There are some people who are just born haters. No matter what a studio does with a property that these people have a fondness for, there will be plenty of internet bashing and general nastiness towards the reboot for even considering messing with their childhood memories. The problem with this is that, unfortunately, many of the properties that these people complain about are being viewed through a rearview mirror made of hazy rose colored glass and really weren’t that great to begin with. As a filmmaker, balancing between an updated mythos while keeping those haters pleased while appealing to a whole new audience is a very tough act and one that is rarely, if ever, accomplished. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Platinum Dunes flick that hits theaters this Friday, is one of those movies. So, how did the filmmakers attempt to pull off this act?
Screenrant recently sat down with Platinum Dunes producers Bradley Fuller and Andrew Form, as well as TMNT director Jonathon Liebesman, and asked how they found a balance between living up to fan nostalgia and launching a new property for a new generation. The producers had this to say:
Brad Fuller: I think this property is particularly challenging because the source material is not just one source material. There’s comic books. There’s the cartoons. There are the movies. Everyone brings to [our] movie their own desire to support their source material. But there is not a consistent source material.
Jonathan Liebesman: So if we update Turtles and we are picking from everything and putting it into one movie, it seems like if someone comes at this movie where they only love the 1990 movie and they are not aware of stuff that we’re taking from earlier comics or cartoons, they don’t like that. Or if there are people that love the cartoons that don’t know about the ’84 comic or the movies, and we’re taking story points from that and putting them into the movie, they may not like that. So, as Brad said, I think it’s very hard to please everybody. It seems like everyone who comes at ‘Turtles’ is coming with their own version of what ‘Turtles’ should be.
Brad Fuller: So then, at the end of the day, what we try and do is we try and sit amongst ourselves, Jonathan, Drew, myself, Michael Bay and the writers and think: “What’s the best story to tell that tries to integrate things from the past, and yet make the story feel fresh and moving forward?”
Andrew Form: But everything in this movie is from the last 30 years of Ninja Turtles…
Early screenings of the film already have naysayers screaming about the way in which the turtles get their names in the reboot, which the producers also addressed (mild spoiler below):
Jonathan Liebesman: Even April naming the turtles as a kid is from comics.
Andrew Form: It seems like some people are thrown by that. But that is from the comics. We didn’t make that up. Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created that.
Brad Fuller: We just put that into our version of the story.
So, there you have it Turtle fans! Basically, if you are screaming about the treatment of your heroes in a half shell, which incarnation is it that you are screaming for? Considering the Turtles recently discovered that there are many other incarnations of their team spread across different dimensions, that may be a tougher question to answer than it seems. If you missed the wonderful “Turtles Forever”, here’s a trailer so you know why you should give it a watch.
Now, of course screaming about the source material or the fact that the movie is a reboot is a completely separate issue than complaining about the quality of the film itself. From those same haters, reviews have panned the horrible 3D in the movie, the design of the turtles, the clunkiness in the editing, even the dialogue, all of which may turn out to be valid complaints but only time will tell.