The story: Teenage Alien Ninja Turtles? Yes, if polarizing Transformers director Michael Bay gets his way. In the original '80s TV cartoon, four turtles acquire ninja-like skills after they're contaminated by a glowing ooze in a filthy sewer. But in Bay's upcoming big-screen version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the crime-fighting creatures are getting a controversial new backstory. "These turtles are from an alien race, and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny, and completely lovable," Bay said this week.
The reaction: The actor who voiced Michelangelo in a 1990 live-action film accused Bay of "sodomizing" a classic piece of childhood nostalgia. ("Take a breath, and chill," Bay responded. "We are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world.") Bay deserves the backlash, says Stuart Heritage at the U.K.'s Guardian. I mean, really, are we supposed "to believe that there's an alien race of giant turtles who just happen to all be named after renowned Renaissance artists... and who come to Earth with a giant elderly rat... to live in sewers" and fight crime? That's just ridiculous. But Bay has a point, says Oliver Lyttelton at Indie Wire. Over-protective fans routinely whine about any changes to their beloved source material, even when the revisions work out well. Still, says Jordan Zakarin at The Hollywood Reporter, judging by their severe indignation, fanboys will need "some heavy convincing" to accept this as anything less than an awful idea.