So, in case you don’t spend all of your free time blogging about pop culture/reading other people’s blogs about pop culture, Michael Bay is producing the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
Michael. Fucking. Bay.
Worse yet, he’s decided that there’s no reason to make the TMNT teenagers, or mutants, so now they’re aliens instead. Subsequent to this announcement, the internet basically exploded. I count myself among those in the “exploded” category. In fact, I’m quite sure that when I first heard it (and realized Bay wasn’t just trolling us all), I lifted my fists up to the sky and released a truly Shatnerian “BBAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!”, to let the gods of my ancestors know my rage.
Yep. Just like that.
My long-held grudge against everything Bay touches has been fairly public, I should think. I’ve never seen a movie he directed that I didn’t think was utter shit (though to be fair, I have not seen The Rock, and I’ve heard good things). He has a technical knowledge of special effects, but, I think, little understanding of character and story structure. He’s a poor man’s George Lucas, and that’s saying something. He tasks me, with every new movie he makes. He is also, somehow, stupid levels of successful.
The thing is, I never hear anything good from reviewers about his films, but they friggin’ always MAKE BANK. Audiences love them, for reasons I don’t really get. I guess it’s the “grand spectacle” or whatever, but who knows, I’m a notorious snob. “It looks soo kewl” isn’t enough for me to get over bad writing, wooden acting, and paint by numbers plot. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) was one of the most important films to my life as a child, and remains a rather impressive super hero movie, 22 years later. It is, in my mind, the perfect film that bridges the gap from the 80’s to the 90’s. Even if the sequels went from mediocre to absolute rubbish, I don’t want Michael fucking Bay remaking TMNT and making them fucking aliens!!!!! Just fucking kill me now and get it over with!
(When contacted for this article, Mister Bay’s response was: “I’ve done far worse than kill you, Palm. I’ve hoort you. And I wish to go on… hoorting you.”)*
All that being said, Bay is right about one thing. Recently, in response to blatant (and deserved) fanrage, Bay said “Fans need to take a breath, and chill. They have not read the script.” And he’s right, we do need to collectively chill out. For now. And here’s why:
It’s Too Early to be Sure
Look, my gut feeling is that this movie will be worse than Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation and the TMNT Christmas Special combined. But sometimes gut feelings can be totally wrong. For example, before it came out, I was totally convinced that Iron Man was going to be at best annoying and at worst terrible. Based on the trailers and the posters, I imagined Iron Man was going to be pretty much exactly like how Green Lantern turned out. Paint by numbers, shallow, and worst of all, BORING. And then I actually saw the film, and it blew me away. It was totally awesome, on all levels.
Now, while Bay’s dickish “They haven’t read the script” is just total assholery (Of course we haven’t read it! Have you, Mr. Bay? Does a full script even exist yet?), it’s a valid point. We don’t know anything about this movie yet, beyond “reboot” and “they’re aliens now”. On paper, it sounds awful. But I never thought a movie about an alcoholic in a mech-suit would become a stirring criticism on the business of modern warfare and moral grey areas inherent in weapon design- until I actually saw the movie.
Beyond that, the movie is scheduled for Christmas 2013. That’s 21 months from now, a long friggin’ time for changes to be made. I wasn’t joking when I asked if a script really existed yet, because this early in pre-production, I doubt it is.
Bay’s Producing, Not Directing
This isn’t the same as with Transformers, where Bay was in charge of the whole project. Bay is just the producer here, which means it’s more akin to all those horror film remakes he’s been producing for the last decade. Which, okay, isn’t exactly praise. I mean, the Nightmare on Elm Street remake wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, at least? Who knows, until we see who the director will be, and who’s writing it, we can’t just assume that it’ll be awful because of who’s producing. Again, his track record as a producer isn’t all that much better than as a director, but we need more information still.
‘CGI Turtles’ Could Mean a Lot of Different Things
While making the turtles aliens is still, in my opinion, pretty stupid, the idea of CGing the turtles sounds way less stupid than it did five or ten years ago. What if the turtles are motion capture? Motion capture kung fu battles could have a lot of potential, and if there’s one thing Bay does well it’s cool effect shit. There’s no reason for the CG turtles to look like cartoons, like they would have until just a few years ago.
This is All Our Fault
Basically, I’m not suggesting that we all embrace this movie with love and affection or anything. But the whole reason this movie is being made is because it’s going to make a hell of a lot of money. The previous 4 TMNT movies have made nearly half a billion dollars, and that’s when half of them were total garbage. I know I always shock people when I point this out, but movies only exist to make money, and this is basically a sure thing.
As to why executives keep letting fucking Michael Bay have these film franchises, well, because that formula seems to work. People keep paying money to see Transformers movies, even though they know they will be awful, because it’s Transformers. It’s not a franchise’s fault if a movie is terrible, but when you keep paying money to go see it, you basically are telling the studio that it’s okay to be terrible, as long as I see robots in disguise!
Look, I love Spider-Man. And I’m going to go see the new Spider-Man movie. I’m worried about the whole “new direction” thing, but I’ll give it chance. But if it’s terrible, what I won’t do is go see the inevitable sequels with the same director, writers, and cast. You can only vote by your wallet, people. If you thought Transformers was terrible, but then went and saw Transformers 2 in spite of yourself, YOU are partially responsible for Transformers 3 and the upcoming 4th film. So even if you hate Michael Bay, and all the trailers end up looking like garbage, and then the reviews suck, and then you still pay money to see “Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: They’re Aliens Now”, well, shit dude. What is wrong with you?
I hope the new TMNT is good. But if it looks like it won’t be, then I’m not going to see it. But I’ll wait until it gets a little closer to its release date to decide that.
*=Possibly a lie made up for comedic purposes.