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Old July 20 2013, 06:31 PM   #31
Gaith
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

I assume this Shredder will still be some sort of military guy. Not being a TMNT fan, that doesn't bother me at all. Does it bother you? And maybe - this is a wild guess on my part - Bay didn't want to have an Asian-American US military officer be a bad guy? Maybe he's actually trying to be enlightened.

And what's Fichtner supposed to say? "No, thanks, throw oodles of money at some other white dude?" I just hope they let him be his awesomely weird self.
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Old July 20 2013, 07:45 PM   #32
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

Gaith wrote: View Post
And maybe - this is a wild guess on my part - Bay didn't want to have an Asian-American US military officer be a bad guy? Maybe he's actually trying to be enlightened.
Uhh, since when was the Shredder a US military officer? He's the leader of a gang of criminal ninjas from Japan. If this movie has reimagined the character to be American, then that's still more ethnocentric than the original no matter what race the actor is.

Besides, it's not as if it's always racist or unenlightened to have villains played by nonwhite actors. If it's an obvious or denigrating stereotype, like Arab terrorists, say, then it can be a problem. But it isn't automatically a problem. The upcoming The Wolverine features Silver Samurai as a villain, but I don't hear anyone criticizing that as racist. After all, the movie's set in Japan, so it makes sense to have both good guys and bad guys who are Japanese. TMNT has both as well: it's fundamentally driven by the feud between the heroic Hamato Yoshi and the villainous Oroku Saki. It's a story that takes place in New York City but has roots in Japan, and there's nothing wrong with that, because New York City is the most multicultural and cosmopolitan city in the US.


And what's Fichtner supposed to say? "No, thanks, throw oodles of money at some other white dude?"
How about "No thanks, try throwing oodles of money at a nonwhite dude for a change"?
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Old July 20 2013, 07:46 PM   #33
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

Shredder is supposed to be a Japanese martial arts master. Not an American general played by bloody William Fichtner. Having an Asian actor play a villain isn't racist, especially if it's a large part like this. It's just giving Asian actors less visibility in the mainstream.

I'm sure there are a ton of Asian actors who would have loved to play Shredder. He's an iconic villain in popular culture.
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Old July 20 2013, 08:12 PM   #34
Gaith
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

Christopher wrote: View Post
How about "No thanks, try throwing oodles of money at a nonwhite dude for a change"?
Bay had clearly decided to cast a white actor in the role. I don't know why, and I've already said I wouldn't have done so, but he did: it's right there in the script. Surely you don't think Fichtner refusing the role would have changed Bay's mind, and made him order a rewrite? We'd probably have gotten Marky Mark instead.


Christopher wrote: View Post
Besides, it's not as if it's always racist or unenlightened to have villains played by nonwhite actors.
Dude. I'm not Bay; I never said it was. I took an explicit guess at Bay's thought process, which I've already disavowed upthread. I'm not your enemy.



Christopher wrote: View Post
Uhh, since when was the Shredder a US military officer? He's the leader of a gang of criminal ninjas from Japan.
Uhh...
It is a mistake to assume that the point of an adaptation is to copy the original. That would be a waste of time and effort. The point of an adaptation is to adapt -- to take an idea that exists in one form and transform it into something new and different.
- Christopher, 2011


Well, the good thing about an adaptation is that they have a chance to change and improve aspects of the original work.
- Christopher, 2013


I'm just saying that I don't have a rigid set of assumptions about how to portray a character in an adaptation, and I'm open to multiple possibilities. Exploring variations on a theme is interesting to me creatively, and part of the value of adaptations is that you do get to change things and try out new possibilities. You're just so obsessed with this ugly "PC" nonsense...
- Christopher, 2012
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Old July 20 2013, 08:20 PM   #35
DalekJim
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

Changes in adaptations are to be expected, but replacing an exotic, Japanese martial arts master with a fucking generic Michael Bay US military general that will be barking stock commands like "Just do it!", isn't my cuppa tea. It's reduced TMNT to a boring action movie cliche. Just like he reduced the colourful Transformers series in to a series of boring action movie cliches.

All the eccentricities and colour are being drained. Just.. fuck Michael Bay.
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Old July 20 2013, 08:35 PM   #36
Owain Taggart
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

I still think Ken Watanabe would make a killer Shredder.
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Old July 20 2013, 08:35 PM   #37
Christopher
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

Gaith wrote: View Post
Bay had clearly decided to cast a white actor in the role. I don't know why, and I've already said I wouldn't have done so, but he did: it's right there in the script. Surely you don't think Fichtner refusing the role would have changed Bay's mind, and made him order a rewrite? We'd probably have gotten Marky Mark instead.
Why are you making this about Fichtner? As you said, it was the filmmakers' decision, and that's the core of the problem. (Although Bay's just the producer. The director is Jonathan Liebesman.)

Although it seems the real core of the problem may be the industry. Maybe it's the studio heads who are behind this seeming increase in whitewashed casting. Maybe they believe movies need to have white actors in them to succeed, and that's pushing the filmmakers to go along. I don't know. But pinning blame on individuals is not the solution here. This is shaping up as a systemic problem and we need to look at the big picture.


Christopher wrote: View Post
Besides, it's not as if it's always racist or unenlightened to have villains played by nonwhite actors.
Dude. I'm not Bay; I never said it was. I took an explicit guess at Bay's thought process, which I've already disavowed upthread. I'm not your enemy.
What?? Why would you interpret that as some kind of personal attack on you? I was simply responding to the assumptions underlying your speculation. It's not about you, whoever you are, stranger that I've never met and have no reason to attack. It's just about the ideas I'm reading on my computer screen here.


Uhh...[INDENT][INDENT]It is a mistake to assume that the point of an adaptation is to copy the original. That would be a waste of time and effort. The point of an adaptation is to adapt -- to take an idea that exists in one form and transform it into something new and different.[INDENT][INDENT]- Christopher, 2011
You're completely missing the point of my comment. You were speaking as though the issue were about whom they should have cast to fit the revised conception of the character; my point is that the question to be asked is a step or two further back in the process, namely, what motivated them to make that particular revision in the first place? Of course adaptors have the right to make revisions in general; revisionism is not in itself a bad thing. But that doesn't mean that each individual revision is immune from criticism, because some specific revisions are bad or are made for inappropriate reasons. The mistake is to equate the specific case for the general case, or vice-versa. The comments you quote were my objections to the tendency of many fans to perceive any and all revisions as wrong. But what I'm talking about here is not revisionism in general, but the appropriateness of one specific revision.
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Old July 20 2013, 08:46 PM   #38
DalekJim
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Although it seems the real core of the problem may be the industry. Maybe it's the studio heads who are behind this seeming increase in whitewashed casting.
Possible, but directors like Michael Bay and JJ Abrams should still be held accountable. It's just fucking ridiculous that it's gotten to the point where Khan Noonien-Singh and Shredder are white guys. These hacks want every action movie to be as homogeneous as possible. It'll get to the point where we can't tell these big franchise movies apart.

Owain Taggart wrote: View Post
I still think Ken Watanabe would make a killer Shredder.
He'd have been so much better! Would've rocked.
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Old July 20 2013, 09:46 PM   #39
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

Abrams has a fairly good record of diverse casting in his shows and films, from Carl Lumbly in Alias to Lance Reddick in Fringe to the mostly black cast of Undercovers to Maggie Q in Mission: Impossible III to Faran Tahir in Star Trek to Michael Ealy in Almost Human. And we know that except for Cumberbatch, every actor he considered for the role of Khan was Latino. Ideally they should've gone for a South Asian actor (I think Naveen Andrews could've worked), but at least they were trying to match Ricardo Montalban. So either they sincerely thought Cumberbatch was the best actor despite his ethnicity, or they were pressured by the studio to cast him instead of one of the others. This was a questionable decision, but I don't think it's fair to paint Abrams as prejudiced because of it, since the rest of his record doesn't bear that out. Bay, on the other hand...
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Old July 20 2013, 09:56 PM   #40
DalekJim
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

I don't think he's prejudiced for it, I just think it's dumb and annoying to whitewash famously ethnic characters.
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Old July 21 2013, 01:50 AM   #41
The Wormhole
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

Gaith wrote: View Post
I assume this Shredder will still be some sort of military guy. Not being a TMNT fan, that doesn't bother me at all. Does it bother you?
Though I'm not really a TMNT fan, it does kind of bother me that Shredder is being reimagined as an evil military officer. Mainly because it implies the movie is going to feature a villainous government agency as a foil to the heroes, which is something Bay has already done with the Transformers movies. Like I said earlier, it just makes the movie look like Transformers with giant robots replaced with sentient turtles.

DalekJim wrote: View Post
I don't think he's prejudiced for it, I just think it's dumb and annoying to whitewash famously ethnic characters.
It is a bit disappointing that Star Trek, a franchise known for its racial diversity has now cast a white guy as an Indian character. Sure, the character is well known as being played by a Latino actor, so one could argue race shouldn't matter. But having a white guy does make things look less diverse all the same.
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Old July 21 2013, 02:20 AM   #42
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

I grew up with TMNT too and watched every incarnation including the current series on Nickelodeon. However since this one has Megan Fox, I will pass.
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Old July 21 2013, 06:50 PM   #43
Gaith
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

Christopher wrote: View Post
You were speaking as though the issue were about whom they should have cast to fit the revised conception of the character; my point is that the question to be asked is a step or two further back in the process, namely, what motivated them to make that particular revision in the first place?
We'd have to ask Bay, I guess, though his predilection for military/cop characters is of course nothing new. And I'd think that the storytelling advantages of having a US military villain in a NYC-based story are fairly self-evident...



The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Though I'm not really a TMNT fan, it does kind of bother me that Shredder is being reimagined as an evil military officer. Mainly because it implies the movie is going to feature a villainous government agency as a foil to the heroes, which is something Bay has already done with the Transformers movies. Like I said earlier, it just makes the movie look like Transformers with giant robots replaced with sentient turtles.
But in the TF movies, the military is saintly/heroic, and it's the whiny politicians and bureaucrats who're corrupt. A military antagonist sounds like it could be a pretty significant departure to moi...
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Old July 21 2013, 07:23 PM   #44
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

Gaith wrote: View Post
We'd have to ask Bay, I guess, though his predilection for military/cop characters is of course nothing new.
I wouldn't know. I haven't actually watched any of his films since Armageddon, though I've caught portions of Transformers on TV -- mostly just the parts with Optimus in them, because Peter Cullen's cool to listen to.


And I'd think that the storytelling advantages of having a US military villain in a NYC-based story are fairly self-evident...
Uhh, no, they're not self-evident to me in the least. I really have no idea what you mean here. As I said, New York City is the most cosmopolitan and diverse city in the US. There really aren't many limits to what kind of characters of what origin could work in an NYC-based story.
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Old July 21 2013, 08:33 PM   #45
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Re: How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

Huh. I'd have thought that anyone who'd even read reviews of the TF series would know that they fetishize the military. ROTF, IIRC, even features an opening scene of Autobots helping the military blow up a foreign encampment not at all related to Cybertronians.


Christopher wrote: View Post
As I said, New York City is the most cosmopolitan and diverse city in the US. There really aren't many limits to what kind of characters of what origin could work in an NYC-based story.
Sure, about anyone can find their way to NYC, but how many of them can plausibly call upon the sorts of hardware and manpower resources the US military can? How many New Yorkers can plausibly provide big-ass robots or mech suits for the turtles to fight? Not too many Japanese citizens, I'd wager, and those are just wild guesses on my part. Again, I'm not yet endorsing the choice, but I don't think it's at all a mystifying one either. Guess we'll just have to see...
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