My introduction to the Turtles came at some point in the eighties through some kind of unplanned Pincer Strike.
On the one side there was a censored (and retitled) cartoon series and on the other there was Palladium Books‘ tabletop role-playing game based on the original comic series by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.
The turtles were (nay, are) iconic and played a key part of my personal development through childhood to early adulthood.
Mocked at the time for being such a far fetched concept, many of the Turtles’ critics didn’t really get the message that the story held for others.
Eastman and Laird’s work parodied themes that were prevalent in comics at the time and yet portrayed strong heroic (and anti-heroic) character archetypes.
I’ve been a fan ever since and I’ve seen the Turtles evolve over the years, adapting to each new generation whilst still keeping to what they stand for.
From cartoon and action figure to previous live action movies. I’ve run tabletop role-playing sessions with the turtles and even seen them inspire a form of the lesser banishing pentagram ritual.
When I heard that Michael Bay was making a movie, I panicked a little. Having already ridden roughshod over another staple from my childhood, the man who twisted the Transformers into a mess of grinding girders now had his hands on the Turtles.
Last night, I finally plucked up the courage to go see Bay’s movie.
I’m almost ashamed to say it but I can often be “That Guy”. You know… the one who’s read the book before the film or seen the original before the reboot. So the chance was very high that I was going to spend the entire viewing criticizing and gnashing my teeth.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed it.
I feel I had just cause to be cautious. I had heard rumours that the liberties had been taken with the origin story and Megan Fox clearly isn’t red haired enough to play April… but actually, she did a good job and the revised origin made sense within the confines of Bay’s plot.
The only real complaint I had about the movie came with the inclusion of Mecha-Shredder.
Yes, Shredder is meant to rely on his barbed and bladed armour to give him the edge in combat but the I-Can’t-Believe-It-Doesn’t-Turn-Into-A-Fighter-Jet power armour that Shredder wore led to the kind of girder grinding battles that I hated in Transformers.
That being said, the origin story change wasn’t as bad as it could have been and by and large the characters were true to their archetypes.
No matter who your favourite turtle is, there’s something in there for every Turtles fan… except maybe fans of Casey Jones who doesn’t appear at all.
Most importantly, I left the cinema happy and not, as I expected to be, full of rage.