Michael Bay and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Alien Turtles

Michael Bay is a director, producer and man about town. He's made tons of movies and has caused tons of damage through explosions. He's also made Transformers a household name (thanks to his better than expected film in 2007) and is being tapped to revitalize another franchise that's recently come back into the spotlight.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Only according to Bay, they're not going to be "mutants," but aliens.

Where to begin.

Bay's comments were made somewhat offhand at the annual Nickelodeon upfront presentation. And fans have sank their teeth into them with great voracity.

"When you see this movie, kids are going to believe one day these turtles actually do exist when we are done with this movie," said Bay. "These turtles are from an alien race, and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely loveable."

The problem with that comment is the "alien race" part. Everyone who's anyone knows that the turtles were created by an ooze that mutated them into anthropomorphic turtles. The same happened to their soon-to-be-sensei Master Splinter. That's the origin that both creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird envisioned and went with when they first created the group in 1984.

So why is the duo letting Bay get away with this? It's because they don't have a choice.

See, back in 2009, the Mirage Group sold the rights to the TMNT to Nickelodeon for a shade under $9 million. It's reported that as part of the deal Mirage can publish 18 issues a year about the heroes in a halfshell, but they can't do anything else.

No animated series, no movies, no video games. That's all in Nickelodeon's hands.

Now with Nickelodeon in control, the history of the group has undergone quite a few transformations in the nearly three years since they acquired the rights. For example, the newest CGI series set to debut later this year will feature Donatello and Michelangelo using blade weapons as well. I mean, we can't have them using weapons that can't kill without stabbing or slicing can we?

And the new series has some relatively big names for the voices. Jason Biggs as Leonardo, Sean Astin as Raphael, Rob Paulsen as Donatello (Paulsen was originally Raphael in the 1987 series) and Greg Cipes as Michelangelo. Clearly Nickelodeon wants to revitalize the brand and set up the film as a transition from the new series.

That's all good and well, but you still go back to Bay's comments. An alien race? Isn't Bay getting TMNT confused with the other memory from my childhood that he started off ok with and eventually made into nothing more than metal shrieking with napalm around it? The only explanation could be that--as mentioned earlier-- the CGI series has them as being an alien race. In which case Bay is just doing what Nickelodeon is giving him.

The new film is a little scary to fans because it has the word "reboot" attached to it. TMNT doesn't need a reboot in their origin. Just tell us their origin again with nicer CGI and less Vanilla Ice. I think we'd all be more than satisfied with that. Give us Michelangelo mellow and always hungry. Give us Donatello being brainy and neurotic. Raphael moody and sullen. Leonardo confident at times and unsure at other times.

Don't give us four pods that fall from outer space and land in who's soon to be Master Splinter's backyard and rely on him to learn about Earth. We already saw that story. And it involved giant robots that could transform into vehicles. Bay might have seen that one. The explosions made it hard to miss.

The new movie isn't slated to hit theaters until the end of 2013 and a lot can happen between now and then. And again, Bay didn't do too bad with Transformers, pleasantly surprising everyone and making a movie about Transformers that was fairly solid. It's Bay though. I'm fully expecting to find out that April O'Neil, pretty much the one potential sex object in Bay's version, will go to someone like Megan Fox. Only not Fox, because we all know Bay's not keen on Fox anymore. From there, it's got to be all downhil.

In the meantime, maybe we should do as Bay suggests and just "chill." There's a lot to learn about the movie and information is young. Coming from the sewers could be the same as alien to Bay. You never know.

And just because, Ninja Rap.