Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles(© 2009 Viacom International Inc)

Several days ago a leaked version of Michael Bay’s ‘Ninja Turtles’ script popped up over the internet. Many sites that were able to view it before Paramount ordered it removed highly criticized the script and thanked the powers that be at the studios for putting a halt to the film’s production and bumping its release to 2014.

One of the reasons for the hold was said to be budgetary, but according to THR, it had to do with the script. Now many can now see why. While it’s said that the script is undergoing a rewrite, ‘TMNT’ co-creator Peter Laird got a good look of the screenplay and feels that a repair is beyond a rewrite.

Responding to a fan on his blog, Laird didn’t mince words about what he thought of the script:

Someone else alerted me to the existence of this script, and I just a few minutes ago finished reading it. If it is, in fact, the actual draft that was rejected and caused the production of the next TMNT movie to be pushed back to 2014 because the script was unsatisfactory, then I think all true TMNT fans should be grateful to the new “powers that be” that they did not allow this wretched thing to go any further. It could definitely be taken as a good sign if that is the case.

It reminds me of one of the reasons I am glad to not own the property anymore… because I don’t have to tear what little hair I have left out while trying to fix junk like this. — PL

“Wretched” seems like an understatement as reports from those who have actually read the script have described it as horrendous. According to Comic Book Movie, not only was Bay’s statement true about the Turtles being aliens, they are from Dimension X and are the “chosen one of their race.” The classic baddie Shredder has had a name change to Colonel Schrader who now controls a black ops army called ‘The Foot.’  Not only did Shredder undergo a re-imaging, so did April O’Neill and Casey Jones who are now an 18 year old couple. Who got out of the script intact? Rocksteady and Beebop! Apparently they are exactly the same as in the cartoons.

If that weren’t enough, here are some of the actual lines from the script:

RAPHAEL (after Casey asks how they know Kung-Fu): “Kung-Fu? What do we look like? Cartoon Panda bears? We are trained in Ninjitsu. And we don’t just know it, we serve it for dinner.”

AGGRO GAURD O.S.: “Come get a taste of the Wu-Tang!”

TURTLE WARRIOR: “No more ‘buts’, Rockstar. There’s only one thing left to do. You gotta BELIEVE!–“

Is this the script of the “best Turtle movie yet” as proclaimed by Kevin Eastman, the other half of the creative team for TMNT back in July? The same person who is currently helping on this reboot?

Many wonder if the screenplay can actually be saved. Laird doesn’t think so:

I think the script that I read is so fundamentally flawed, and — more to the point — so NOT a Teenage Mutant NInja Turtles movie, that trying to make piecemeal changes to it in an effort to make it into something halfway decent is probably a fool’s errand.

In my opinion, the thing should just be tossed out, deliberately forgotten, and the process of generating a new script — really a new outline, then treatment, then script — should be started again. I have no insider knowledge of what’s going on with the movie, but from the bits and pieces that have slipped out, it seems like that may be exactly what is happening.

While we’re on the subject of this script… I have to say that while reading it, and especially reading the last twenty pages or so, I couldn’t help but think of the brouhaha which erupted a few months back when Michael Bay was heard to say that in the upcoming movie, the Turtles would be revealed to be “from an alien race”, and following that, all the mental gymnastics indulged in by people who wanted to parse his words and make it seem like “No, he didn’t REALLY say they were going to be ALIENS!”… and then this script makes it way out onto the Internet, and if it is legitimate, it’s painfully clear that YES, the Turtles WERE, in fact, going to be ALIENS. — PL

Bay, who’s familiar with intense internet backlashes, released a statement on his own blog saying:

“The leaked script for ‘Ninja Turtles’ that different sites continue to comment on was written well before I, or anyone at Platinum Dunes, was involved with the project. That script saw the shredder a long time ago. This is tired, old news — Wait for the movie!”

As much as many would love to believe the script was not a current version, it has been reported that it did have a date of January 30, 2012 on it. If this is the correct date, then this version was out 2 years after Bay had signed on in 2010.

So what do you think? Do you agree with Laird and feel that a totally new script should be written or is this all much ado about nothing? Then there is always the third option: Leave the Turtles alone until someone who truly loves the franchise (like Joss Whedon does with ‘The Avengers’) to make a film that fans can truly get behind.

Source: Blastr