As one of Hollywood's biggest blockbuster directors, Michael Bay doesn't make a habit of defending himself or his filmmaking approach; frankly, he no longer ha$ to. However, the situation with the live-action movie reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bay is set to produce only seems to be getting worse and worse in the eyes of fans.
After an early script for the film - now simply titled Ninja Turtles - was allegedly leaked online, it didn't take long to see that the writing bar had been set lower than fans were ready to accept. Now Michael Bay has commented on the script in question, claiming that it was produced long before he or anyone at his company was attached to the project. But that likely won't be enough to sway skeptics.
It would be hard to find anyone to vocally support the supposed script for Ninja Turtles, since its crimes against artistic license have been well-documented already. No longer mutants at war with the shadowy Foot Clan ninjas, Leo, Don, Raph and Mikey are presented in the new film as extraterrestrial beings facing off against a covert military force (can you tell Michael Bay's involved yet?), all while cracking pop-culture jokes and zany references. The script was so objectionable that Turtles co-creator Peter Laird deemed no aspect worth saving, recommending that it would be best for all concerned if it was trashed entirely.
Michael Bay has apparently decided that enough is enough, and is attempting to distance himself and his production company from the script. The comment from Bay was spotted by Latino Review, and might raise a few eyebrows among those who have been following the TMNT reboot for some time:
"The leaked script for Ninja Turtles that different sites continue to comment on was written well before I, or anyone at Platinum Dunes, was involved with the project.
That script saw the shredder a long time ago.
This is tired, old news -- Wait for the movie!"
While it's true that the script was not produced in the last few months, and is in all likelihood not the one that director Jonathan Liebesman will be following, the case is not that simple. For starters, the script - if legitimate - was dated as having been completed in January of this year, roughly a month before Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes were attached. It's fair for Bay to claim that the script didn't ever stand a chance of being accepted if it was lacking in quality, but there aren't many signs that producing a story that fans would approve of is the top priority.
One co-creator of the Ninja Turtles may have publicly denounced the absurdity of the leaked script (we believe the term "fundamentally flawed" was used), but the other seems completely on board. Optimism on Kevin Eastman's part isn't a crime in itself, but his perspective on the potential of the reboot may not be as clear as some would like. When explaining the film's delay until May 2014, Eastman explained that the latest script being developed wasn't just strong, but "as good as the last version — they’ve really knocked it out of the park." If there is any chance that the "last version" referred to is the one that Bay claims saw the shredder (no pun) a long time (read: months) ago, then those words may not instill much confidence.
As for Bay's hope that fans will wait until the film is finished to pass judgement, that is a sentiment that even we can understand. Sure, there may not be many fan-favorite creative minds shaping the story - not to mention rewriting the characters' origins - but that doesn't mean the movie has to be terrible. Dropping the title to simply Ninja Turtles may serve the the purpose of slicker marketing, but it could also be the first hint that the movie could speak to the previous trilogy's now-adult audience.
Where the action and fight choreography of the reboot is concerned, there really is no better place to turn for inspiration than The Raid: Redemption. That's the style that's influencing the reboot, according to Eastman, and anyone who doubts it's a wise move need only read our review of The Raid. Should Ninja Turtles even come close to the tension and pace set by The Raid, fans might just see Raph and the gang in a whole new light. Pairing serious martial arts choreography with a slightly grander setting, and some beloved villains and thugs thrown in for good measure could be a winning combination, provided it's handled with enough care. 'Could' being the operative word.
We can only hope that the Internet unrest will act as a reminder to Bay and Liebesman that the Ninja Turtles may be a dormant film property, but there are still plenty of fans invested in its direction.
To what extent the film will be 'shredded' by fans remains to be seen, when Ninja Turtles opens in U.S. theaters on May 16th, 2014.
Source: Latino Review
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