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