I Hate It Here: Nerd Rage and Michael Bay

By Will Malkus
Elm Staff Writer

How about a little nerd rage? Or maybe it’s just nostalgia rage. Who can keep it straight? But let me start this off with two words and if you were a nerdy kid in the 1990s (or just a kid) you probably have the same reaction to them that I do: cold, furious rage. Ready?

Michael. Bay.

Yes, the king of explosions himself. The man who decided that giant alien robots who can transform into cars just wasn’t quite enough for a movie and that the solution was a teenage love story; you know, just to appease those hardcore Transformers fans out there. The man who threw out over 20 years of perfectly good existing “Transformers” material so that Optimus Prime could be saved at the last second by Shia LeBeouf, who comes back from the dead thanks to ghosts. Because when I think “Transformers,” I think ghosts and college students. This man makes me so angry.

And this man has gotten his hands on another piece of my childhood.

I’m referring to the upcoming “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” remake, or rather, I would be if they were calling it “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Instead, the movie is simply titled “Ninja Turtles.” I’m sure that’s really the only major change Bay, as both director and producer, is planing, right? Right?! Wrong. It was revealed at the Nickelodeon Upfront Conference on March 14 that Bay is, in fact, changing the turtle’s whole origin. Instead of the iconic green ooze (seriously, they made a whole movie just about the ooze) that mutated four discarded pet turtles into their bipedal and chiral selves, the turtles are now, wait for it:

They are aliens. From outer space. They are aliens, who look like anthropomorphic turtles, and practice the ancient Japanese art of ninjutsu.

No, yeah, that’s what Bay announced. Even though that was only two short weeks ago, the fans have been raging nonstop ever since and it’s hard to fault them. I grew up with the turtles, but I’ve never been a particularly hardcore fan of the franchise. There is something undeniably awesome about the concept, especially since I can’t help but suspect that the whole series was devised by throwing darts at a board filled with random adjectives and nouns. I would be content to give Bay the benefit of the doubt…if it wasn’t for the alien thing.

This concept is just stupid. Number one, if they are aliens, why do they know ninjutsu? Okay, sure, maybe they crashed on Earth when they were still very young, but the only reason the turtles knew it before was because it was taught to them by Master Splinter, a rat who was also mutated by the ooze. He only knew ninjutsu from watching his old master when he was a pet in Japan.

Even accepting the possibility that there are two types of aliens here, one that looks like turtles and another that looks like rats, the problem still remains that Splinter would have had to have been kept as a pet for years before finding the turtles and beginning to train them. Unless they plan to get rid of Splinter altogether, but that severely undermines the integral theme of youth vs. discipline that the series has always evoked.

Which brings me to my next point: accepting the aliens premise. Why would they even use Earth styles of martial arts, much less Earth weapons? If they’re aliens, with access to the kind of technology that can let them travel from their home planet to Earth, do you really expect us to believe that they would be fighting with katana, sai, and a bo staff?

I can’t even properly express the levels of fail at work here, but I’d like to see Bay try to weasel his way out of this one.

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