The internet's ears collectively pricked up the second the news broke that Michael Bay was behind a cinematic reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. Initial announcements that the film would be called Ninja Turtles and make our heroes aliens caused such consternation that Bay, hardly a man of compromise, backed down and made some tweaks. Well, the trailer finally debuted today, and people are predictably up in arms. Now, I'm not here to argue that this film looks good. But I am here to ask you, fair millennials—what is it you want?
Yes, there's plenty of things to be annoyed about. The often-wooden Megan Fox is not an exciting choice as plucky reporter April O'Neill. Shredder has been re-imagined from "terrifying metal-clad Japanese ninja" to "corporate villain played by William Fichtner" (although he does briefly eye a Shredder-style suit of armor). The turtles themselves are looming CGI monsters with creepy lips that no one would ever accuse of being adorable.
But this is just the latest re-baking of a concept that's been fiddled with constantly since Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 hit newsstands in 1984. It went from being a black-and-white indie comic printed on cheap newsprint to a popular Saturday morning cartoon to a somewhat gritty (if adorably rooted in its time) film to an increasingly wacky series of sequels to an animated reboot that hewed closer to the original comics. And let's not forget the stuff that didn't work, like the female turtle "Venus de Milo" introduced in the thankfully-forgotten live-action TV show Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.
Essentially, this is a franchise that has already been messed with in every way possible. Everyone has their favorite version, and so many of us (including myself) grew up watching Turtles, owned a few action figures, and maybe was young enough to be scarred by the first movie and adore its softer sequels. The most rage I can summon upon seeing this trailer is a weak sigh, maybe a private eye-roll. It's not worth anything more than that.