Michael Bay Responds to Fans' Outrage Over Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Alien Announcement
UPDATED: The filmmaker tells fans to "chill" in the wake of anger over his statements at Nickelodeon upfronts.
Perhaps seizing on the notion that moviegoers are willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to see Michael Bay's films while maintaining a deep contempt for his storytelling process and heavy use of exploding computer graphics, the Internet was set ablaze Monday, with blogs and major media outlets slamming the filmmaker's announcement concerning the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and telling tales of fan outrage.
“When you see this movie, kids are going to believe, one day, that these turtles actually do exist when [we] are done with this movie," Bay said about his upcoming franchise reboot during a presentation at the Nickelodeon upfront. "These turtles are from an alien race, and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely lovable."
Outrage boiled over, leading Bay to issue a terse response on a website he often uses to make announcements.
"Fans need to take a breath, and chill. They have not read the script," he wrote. "Our team is working closely with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles to help expand and give a more complex back story. Relax, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world."
It's going to take some heavy convincing, though, because outlets and select social media-using Turtle diehards were indignant the mere thought of altering the origin story of the pizza-loving, crime-fighting mutant turtles that were such a cultural phenomenon in the 1980s and early '90s. Outlets including Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post and the AV Club reported that, based on some tweets and Reddit threads, fans were in up in arms.
The Guardian went straight for the jugular, contrasting the implausibility of an alien origin with the well-accepted ooze-induced transformation.
"Making the turtles aliens would ruin everything – their desire to be accepted, their bizarre late-1980s street lingo, their fondness for pizza. Everything," the paper argued. "Are we really meant to believe that there's an alien race of giant turtles who just happen to all be named after renowned Renaissance artists from this planet, and speak English, and who came to Earth with a giant elderly rat who's presumably from the same race, just to live in sewers and loudly eschew anchovies at every opportunity? Hardly, Michael Bay. Hardly."
It's a national scandal, and Turtlegate got more ammunition when the man who voiced the orange masked, pizza-loving Michelangelo got involved.
"You probably don’t know me, but I did some voice work on the first set of movies that you are starting to talk about sodomizing," Robbie Rist wrote in a letter to Bay that he posted online (via TMZ). "I know believing in mutated talking turtles is kinda silly to begin with but am I supposed to be led to believe there are ninjas from another planet? The rape of our childhood memories continues."