Michael Bay is Not the Enemy of the Ninja Turtles. . . We Are

It is really easy to sit behind a keyboard and bitch. It is really easy to fling bile at filmmakers who make films that don’t match our personal version of the movies we want to see. This has been true for as long as there has been the internet, and will likely be true for our children’s children and their children as well.

There has been a disturbing trend in the general internet fan community that has played off that universal truth. It has manifested as one of the biggest problem facing Hollywood today, there is no trust anymore. There is no faith that the professionals, who are talented and/or driven enough to make this their career, can actually make quality cinema from our beloved franchises.

The most recent example of the internet’s pigheadedness is the backlash to Michael Bay’s comment that the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film will feature an expanded back story that exposes potential Alien origins for everyone’s favorite heroes in a half shell.

Kids are going to believe one day these turtles actually do exist when we are done with this movie. These turtles are from an alien race, and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely loveable. – Michael Bay

Oh my god! Sound the alarms! The Ninja Turtles aren’t aliens, they are mutants! Michael Bay must be stopped, he is raping our childhoods! That was the battle cry from every corner of the internet in the wake of that statement. People were literately ready to take up arms against the Bay-menace.

I can’t stress enough how stupid this makes us all look. Reactions like this are why the movie industry doesn’t take this vocal minority seriously. We live in the information age, an age of great knowledge and the ability to share ideas. The film industry would be stupid to ignore smart, well-reasoned, and knowledgeable opinions from the likes of us. But they do, and do you know why they do? It’s because of these infantile overreactions.

It is made all the worse in this specific case because the fan community is outright wrong. Most people that are claiming childhood sexual abuse are either fans of the original movies or the original cartoon show. Neither of which were the original source, and neither were the most recent version of the franchise.

The internet fanboy community is holding a torch for their own version of the Ninja Turtles. They could care less for the over 300 comic issues and TV episodes of the Ninja Turtles that don’t have direct ties to those early movies or cartoon.

What is even more hilariously frustrating is that canon origin of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is very clear that the ooze that mutates the turtles in the first place is of alien origin. That’s right, the substance that mutates the turtles comes from aliens. So tell me again how horrible it is that an expanded origin for the new Ninja Turtles ties the turtles to an alien race?

Michael Bay’s production company, and all the people working on the new live action Turtles movie have been using original canonical elements to expand and explore the larger Turtle universe. This is what we are upset about? This is the line in the sand we want to draw? This is the hill we are willing to die on?

We need to all sit back and take a collective chill pill. If we don’t we can never break free from the intellectual cellar that internet fan community currently resides. The last few generations of humans are the first to truly take their childhoods with them into adulthood. The implications of this are staggering advances in creativity, art, and free thinking. However, none of those promises can be fulfilled if we do not realize that as we grow, not everything grows with us.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a right of passage for an entire generation of young people, as we all grew into adulthood the Ninja Turtles stayed behind. Kids today still recognize the Orange, Blue, Red, and Purple color combinations, but not from the same movies and shows as we do. They are fans of the more recent TV show, or the more recent movie. These kids felt the same impact that we did, but from an entirely new set of  circumstances.

Those kids accept aliens and inter-dimensional beings as a normal part of their Turtle universe, they can accept an animated show that sends those same Turtles into the deep future. And they will damn well accept an exciting, big budget live action film that ties the Turtles in with aliens.

Not only will they accept it, but they will eat it up, and do you know why? Because it is made for them. Any new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film is not made for anyone not currently in grade school. That is not to say adults can’t enjoy it, but you have to accept the context for what it is. A children’s franchise has to stay true to that, otherwise we will die as the last generation to give a damn about mutated turtles and their pizza loving misadventures.

If the internet community wants to truly know what is wrong with Hollywood today, you only have to look in a mirror to find out. Once we can escape the current zeitgeist associated with internet fan-boyism then we can fulfill the promise of the information age.

If we can’t, if we fail to put aside selfish ideals, we are doomed to continue to be a joke. We will continue to not be taken seriously by the industries that should be catering to us. We need to grow up and recognize our place as the first of many generations with the ability to heard.

As the great Ben Parker once said, With great power comes great responsibility. Lets take that geek axiom to heart and recognize the great power we wield. Otherwise we have no one to blame but ourselves when our opinions are laughed away as meaningless by the people who make millions off of us.

Fans need to take a breath, and chill. They have not read the script. Our team is working closely with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles to help expand and give a more complex back story. Relax, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world. – Michael Bay

Word. I for one am excited and will be there opening weekend.

 

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