It should be no secret that I am a big fan of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, all three. I may have mentioned that back when the animated TMNT flick hit theaters last year. And as a fan, I am in favor of any TMNT incarnation by default. That said, I am still a little weary of another live-action “reboot” of the franchise, as it is incredibly risky. It gets even more risky when you add in the comments that franchise co-creator Kevin Eastman left over on the Heavy Metal forum a few days ago. Responding to a post about rumors that Imagi Entertainment and Warner Bros. were looking to go back to live-action, he had this to say:
Yes, it is true. Although the CGI film did well enough to warrent a sequel, there has been much talk between Imagi and Warners to do a better “re-invention” (newest Hollywood buzzword) of the TMNT’s, in a live action film–like what was done with Batman. Back to basics, back to the origin and the intro of the Shredder, etc…there have been talks, trips to Northampton to talk to Mr Laird, and discussions with the original “first” TMNT film director Steve Barron to come back and do it right–but no official word yet…will keep you posted. Best, Kevin
Personally, I’m seeing this as a counter-productive move for Imagi and WB. Kevin Munroe’s CG-animated TMNT wasn’t perfect, but it was certainly a lot of fun. As a fan, I would have liked to see them go back to the origin of the turtles’ arch enemy Shredder in that film, but they chose to move forward. To go back now though, and switch back to live-action, just doesn’t seem logical. Why not press on with a sequel that includes a new storyline? Is there not an original or yet untapped idea in the TMNT canon? I find that hard to believe. What I do believe is that there seems to be a big money-grab for all things linked to the phrases “re-invention” or “re-envisioning,” and a lot of it seems to be coming from the halls of Warner Bros. They found success with rebooting Batman under the eye of Christopher Nolan, and now in the wake of The Dark Knight, now the second highest grossing film of all-time, we are seeing more and more properties get pulled out for a big-budget re-imagining. So far what we can see on the horizon doesn’t look bad — many of us are anxious to see how McG’s Terminator Salvation comes out — but we must be mindful of what lurks beyond the horizon. Where does this obsession with re-spooling old ideas end? And what sorts of cinematic shenanigans could it cause?
Also, as an aside, does anyone else remember Sam Rockwell’s part in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1990? Also, the voice of Donatello was provided by Corey Feldman. I guess those two tidbits balance each other out.
What do you think, should they go back to live-action with TMNT?