After some jarring comments from producer Michael Bay hinting at extraterrestrial origins for his “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reboot, frustrated fans at least found a temporary sign of relief when pre-production shut down this summer for script and budget issues. On the business side though, a release date still remains on the calendar for Paramount to distribute the film, and as a recently-leaked script for the film shows, the studio had more than enough reason to worry back in June.
Upon its release, the leaked draft by Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec (“Mission: Impossible 3”) immediately garnered wary speculation from readers of fan blog TMNT NOT TANT, but after a Paramount cease-and-desist letter forced the script’s removal it seems all too legitimate. However, any initial skepticism came less from ease of availability, and more from the fact that the draft’s story and writing style itself was basically terrible. In the new story, the Turtles’ main antagonist Shredder is re-envisioned here as Schrader, compiling an army known as “The Foot” for world domination, but the largest qualm seems to be that in a TMNT adaptation, the actual Turtles are nowhere to be seen. Bay’s influence seems to be set on autopilot from “Transformers” story meetings , as entire sections of “TMNT” are devoted to the love story between security guard, Casey Jones, and his high-school sweetheart April O’Neill, who’s leaving for a name-checked CBS internship in New York.
Like Bay’s other franchise as well, the already convoluted plot with Shredder and the Turtles are essentially side-lined so Casey can serve some ill-imagined “heart” to the project, racing to NY to save April from Shredder’s plan with the Turtles as essentially supporting players. Meanwhile, the Turtles, — who indeed discover they are not the result of a mutation, but rather just an average member of a alien turtle race – are also given some intensely cringe-worthy dialogue, such as this Michelangelo gem: “Kung Fu? What do we look like, cartoon Panda Bears? We’re trained in Ninjitsu. And we don’t just know it, we serve it for breakfast…” Yikes.
Frankly, considering the somewhat tepid direction the Jonathan Liebesman-helmed project was heading before the delay, the revelation that the script is indeed lackluster falls on expectant ears. However, if the prospect of the film still intrigues, or if a further draft from Tom Stoppard somehow saves the entire enterprise, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” opens May 16, 2014. [via JoBlo]