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Dream Of A Pun-Free Turtle

Friday, July 21, 2006
by

'Tunnel Maintenace Narrows at Top'

Just yesterday I had an IM conversation with fellow opinionmaker James17930 where the idea of adding an “anticipated shit” area to the blog was raised, purely offhand. And then I wake up to this, as though the Lord had scheduled Comic-Con as a sign to me. I’d heard about this movie years ago, it’s gone through a variety of iterations, with John Woo apparently planning to direct at one point, but it started looking like it would actually happen early-mid last year. A CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, with a fresh Comic-Con-timed teaser just released in shiny Quicktime.

Anytime there’s an adaptation in the works of something you’re particularly fond of, that delightful blend of trepidation and excitement takes shape, be it book-to-movie, comic-to-game, TV show-to-souvenir coaster set: you want it to be good, to do the original justice (if not improve upon it), but you have to admit that it’s probably gonna suck, because these things just tend to suck.

Sewer-raised Turtles feel at home in a city the colour of shit.

This teaser adds almost entirely to my “excitement” column. The city looks great: it’s got that Brown New York feel, with water towers on every second rooftop, and plenty of lights but not enough to defeat the darkness (which is, by the way, the domain of the ninja). The boys themselves are looking fit, as well; the way they bounce along those rooftops is pretty exciting, and almost frog-like (close enough for me), the way the camera speeds around and amongst them is the kind of stuff you can only get in full-CG, and it suggests we’re going to get some non-Disneyfied CG action, which has previously occurred far too rarely, if you ask me.

A face only a mother could love, if she had the mental capacity for love.The part that’s got me worried is the faces: there’s something a little off about Leonardo’s closeups at the end — he’s suffering from the CG uglies that seem to plague even some of the largest grossers we’ve seen. I’m not sure if it’s the eyes — too far apart? Too dead? Or the mouth, perhaps — too wide and grimace-y? Whatever it is, we can hope for that to be remedied over the next 8 months, because as much as I want some ridiculous, wide-shot, massive rooftop battle sequences, a TMNT film that fulfills my dreams will not stiff us on the character aspect.

I know the only reason this is being made is because the Turtles were such a juggernaut moneymaker back in the day (my day, to be specific), but that doesn’t mean they’re automatically shallow — my love for these characters is not a nostalgia trip. I can admit that He-Man is pretty stupid and Garfield just ain’t funny, but in the Turtles I see real potential, suggested-but-not-achieved in even their best incarnations. They could be superheroes every bit as complex as Spider-Man, Batman, the X-Men: each of these classics saw their growing pains, none of them (arguably) finding their greatest stories until decades after their introduction. 22 years in, The Turtles could be currently trapped in their Adam West phase, tainted to disrespect or misunderstanding by pizza and puns on the word “shell,” waiting for their Frank Miller to pen a tale that’ll stun us. Not that I’m shitting on all their old stuff here — the late ’80s cartoon was indeed silly, but there were some classic games, the first movie was great (if compromised by a necessary kiddie slant), and as for the original Mirage comics, just a few months ago I spent more than a couple hundred dollars to bring my collection of them significantly closer to completion (thank you, www.mycomicshop.com).

Hopping as only a turtle can't.

As much as I would love writer-director Kevin Munroe to be TMNT’s Miller, I’m not gonna hold my breath on that one. If I had to place bets, I’d say Spider-Man 3 will be a better movie. But in an article on the TMNT Comic-Con panel at Ain’t It Cool News, the details revealed by Munroe are generally promising. As long as it’s decent, at least enough to keep the characters afloat until their promised one can find them, I’ll be more than happy. Of course, I won’t get to find out until the end of March. laebmada

It's called 'brooding' and it's what separates kiddie crap from mature fantasy.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, July 21, 2006 11:13 am

    Kowabunga!

  2. Friday, July 21, 2006 12:28 pm

    It starts with a “C” you dolt. And that’s kinda the kind of thing I’m hoping doesn’t make it into this movie. Nary a “Cowabunga” or a “Dude” in the old comics. And they didn’t eat much pizza, though they did put back a beer every now and then. Underage Mutant Ninja Turtles — Heroes in a Stupor.

  3. Friday, July 21, 2006 1:08 pm

    Ah, but you see, I was spelling it the true ninja way. None of this ‘C’ business for me.

    Like Zoinks, don’t have a cow, man. What’s wrong with catchy catch phrases? Wowsers.

    Party on, dudes. Most excellent, yada, yada, yada. Nanu, Nanu.

    Now you know, and knowing is half the…oh good grief.

  4. Sunday, July 23, 2006 11:49 pm

    Knowing is half the battle!

    Go easy on Graeme, Beal. Only last week I had to correct Arjun for declaring that Michaelangelo was “a party fool.” That was just gay.

  5. Sunday, July 23, 2006 11:52 pm

    On a completely unrelated note, that’s the second time wordpress has mysteriously nullified one of the links in one of my comments. Anyone know what’s up with that?

  6. Monday, July 24, 2006 12:28 am

    If there are too many links it thinks it’s spam and we have to approve it. Hence the lag.

    By the way — your ‘knowing’ doesn’t ‘know’ at the moment — if you catch my drift.

  7. Monday, July 24, 2006 7:13 am

    I believe that’s exactly what he was referring to — his “knowing” not “knowing” — when he said one of his links was nullified. So while yes, he probably did catch your drift, you didn’t seem to catch his.

  8. Monday, July 24, 2006 7:43 pm

    Beal hit the nail on the head.

    That was the second time where one of my links became a link with no address after posting a comment. The first time was in comment #4 to Pandora’s Box of Goodies.

    As a commenter, this frustrates me. Unfortunately WordPress do not offer the preview comment feature like Blogger/Blogspot do. As a programmer, I am simply very curious to learn what causes this glitch. I’m just curious if anyone else has encountered this. Maybe WordPress has a technical forum for nerdy subjects such as this.

  9. Monday, July 24, 2006 8:23 pm

    Getting back on topic…my archaic machine will not play any of these new fangled Quicktime 7 files. Happen to know where I can get my hands on an alternate format of the teaser?

  10. Monday, July 24, 2006 9:02 pm

    Though of course it ain’t as pretty as the Hi-Def Quicktime versions, YouTube’s always a safe bet. Just remember to fullscreen it.

    And I’ve now fixed Drew’s “knowing” link.

  11. Tuesday, July 25, 2006 12:55 am

    I don’t remember G.I. Joe being quite so acerbic.

    But then, I was only a kid.

  12. Saturday, April 28, 2007 5:12 am

    This finally came out in Korea. Overall it was decent, but still way kiddie, with brutal dialogue even beyond the failed attempts at humour. And the plot wasn’t much to speak of.

    But it does a really good job with the central Leonardo/Raphael conflict, and it’s got some great action moments (though I would’ve liked more of them, and for them to have been longer — long enough at least for me to refer to them as “action scenes“).

    And the voice work was solid throughout, especially with Splinter — they took a bit of a different tact with his voice, and I really dug it. Too bad the guy whose voice it was died. Also: Sarah Michelle Gellar didn’t irritate me as April. So I guess it’s just her face that has that effect.

    Anyway, it opened well, made its budget back domestically, and will probably do just as well on DVD. So that means a sequel. Which I like, except for the inevitable fact that it’ll won’t be as good. That part, I don’t like.

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