Outrage doesn’t even begin to describe what fans of Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles felt when Michael Bay, producer of the franchise’s next live-action film, announced that the quartet would be aliens. This was coupled with the news that Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo, and Donatello would not only lose their alien status, but would not be teenagers either.
Ninja Turtles aside [that’s the working film title, folks], why should this matter to non-fans? From an objective perspective, this is simply taking two modifiers, “mutant” and “ninja,” and replacing them with another, “alien.” The original thing idea was already a conglomeration of extremely dissimilar parts. The seemingly mindless melding of genres.
Take the past decade in film for example. Jon Favreau’s Cowboys and Aliens hit theatres in 2011, and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, premiering this summer, causes us to branch out further still. The film is based on a book by Seth Grahame-Smith, the same person who authored Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Taking zombies into account, they’ve terrorized everyone and everything from strippers to ninjas to plants to the entire Marvel universe.
So where does it stop, and should it? Grant Morrison will be writing Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens, both a graphic novel and a feature film that will pit highly evolved dinosaurs against extraterrestrial invaders. This sounds utterly ridiculous, but if anyone can do it, it’s Morrison. His miniseries We3 features three mech-clad house pets and their escape from a government facility, and he finds a way to embody these animals and their experiences with more depth than you would think possible.
So clearly this can be done well. 2009’s Sherlock Holmes mixed detective work, martial arts, and some steampunk elements. Joss Whedon’s short-lived series Firely was a space western, meaning that it melded both the futuristic and the American Western. Genre mashups can and have worked.
At this point in time I think that we’ve oversaturated media with these films, books, shows, et cetera. In light of the fact that this summer’s The Avengers is essentially a gigantic hodgepodge of genres I’m postponing my embargo on such works for the time of being. Until then, please, for the sake of good entertainment, enough with the zombies.