Fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise do not, generally speaking, seem to be particularly enamoured with the details they’ve heard so far about the Michael Bay-produced Ninja Turtles movie. From the early reveal that the pizza-loving sewer-dwellers are going to have an extraterrestrial origin story, to the announcement that April O’Neil would be played by Transformers star Megan Fox, the fanbase that should have been guaranteed to buy box office tickets upon the film’s release are growing less excited the more that they hear.
One of the film’s most noted detractors so far as been Peter Laird, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic books. Showing no qualms about criticising this latest incarnation of characters he helped invent, Laird has described Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec’s leaked script as “so fundamentally flawed … that trying to make piecemeal changes to it in an effort to make it into something halfway decent is probably a fool’s errand.” More recently, Laird expressed a notable lack of enthusiasm regarding the casting choice of Megan Fox, saying that, “there are probably hundreds of better choices for the role of April O’Neil.”
Laird has the luxury of being able to speak his mind about the film – which has dropped the “teenage” and “mutant” aspects from the working title, leaving behind just the Ninja Turtles – since he is not directly involved with the reboot and is observing developments, like the fans, from an outside perspective. TMNT‘s other co-creator, Kevin Eastman, is working on the film as an official consultant and has been making an effort to soothe public concerns, previously assuring fans that Ninja Turtles will “be well-grounded in Turtle history and lore” despite the characters being repackaged as aliens.
Eastman has now communicated further reassurance in an interview with Comic Book Resources, during which he praised the film’s producers and director Jonathan Liebesman, insisting that their intentions with the TMNT franchise are pure:
It’s probably amusing to a lot of people what the press puts out there and what they say people behind the scenes really want to do with the movie, but [Platinum Dunes'] main goal is actually to make the best possible ‘Turtles’ movie with respect to the fans and the core audience as possible. We’ve learned from movies like ‘The Avengers,’ which to me was a superhero movie so good to me personally that I practically wept [...] From everything that I’ve seen in the ['TMNT'] script and the development and everything they’ve asked my input on specifically, it’s gonna be an awesome, familiar, solid ‘Turtles’ movie. It’ll have everything that fans are gonna want and then some.
It’s important to remember that Eastman has a greater level of knowledge and insight into Ninja Turtles‘ production than Laird, since he has been directly involved in the project from the start. Fans might also take comfort in the fact that Bay has asked one of the co-creators of the original comics for input, and that Eastman seems not only satisfied, but enthused about what the Platinum Dunes team has come up with.
But is Eastman’s endorsement enough to counteract the fan discontent that’s spreading with each new snippet of Ninja Turtles news? The fact that he is almost certainly receiving a consultant’s fee makes it fairly unlikely that he would openly express concerns he might have about the film’s direction.
Ninja Turtles is currently scheduled for release in 2014.