OH REALLY: Michael Bay and Co. are looking to The Avengers for inspiration on Ninja Turtles

It's no secret how I feel about the upcoming Michael Bay-produced Ninja Turtles movie. And despite the involvement of one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creators, Kevin Eastman (a creative consultant), I'm just really, really skeptical about this movie. But Eastman says that the filmmakers are bent on making this something that we fans will accept -- and he's looking to the hugely successful, widely appealing cinematic style of The Avengers for inspiration. Is that so? Well, I suppose that if you consider that the Avengers movie didn't include a couple of the original Avengers from the Marvel comics, that's on par with completely changing the origin story of the title characters and turning them into different creatures altogether. Like turning Thor into Spider-Man. Something like that? No big deal.

I recognize that Eastman has taken on a huge and thankless responsibility -- that of the Ambassador of Reassurance. And in his role as a consultant on Ninja Turtles, he can't be blamed for trying to build a positive public opinion of this movie that has been reviled and mocked by the blogosphere (present company included). What I'll do for Mr. Eastman is stop putting the movie's title in quotation marks and treat it like an actual movie. I will also listen to what he has to say about the quality of the production, which, honestly, doesn't sound entirely horrible.

“[Director] Jonathan Liebesman is going to make a great film,” he said. “From what I’ve seen of the script, it’s fantastic. Michael Bay has made some great and intense movies. We’re talking about being inspired by movies like ‘The Avengers’ for scope and roots origin and ‘The Raid: Redemption’ for fight scenes and [‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’] as far as computer-quality style.”

Let's skim past the irony of looking to The Avengers for its "roots origin" and look at the other movies helping to shape the vision of Ninja Turtles. While I admit that I'm not familiar with The Raid: Redemption, I have to say I'm impressed with the fight scenes that appear in the trailer, of which there are several cool examples. And fight scenes are important when your movie involves some kind of martial art. As for the CGI in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, that was some crazy impressive stuff. If Ninja Turtles is planning on aspiring to -- and acquiring -- that level of computer animation, then that could really be something to look forward to. (But will Andy Serkis be involved? Probably not.)

Eastman also mentioned that the original script by John Fusco was much darker and grittier, in the vein of Batman Begins, which is actually a pretty decent reference for an established franchise undergoing a reboot. But apparently, Paramount wasn't interested, and it got into Michael Bay's hands. Michael Bay made a Transformer say "My bad" once, and I will never forget that. That's where my trepidation lies. This could be the coolest-looking movie ever, but if everyone is saying stupid, stupid things, then it's not even worth it. I could even almost deal with the bastardization of the TMNT origin story if only I knew it was a good script. Eastman says that "what [he's] seen of the script" is "fantastic." But then he also said that Michael Bay makes "great and intense movies," when the filmmaker himself said that he "got burned" on Transformers 2.

I don't know, you guys. I'm willing to hear Kevin Eastman out, but I still feel like it's perfectly acceptable to remain skeptical until we start seeing some footage. And dialogue.

Photo credit: Screen Rant

Kevin Eastman: ‘Ninja Turtles’ is Looking to ‘The Avengers’ For Inspiration [Screen Rant]


  1. bah- i don’t care one way or the other so long as it doesn’t mess with production of the current Nickelodeon TMNT series- which is easily the best version of the story besides the first few years of the original comic.

  2. Right after Saving Private Ryan had hit the theaters, he said he wanted to do the same for Pearl Harbor. To that end, the first thing he did was get Digital Domain to do a bunch of CGI of WWII planes crashing. If he’s claiming “The Avengers” as inspiration, it isn’t the storytelling he’s talking about.

  3. Remember Howard the Duck ! and how horrible that conversion went. If they’re going to do this right it’s got to have things getting sliced and diced and not just the pizza….

  4. The Raid: Redemption (which is an excellent film) did indeed have great fight scenes.  Brutally violent, brutally graphic fight scenes.  It’s a great movie to look to for inspiration if you’re looking to make a movie that gets a hard “R” rating.  Y’know, like you’d expect from TMNT.

    1. Yeah.  Trying to capture the essence of The Raid: Redemption without the gut churning violence is like trying to make a production of Oklahoma! without any music.  It could be done, and it would be stupid.

  5. Maybe he just means that before we see the whole team together, we’ll get a separate movie for each of the Turtles.  Coming in 2013: Donatello!

  6. Michael Bay has made some great and intense movies.

    Cool!  Name one.

    The Raid: Redemption is must-see for any action movie buff; but it’s already being remade…as the new Judge Dredd movie. So: way to jump on board last year’s hot thing.

    I hold no special allegance to TMNT mythology canon, but the whole reboot for the sake of reboot because reboot is tedious, and Michael Bay at the helm guarantees tedious on top of tedious with tedious going all the way down.

  7.  I’ll start off by saying that I don’t have any emotional investment in TMNT to begin with, so you can discount everything I say from this point on, if you wish. I did read some of the TMNT’s very earliest adventures; I think that I still have the second printing of the very first issue, and appreciated it for what it was–a funny-animal mash-up/satire of Marvel’s New Mutants and DC’s Ronin (and, by extension, Frank Miller’s work in Daredevil, which featured ninjas by the truck-load). I was puzzled at the comic’s runaway success (it was originally intended as a one-off, single-issue spoof) and the black-and-white comics boom that it set off, since I didn’t consider it a great comic by any means; there were many great B&W comics produced during the boom, many of which disappeared when the boom inevitably busted. (Arguably, co-creator Peter Laird’s biggest contribution to comics has been his creation of the Xeric Foundation, which gave grants to numerous independent cartoonists for twenty years before switching to non-comics charities, and was funded by his share of TMNT money. I’d rather not get into what I think of Kevin Eastman.) So, you might see why I find complaints about “the bastardization of the TMNT origin story” rather silly.

    Also, WRT the Avengers movie, without getting into a general discussion of investing emotionally in a movie being completely faithful to the work that it adapts (just one word: don’t), it’s worth noting the huge success of the movie measured against the ongoing contraction of comics readership. Trekkies who are still angry at the recent movie’s reboot of continuity have to come to grips with the fact that the old continuity had been pretty much exhausted and wasn’t of much interest to anyone besides hard-core fans (who still have an MMORPG to play around in), and similarly, losing Giant-Man and the Wasp was a small price to pay for expanding the appeal of the character well beyond comics fanboys, although I would like to see at least the Wasp introduced, just to bring a little more gender parity back. But expecting a panel-by-panel filming of the original Lee-Kirby comic is not a really good idea; the closest that there’s been to a big-budget literal translation of a comic has been Watchmen, and we know how that turned out.

    So, with this Ninja Turtles movie… I’m not a fan of Michael Bay, but I don’t have the hate that a lot of Transformers fans have for him, either. The question comes down to: Who else should do the movie? Tim Burton turned out to be the wrong person to helm Planet of the Apes, but it’s possible that the superior sequel wouldn’t have been made without his movie. Who has both the right style and the credibility to get a decent budget for this? Peter Jackson?

    1. This is totally crazy, but how about they just don’t do another one?  A bigger budget didn’t make any of the Transformers suck less?  But, people still flocked to see it.  So, quality control isn’t high on the producer’s list of needs, so our talk isn’t really going to stop the juggernaut that is Michael Bay moviemaking.

      1.  It’s not totally crazy; it’s just not very likely, if they think that there’s money to be made. And I’m guessing that Jamie would be happy to see another movie if it had a different creative team (an opinion shared by a number of TMNT fans of my personal acquaintance).

  8. I consider what you wrote in your August post to pretty much obviate any merit a Michael Bay TMNT might have.  Period, the internets have spoken, Here Endeth The Lesson.  

    Unless they scrapped that script, though I don’t see that change referenced in the article you linked to.

    You are entitled to your opinion and to change it if you want, no contest there, but I don’t understand why you’re backing away from the point you and the folks at Latino Review made so well.  I don’t see any reason to believe Eastman, a consultant, provides much of an objective opinion..

    And Liebesman as director, seriously?  This is a redeeming feature?  Jonathan ‘Wrath of the Titans’ Liebesman? Jonathan ‘Battle of OMFG DID YOU SEE HOW BAD THIS MOVIE WAS Los Angeles’ Liebesman?  This is not a selling point.

    But hey.  Just my opinion.

  9. Michael Bay is a bad man. When he was born he came out backwards and no one noticed.

    I once mistakenly watched Transformers all the way through, I knew then that my life expectancy had been greatly reduced and heaps of joy had been sucked from my soul.
    I wish I’d just watched Small Soldiers again instead.

  10. I think Jamie Frevele is missing the point. Avengers is a strong, ensemble-driven film, which is exactly what a TMNT film would need to be to stand alone as a good film in its own right. I think Jamie is disingenuously drawing conclusions from some promotion-talk to get fake-outraged like there’s a single person left who doesn’t already know Bay doesn’t take a nuanced approach to existing franchises.

  11. I’m with you on the Prime saying “my bad” :)

    You know, we moan and moan about Michael bay films and raping our childhoods but the bottom line is his films make money. They don’t make “my” money but it’s clear that the majority have spoken and the majority are quite frankly, easy to please. The rest of us, the minority, those that are less easy to please, it seems that we are destined to suffer in this world. And I use the word suffer very lightly in this context :)

Comments are closed.