The news in June that Paramount Pictures had shut down production of the Michael Bay-produced Ninja Turtles film pleased a lot of fans, as diehards weren’t happy with the Turtles’ revised alien origins or the removal of “Teenage” and “Mutant” from the title.
Their displeasure was seemingly confirmed last week when a website called TMNT Not TANT posted the reboot’s original script, which has since been removed following a cease-and-desist letter from the studio. No matter, though, as Latino Review offered its own review of the draft, describing it as “half-good and half absolutely horrible, with the first act-and-a-half delivering what Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans want: awesome Turtle action and wisecracks. What comes after, well, it’s Midichlorian-level nonsense.” Follow the link to check out their 12-minute video review.
Latino Review divulges that 18-year-old Casey Jones discovers the grown Turtles in a secret lab in Michigan. Some impressive-sounding action scenes lead into a quick origin reveal that they were normal turtles exposed to ooze, trained by Splinter in the sewers and named after famous artists. Splinter, Bebop and Rocksteady all also make appearances. The FOOT Clan work with Colonel Schrader, who turns into Shredder. After being reunited with Splinter, their master reveals that they’re all from Dimension X, which sometimes comes into contact with ours and causes trouble. Dimension X then crosses over and we see all kinds of craziness, including an old Turtle Warrior, the Ninja Turtles’ parents, Krang and the Technodrome. From there it gets complex, as the Turtles learn about Dimension X’s political unrest and their own war-stopping destiny.
The script has been slammed all over the Internet, which is interesting because TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman praised the film just last month. His former collaborator Peter Laird doesn’t agree, however, as he explained on his blog that, “Someone else alerted me to the existence of this script, and I just a few minutes ago finished reading it. If it is, in fact, the actual draft that was rejected and caused the production of the next TMNT movie to be pushed back to 2014 because the script was unsatisfactory, then I think all true TMNT fans should be grateful to the new ‘powers that be’ that they did not allow this wretched thing to go any further. It could definitely be taken as a good sign if that is the case.”
You’ll note that he wasn’t sure whether the script reviewed was the actual, intended shooting script or not, something that would be difficult to pin down anyway. Further down, he explained that the script he read would need a complete rewrite:
I think the script that I read is so fundamentally flawed, and — more to the point — so NOT a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, that trying to make piecemeal changes to it in an effort to make it into something halfway decent is probably a fool’s errand.
In my opinion, the thing should just be tossed out, deliberately forgotten, and the process of generating a new script — really a new outline, then treatment, then script — should be started again. I have no insider knowledge of what’s going on with the movie, but from the bits and pieces that have slipped out, it seems like that may be exactly what is happening.
While we’re on the subject of this script… I have to say that while reading it, and especially reading the last twenty pages or so, I couldn’t help but think of the brouhaha which erupted a few months back when Michael Bay was heard to say that in the upcoming movie, the Turtles would be revealed to be “from an alien race”, and following that, all the mental gymnastics indulged in by people who wanted to parse his words and make it seem like “No, he didn’t REALLY say they were going to be ALIENS!”… and then this script makes it way out onto the Internet, and if it is legitimate, it’s painfully clear that YES, the Turtles WERE, in fact, going to be ALIENS.
We probably won’t know the real reason why Paramount delayed the film. Perhaps fan outcry really did the trick, perhaps the studio just didn’t like the script or maybe the whole thing was a budget nightmare. Whatever the case may be, it sounds like it’ll make one hell of an interesting story when all is said and done.