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He Likes it – Reflections on Kevin Eastman’s Endorsement of Bay’s “Ninja Turtles”

On July 15th, Steven Smith from MTV Geek sat down with Kevin Eastman at Comic-con in San Diego and learned some surprising news: Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, is actually excited for Bay’s reimagining of the fearsome foursome’s origins.

He describes the upcoming film as “…the best Turtle movie yet,” and praises the anticipated “Raid: Redemption style fight scenes,” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes…sort of effects,” which paints a pretty clear picture of this upcoming film as a more straight-up action movie than previous cinematic offerings.

Kevin Eastman @ Comic Con 2012

Eastman also notes that much-discussed pushback date (from 2013 to 2014) was essentially a marketing decision by Paramount studios, since 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the TMNT franchise, and has nothing to do with fan feedback regarding the (again, much discussed) changes to the Turtle’s origin story.

These comments sync reasonably well with Peter Laird’s at-best-lukewarm comments on his blog (at http://peterlairdstmntblog.blogspot.com), to wit: “It’s possible that with enough truly creative brainpower applied to this idea, it might actually work. I’m not saying it’s probable, or even somewhat likely… but it IS possible.”

Arguably, this is back-handed praise: when one co-creator coos over the anticipated choreography and visual effects, and another lumps an idea that “…might actually work…” in with criticisms of such “execrable” changes to the story line as the introduction of Venus de Milo in the live-action series, it doesn’t speak glowingly of the franchise’s direction.  Taken together, it reads as though Eastman and Laird are going out of their way to not directly disparage the upcoming reimagining, while only Eastman gives the film a cautious endorsement.

Taking a wider view, however, let’s note that in the same interview, Eastman praises Marvel comics’ tendency towards re-invention as witnessed in The Avengers (and by proxy we may assume The Amazing Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk, etc.), and seems to imply that the same thing could work for TMNT.  He says (regarding classic and iconic comic properties): “…every person who’s grown up inspired by that material wants to put their stamp on it a little bit,” suggesting that in the American cultural tradition, according to Eastman, Michael Bay is entitled to have his go at the Turtles’ mythology.

We fans might also be well served remembering that there are already various and contradictory stories in place for a number of characters, including the Turtles themselves.  While it seems that almost every TMNT fan is vehemently opposed to this proposed new direction, you would probably be hard-pressed to find three Turtle fans who could agree on exactly which Turtle origin story should replace it: Mirage comics?  1988 series?  Playmates toys’ back-of-the-blister-pack comic story?  We’ve got options here.

Perhaps, if we really want to assuage our misgivings, we might even think of this movie as an exploration of an alternate “Turtleverse” a la Turtles Forever.  In any case it seems we’re going to have to swallow our “chill pills,” because nobody has firmly and irrefutably said “no” to the alien origin story. We may have to watch the movie for its hopefully incredible action and effects, and just put our fingers in our ears and sing “T.U.R.T.L.E. Power” while the new origin scenes play out.

The Author

Zach Gasior

Zach Gasior

Zach Gasior is an author and English professor at Baton Rouge Community College in Louisiana. His short stories have been published around the world, and he has two non-fiction books in print. He has contributed articles to several different sites, and has been a fan of the turtles since he was two years old, and his favorite ninja turtle is Raphael.

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  • Jimmy Hughes

    Peter Laird has actually gotten upset about Journalist portraying him as being in favor of the change. In follow up statements he bashe entertainment news outlets for not picking up on his sarcasm.

    “Given how many thick-headed “journalists” read (and maybe “read” is too generous a word) my recent post about Michael Bay possibly turning the Turtles into aliens in the upcoming live-action movie and somehow got out of it that I supported this idea, clearly not perceiving the sarcasm in my words, I’ve been pondering the potential benefits of creating a “sarcasm symbol” — a graphic icon which could be appended to a piece of writing or artwork to help the “perception-challenged” among us in apprehending the real meaning of said writing or artwork.”

    In a latter post on his blog he goes on to say


    in anything I have written about this issue — I have said anything close to “…the Turtles origin and history shouldn’t really matter.” I think it’s clear that most people — and I count myself one of them — don’t have any idea of what the true intentions of the new TMNT film’s makers are regarding the origin story of the TMNT in the film. All we have to go one, really, is an off-the-cuff comment by Michael Bay which SEEMS to be somewhat ridiculous. But as I wrote earlier, though my gut feeling is that this is NOT a good direction in which to head, it is POSSIBLE — if not necessarily LIKELY — that some incredibly talented creative team might take this goofy idea and turn it into something really good. I am not sanguine about that possibility… but who knows? Not me, and certainly not you.”

    it would appear to me that Peter Laird is only holding out hope for this New TMNT movie because He like many fans is not quite certian what Michael Bay meant when he said “These Turtles come from an Alien race”.