Earlier today I spent some time considering all the different variables that are preventing me from jumping for joy over the new TMNT movie project. The list got quite long and long-winded, so I'm going to try to tackle the bigger ideas in a series of posts.
To start, I've pulled out a series of interviews published before the release of TMNT 2007 from my personal archives. The point of bringing these out is to illustrate how similar the attitude and direction was for TMNT 2007 compared to what (granted, very) little has been said so far of the new project. And in some cases, how the exact opposite of the ideas sold to us for the 2007 movie are now being moved forward.
You can download a PDF of these interviews here.
Before I go any further, I'd just like to make it clear that I really, truly love TMNT. Kevin Munroe gets the characters and I would have no problem were they ever entrusted to him again. I think he did a fantastic job working within all the limitations he was given. TMNT wasn't a bad movie, but it seemed to scratch the surface on what could have been a reallyreally great and more-successful movie.
But anywho, moving forward...
Comics used as the source
One of the big talking points for TMNT 2007 was that it was going back to the comic books for inpiration. Now, almost as if that's been completely forgotten, the new movie is going back to the comic books once again. And in TMNT 2007, where both the Turtles' origin and Shredder were left out of the picture because, "Been there, done that," now the new movie will be not just be revisiting both those points, but will seemingly be built upon them as a foundation.
How this can work
The TMNT, particularly in the last 10 years, have struggled emensely to escape the first 11 issues of the comic book. It seems that each adaptation isn't good enough so then we have to do it all again... it's become tiresome and boring. The comic books should be used as inspiration, but straight adaptation should be kept to a bare minimum. Change things up while maintaining all the elements that have kept fans around through thick and thin (A LOT of thin) for 25 years.
Live action vs. CGI
There were two key reasons for the 2007 movie to be done in CGI. The first, and apparently biggest factor, was cost. A live action film was predicted to cost at least three times as much as a CGI film. The second reason was to avoid the limitations presented by having guys in rubber suits do ninja moves. Makes sense, but now we have this new movie apparently ready to once again put live action guys in rubber suits.
How this can work
So long as all parties involved are willing to spend the money needed to make the rubber suits and CGI combine seamlessly to look believable and not cheesy, this could work out fantastically. But they have to be willing to spend the money. Up 'til now, the most expensive TMNT movie was 2007's at around $35 million. Before that was 1993's TMNT 3, at around $26 million (and we all know how that turned out).
The Batman Begins analogy
Batman Begins has become the ultimate point of comparison when it comes to reinventing an old franchise into something new, exciting, and extremely successful. Rightfully so? Perhaps, although I think it's become overused to the point of cliché. To what extent does the comparison exist with the TMNT? Well, not only was this instantly discussed when news of the new movie broke last week, but - wait for it - it was discussed with the 2007 movie as well.
Click the pic below to compare words from Animation Magazine in April 2007 to an MTV interview with Peter Laird released just today.
What is the point of all this? Well, just because all the creative minds have their hearts and intentions in the right place doesn't mean the project is going to come out and be embraced as they anticipated it would be. By the sounds of it, TMNT 2007 started out in the very much the same place that TMNT 2011 seems to be now.