Is Michael Bay Really Destroying Your Childhood?

He is the director who polarises audiences one explosion at a time. He is the director who gave us the awesomeness that is Transformers, the nonsensical Transformers 2, and the diabolical Transformers 3. He is the director who gave us the most amazing scenes ever with Megan Fox pretending to know stuff about cars and bikes.

It squirts the fuel in so you can go faster.

I think I broke the drive shaft.

So today it was announced that Michael Bay will be taking his turn at bringing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the big screen. Spoiler Alert – The turtles turn out to be aliens. This has incensed a lot of people from every corner of the globe, with one former voice actor for the cartoon series saying that Michael Bay is “sodomizing” the TMNT legacy.

Time to get over it guys. It’s probably going to hurt a little bit inside but modern kids just don’t get the old school TMNT cartoons that our childhood was blessed with. Take off those rose-tinted glasses, appreciate the past for all it’s worth, and be a true fan by helping as many kids as you can to experience the awesomeness of TMNT with this new movie. Nobody is going to take your childhood away, the personal experiences you had with this great show have helped to define who you are and will stay with you forever.

This notion of reboots and adaptations destroying childhoods is a tired one,  one for people who are so caught up by that favourite TV show or book they loved that they refuse to acknowledge any reimagination of that TV show or book that does not match the lingering memories in their head. Oh no they left out Tom Bombadil out of Lord of the Rings – whoop-dee-doo. Harry and Hermione never shared an intimate dance in the books – no but it was a nice touch that showed how deep their relationship had become better than any dialogue could have done.

I can understand why people get upset when the movie version leaves out their favourite part or adds in new material that never existed in the original works, but not including that one scene that meant something deeply personal to you does not mean that the movie sucks. It’s time to appreciate that the original material is just that, material, and the writers / director are going to use that material as the basis for their own story that makes sense as a film. The book / TV show movie adaptations that fail are the ones that try to stick exactly to the book and make no effort to turn the material into their own story ie Eragon. If you want some good examples of film makers making the material their own, look no further than the Harry Potter films directed by David Yates, or the new 21 Jump Street movie written by Jonah Hill. Awesome movies that stay true to the essence of the source material but with their own style and flare.

Michael Bay is not destroying your childhood, he is just using certain aspects of it as a setting for his explosions. And I am comfortable with that, TMNT is a cartoon show that could have used more explosions.

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Vale Mike McKay

Today I learned that one of my online friends Mike McKay passed away over the weekend. I never met Mike in the twelve months we chatted online, but I can certainly attribute a lot my current enthusiasm for writing to his incessant nagging emails asking for more chapters. Michael just wanted me, and the entire Defence Writing community for that matter, to just keep writing. He was a wonderfully positive and optimistic sci-fi and fantasy geek, and I will miss him greatly.

This year he traded in his smoke breaks for writing breaks, and would often entertain us with 150 word bursts of raw unedited stories, and then berate us for not doing the same. Here is an example of one of his “Afternoon 150’s”:

The Captain hadn’t agreed that it was a life form.  The doctor was angry.

 “It’s Carbon Chauvinism.”

 “Huh?”  Cam looked at the Doc.

“Nicolas Chauvin.”  The lights in Cam’s eyes went out.  The Doc frowned.  “Nicolas Chauvin?”

“He fought alongside Napoleon.  He was a French patriot”.  Doc sighed.  “He dismissed all things that weren’t French; said they were wasteful nonsense.  He couldn’t see the big picture. His name is synonymous with a loathing of foreign things.  Come on.” 

“I mean…why does it have to be carbon-based?” 

 He pointed.  “There’s no reason!  This is just Carbon Chauvinism.”

They were standing over a thing.  An ugly thing.  A dormant thing. It wasn’t composed of carbon.  It was a thing of silicon.  It was made of a tetravalent metalloid, not unlike carbon…but unlike any life on Earth.

“Well?” 

“Well what?”, the Doc responded.

 “How do we tell?  Is it alive?  Is it dead?”

To honour my friend, I decided to write my own “Afternoon 150”. This is for you Mike, for pushing me to keep on writing and writing and writing when I should have been working. RIP buddy, may you have plenty of Stargate episodes to watch in sci-fi heaven.

I cheered with the utmost delight as I flew through the air, my hands grasping at the invisible reins while my feet pushed against invisible stirrups. I rode the wind with an easy confidence, soaring over mountain tops at exhilarating speeds before plunging down the other side like a bird of prey. I flew just inches from the ground, bending blades of grass and stripping seeds from dandelions as I displaced the air around me. It was incredible.

I closed my eyes, stood in the stirrups, and pulled back on the reins, my knees gripping against the buffeting air as I climbed and climbed. I opened my eyes and beheld the most beautiful of sights, the curvature of the Earth spread out before me as if I belonged in one of those sci-fi stories. With a smile on my face and joy in my heart, I let go.