The Turtles from the 2007 movie "TMNT"
I am a geek, I am not ashamed to say. But there are times when even I want to chuckle at the antics of Geek Nation.
This happened most recently when a friend asked me on Twitter if I was "aware of this ninja turtle b.s." He was referring, for the non-geeks out there, to a planned live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. What made my friend so angry was the revelation by producer Michael Bay—of"Transformers" directing fame—that in his reboot, the titular reptilian martial arts masters would no longer be turtles of earthly origin, but aliens instead.
Blasphemy! How could Bay, known to some in movie geek circles as The Great Satan, make such a drastic change to the origin of these beloved heroes! Doesn't he realize he risks incurring the wrath of millions of comic book fans who will kill the film with bad word-of-mouth and a massive boycott? HOW DARE HE DEFILE OUR CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!
Yeah, I know. I don't get it either.
See, as a card-carrying comic book geek, I've seen my fellow fanboys and fangirls get worked into a lather over all sorts of similar things. Consider that in the '80s they protested the casting of Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight in Tim Burton's "Batman." Then they went and helped make it one of the top-grossing films of the year.
"But he's changing the origin!" some geeks cry. "How could he make the turtles into aliens? They're not the Teenage Alien Ninja Turtles!"
OK, allow me to share my two geek cents on this "controversy": Since the movie hasn't even started filming, maybe we should reserve judgment on this alteration. Let's also recognize for a moment that in the original story, the TMNT were ordinary, run-of-the-mill pet shop turtles until they were exposed to some radioactive "ooze." Now, what do you get when you expose turtles to radioactive waste chemicals? Dead turtles.
An origin so silly—in fact, it was created as a satire of the Marvel superhero Daredevil—just wouldn't fly with today's audiences. I mean, how does any radioactive substance give turtles the ability to master the art of ninjutsu and talk? See how ridiculous that sounds? And I'm speaking as a geek who bought the comic when it first came out.
So my advice to all the geeks, nerds and comic book fanboys who are upset about this change with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is this: Calm down, take another swig of Mountain Dew and wait to see how the movie ultimately comes out.
No matter how much Geek Nation complains, these movies aren't made just for us. They also are made with a general audience in mind—an audience that may be familiar with these characters, but with a passing familiarity that comes from seeing them briefly on TV or on a lunchbox. These folks don't obsess over these kinds of details like we do. And all this complaining over a movie that hasn't even been made yet makes us look silly.
Besides, you know we're all totally going to go see it anyway.
ELLIOTT SERRANO IS A REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR. REDEYECHICAGO.COM/GEEKTOME