In a couple of videos by The Old Turtle Den, they talked about the new Ninja Turtle reboot movie. They asked what we’d like to see from it. Do we want an origin story or a story involving experienced Ninja Turtles? The question got me thinking about why I like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the first place.
When I was younger and watched the original TMNT, I wanted them to have superpowers or dive into the mystic/paranormal. But as time went on and I saw other action-adventure fantasy shows, I did not want the Turtles to have mystic abilities. I liked the fact that they battled big threats with swords and staffs.
They were ninjas; it didn’t make sense for them to have advanced weapons. It gave the show a feeling of “with teamwork you could do anything.” You didn’t need to rely on superpowers or awesome machines to reach your goals.
I do think the Turtles should be stronger, faster, and more durable than normal humans–they are mutants–but not to the extent seen in the Michael Bay films where they were bulletproof and could throw around shipping containers. The Turtles should more dependent on their ninja skills/intelligence with the mutant side being more of an explanation as to why they can survive fights (or why turtles can move that fast).
Personally, I like that Splinter was human then become a rat. First, it helps explain the rules of the mutagen (i.e. you mix with the last animal you were in contact with–man mixed with rats or turtles mixed with man). Second, Hamoto Yoshi was in exile…for different reasons depending on the version. He is than further exiled by becoming a rat. It just added depth to the character–not only is he an outsider coming from Japan, but now he’s an animal most people think of as disgusting. It reinforces the theme of being different, not being able to be part of humanity. Splinter and the Turtles have to remain hidden not because they’re ninjas, but because they’re strange beings.
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Finally, I enjoy how the Turtles’ weapons reflect their personalities.
Leonardo is the leader (in most versions). When we think of swords/katanas, we think of discipline and elegance or agility.
The sword is usually the first older (or low-tech) weapon people think of–it is the leader.
Raphael has the sai. He has to get in close in order to attack (or he can throw a sai). Raphael is the brawler Turtle with a temper. He prefers to attack at very close range.
Donatello is smart and inventive. He would rather spend his time creating. It makes sense that he would attack from a distance, even further than the other Turtles. Raph’s sai can be thrown, but what good is it then; this is an intimidation technique. Donnie’s staff can be used from a distance and remain effective. Donnie is a thinker, not a fighter. I also find it ironic that the group’s inventor would have “a stick” as his weapon. This goes further into Donnie’s personality as an inventor who’s inventions sometimes don’t work out as planned; he’s smart but at times can still be silly or inexperienced.
Michelangelo is the party dude, and the nunchaku seemed to be seen by as flashy or showy (yet still deadly). They seem to be the weapon people make the most jokes about, such as someone hitting themselves with the nunchaku. Also, people seem to think of the nunchaku as the simplest weapon or easiest to learn when in fact they are more complex. The audience, as well as the other Turtles, see Mikey as the youngest or least complex of the characters; he’s the pizza-loving, surfer dude, but maybe there’s more to him. There have been times when he’s proven to be knowledgeable with it comes to paranormal events, or when it comes time to think outside of the box.
While I prefer a non-origin story for the reboot, I hope the creators keep to the heart of the Ninja Turtles…a little serious but also not so much. They are ninjas and ninjas are assassins, but they’re also teenagers and mutant turtles. You just got to love the juxtaposition of silent, skillful ninjas and not so quiet teens.
What are your thoughts on the TMNT reboot? Who’s your favorite character, hero or otherwise? Let me know in the comments section.
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Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!