Michael Bay to Fans: None of Your Memories are Safe
So I’m not sure how this evaded my radar. I suppose I’ve spent much of the last several months speculating about what may be the greatest year for genre films in the last two decades. From The Avengers to The Dark Knight Rises to The Hobbit, 2012 is undeniably going to be an amazing year. But unless the Mayan calendar cultists are correct and humanity is mercifully ground to a halt by the year’s end, 2013 is going to bear witness to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film directed by Michael “what if Jetfire was a senile old robot who basically just mumbled and farted all the time” Bay.
Predictably, the fury of the Internet has been leveled at Bay since he recently announced plans to alter the beloved TMNT origin story to make them aliens (!). With so many nerds distracted by the terrible ending to Mass Effect 3, earning their wrath right now is not as easy a task as it might be during any other year, so that in and of itself is an impressive feat. Michael Bay has issued a statement urging fans to “chill”, assuring everyone that he has the situation well in hand. I mean, why would anyone be worried after all those awesome Transformers movies, right?
I’m no film snob-far from it, in fact. Crank is right next to Citizen Kane on my Blu-Ray shelf, so I assure you I’m not even one of those “everything Michael Bay touches is terrible” fanatics. Bad Boys, Armageddon, and The Island are all things that I am not ashamed to admit I enjoyed. However, I am also nothing if not a product of that glorious golden age of children’s programming that ran from the late 70’s through the early 90’s. And as such, Mr. Bay, I respectfully request that if you’re not going to do it right, please don’t do it at all. The TMNT franchise wasn’t always a glorified toy commercial, there are a wealth of great comics to draw from if you want to make a film to appeal to the now grown up audience. Apparently though, I should totally just relax. Bay assures Turtles fans in the above linked article that these new Space Turtles are “going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely loveable”.
I’m not nerd-raging here. I am just calmly stating, using the scientific method and all evidence at hand, that a Michael Bay-directed Space Turtles movie is a bad idea. I will go on to speculate that Michael Bay (along with possibly Tim Burton) will undoubtedly find his way into the folklore of our grandchildren via tales of terror passed on by the nerds of today; tales of a sinister figure who arrives in the night bearing a sack filled with 200 million dollars. If a child’s behavior is found lacking, this skulking ghoul releases his grim cargo, rendering the child’s most beloved heroes suddenly and irrevocably uncool.
I imagine that Michael Bay films were once probably pretty enjoyable to work on. I know they at the very least used to be enjoyable to watch. Now all I can imagine is him striding through the set like Saruman beneath Isengard, looking on with a smug sense of satisfaction as another reeking abomination of a film is birthed from foul pits of mud and fire. It is certainly not difficult to imagine the production of Transformers 2 as looking something like this:
I can only imagine the horrors that are going on behind closed doors right now. Will the TMNT be handled with the same loving care as the Transformers? How many of them will be turned into racist characitures? Donatello was really good at inventing things, how about we make him an Asian alien turtle who is super good at math but ohohoho don’t let him drive the Turtle Van! Maybe since Raphael was always getting into fights we could make him Irish. Michael Myers could do the voice! Quick, someone give me a paycheck!
There are literally dozens of reasons why this newest endeavor should never come to pass, and one that I’m not sure Bay has even considered is the fact that the main characters here have always been mutants. It’s part of the name. There have been lots of awful theatrical renditions of Batman over the years, but at the very least they have all been men dressed in bat-related attire. Changing the turtles from mutants to aliens feels like an alteration fundamental enough to require an acronym change. I humbly propose Teenage Alien Intergalactic Ninja Turtles. Coming to theaters Summer 2013, Michael Bay’s TAINT. That has a nice ring to it.