We should all be glad Paramount decided to push back the release date of the new Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from Christmas 2013 to March 2014. A TMNT fansite has unearthed the script for Ninja Turtles written by Andre Nemec (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) and Kevin Eastman (TMNT co-creator). After reading the details of the script, the reasons for the delay become pretty apparent.
Sadly, the rumors are true. The titular turtles are no longer mutants but rather space alien turtles from Dimension X. A race of space turtles sent Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo to Earth as the “chosen ones.” When they arrive on our planet, they meet an 18-year-old Casey Jones, who is not a vigilante but instead a security guard who plays for an amateur hockey team; and his girlfriend April O’Neil, who is an intern for CBS News. The script is partially about their relationship as they try to start a new life together.
The villain of the movie is Colonel Schrader, the leader of a secret Army force called “The Foot,” instead of the masked metal samurai The Shredder. Colonel Schrader discovers the Ninja Turtles are on Earth and tries to capture them.
One of the more odious elements of the Ninja Turtles script is that it’s full of pop culture references. At one point, Casey Jones gives the Turtles their trademark colors to tell them apart because he got the idea from Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. Yuck!
The Ninja Turtles script sounds just as bad as the Robocop remake script. Ninja Turtles feels like any other remake or reboot today, a lazy effort to capitalize on a franchise’s success, with copious references to the original rather than actual comedy, narrative, or personality.
TMNT co-creator Peter Laird sounded off on the leaked Ninja Turtles script and expressed his glee at not being part of TMNT anymore:
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.
It reminds me of one of the reasons I am glad to not own the property anymore… because I don’t have to tear what little hair I have left out while trying to fix junk like this. — PL
The Ninja Turtles project is still happening with director Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans) at the helm. It’s slated to open in March 2014, if the project ever gets back on its feet.