Podzilla 1985

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The New Ninja Turtles Will Be Awesome...Probably

We get in a lot of heated debates at Gaming Grounds. A lot of them revolve around comics and video games, and whenever I bring up something like politics the conversation always seems to steer back to if Superman is better than Batman.

For the record, SUPERMAN IS BETTER THAN BATMAN. Anyone who convinces himself that Batman could take Superman on in a one on fight better check their vitals. They very well may have OD'd on that Kool Aid.

A hot topic at ye olde gaming store right now is the upcoming Ninja Turtles movie. I'm of the personal belief that the movie is going to be a fun filled romp for the whole family, but more than a few of my friends have expressed concern that Michael Bay is going to "ruin another franchise."

Which is an odd statement, because I'm looking at the box office receipts for the Transformers series and everything is solid here. Has anyone actually watched the old Transformers cartoon? Yeah, it was really good when I was 10. So was the Mario Bros. cartoon, and Legend of Zelda's, and a plethora of old programs we remember through rose colored glasses. Go back and watch them now and tell me they still hold up.

I can hear at least half of you saying "they still hold up!" Shut up. You're too kind or too easy to impress.

There are some programs that are still solid. The 90's Batman cartoon is still amazing to watch. Darkwing Duck is still a favorite of mine to go back to. The Simpsons episodes of the 90's were the most entertaining of all animated programs in the history of animation, and that's a statement I will stand behind and defend until my dying breath.

And then there were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.


I, like so many of you, fondly remember the turtles craze of the late 80's and early 90's. I watched the program religiously, I had all the toys, I bought all of the games, and I was Leonardo every year for Halloween. I was the quintessential Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan, and I think I'm pretty qualified to defend the new movie.

If you're worried about it ruining your memories of the old cartoon, I dare you to go back and watch that show. It's fun to remember, but it's not exactly visually or mentally stimulating. It sold toys and created lifelong fans, and in that respect it did its job well. As a stand alone entity, it does not stand the test of time. It was goofy, immature, and kind of embarrassing sometimes.

Actually, that's how a lot of people are describing the new film. Hmm.

I've seen the trailers, I've watched the behind the scenes stuff, and I don't see where the big problem is. It looks like it will be funny, violent, and the perfect popcorn movie for me to enjoy on my birthday weekend vacation to the big city. It's a summer blockbuster, and I think it will represent that class of movies very well.

But then you have those people from my age group that still hold that 90's cartoon so dear to them and won't accept Michael Bay's sacrilege. He's getting a lot of damnation for just being the producer, and neither the one who wrote the film or directed it. The guy is an easy target, but it's not all deserved. He's a competent filmmaker who makes big action films that explode and justify the high cost of a movie ticket. Since when was that such a crime? I don't go to Michael Bay films expecting a deep emotional drama. I just want to see something explode, and this man delivers that explosion every single time.

I expected the fans of the original Turtles cartoon to be the most excited about the new film. Just a quick glance at it looks like they've based it more on that story line than anything else.

April O'Neil is still a reporter, unlike the newer era of Turtles' programs where she has been either a lab scientist like in the original comics, or some teenage kid hanging out in a sewer after school. For the record, while I'm not the biggest fan of Megan Fox as April, I think she'll do an admirable job. She's not a bad actress, and although she was much prettier before all of the "enhancements," she'll still be fun to watch on the big screen.

They even have two of the more obscure characters from the 90's cartoon in the film. I barely even remembered Vernon Fenwick and Burne Thompson, and was surprised to see their names included in the cast list for the film. They tweaked Burne a little bit when they cast Whoopi Goldberg, but it's more or the less the same character. Will Arnett is always good for the lolz, but I'm most excited to see Whoopi back in the saddle again.

The rest of the cast is completely solid. William Fichtner is in it as maybe or maybe not Shredder. He's one of my favorite actors, and I'm one of the apparent few that would be more excited if he DOES turn out to be Shredder. Abby Elliot is in there too, and I don't care who she plays. She's just so adorable that I would pay to watch her read TV Guide. I'd rather watch her watching TNA Impact! than watch TNA Impact! And who could forget Tony Shalhoub as Splinter? I'm sure he'll make it work...somehow.

I was less excited about casting Johnny Knoxville as Leonardo. I don't dislike Knoxville, but I do love Leonardo the most out of the four brothers. My first reaction to the news was "the guy from Jackass!?" That's unfair to Johnny, who has worked pretty hard to be taken seriously as an actor. His voice isn't too bad for Leo, and I'm going to try to give him the benefit of the doubt. Don't think you're off the hook completely, cart jockey. I'll be watching you.

Stuckey is going to be Michelangelo! Noel Fisher definitely has the voice for Mikey, but it will be hard for me to not just think of him as the jackass from SVU that killed one of my favorite characters. Still, it's awesome to see him doing something like this.

There are people playing the other turtles, too. I'm sure they'll do fine.

After watching the last trailer, I think they even have the turtle van in it! The turtle van!!!

Look, I know the original Ninja Turtles comic was dark and gritty and everyone wants this super bloody Turtles movie. It's very mainstream to criticize an adaptation for sticking 100% to its roots, but that line of thinking doesn't always work well in the modern world. Would you like Batman to go back to his roots? Has anyone ever read the original comics? They're awful.

Just because they decided to have fun with the new Turtles movie doesn't mean it's going to be terrible. I would rather be entertained than satisfy that small part of me that craves blood and  misery. I get enough misery in the rest of my life, I don't need to watch my heroes in a half shell go through the same thing.

There are plenty of dark comic heroes out there for you to watch. Go watch the Nolan Batman trilogy again and try to ignore the bat voice and the entire third film. Pop in Man of Steel, since they tried a similar approach with it that didn't seem to take. Watch Sin City, or the Punisher, or freaking Darkman for all I care.

I will be sitting in the theater, popcorn and soda in hand, enjoying my new Ninja Turtles adventure while you sit on your internet forums bitching and complaining.

Cowabunga, motherfucker.


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