New Turtles movie sucks


A throwaway line in io9's review of TMNT (2014) is just one of the many data points on its chart of why the movie fails. But it struck me as imparting something important about why Hollywood is often so bad at this kind of thing.

"[In the new movie] the Turtles are apparently embarrassed to say 'Cowabunga,' and apologize profusely before actually saying it."

The movie-makers took something unselfconsciously goofy and funny and made it anxious and answerable to social norms. They were embarrassed by it, by the turtles' original goofiness. It made them cringe.

Knowing enough about the workings of the magic they buy, perhaps they feared complete removal? So they fixed it by making it superficial and ironic, in the hope that it would come across as a winking in-joke rather than, say, mocking the joy of perpetual, idealized adolescence to better reflect the nervous moderation of adulthood.

I guess it'll make a ton of money on the strength of relentless marketing, though, so there's that.

Notable Replies

  1. I hope it'll be renamed to TMHT in the UK.

    So, people who know these things, was this ever any good (i.e. the original comic)? I'm coming at this from the 80/90s cartoon, and from that I wouldn't expect this to ever be anything other than utter crap.

  2. The original comic's quite good, if really really dark compared to the shows. The original ninja turtles comic was a 1980s indie comic, and had their weapons actually draw blood and stuff, it was not a kid's comic.

    Also its implied the radioactive stuff that made them is actually from the same accident that splashed radioactive goo in Matt Murdock's eyes, they share an origin story with Daredevil.

  3. They don't just share an origin story with Daredevil; the references to the Frank Miller run are pretty overt.

    For example, Frank Miller's Daredevil was trained by a man named Stick and fought a ninja clan called the Hand.

  4. Fuck Michael Bay. Fuck him right in the ass with a rusty pipe.

    Two childhood franchises ruined.

    Not that the other Turtle movies were that great (the first one was fun). But, god damn it. Why do people keep giving this guy money, and why do people keep going to them. They are nonsensical shit!

    The original Mirage comics were great. They were fun, action packed, way less cheesy than the cartoon. Though around 2003ish, they had a cartoon where the reboot turtles (kinda cool looking) met the 80s/90s version via a dimensional warp, and they both journeyed to the Prime universe, which was black and white and drawn like the first comics.

  5. I've never read the comics. From what I know, its extremely different and pretty dark.

    The first cartoon ('87-'96) was silly and ridiculous and fun. I have fond memories of it, but I'm fairly certain if I rewatched it, it wouldn't hold up well. Very cheap animation

    The second series ('03-'09) was a pretty good update. After shows like Batman:TAS and such, they realized people liked serious cartoons. So it was a lot less goofy and had more character arcs. It was still very weird. Just look at what happened to Baxter Stockman.

    The third series ('12-present) continues the tradition of quality tv updates. They translated it very well to 3D and that has allowed the animation quality to go way up. Great character work and some pretty long running plot threads. It can get a bit kiddy from time to time. And once again, its always weird. Weird, weird, weird, weird, weird. (I had more links, but apparently I'm too new to this to include them :()

    Which is why its such a shame they couldn't get this LA movie right (or even within a galactic orbit of right). There's a ton of different material to pull from. So many different variations. And they went with "none of the above". Getting rid of the weird in TMNT is be like getting rid of the magic in Harry Potter. Technically there's still a movie there, but...

Continue the discussion

25 more replies