The troubled live-action/animation hybrid Ninja Turtles film that Michael Bay is producing has been delayed until at least 2014 in order to accommodate a full rewrite of a script that has subsequently found its way on to the Internet where it has been brutally panned on TMNT fansites.
Bay’s TMNT production incurred the wrath of Turtles fans early on when he announced a major change to amphibian quartet’s origin story that made them aliens from outer space. The opposition grew when Bay shortened the group’s title from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” to “Ninja Turtles”.
But those changes, according to a Turtle’s fan site that obtained a copy of the script, were just the tip of the katana compared with what Bay and his script writers had in mind in the now rejected script. The fact that the focal point of the script was Casey Jones, re-imagined as an 18-year security guard and amateur hockey player, and not the Turtles was enough to rouse the ire of Turtles fans, but there are plenty of other major alterations to the Turtles’ world including to their nemesis Shredder, who has morphed into a character known as “Colonel Schrader” in the script. According to the origin story in the posted screenplay, the Turtles are “aliens” from “Dimension X,” where there is an entire race of Turtles, though the script makes sure to note that our four special guys are the “chosen ones.”
The dialogue in the script, which could be an early draft, was laced with obscenities (what is the age of the audience Bay and his scribes were targeting with this script?) and absurdities. Raphael constantly cracks wise with lame quips that wouldn’t even make it into one of Michael Bay’s narratively-challenged Transformers scripts. At one point Raphael even says: “That damn frog was right, ‘It ain’t easy being green.’”
In fact the excerpts posted on the Net are so bad that it’s hard to believe that this is even a rough draft of a script, much less one that was just weeks away from going into production. TMNT co-creator Peter Laird read the script when it was posted online (Paramount made the site take the entire script down, though excerpts are still posted) and joined in the chorus of criticism on his blog. Laird was extremely pleased that this script wasn’t made: “Someone else alerted me to the existence of this script, and I just a few minutes ago finished reading it. If it is, in fact, the actual draft that was rejected and caused the production of the next TMNT movie to be pushed back to 2014 because the script was unsatisfactory, then I think all true TMNT fans should be grateful to the new “powers that be” that they did not allow this wretched thing to go any further. It could definitely be taken as a good sign if that is the case. It reminds me of one of the reasons I am glad to not own the property anymore… because I don’t have to tear what little hair I have left out while trying to fix junk like this.”