Saturday, August 9, 2014

How I Would Have Done the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie (SPOILERS)

I just reviewed the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtlesmovie produced by none other than the polarizing Michael Bay. I overall liked it a fair bit, but I'd have done a few things differently. Here goes...

*April is fired from her job at the television news station for continuing to push her theory about the vigilantes fighting the Foot Clan because she supposedly lacks proof. However, she did have some pictures of the Turtles on her phone that she later showed Sacks. Why didn't she show them to her boss? The boss could've dismissed them as Photoshop or too blurry to mean anything, much like how she blew off her picture of the graffiti the Turtles left behind when they first challenged the Foot, but it doesn't look like she even tried.

*The master plan that Sacks and the Shredder concocted between them doesn't make a great deal of sense. Sacks creating a chemical attack or plague (it's not totally clear which) secretly and then producing the cure and making a butt-load of money and getting all the glory, that makes sense. But how exactly is the Foot Clan going to rule New York? They try that, they're going to get slapped down by the New York National Guard or, if they get too troublesome, the U.S. Army. Maybe if their intent was to use the chemical weapon to take the city hostage a la Bane's scheme in The Dark Knight Rises that might be more sensible, but it's never explained. It would've been better if the Foot was providing the muscle, stolen lab equipment, etc. for the plan in exchange for a cut of the money or Sacks' chemical weapon for their own use. Given the relationship revealed between Sacks and the Shredder (the Shredder became his mentor/father figure after his own father died in Vietnam), Sacks as an agent or puppet of the Foot pursuing their agenda in the corporate world would make sense.

*Sacks was basically raised by the Shredder, an evil ninja, but never displays any martial-arts ability himself. Vernon, April's cameraman, jokes about having taken yoga classes but quitting after (rather pathetically) injuring himself. If it were me writing the script, Vernon could've (briefly) taken a real martial art and quit after (quickly) getting hurt. Then, in the scene where April and Vernon confront Sacks in the lab, Sacks has them at gunpoint and Vernon manages to surprise him and knock away his gun. Then Sacks proceeds to unleash some real martial-arts and kick the living hell out of him. It's April who attacks Sacks from behind with one of those heavy lab microscopes, avenging the death of her father at Sacks' hands years before. She does stab Shredder in the back when he's dueling Splinter in the sewers earlier in the film, so even if she's not going to be taking on adult male martial artists, ambush or taking advantage of a distracted opponent is still entirely doable. And although we sacrifice Vernon's yoga joke, having him get the tar beat out of him by Sacks preserves him as the semi-lovable Butt Monkey he kind of is.

*Since the movie is the Turtles' origin story, we could see the individual turtles growing into their roles. We do see Raphael overcoming his anger issues and threats to abandon his brothers to go rescue them when they're captured by the Foot. Having Leonardo be the one to defeat the Shredder (instead of April convincing the Turtles to basically use her as a club to knock him sixty stories off a falling radio tower) could cement him in his role as the Turtles' battle leader, especially if Splinter remains too injured for frontline fighting. April could get her action-girl glory (in a more thematically appropriate way) in my above scenario where she caves in Sacks' head with a microscope.

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