Thursday, August 07, 2014

Teen Rage Moolah Nitwit Turtles

I’ve been trying to reserve judgment on these new Ninja Turtles, but seeing this picture, I’m just not into it. This is the same kind of terrible, overly-detailed CGI that makes those Transformers movies so physically painful to look at.

I don’t mean that as hyperbole; in both cases, there’s so much detail with no sense of perspective that it’s hard to know where to look—nothing naturally draws the eye to it because everything’s crying for attention, so there’s no natural focal point and my eyes physically hurt trying to take the whole thing in. It reminds me of every kid I knew in art class who wanted to draw something badass and cool instead of learning anything along the lines of more detail =/= more realistic. Apparently no one in Michael Bay’s CGI factory took the time to learn anything about art and how to lead/please the eye.

Look, let’s be honest; I loved it as a kid, but there’s nothing about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that’s so essential that it can’t be endlessly rebooted. People remember Turtlemania and tie-in merchandise and the hokey tone more than any of the stories. Seriously, what’s that one classic TMNT tale that needs to be touched on in order to do the original justice? Other than getting the origin right, there really isn’t one. So I would argue that it’s much more important to get the look right than anything else. And this… this isn’t it.

Look at Guardians of the Galaxy and the designs of Rocket and Groot. All of that detail, but all of it unified in a way that made those characters pleasing to look at. You wanted to look at Rocket and Groot. You couldn’t take your eyes off of them. It was rewarding. These Turtles I want to look away from. Everything is detail for the sake of detail. Bamboo over a turtle chest? What’s the reason for that? Is there one, or did it just look neat? Every detail feels extraneous. The only thing I can tell about these characters from any of the accouterments they’re sporting is that Raphael must be a huge douche because he’s wearing Oakleys.

The only thing about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that’s captured my attention is what Bella Thorne was wearing at the premiere.

The 1990 movie wasn't great, either, and its sequel was pretty terrible, but at least they were fun and knew better than to be dark and gritty. I guess I was holding out hope that they were going to go for a Fast Five kind of vibe with this one, where it's got whip-fast action but comic book humor and likable characters. Nothing I've seen so far makes me want to go out of my way for this.

Someone will make a fun one of these some day, but I don't know if this generation is capable of pulling it off.


Kelly Sedinger said...

I've never once understood TMNT. I managed to completely miss them, and never "got it". They're the comics franchise version of the band Nirvana, for me.

Roger Owen Green said...

After I left FantaCo, FantaCo and the TMNT guys did a few projects together. 2 degrees of separation.

Kal said...

The turtles will never go away because they are such a cash cow, merchandising wise. You can't just get one turtle, you have to get all four. What was wrong with the way they looked before this movie. You are right, the designs are horrible as will be the movie. Shredder looks like a swiss army knife. I hope this one fails so that people will learn lessons they should learn from Guardians of the Galaxy. You are totally right about the way that Groot and Rocket are pleasing to look at.

BluePrint said...

I actually like the designs, mostly Ralp's.

H said...

Amen brother. I know what you mean by physically painful, like if you tried to actually watch this in a cinema you would just come out with a headache and dry eye. I saw the trailer for this before Guardians of the Galaxy (which I agree was excellent) and my only thought was "Not in a million years". Michael Bay has a lot to answer for. What really puzzles me is that people are prepared to lay down increasingly absurd amounts of money to see his shit-stain movies.