I am a huge fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and have been since the 1980s. This of course includes the Turtles movies – both live-action and animated.
Of all the Turtles movies released so far, there are only two I don’t care for – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014).
In my opinion, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III could and should have been much better than it was. Basically, it’s not awful, it’s just really, really boring and suffered from a poor story and a reduced budget.
As for the Jonathan Liebesman directed/Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot of 2014, it’s just a hot mess – plain and simple. The film starts off OK, but it quickly becomes clear that aspects of the story were changed mid-shoot and by the end everything falls apart.
The rest of the Turtles movies I really like. Yes, even Out of the Shadows. In fact, I think that is a really fun Turtles movie.
Out of the Shadows should have performed better at the box office. It suffered from audience disinterest thanks to a knock-on effect of the crap-a-rama that was the 2014 offering.
Had Out of the Shadows come out before the 2014 film, I genuinely believe audiences would have quite liked it. Timing was the issue here – I am convinced of it.
Anyway, my point is, to date there have been good Turtles movies and there have been bad Turtles movies. Some have made money and have been hits with the fans, and some have not.
In order for this next Turtles movie to land into the ‘good’ category and to make money, it needs to a.) offer something fresh and b.) understand what has worked/not worked in the past and LEARN from it.
For me, there are a number of important factors that need to be addressed here:
While it is easy to chalk it up to nostalgia, the simple fact is audiences liked the look of the Turtles from the early ’90s movies, but they didn’t like the look of the Turtles from the recent movies.
Because in the most recent films the Turtles looked creepy as hell!
One thing the next movie needs MUST do, is improve the look of the Turtles. They need to look like the Turtles we have come to love from the comics & TV shows, and not some weird humanoid things.
Each Turtle MUST have his own unique personality. Audiences need to be able to identify with the Turtles as individuals!
The unique personalities of Leo, Don, Raph and Mikey is what makes the Turtles as popular as they are. Abandon this idea at your peril!!
Introduce new villains! In short, as awesome as he is, don’t just rely on Shredder being the main adversary.
That’s not to say that Shredder should be absent from the film, but make sure other villains are added into the mix.
Don’t take any inspiration from The Next Mutation
In the late ‘90s the team behind Power Rangers produced a live-action Turtles TV series called The Next Mutation. It was bloody awful.
Any budding filmmakers out there, thinking of using The Next Mutation as inspiration… PLEASE DON’T!
I could list various reasons why looking toward The Next Mutation would be a mistake, but I think I covered it when I said “it was bloody awful.”
Understand the target audience
And finally, figure out who the movie is aimed at. This is so damn important.
Is this a movie aimed at kids? Is it aimed at comic book fans? The nostalgia crowd?
Who exactly is this movie trying to appeal to? Be clear and stick to this decision.
With regards to which era of Turtles this movie should be based on (‘80s, ‘90s, ‘00s, ‘10s etc) there are now so many different versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that it will be hard to filter that down to just one. In my opinion, the movie should try NOT to adapt anything from the ’80s cartoon.
Hang on… hear me out.
I love the ’80s ‘toon, it’s my jam, man – but Out of the Shadows tried that and audiences simply didn’t show up. To convince audiences to return to the cinema to watch this next entry, it is now time to try something else.
My suggestion would be to dive into the IDW TMNT comics as a source of inspiration. Or borrow ideas (and the overall tone) from the 2012 Nickelodeon Turtles cartoon.
Both the IDW comic and the Nick show are pretty awesome and well respected by the fanbase. They are also filled with characters and story beats that could be adapted for the big screen.
Oh and… THERE IS NO NEED FOR A TURTLES ORIGIN MOVIE. This is one thing I most certainly don’t want to see.
There are enough TMNT movies, cartoons and comics out there for audiences to do their own research if they don’t know where the Turtles came from. What audiences require is a movie that is prepared to create a story without the desire for an origin (again).
Now, who do I need to send this post to, to get these actions implemented?
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