Looks like the title characters in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot will be getting their turtle power from a source other than green mutagen found in a New York City sewer.
At the recent 2012 Nickelodeon Upfront conference Michael Bay, who is producing the new film for Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon through his Platinum Dunes production company, offered up his thoughts on what children who didn’t grow up devouring everything related to the weapon-wielding amphibious ass-kickers created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in 1984 can expect from the gestating reboot.
“When you see this movie, kids will believe one day that these turtles do exist, when we’re done with this movie. These turtles are from an alien race, and they’re going to be tough, edgy, funny, and completely lovable.”
I’m suddenly having flashes of the network executive from the “Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie” episode of The Simpsons: “We at the network want a dog with attitude. He’s edgy, he’s ‘in your face.’ You’ve heard the expression, ‘let’s get busy’? Well, this is a dog who gets ‘biz-zay!’ Consistently and thoroughly.”
If director Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans) and screenwriters Josh Appelbaum and Andrew Nemec (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) go forth with this re-envisioning of the Turtles’ origin story then it will be interesting to see how they justify the use of the word “mutant” in the title. This just seems like an unnecessary alteration intended to update the characters for the 21st century. I’m not a rabid fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles anymore (because…you know…I am an adult) but I firmly believe that a character’s back story should always be maintained in order to preserve their integrity. There’s nothing wrong with updating certain elements of the origin to keep up with the times. After all, you can’t have Tony Stark escaping capture in the Mark 1 Iron Man suit from Communist Vietnamese forces in 2008. But if the most crucial elements are changed then the character(s) are irrecoverably damaged. Then again, that seems to be the strong suit of Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes criminal gang.