In Defense of Turtle Nostrils

April 2, 2014

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This thing (reported by Bad Ass Digest) where a fan fixed the creepy snouts from Michael Bay‘s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film has been making the rounds. Not having seen the trailer, I was in agreement. Yeah, those nostrils sure create a horrible uncanny valley feeling and the fan sure improved these Turtles. But then I watched the trailer.

And, you know, I think Bay’s redesign—so long as you’re not looking at a still photo—actually works really well. If for no other reason than in the previous live-action films the faithful-to-the-source material facial designs never really worked. In the comic and cartoon those absurdly wide mouths and not having nostrils was fine. It was a comic, it was a cartoon, suspension of disbelief was easy. Sure, they had to breathe through their mouths like, well, I guess like teenage boys, but they looked cute and goofy and fitting for a cartoon. This new take on their appearance makes them strangely more relatable. They’re hideous mutants, more-so than before, but in a kind of cutesy, charming Quazimodo way. And I can kind of believe in them.

In the old movies, let’s be honest here, the Turtles just seemed like a really, really stupid idea and looked really, really dumb.

Now, if we want to talk about potential problems revealed in the trailer (which at first viewing looked surprisingly decent) I think we can find a few things.

  1. Megan Fox as April O’Neil. She appears to be doing an okay acting job this time out but you only actually see her in flashes. I’m not sure she even says more than one or two syllables in the whole trailer. The only “acting” we see is a horrible pantomime fainting spell. Besides the obvious question of SINCE WHEN DOES APRIL O’NEIL FAINT? this gives us an indication of the level of humour we can expect. Namely a low-level but pervasive misogyny (hahaha she fainted like a weak girl hahaha) and I suspect this will be a running gag. Undoubtedly, former role-model April will be little reduced to little more than a damsel to be placed in successively more distressing rescue situations until the bound-to-be explosive finale explodes in an orgy of fireballs, heat shimmers, flying debris and sub-sonic detonation bass-drops. I also expect fart jokes (that’s fine, if you’re into that) and some homophobic digs between Turtle-bros. I hope not, but this is where’d I’d place my bets if I were a betting man.
  2. The plot appears to just be Robocop but with mutant turtles instead of a cyborg. The city is basically RoCo’s New Detroit and the Turles, just like our buddy RoCo, have been created specifically to combat the waves of crime and terrorism which plague the city. It’s not the derivative nature of this scenario that bugs me (though it does seem lazy and boring) as much as that in the original Turtle mythos our boys originated from pets lost in the sewers that got into some toxic waste. There was a nice irony that our toxic follies are what will create our mutant saviors—sort of a reverse Godzilla-effect. Also, the Turtles took it upon themselves to become our heroes instead of it being something they’re being forced into—and will supposedly struggle with in various annoying and boring angsty ways.
  3. Perhaps the worst though is that sliding down the snowy mountainside scene. I can’t help but feel this points to what will prove to be a reliance on “theme park ride” action set-pieces which are, I think everyone except Hollywood has figured out by now, never as exciting as they promise to be. Yet action film plots these days continue to be little more than the glue which holds a half-dozen of these things together. On the plus side, there’ll lots of opportunities for bathroom breaks if you (unlike me) are planning to see this in the theatre.

So far the only thing I can see that looks legitimately good about this film is the kind of creepy Turtle redesign.

 


Episode 030: Previously on… (Special Edition)

September 2, 2009

Every ten episodes we like to do something special. We read letters for 10 and for 20 we played clips from the “gag reel” plus some audio comments. This time around I wanted to do something really special. But I forgot to plan anything so we decided to recap the first 29 episodes, talking about all the points we’d wished me made in hindsight. None of which it turned out we could remember months after the fact. We’ve come to the conclusion these “specials” aren’t so special so this will be this last one until episode 50 (a reasonable milestone). This gives us some time to plan something spectacular.

A NOTE ON THE SPECIAL EDITIONS: Before we joined the Simply Syndicated network, the first 31 episodes of Nerd Hurdles were hosted on Podbean. Technically, they still are. But since letting our pro-account lapse there’s been a bandwidth problem were the files are only available for the first half of the month before they hit the Podbean ceiling. While SimSyn’s hosting was on Libsyn, we started releasing these episodes as “Special Editions” with newly recorded introductions. When SimSyn moved our hosting to Soundcloud, those files were again lost (and we’d only managed to upload the first 10 anyway). So, here they are once more; uploaded to a 3rd audio service and hopefully the last.


Episode 025: Celebrity Worship (Special Edition)

July 16, 2009

Inspired by the recent spectacle of his death no doubt, Tony Pucci suggested we do Michael Jackson as a topic. I thought we could go one further and do an episode on Celebrity Worship in general. At some point in my life I can’t remember, I suddenly stopped regarding celebrated individuals as anything more than “just some person who happens to make records or act in movies or run countries.” Or it may have been a gradual shift. I can’t tell. I know that I went from being a teenager starstruck by seeing his idols on stage to an adult with a vague sense of “meh” at the same.

Stephen Harper proving hes just a guy... who strangles kittens

Stephen Harper proving he’s just a guy… who strangles kittens

Perhaps it was having several friends who’d reached a certain level of professional success in the entertainment fields which dulled me to stardust. Or perhaps it was being involved in promoting rock shows where you interact with people who happen to be famous but really no different from the local unknowns in the opening act (only probably less lazy). Eventually you obtain the perspective that musicians are either just “regular joes” or are insane, ego-maniacal  fuckwits who lack any sense of reality and how they fit into it. And what makes them insane, ego-maniacal  fuckwits is that they’re also just another person.

Now when I see famous people in the flesh, I do still get a bit of that sense of otherness about them. But it’s in the same way as visiting a famous, historic landmark. Like when you stand at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and suddenly are struck with the sense you are seeing this structure that millions of other people have seen; that you are able to reach out and touch this cliché piece of clip art everyone has been bombarded with since birth—and how it’s really just a big lump of wire and steel. There’s something surreal about seeing a face you only know from illuminated screens or glossy magazine pages. And even more surreal to know they’re just another human who by ambition or luck happens to be famous.

Related links: David Lynch (someone what we’re obsessed with); GOWN (Andrew what got us tickets); More Andrew on video; Infamous: Robert Pickton The Pig Farm Killer; Famous: MJ; The Box Room (unwitting but gracious Nerd Hurdles impostors); Megan Fox zombie (what is only here to attract Google hits); Boz (what sent in an audio comment); Tony Pucci (what sort of suggested the topic).


Episode 012: Trans-Snore-Mers (Special Edition)

April 7, 2009

Less than meets the eye. Jakob and Mandi both have never understood the appeal of these toys/cartoon heroes called Transformers. So, because they love you, they put themselves through the movie starring Even Stevens and some girl people seem to like. Along the road they roll over Gremlins, the A-Team, Garbage Pail Kids, Steven Speilberg, Mac and Me and the affliction known as nerdism.

A NOTE ON THE SPECIAL EDITIONS: Before we joined the Simply Syndicated network, the first 31 episodes of Nerd Hurdles were hosted on Podbean. Technically, they still are. But since letting our pro-account lapse there’s been a bandwidth problem were the files are only available for the first half of the month before they hit the Podbean ceiling. While SimSyn’s hosting was on Libsyn, we started releasing these episodes as “Special Editions” with newly recorded introductions. When SimSyn moved our hosting to Soundcloud, those files were again lost (and we’d only managed to upload the first 10 anyway). So, here they are once more; uploaded to a 3rd audio service and hopefully the last.


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