This weekend is the debut of Michael Bay’s reworking of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as hulking CGI creatures, and while I haven’t heard an overwhelming majority speak, I admit to an enjoyment of some of the vehemently negative reviews of the flick.  As one who enjoyed both the cartoon and movie TMNT back in the 90s, though, I don’t have a lot of room to talk, as neither version was all that true to the original incarnation.  What’s hard to remember is that even the mighty Justice League Of America was a revamp, a reworking of the Golden Age Justice Society, and several of it’s most popular members were reworked characters in their own right.  The hubbub surrounding this particular film has been loud and outspoken, but nobody really questions whether or not it has any merit, leading us to today’s mutant ninja query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) tries to have an open mind about these things but found the ‘G.I. Joe’ movies to be a pretty brainless take on a massive and nuanced franchise, asking: Do we, as fans, have any right to be upset when our childhood heroes are reimagined for new generations?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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12 Comments

  1. August 10, 2014 at 11:34 am — Reply

    I think it is a bit silly to be upset. It doesn’t takes away the nostalgic memories you have. Plus, I have found that nostalgia is usually all it is. Going back and watching your favourite kids shows as an adult almost always ends in sadness as you realize how shitty most of it is. Different sensibilities are in play. I find these situations are the perfect opportunity to practice shedding attachment, particularly if those attachments lead you to be angry over the reboot of a kids show that was designed to sell toys.

  2. August 10, 2014 at 11:51 am — Reply

    Yeah, I would say its silly to be really upset. I do believe though, that everyone is entitled to their opinion and can express it as long as its done in civil manner. You dont have to like everything, yet its not very mature or intelligent to oppose every single change made either. These changes can be handled well or as cheap cash grabs.

  3. Hannah Jones
    August 10, 2014 at 12:09 pm — Reply

    I think the only time it’s really understandable to be upset about something is when the re-imagining goes completely against the core of the work itself. It’s very hard to like remade version of something when it doesn’t show any affinity or love for the original work. Even if it’s poorly made, a lot of times fans will let something pass if it obviously pays a proper homage to what came before it.

  4. August 10, 2014 at 12:32 pm — Reply

    I thought TMNT was a pretty good action comedy with lots of humor aimed at 13 year old kids, so of course I laughed quite a bit. It had all the components of my admittedly surface knowledge of the Turtles (turtles, April O’Neil, Splinter, Shredder, mutagen). I never read the comics, or watched the animated series back in the day. I did see the first movie in theaters…twice, but don’t have much recollection of it. I don’t have a strong connection to any TMNT version.

    So as an outsider looking at this particular property I thought it was a pretty enjoyable ride, without much to complain about. I liked the characterizations generally, the CGI was good, and even Megan Fox did an okay job in her role. My daughter LOVED it, and repeated Michelangelo’s lines over and over…She’s also a big fan of the Nick animated show.

    I used to get bent out of shape about this stuff, but it really doesn’t matter. Nostalgia is a STRONG spice, and as Pearce says above it has a tendency to make us think many shows were way better than they actually were. Have you actually watched the Superfriends lately? The originals exist and in this day and age are readily available so its not like you can never go back and watch that. My guess is I could put the original TMNT cartoon in front of my daughter, and the current one, and she’d choose the current version every time…because that version is made for her, in a current context with current animation that she expects and enjoys. If you’re 35-45 the new TMNT movie wasn’t made for you necessarily, but it was made for your kids.

  5. August 10, 2014 at 1:14 pm — Reply

    I think we do have the right to feel however we want, but how we go about expressing it is what we need to be aware of. My big problem is when some fans go straight to the offensive, attacking anyone who disagrees with their dislike without actually explaining WHY they dislike it (not that explaining would make it any less aggressive). There is a world of difference between “I don’t like this new version” and “Anyone who likes this new version is an idiot”.

  6. Willie
    August 10, 2014 at 6:25 pm — Reply

    New artists, writers, or creators should be allowed to put their own original spin on a franchise, character or story. I believe that even the most popular of childhood heroes can be improved upon in some manner, so the reinventing of such a character is welcome in my book. However, just because characters and stories should be allowed to be rewritten, does mean that we should always be happy with the results. If we dislike the changes, we are entitled to our opinions. If we enjoy a new perspective and design, then we should give credit to this new direction.

    • Willie
      August 10, 2014 at 6:27 pm — Reply

      *rewritten, does not mean (sorry)

  7. August 10, 2014 at 6:31 pm — Reply

    I think there is a difference between reimagining and destroying thing. Michael Bay takes these franchises and then doesn’t focus on them. He focuses on the humans. why? because it’s cheaper. and he thinks that robots can’t be emotional. I say if you want to do a movie about humans then leave the Turtles out of it.

    • b003
      August 12, 2014 at 9:17 pm — Reply

      So true! Just like Godzilla guest starring in his own movie.

  8. Oldcomicfan
    August 11, 2014 at 2:23 pm — Reply

    I think if some Hollywood big shot takes a favorite property from your childhood and ruins it, you’re justified in being upset. I can’t comment on the Lone Ranger or the Mutant Turtles because I haven’t seen them, because in the case of the Lone Ranger I liked the original as a kid and the description of the new movie told me that it would not be respectful of the original property, and I didn’t care anything amount the Mutant Turtles to begin with, so I gave that one a pass.

    On the whole, reimagining things has been a disappointment. I hated the Wild Wild West movie, not because it was a bad movie, but because it wasn’t respectful of the original and really – Will Smith as James West? Imagine if J. J. Abrams had made Jim Kirk into a woman or Spock into a Horta “just to be different” than the original. I like most of Will Smith’s roles but not that one because he was basically piddling on the memory of Robert Conrad through that whole movie.

    There have been some reimaginings of late that have worked for me, once I got over the changes from the original. Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies in particular; and also the two Abrams Star Trek movies. To my mind, destroying Vulcan was pure sacrilege, on a scale as horrendous as casting Shia LaBeouf as Indie’s kid in Crystal Skull, but the movies have grown on me. They lack the hopeful “Future Will Be Better Because We Will Be Better People” vibe of the original series, which, if you were around in the sixties you’ll know was a message that was sorely needed at the time, but any new Star Trek is better than no new Star Trek.

    On rare occasions, Hollywood gets a reimagining right. I prefer the new True Grit movie to the old because it stays much closer to the original novel than the John Wayne version, and they used a real 14 year old to play Mattie Ross instead of a 22 year old woman, and they didn’t try to pass the Colorado Rockies off as the plains of Arkansas. The ending was lifted straight from the book.

    All in all, though, the times when they get it right are far fewer and farther between than the times Hollywood botches it. Starsky and Hutch! Need I say more?

    • August 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm — Reply

      ” To my mind, destroying Vulcan was pure sacrilege”

      If it were the main timeline, I’d agree with you. But as it is an alternate reality (Old Spock’s timeline still exists, he’s merely stuck in the past of an alternate timeline), it doesn’t bother me so much.

  9. Bruno
    August 13, 2014 at 1:43 am — Reply

    I have a hard time figuring out why you should get upset, that some other dude is making a new version of TMNT or any other property. It doesn’t ruin your childhood, because it doesn’t change what you grew up with.

    If the new version is great, huzza, if it sucks, just go to Amazon (remember to use that link on the front page ;D) and buy the first TMNT cartoon, the original comics or what ever you used to love as a kid. Worst-case scenario: it’s not as great as you remember.

    Hell, put Bay in charge of a Star Wars movie, I don’t care, and I even have a Star Wars tattoo. It’ll probably suck, but at least I can still buy the original movies… oh wait.

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