

El Mayimbe has been tweeting responses to the script he's reading, apparently code-named "The Blue Door." But unless you know of another franchise getting a reboot that also has characters named "Bebop," "Rocksteady," and "Krang," this is a draft of the script by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) for the TMNT movie being produced by Michael Bay and directed by Jonathan Liebesman. He doesn't go into details and only discuses what he sees while skimming, but sure enough, all the usual suspects are there, in good ol' Dimension X, where the evil Krang resides inside the Technodrome. You may remember that from the animated series, but it also appeared in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comics (which were spun off of the original Dark Horse comics). None of these villains appeared in the live-action movies, which was kind of curious at the time of their release in the early '90s. At least it was to me and my friends, who were huge fans of the cartoon when the movies came out and assumed that these movies were being based on the TV show.

But here's the thing about Bebop and Rocksteady that really throws a wrench into Michael Bay's TMNT-ruining gears: both of them were definitely human first. They were humans, street toughs in New York City, who were then mutated into a man-sized warthog and rhinoceros (respectively) by Shredder when the two volunteered to become the latter's henchmen (not knowing what his creepy plans were). But what they are not are aliens from another planet.

Krang, who is best known as the "brain in the stomach of a robot" guy, allies himself with Shredder after he's banished from Dimension X in his current form, asking Shredder to help him restore his body when the two run into each other on Earth. I should mention that I didn't see any mention of Shredder, but you can't have any incarnation of TMNT without Shredder. Or can you? Here is the synopsis, found by Comic Book Movie:

“After their planet’s destruction, four turtle-like alien warriors and their master come to Earth, where they join forces with reporter April O’Neil to prevent the extradimensional conqueror Krang from enslaving the human race.”

So, no mention of Shredder. But maybe if we remember that this could very well be the script that caused Paramount to delay this movie from December 2013 to May 2014, then we can probably assume that more than a few things will be changed before a real script is finalized.

Also worth mentioning: April, I'm disappointed. You're a reporter. Don't make yourself part of the story. Journalism 101, girlfriend.

No real call to get excited just yet, but if this was very close to being the final draft, then are we to believe that the movie will be based more on the cartoon than the original comics, like the first live-action movies were? And then also completely different anyway?

(via /Film)


  1. Get over it.  So tired of this attitude of ripping everything apart just for the hell of it.  The TMNT were far from high art to begin with.

    1. You’ve never read the original comic then I take it. Ah well. Those were some fantastic stories.

      While they may not be high art, there’s always room to rip on Bay and his tone-deaf explosion fests.

      1. You’ve never read the original comic then I take it.

        I’m a fan but I certainly wouldn’t call it “high art”.  I don’t think Eastman or Laird would either.

        Which isn’t the point, of course.  “The source material isn’t high art” does not equate to “You shouldn’t complain that the movie looks bad”, no matter how much annoying people in comments sections insist that it does.

        Seems like just yesterday we were going through this same song-‘n’-dance with Transformers.  “But it’s based on a TOY!”  Yeah, but the original movie had Orson freakin’ Welles in it.

          1.  Son Im 38 I wwebsite as on the internet when you were a sperm in your daddys balls and before it was the internet, thanks for the welcome to message wurd up.

          2. Couldn’t reply to your comment below, but thank you for the LOL. I “liked” your response.

        1. Face it, the original movie was not that good, although it does have some redeeming qualities. 

          (spoiler alert for the following)

          Killing off Optimus early in the movie was a very gutsy move, and shocking to the target audience.  Not reviving him at the end even more so.  The problem is that Optimus was far and away the best fleshed out Autobot, so the rest of the movie was left with the B-Team and joke characters trying to fill the hole.  As a kid I never accepted Rodimus Prime, he was always a pretender in my eyes. 

          I still can’t remember the point of the Quintessans though.  That whole arc seemed to just be filler. 

          1. It wasn’t groundbreaking cinema but it had a great cast and fantastic animation.

            And it was a damn sight better than the Bay movie.

          2.  As a kid I was able to tell what a goddam stupid name Rodimus Prime is. That character could have been improved 500% with a name change alone. But back to the Ninja Turtles.. making them aliens is pointless and probably only exists so Bay can show a planet blowing up. And.. well Bay can’t tell a coherent story, and hasn’t even tried in years.

          3. It had some filler arcs, some annoying concessions to the cartoons and some moments of stupid.  But it still had more actual scriptwriting in any 15 minutes than in Bay’s last ten years.

            Now if only they’d let Furman write the movie scripts.

          4. @boingboing-acc1fc2a7746c567f63c3c0490c35ddc:disqus Beast Wars managed to top Rodimus Prime in the Stupidest Transformer Namelympics with the introduction of Optimal Optimus.

            @boingboing-0328d081221f962475b35e217219e79e:disqus Well, there’d certainly be a lot more Grimlock.

      2.  I read the original comic–quite possibly well before many BB commenters were born–and it was nothing more than a pisstake on Frank Miller’s Daredevil and Ronin and (to a much lesser extent) on Marvel’s New Mutants. It inexplicably caught on and Eastman and Laird threw in a few other comics tropes before handing over the reins to others and spending their years raking in bales of cash. It’s OK for what it was, but deserves nowhere near the level of seriousness that Jamie Frevele and others give it.

        1. The level of seriousness that Jamie Frevele gives it is not to know what company published it.

          She’s got nostalgia for the cartoon.  The comic doesn’t seem to enter into it.

          Anyhow.  I like the original comic.  And yeah, I’m well aware of the Miller references; they’re not exactly subtle.  They also lasted as a springboard for all of one issue before the series turned into its own distinct thing.

        2. But for those of us who enjoyed the comic book, the fact that it’s not Shakespeare is not justification for Bay to take a dump on it.

          Apologies for not commenting a few minutes ago, but I just took a big fat Michael Bay, and just returned from the bathroom.

          Seriously, there are tons of action film directors at least as profitable as Bay right now, and any of them could sneeze a better Turtles flick than Bay apparently wants to make.

          1. Again, Bay’s not directing.

            Which doesn’t mean it’ll be good.  It just means Bay’s not directing.

    2. The only thing that is being ripped apart is my childhood.

      Aside from that, Michael Bay films tend to be extremely sexist with the most  clichéd and stereotypical female character roles imaginable. TMNTs would probably be standard fare for him because it only has April O’Neil as a major female character. I’m sure he’ll try to find someone to sex up the role while removing anything interesting about the character (which wasn’t much to begin with). Has Michael Bay ever had a single female character who was fully developed as a human being and not merely some plot device or a method to sex up a film?

      1.  By “to begin with” I assume you’re referring to the cartoon version.  Poor man’s Lois Lane and all that.

        Comic April was a scientist and a much more complex and interesting character.

        1. It is Michael Bay. She could be based off of Rosalind Franklin and he would still try to get her in a bikini.

      2. I can’t wait to see her spend most of the film in a tiny yellow bikini, arching her back seductively and never saying anything of merit.

    3.  yet it’s a franchise that has survived 25 years and has fans to this day.

      That’s because the original content was inventive, apealing and iconic, and Michael Bay is not.

  2. Just say ‘no’ to Michael Bay movies.  Regardless of the property.  Regardless of the hype.  Regardless (actually, because of) his brusque and stupid responses to people who think that his movies are terrible.  This is a bad person who makes bad movies.  We don’t have to give him any money.  It’s not hard.

    He’s not going to magically become a good filmmaker.  Personally, I would honestly rather watch The Asylum’s ludicrous knock-off “Transmorphers” movie than have to wince through any of Bay’s Transformers films.  You don’t have to see them to know this; Bay’s films are a known quality.  People complain about M. Night Shyamalan’s movies and stay away from them from reputation, but compared to Bay?  At least things aren’t constantly exploding in Shyamalan’s films.  Just don’t go.

    While we’re at it: don’t watch cable news channels.  And don’t buy 50 Shades of Grey.  Or The Secret.  And don’t watch Jackass.  And that magazine you see on the stands about “homeopathic” medicine is probably not going to be worth the price.  These are not hard decisions.

      1. The Jackass movies are practically highbrow performance art. If they used a different soundtrack, wore masks, spoke German, we might see ass firework shows in art galleries.

        Steve-O: Demise and Rise special is good too – very educational. Rock bottom, caught on camera.

    1. Jackass is in a whole different realm than the other properties you mentioned. Next to bilk-the-public dreck like 50 Shades and The Secret, it’s high art.

  3. C’mon Michael  “‘splosions” Bay!  

    A xenophopic Japanese Self-Defense Force member and martial arts master builds his own army to protect the world from all alien threats, turtles and disembodied brains alike.  His own ambitions of defense turn to dominance as he Takes on the mantle of Shredder giving the NT a new earthbound nemesis.

    If you’re gonna’ strip it down for a rebuild be willing to go all all the way.  Oh and I’ll need a gross pay deal for any more story ideas.  Never settle for a piece of the net, kids.

  4. The original comics were self-published by the creators under the name Mirage Studios.

    1. Wow, yeah, I must have skimmed over that “Dark Horse” line; I didn’t even notice it.

      Weird mistake; where’d she get Dark Horse from?  I’ve seen TMNT comics come from at least five different publishers, but none of them were Dark Horse.

      Could she have confused the TMNT with Hellboy, the other creator-owned 1980’s pseudo-superhero to achieve success in multiple live-action films?

  5. See, I’m in the camp that believes Bebop, Rocksteady, and Krang were TERRIBLE characters.

    1. I just want to see what Michael Bay does with Krang’s robot body (if he keeps it at all).  Will it be a big fat redneck retard body (I swear Shredder was getting back at him when he made that body)?  Or will it get standard “a billion moving metal parts held together with magic” that Michael Bay seems to prefer? 

  6. I’ve never been sold on anything  michael bay does. About 90% of the movies suck, but maybe thats just me. But then again if I wanted something to rot my brain, maybe I’ll watch one of those explosion-fests he calls a movie.

  7. Regardless of what this script, demanding a purity of vision from the freaking Ninja Turtles franchise seems like attempting to close the barn door after the horse has not only bolted but has successfully sired a wild herd.  I mean, I remember watching the original cartoon series, and then having my tiny fourteen-year-old mind completely blown when I picked up the collected comics volumes and found Shredder dying in the first damned issue, a whole society of aliens which looked like Krang (yet no Krang), and eventually the turtles’ brains being planted in robot bodies which appeared to have been constructed out of the homewares section at a Value Village.  Oh, and so. Much. Blood.

    1. Not to mention all of the continuity differences with the other three (it was only three, right?) live action turtles movies. 

    2.  I’m not asking for purity of vision.  I’m asking for a fun, watchable movie about four teenage turtles who mutate and become ninjas.  If Bay refuses to deliver that, then I assert the right to keep my money and make merciless fun of him.  After all, it’s not like I’m going to hurt him.

  8. One day genetic engineering will be perfected and they will produce the ultimate in bad directors.  Michael Bay and Uwe Boll combined.

    Wait never mind, that would just produce the average “skin-a-max” action flick… (bad plot, gratuitous 1/2 nude shots of women, more explosions) .

      1. People bag on Uwe Boll but at least he gets to the point with his terrible movies.  He will cram four or five scenes worth of exposition into two awkward lines of dialog.  There is not even an attempt to make it seem like the characters are speaking for themselves.
        There is nothing worse than a slow bad movie.

  9. With all the crossovery goodness of the recent Marvel offerings, I have been so hoping for a new TMNT movie tied to a (sorely, desperately needed) reboot of Daredevil.

  10. Funny, I just read yesterday that the project was at least being pushed back a year, and most likely shelved because it’s core audience hates it already.

    1.  If you think Bay gives a fuck about the core audience, you are indulging in fanboy entitlement.

      It’s been delayed for one reason and one reason only: budget.

      Meaning we’ll still probably get a bad movie, it’ll just be a CHEAPER bad movie.

  11. If everything I watched when I was in middle school is fair game for a big-money movie reboot, then to hell with TMNT, I want to see a CGI Bravestarr movie with Samuel L Jackson doing the voice of the talking horse

  12. I guess most people came to TMNT from the 80s cartoon or the frightening live-action movies, but my first experience was with the black & white comics. While the comic books could never be high-brow when discussing mutant turtle ninjas, they were certainly more artistic and adult-oriented than the cartoon. The art style was quite nice, as well.

    So for me, this is just another in a long line of dilutions of the original work. That the author of this post is surprised Eastman was involved in the script seems odd to me considering that guy already cashed in on TMNT 20 years ago. I believe E+L don’t even own the rights to the franchise anymore.

      1.  Yea, the arcade game was a no-frills, beat em up coin eater, but it did have really nice animation. I can’t remember if it came out before or after the cartoon aired. I don’t remember much of the NES game, which means I probably found it mediocre.

    1.  The comic books started as parodies of Frank Miller’s Daredevil comics.

      It’s all right there – the kid in the first issue who gets beaned with the radioactive ooze that falls into the sewer?  That’s Daredevil’s origin.  The Foot Clan?  A parody of the Hand.  Splinter?  A parody of Daredevil’s mentor Stick.

      The turtles were a joke.  Eastman and Laird said “let’s make a funny animal book that mocks Frank Miller” and people took it seriously.  I love the fact that it’s now turned into something that has people angsting about the “true turtles” because every time I remember its origin as a parody of bad 80s ninja comics it makes me laugh.

      1. Well, I mean, it had those references throughout the first issue but it totally played the plot straight.  Dismissing it as “parody” is an oversimplification; it took a ridiculous title and some obvious Frank Miller nods and then treated it like it was Serious Business.  That was part of the appeal.

      2. Cerberus started as a pretty basic Conan parody and yet becae much more. The “real” Cerebus certainly isn’t a Conan pastiche anymore.

      3. You raise a valid point, but what would be wrong with not screwing that up?  I mean, “Wayne’s World” was a silly SNL sketch that neither Mike Myers nor Dana Carvey thought would catch on, and they kept the films just as silly, but that doesn’t mean that doing a remake that throws out bits of the story that the new filmmaker doesn’t like would result in anything worth watching.

        By the same token, the silliness of the original TMNT was part of what made the comic worth reading.  Michael Bay’s decision-making will result in a lower-quality product.  But I guess it will be good enough for who it’s for.

    2. You’re right.  Mirage Studios sold all rights except the publishing rights to 18 TMNT issues a year to Viacom/CBS’ Nickelodeon division in 2009.

    1. Now that’s some serious nightmare fuel right there.

      “One Kansas girl in an oddly tight gingham dress…

      [caption: Kate Upton]

      One scarecrow who’s smoked his brains out…

      [caption: Doug Benson]

      One tin ass-kicking machine…

      [caption: Channing Tatum]

      And one mentally challenged stuntman who thinks he’s a flatulent jaguar…

      [caption: Steve-O]
      [smaller caption:  Nobody wanted to give Michael Bay a lion]

      From the director who rebuilt ‘Transformers’ with parts left out…who Pearl Harbored ‘Pearl Harbor’…who made us root for the rock…in ‘Armageddon’…

      This summer…see Adam Sandler in…

      TAKING A WIZ!”

      [Nobody has yet had the courage to rate this film.]

    1. So Mr. Bay won’t actually be making a bad movie; he’ll just be harassing the director into making a bad movie.

  13. The thing that pisses me off about this isn’t that TMNT was some kind of flawless gem that he’s ruining — it’s the audacity of Bay to walk into a franchise and say “I want to make a movie out of you, but I want to completely change you.” It’s disrespectful. 

    The same thing happened when M. Night Faylaman screwed the pooch with the Airbender movie; he changed a lot of crap that didn’t need to be changed (a minimal example: changing the pronunciation of “Aang” to “Ahng” — it’s not like he was interpreting it differently from a comic book…he was basing it off of a cartoon…done in English…), and I have a very deep love for the ATLA franchise; I felt betrayed, and my expectations weren’t even that high.

    If Bay wants to make a movie about alien turtles with martial arts skills coming to earth, by all means; I won’t stand in his way. But attaching it to a previously successful franchise solely for instant fanboy ticket sales is a real dickish thing to do; it’s just plain cheating. If I make a candy bar with the Snickers name, but I replace the chocolate with kale, the caramel with tofu, and the nougat with General Tso’s sauce, why am I still calling it a Snickers bar? Great, now I’m hungry.

    I liked TMNT in the 80s; my friends and I all watched the cartoons, collected the action figures, and played the arcade games. I never got into the comics, though I knew they existed. The movies were so-so, but they were acceptable; the first one was pretty entertaining, actually, and mostly faithful to the cartoon. But while the movies may have taken some artistic license (they made Splinter a rat that became anthropomorphic, rather than a human that became a rat; this actually made the Mutagen ooze a little more consistent, really), the movie was fundamentally the same.  Bay is disrespecting the audience and movie patrons by trying to tap into our love for Snickers, but serving us some possibly-delicious-but-clearly-different veggie bar.

  14. In a world…where Color Kids are enslaved…Mining blood Color Crystals for the one true Belt…a new hero will rise….2013…Meykl Bewyh presents……splosions….Rainbow Brite: King of Shadows:: Rise of the Wisp, Ep. 1: Starcrossed,  a Meykl Bewyh presentation of film production of.  

  15. Now for TMNT parody, who remembers Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters? Let Bay produce a movie of that –

    1. So they wouldn’t be Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters anymore?  Cool!  Because if there’s one group of martial arts animals who ever needed to grow up… ;)

    2. I’ll raise you some Pre-teen Dirty-Gene Kung Fu Kangaroos.

      Ooh, and Boris the Bear!

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