The Cynical Optimist : Michael Bay’s Ninja Turtles

There’s been lots of talk about the ”Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”’ return to the big screen this week. After being slated for a Christmas 2013 release last week, producer Michael Bay recently stated that the reboot (which will be helmed by “Battle: Los Angeles” director Jonathan Liebesman) will have a completely new origin for the turtles.

Michael Bay was at Nickelodeon Upfronts on March 14, 2012 at Lincoln Center in New York and said: “”When you see this movie, kids will believe one day that these turtles do exist, when we’re done with this movie. These turtles are from an alien race, and they’re going to be tough, edgy, funny, and completely lovable.”

Now before you flip out, let’s all take a moment here to ponder what this premise could offer to a live-action Ninja Turtles film. From comic book to television cartoon series, the Ninja Turtles had a colorful, never-ending army of villains – there was lots of crazy technology, robotic foot soldiers, crazy laser beam weapons – and don’t forget, alternate dimensions.

None of these storylines or elements were possible in previous films, being as the Turtles were anchored in reality – the secret rare mutagen ooze had to be used to create any sort of mutant monsters for the Turtles to fight – and the limits of special effects prevented any sort of really thrilling action to bring the show to life.

Now more information has come out regarding the reboot, which actually seems rather promising. First Showing has discovered that the Ninja Turtles are a part of “An entire race of inter-dimensional beings”.

Concerning a possible villain, it’s rumored that the inter-dimensional storyline will be centered around Krang, who will hopefully be accompanied by a huge android body suit and, yes, the Death Star of the Ninja Turtles universe, the Technodrome.

Don’t forget, in the Ninja Turtles universe Dimension X is home to several characters on the show, most notably Krang. There’s a dimensional portal located inside the Technodrome for transportation between Dimension X and Earth.

Let’s say Krang opens a portal to Earth and all the inhabitants of Dimension X come spilling out… you’ve got BeBop, RockSteady, the Rock Soldiers, Slash, possibly even a cameo by those hot-rodding teenagers the Neutrinos!

And as part of that spillover, the Ninja Turtles would be spit out in New York City – they meet April O’Neil, maybe they have to track down Splinter – but in any case, it could still be really cool.

It would be a combination of “The Mist” and “Masters of the Universe” – where the Turtles have to defeat Krang and his army of technologically advanced super-soldiers and close the portal – at which point they decide they like Earth better than Dimension X and decide to stick around!

You could then lay the ground work for Splinter and Shredder’s backstory and have potential sequels where Shredder uncovers the dimensional portal and teams up with Krang – just like the comics.

There’s a lot of potential here, and it’s sad that an origin story about four baby turtles from a fuckin’ pet shop that get some ooze on them seems to be taking precedent over doing something really cool with a film adaptation.

My main concern is Liebsman who, by all accounts, is a pretty terrible director. Maybe “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is the turning point in his career – but I highly doubt it. If the script is solid and pays homage to the cartoons and what came before, I’m sure it will do well.

I just hope they have Dave Rapoza doing the concept art for the Turtles and all the villains, because that guy gets it. You should check out his amazing art at

Jennifer Lawrence

Lily Collins