Donatello does machines?


So everyone at this point has already heard that there will be a new Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles film released in 2014. Surely they have also heard that this is a Michael Bay film, and that the working title is shortened to “Ninja Turtles” to reflect the fact that the characters will no longer be mutants, but instead some sort of turtle aliens.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2013

 This version will feature live actors for the humans and CG for the turtles.

No status update on how teen-aged they will or won’t be, but if they’re looking to fill time with multiple extended scenes of sewer skateboarding, pizza eating and Cowabunga yelling like they did in the last  film of the franchise as a whole, TMNT, a non-teen-aged alien ninja turtle will be a tougher sell.

Typical Michelangelo cut scene sample from TMNT: “Half pipe? More like sewer pipe! COOOOOOOOOOOWWabunga!”
(Seriously, in a two minute skateboard cut scene, I counted over 5 catchphrases uttered to nobody but the audience)

Such a party dude he is.

Which brings me to my next point, almost.

I will always have a spot of resentment for cartoons/comics that are made into live-action films .Not that there haven’t been ones that were very nicely executed, I have to begrudgingly admit that X-men (generally) and at least the first Iron Man, captured and condensed themes that it might have taken a bit longer to get a sense of in their original form, creating watchable standalone entities that didn’t (completely) bastardize the franchise. And keeping in mind that I’m admitting that with full knowledge that Disney bought Marvel in 2009 specifically to extend their marketing past princess incarnations and into young boys.

We don’t care how epic you’ve become Mickey, come back when blades flip out of those weird little black glove-holes of yours. Also, Goofy is probably the reason why the cool kids don’t want to hang out with you. (Goofy = WORLD’S LEAST RELATABLE CHARACTER)


 Watch in annoyance as Goofy single-handedly almost ruins the Kingdom Hearts series

Anyway, Fox and Marvel respectively made those films, and I’m sure we can expect a lot different now that the ball is in Disney’s court.

The aforementioned resentment doesn’t come from how well or poorly the films are handled. It comes from the fact that the movies are arbitrarily made live action to appeal to an ‘adult’ audience. Now that special effects technology is so advanced, I can see why developers are salivating to get their hands on a pre-packaged bin of magical powers, weapons and mounts to exploit, but what was the motivation to squeeze out live action when the ‘special effects’ were puppets and dim lighting? I’ve seen better effects in the “just cut out a few frames” days of Georges Méliès

The only reason to sacrifice the original much more believable, immersive and visually complete animated world for the shoddy, visibly seamed one, is that all too many people wouldn’t go near anything animated, let alone admit to liking it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IIILoveable movie, HIDEOUS CHARACTERS. These guys are about as appealing as the Skeksis from Jim Hensons The Dark Crystal. Also to be noted: Jim Henson movies are immensely impressive, and do not annoy me on account of the fact that they were puppet movies made for PUPPETS, not puppet movies made for animations.

Yes I would rather the films get made rather than not at all, but now after watching the films I get to stand around the lobby beside some warped-ass poster of Johnny Depp for hours and be lectured about the franchise by instant megafans, that would have scoffed at the cartoons in their original form. This also raises the question, what is worse? Staying true to animation by deploying horrible glossy PG rated CG animations? Or live action.

Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles 2000 The 2003 Ninja Turtles are actually my favorite multi-purpose turtle. By dropping the pupils and beefing them up a bit, they look hardcore enough to carry more adult themes. I think this style would be perfectly adequate for a feature film.

I don’t know who decided that CG animation was the only acceptable form of modern animation to combat live action? But they deserve to wear contact lenses made of coarse porcelain to atone for the damage they’ve done to my eyes.

TMNTWow this looks gross.

 Still, I don’t discriminate. I saw TMNT didn’t I? And under the eye-bleedingly round and bulbous mess, lay a pretty fun and interesting plotline.

The point being, should these characters be altered to give them more relevance in modern times and more relatability to a broader audience? Probably.cartoon-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-yes-pizza-poster-AQU24894


But still, how weird is this? Let’s think about Donatello for awhile.
If you are my friend and have been to a party with me, you have more likely than not heard the seedlings of this rant, promptly yelled “Shut up weirdo” and stumbled off in search of booze to drink and real fun to be had. But now you are not at a party, you’re behind a computer and probably desperate to kill time, and now my Donatello musings are starting to look tall and frosty.

Leonardo leads and Donatello does machines.
If I were to ask you what occupation is opposite to grease-monkey, you would probably say computer-nerd. The turtles of the 80s and 90s featured a Donatello who was essentially the vehicle expert.

In a typical Donatello vehicular scene, we would see the remaining three turtles who do not do machines fighting bad guys (which they do do).
They would be losing, and Leo would say something like: When’s Donny getting here? And then Don would charge onto the scene in this insane weaponized vehicle that he had been developing/fixing for the entire episode until exactly this point. Then the machine would cut the shit out of the enemies and give them just the boost they needed to win.

Check at how many vehicle references there are in the original and 2003 intros.

Don’t get me wrong, Donatello did many kinds of machines, not just vehicles, but the Donatello of today has slipped into a kind of hacker role. Sometimes he just stays back at base and does all his work remote.

So the scene would go something like this: Turtles find themselves about to infiltrate the bad guy’s lair after hours. Raphael pulls some tough-guy shit and tries to take a flying leap/sai -chop at the electric fence and is flung into the dirt. Leonardo offers him a hand, which he rejects, all the while whining “Man, (Raphael frequently uses words like “man” due to his coolness) where’s Don? He said he was going to hack into the mainframe.” “WOOOOSHHH” The double metal door opens with a big mechanized air-gust. “Alright, I’m in.” says Donatello over a headset in his nerdy Corey Feldman voice.

TMNT Donatello desk

Our little wallflower

And it makes sense, every super team needs a hacker. But all the vehicle work and all the computer work is a lot for one character to shoulder.


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