Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Franchise

Started by Silver Nemesis, Sun, 18 Mar 2012, 15:55

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Quote from: The Dark Knight on Fri, 10 Feb  2017, 11:54I have a strong feeling the brand just isn't strong enough to deliver consistent quality.

The franchise is littered with dud films. If the concept does have potential, it's very rarely realised.
See, I think it does have potential. But like so many things, it's bogged down in its own past.

I mean, I loved the cartoon when I was a kid. But even I recognize that times have changed and it's inappropriate for one adaptation to run the table on a given property.

I mean, back in 2006 and through there, Superman- The Movie had achieved such prominence among Superman fans that it was starting to eclipse the character's full potential. The same thing nearly happened with Adam West's Batman in the popular culture. It did happen with STM.

The result was that fans lashed out at anything that strayed too far from STM types of ideas. And I think Superman as a media entity really suffered because of that.

The same thing happened to an even bigger extent with the Turtles. They've never been able (or willing?) to completely shake off the 80's cartoon. Or maybe their fans won't let them, I don't know. But that ghost continues haunting the franchise and I don't think it's for the best.

There's a lot of potential to imbue each turtle with his own characterization and story arc but it seems like if that ever happens, Raphael is usually the beneficiary and the others are almost supporting characters or something.

Frankly I think in this age of biological insight and understanding, the TMNT concept has more mojo than ever. But for God's sake they need to find a new foundation because a 30'ish year old cartoon show ain't cutting it anymore.

Even if this approach of ejecting the past and creating something new with the concept is a crashing failure, it will at least demonstrate that TMNT was a flash in the pan and it's maybe time to move on to other properties and ideas now instead of trying to recreate the past with a franchise that isn't really capable of supporting itself.

Fri, 10 Feb 2017, 23:09 #111 Last Edit: Fri, 10 Feb 2017, 23:13 by Silver Nemesis
The juvenile nature of the Turtles franchise is one of the things I like about it. It's an absurd premise to begin with and it works best in a humorous context. As an adult, there's a limit to how seriously I can take something like this. They tried giving the franchise more of a Batman Begins vibe in the 2014 film (for instance, trying to make the Foot more realistic by turning them into gun-toting terrorists), and it just didn't work. Thankfully Out of the Shadows rectified most of those issues and brought the series back in line with the classic mythology. But there have been other attempts to update the franchise (see the live action Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation TV series as an example), and they usually fell flat on their face.

I think there are basically two kinds of Turtles fans. Firstly there are the people of my generation who grew up with the Fred Wolf cartoon, the Archie comics, the Konami games and the Golden Harvest movie trilogy, and we're mostly in it for the nostalgia. If it wasn't for nostalgia, we just wouldn't care at this point. Then there are the kids who are just getting into the Turtles for the first time, and they're the main target demographic for the merchandisers and toy manufacturers. Obviously it needs to be kid friendly to avoid alienating the younger audience members, and many nostalgic adults prefer it that way too because that's how they remember it from their own childhoods. I understand there are diehard adult Turtles fans who don't fit into the generalisation I've just made, but right now I'm speculating with regards to the wider audience.

As for why the franchise keeps coming back to the 1987 cartoon, I imagine it's because it was that series which launched the Turtles to international stardom. Granted, the Mirage comic preceded the cartoon by three years. But the Mirage comic was an obscure small press/indie title that very few people outside of New York had read back in the day. The Mirage issues are more readily available now thanks to reprints, but back in the early nineties the Archie comics – which were very much in line with the cartoon show – were far more widely read. So for most first generation Turtles fans, the Fred Wolf cartoon is the source material. If it wasn't for the popularity of the cartoon and the toy line that accompanied it, then there wouldn't have been any Turtles videogames or movies to begin with. In that regard I think the TMNT situation is different from that of characters like Batman and Superman, both of whom had decades of very popular comics under their belts before they made it to feature films. The Mirage TMNT comics were never as popular or widely read.

Regarding the film series, I think one of the main issues wasn't that they stuck too closely to the cartoon; it's that they didn't stick closely enough. The reason fans have been clamouring for Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady for so long is that we never got to see them in a movie until now. With each new film we hoped we'd get to see these classic villains show up, but they never did. It's the same problem with the Superman films. To date we've have eight theatrically released live action Superman movies, and yet the only two comic villains we keep getting are Lex Luthor and Zod. It took us six Turtles movies before we finally got to Krang. Now that we've seen him, I'm happy to have other villains star in future movies. But it shouldn't have taken this long to get to Krang in the first place, just like it shouldn't take 8+ Superman films to get to Brainiac.

Having said all this, I do agree that if a film franchise has to rely purely on nostalgia to draw a crowd then perhaps it's time to put it out to pasture. I'm happy with the six TMNT films we've had and I feel like they've covered almost every significant way of approaching the mythology. They could theoretically go on adapting comic villains and storylines indefinitely, but what would be the point? If they're planning to do that then they'd be better off with another TV show. There's no reason to make more movies unless each one offers something substantially different, otherwise they'll just be giving us the same film over and over, with the only appreciable difference being the change of villain. Then again, that approach hasn't worked out too badly for James Bond or Godzilla...


Supervoid did a script breakdown of the once-proposed TMNT 4.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxFCc7HcuEI


"Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is."