Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Preemptive Critic - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

(This Preemptive Critic review will be a little longer than usual. Cut me some slack. I'm in mourning).

I would moan in despair at the sight of Michael Bay taking a massive dump on my childhood, but let's be honest - that dump started in 2007 and continued with Nickelodeon's eye-blindingly-bad animated reboot series. Bay is merely the latest in a long line of offenders against my beloved Ninja Turtles.

I love the original 1987 animated series and I adore the '90s movie trilogy (yes, even the third one that people keep saying is crap. I say people are full of it). I still watch the films when I get the chance and I still love them. The original Ninja Turtles was cheesy '90s nonsense and I loved every minute of it - to the point that kids at school made fun of me for liking Ninja Turtles (the girls all thought I was weird for liking something boys liked and the boys wouldn't let me play Turtles with them because I was a girl. Screw them - I could play it on my own).  My Turtles were bright, colorful, funny while also being serious and mature when the occasion called for it - but never too serious that they couldn't end an episode on a funny moment. If I had to point to something that started me on the path of loving good superhero stories, without hesitation, I would say Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Leonardo was always my favorite, but I still harbor a soft spot for Raphael).

But this mess - where do I even begin? It's too dark and gritty, for one thing. I cannot see my jokey, fun-loving Turtles playing well in this atmosphere. The designs are clunky and unrealistic (see also Transformers). They've changed the story drastically (the Shredder isn't Splinter's long-ago nemesis, which is where most of the drama of the original came from). Besides, Nickelodeon has basically trashed the Turtles franchise with their lackluster animated TV series (I saw a few episodes and it sent me into the fetal position, it was so terrible). There was that movie back in 2007... never mind, that was bad too.

And dammit - Michael Bay! Lemme tell you a story - a few years ago, I went to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon over 4th of July weekend (the movie theater back home was doing a special matinee showing for the holiday). Most people cite the unrealistic action sequences and stupid storylines, but that isn't what ticked me off the most in that movie. The moment that ticked me off was when Michael Bay expected me to buy the fact that a glorified porn star was dating Shia LaBeouf's character. It only got worse from there - it's one thing to make a mindless popcorn flick, but he takes "mindless" to a whole new level that I refuse to descend to. It kills me that people would willingly fork over their hard-earned money to keep this guy in the movie-making business (that does nothing for my already-low opinion of society in general). When it was announced that Bay was producing a new Turtles movie, I wept openly. My beloved childhood heroes that I took hits for from the snotty girls and dumbass boys were on borrowed time as it was, but here is the final nail in the coffin (it's probably the same braindead dumbasses that keep Michael Bay in business, now that I think of it).

It may make millions of dollars at the box office, but that makes little difference to me. These aren't my Turtles - not even remotely. You can't have a faithful-yet-updated adaptation by throwing out everything that made the original wonderful. And that's precisely what they've done here.

For finally killing off the Ninja Turtles franchise, I preemptively hate this movie.

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