How excited are you about the new Ninja Turtles movie?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by sonak, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. Out Of My Vulcan Mind

    Out Of My Vulcan Mind Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The nunchakus were phased out mostly because of censorship issues in the UK at the time (the original animated series had to be retitled Teenage Mutant Hero Turtes in the UK for the same reason).
     
  2. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Which is just silly, if anything Michelangelo had the most HARMLESS weapon. Leonardo carried around two freaking swords and Raphael had two three-pronged stabbing weapons. But, nah, those are all okay to see used by cartoon turtles fighting robots. But don't you dare twirl around two sticks tethered together by a chain/string!
     
  3. The Grinch Doctor

    The Grinch Doctor Two Hearts Too Small Premium Member

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    I have nothing but disgust for this production. After destroying one of my childhood classics, Michael Bay is set to ruin on another. As much as I love William Fichtner, he has no place playing Shredder.

    I grew up loving the first two Turtles films (I still haven't seen the third one) as well as the 90's cartoon and I quite liked the recent animated film even though it had its own flaws. I'll just rewatch those instead of whatever shit Michael Bay puts out claiming to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
     
  4. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    While I totally respect that view, and would be pissed as all heck if, say, the Golden Compass movie had rewritten Lyra as a boy named Laurence, as a non-fan of the franchise, Fichtner's inherent awesomeness makes me much more interested in the movie than I'd been before. I can definitely grok the desire for a really weird human villain to offset the unreality of the turtles themselves, and if there's an actor out there weirder than Fichtner, apart from maybe Michael Shannon, I'm not sure I've heard of him or her.

    Also, couldn't it be argued that the character of Shredder/Oroku Saki as a modern-day Japanese martial arts master (as created by two white dudes) was pretty stereotypical, and therefore kinda un-PC to begin with? Two white dudes decide to do a story about mutant crime-fighting martial artist turtles, so they throw in some Japanese characters for an exotic flavor when pretty much any New York-based martial arts mentor would have sufficed?
     
  5. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    I'm told I was quite the Ninja Turtles fan when I was a kid. Indeed, there's still quite a few TMNT stuff kicking around the house. But in all honesty, I don't really remember anything about TMNT and haven't been too compelled to check out the old cartoon on DVD.

    As for this new movie, I'm not really hopeful. This has nothing to do with cherishing old memories or dreading that it will "rape my childhood." Rather, I'm just looking at a movie from Michael Bay which seems to be a retread of his Transformers movies but with mutant turtles in the place of giant robots. And since I haven't bothered with any more Transformers movies after the first one, I don't see any compelling reason to check this out.
     
  6. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How is a martial arts expert from Japan un-PC? We're not allowed to have any characters who are good at martial arts be Asian any more?!

    And they didn't "throw in" some Japanese characters. The entire origin story is built around them. Or at least, it used to be. :(
     
  7. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Haha... what!? My karate instructor as a kid was Asian, man. These stereotypes exist for a reason you know.

    I hate political correctness, but I don't see how making the minority characters white is a particularly PC thing to do?
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's a spurious comparison. The real issue here isn't about whether characters are authentic, it's about whether actors are being discriminated against and cheated out of employment opportunities because of what group they belong to. Male actors have historically had no problem getting movie parts. But Asian actors have. For generations, they've been shut out of employment opportunities because white actors got cast in roles that were meant to be Asian. There is a long history of job discrimination and racism looming over the industry, and it still hasn't been entirely overcome. So the recent trend of casting so many white actors as originally Asian (or Native American) characters in movies feels like a backslide. It's not about any single character or whether the change can be justified; it's about the disturbing overall trend in the industry.

    Particularly given that Michael Bay is known for questionable portrayals of nonwhite characters in his movies. Of course, in that case, maybe it's better if he doesn't actually try to portray any Asian characters, since they might come out as stereotypes. But that just underlines the bad decision of giving this project to him in the first place.
     
  9. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    @DalekJim: Okay, you got me, "un-PC" wasn't warranted. :cool:


    Both issues are real, and both are valid. I wasn't saying white girls face the same casting hurdles as Asian actors with my Golden Compass comparison; I was addressing the authentic characters issue only.

    That said, I'm on your side. I would've cast an Asian, I agree Bay's a douchebag, and I'm all for not giving him any more money. I'm just saying that if I were to find a discarded dvd of the movie on the street some day - no money involved - Fichtner's presence would make me more interested than if it'd been virtually any other actor.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2013
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, if you say so, though I think it does Fichtner a disservice to have him associated with this misbegotten project in any way. I doubt I'd ever want to watch it no matter who was in it.
     
  11. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.


    How about "No thanks, try throwing oodles of money at a nonwhite dude for a change"?
     
  13. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  14. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.


    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. ;)



    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
     
  15. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  16. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I still think Ken Watanabe would make a killer Shredder.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.


    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.




    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.​
     
  18. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.

    He'd have been so much better! Would've rocked.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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...
     
  20. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't think he's prejudiced for it, I just think it's dumb and annoying to whitewash famously ethnic characters.