March 25, 2007
Two New Crayon Haiku!

Yeah, it's not much, but here's a bit of filler to tide you over until the next update: A Crayon Haiku #62 and A Crayon Haiku #63. The first of these is a reference to "Desertion of the Dinobots" from season 2 of the original Transformers cartoon, but the picture itself was taken while Grimlock was drying after I applied some clear nail polish to his hip joints. Good stuff.

As for the second, I'll doubtless have a Hot Flash (or whatever I decide to call the comics following #100; do feel free to weigh in on that) or two about the new TMNT movie, but -- for the moment -- suffice it to say that I was kind of disappointed with it. I mean, I wasn't expecting Welles' The Trial, but given all of the OMGZ BEST TURTLES MOVIE EVER type fan reviews, I was expecting it to at least live up to that descriptor. It totally doesn't. It comes nowhere near the level of the first movie. For all of its preachiness about family and brotherly love, it fails to actually illustrate these concepts in a manner even remotely on par with the many great moments of the first film. (For a look at some of those moments, see our 2004 Father's Day tribute to Splinter.) And while after seeing the movie I'd determined that it was at least better than TMNT II, my re-watching of those earlier flicks yesterday has forced me to recant that statement.

Yes, this new movie looked better and had a slightly more serious tone than the early films, but those films are easily superior in terms of plot, direction, and characterization -- particularly where the villains are concerned. TMNT II is definitely inferior to the first movie, but it still introduced Tokka and Rahzar and Super Shredder (who's really just Shredder mutated, but still) and gave them enough characterization for them to be memorable characters. By comparison, Karai and the stone generals in the new film were barely even mentioned by name, such that if I didn't already know who they were I'd be reduced to calling them "that Foot chick" and "those rock dudes". And whereas the first two films had decent enough (if simple) storylines and direction that, at the very least, wasn't distracting, TMNT 2007 felt rushed and made little sense at times. (Why the heck did Leo have such a problem with the Nightwatcher, seeing as how he was pretty much doing the same thing they did when they battled the Foot and defeated the Shredder? How did these giant monsters show up in NYC without anyone noticing? Since when was April a badass ninja skilled enough to go toe to toe with freaking Karai? Would a mask-wearing mutant turtle really criticize his brother for "dressing up like it's Halloween?" I could go on.) I don't think it was a terrible movie, and TMNT fans will want to check it out for the fantastic battle between Leo and Raph, but I found the flick on the whole to be highly unsatisfying. Animation aside, it was only slightly better than one of the ho-hum filler episodes from the 2K3 cartoon series. 🙁

And finally, regarding the site's ongoing redesign, here's a question concerning the search: how do you feel about the highlighted words? Like, if you enter a search query, the page outputs with your terms highlighted (I liked purple, though it's possible for me to change the color). Search terms are also highlighted for visitors coming in from engines like Google and Yahoo. Admittedly, I'm not sure how I feel about it -- on the one hand, it could be helpful to people, but on the other hand (at least in my case), I find highlighted words to be kind of annoying when I visit a page, since I'd typically just use the "Find" dialogue to locate them myself. And seeing as how readers would still have to do this if the search brought them to an article (because those lie outside of the WordPress database and therefore outside the scope of the Search Hilite plugin), the highlighting wouldn't necessarily be all that helpful anyway.

Speaking of searches, I'm planning to add a search box to the category content pages as well. Owing to the point above, it wouldn't let you search the fulltext of articles, but you would be able to search the blurbs. However, this could be even more useful for locating relevant articles. For example, if you search for "Donatello", you won't get all of the pieces in which I simply mention his name, but you'll get the ones in which he features prominently enough to warrant a mention in the blurb. So yeah, that's on the horizon too.

And eventually there will be new articles! :mrgreen:

-posted by Wes | 3:56 am | Comments (20)
  • agustinaldo says:

    First of all, I want to apologize for my eralier comments. You stroke a never with the last post, and I'm very sensitive about the subject in question.

    Still, I apologize and I extend my friendship.

    As for the new TMNT movie, the director (I can't remember jis name right now) stated, in MANY interviews and comic book conventions, that this movie was made towards fans of the original Eastman-Laird comic book and his goal was to be as true to those comic books as possible.

    The reason why he didn't introduce Karai or the Rock Soldiers is because the fans of the comic books (ie. the movie's intended audience) already knew who they were so there wasn't a point in an indtroduction.

    April was far tougher in the comic books that she ever was in the movies or any of the cartoons.

    In the comic books, giant monsters would attack New York at all times without anyone noticing.

    And the Turtles in the comic books always kept an air of seriousness and badassness, thus the comment about the Halloween costume.

    So,in short: you have to view this movie as a continuation of the comic books, NOT the movies or the cartoons.

    I like the new design. I specially like that Mike Bison Lego figurine you have in the contents page.

    And one last note: my comments about Lindsay Lohan being a goth stemmed from the Robert Altman movie "A Praire Home Companion", where Lohan clearly played a goth.

  • Wes says:

    That would be all well and good, except for the fact that the movie has been explicitly stated to be the fourth movie in the TMNT film continuity. (In support of this view, various artifacts from the earlier films appear in Splinter's archive room at the end of the film, though there are items that are not from the movies that appear here as well -- most notably a Triceraton helmet.) And regarding its connection to the Mirage comics, Karai did appear in them, but the stone generals never surfaced. (Even if they had, however, I maintain that it would still be the filmmaker's responsibility to develop them a bit.)

    It's also worth noting that (assuming that the information on the movie figure's bio is correct), the Karai of the Mirage comics is not the same as this Karai, as she was not the Shredder's daughter in the original comics (that origin stems from the 2K3 cartoon). Also, April did learn to fight pretty well in the comics, but this happened in the Archie comics -- not the Mirage ones. And again, seeing as how this is essentially supposed to be TMNT IV, one still needs to provide at least a bit of exposition regarding these details, as all of the developments that would explain these characters and their motivations took place in alternate universes.

    So yeah, I was dissatisfied with it.

  • RADIX says:

    Sounds like a few liberties were taken if you ask me. I'm only familiar with the 80s cartoon, but yes, the way they "introduced" Karai and the Stone Generals could have been handled better. [and many, many other things in that movie...]

  • Jester says:

    Hey, Wes. Sorry you didn't care much for the plot or story of TMNT. I must agree that the first movie had probably more of a family dynamic (I only in recent years noticed a lot of it myself.) I do expect, along with the Hot Flashes a full out text review of the movie...if you don't have too much on your plate that is. You're a very talented and I always walk away with a smile when i read your work.

    One quick question though: Do you feel the movie would have been better off if it hadn't been only 85 min long? Had it gone a whole 2 hours instead, would that have been enough time to fill in some of those "plot holes"?

  • Wes says:

    RADIX: It's good to hear that someone at least agrees with these points. In all honesty, I've been kind of frustrated with the unbridled gushing coming out of the TMNT fandom in the wake of the film's release. I can understand people liking it in spite of its flaws, but this was in no way a perfect movie worthy of seeing multiple times in a single day!

    Jester: I definitely think that a longer runtime could have provided them with more time for various developments. I'm not entirely sure that two hours would have been enough, though! I felt that there were a lot of lacking elements in the film, such that maybe even 150 minutes would be a better estimate for addressing all of the theatrical version's shortcomings.

  • agustinaldo says:

    1-Read Wikipedia.

    Karai WAS the Shredder's daughter in the original Mirage comics.

    2-The Mirage April was A LOT tougher than the movie April.

    3-Would you have prefer a campy, non-serious approach that was NOT true to the original comic books?

  • Wes says:

    1) If Wikipedia says this, then -- unless you're talking about some development in Volume 4 about which I don't know -- Wikipedia is wrong. HOWEVER, Wikipedia doesn't even say this! On this page, it distinctly says, "In the Mirage Comics' City at War series by Jim Lawson, Karai is the leader of the Foot Clan in Japan who came to New York City to restore order." Notice that where it says, "Abandoned by her parents at a young age, Karai was taken in and adopted by Oroku Saki, the Shredder," it is talking about the 2003 animated series. Karai had a daughter in the comics, and she wore the Shredder's armor, but she was not the Shredder's daughter.

    2) Okay? She still wasn't a ninja master. My problem isn't that April can fight, but rather that nobody cared to tell us how she learned to fight (or even how she came to be super adventure chick). Apparently this is discussed in the prequel comic, but I shouldn't need to read (and BUY) a separate comic to understand the chronology of events in a film series.

    3) It is important to note that my main problem with the movie is not the tone, but rather that the story and character development were incredibly lacking. So if somehow the movie would have been unable to deliver in these respects -- which are integral to (almost) any great film -- without being campy and non-serious, then yes. I don't think that only campy and non-serious films hold a monopoly on good storytelling, though. Pretty much all this new movie had going for it are tone and visuals, and that's not nearly enough substance for me to give it a positive review.

  • the Jax says:

    Looks like an extended DVD version of TMNT '07 is needed! I haven't seen it yet, but I'm prepared to enjoy it at least a little, but I "have beef" with the title. Even "TMNT: Wrath of the Rock Guys" would have been better.
    I'm kind of afraid to watch a movie today, because last night I began to dream I was in "Sister Act" which turned into a thriller a la "Sixth Sense", which led me to the East Coast and a nerve-wracking adventure with a mentally ill man and his wife, which I concluded thinking "Since I'm here, I'll try to track down ScaryWes" and ran into a large group of people who knew you and spoke highly of you.

  • Wes says:

    ...which I concluded thinking "Since I'm here, I'll try to track down ScaryWes" and ran into a large group of people who knew you and spoke highly of you.

    And that, kids, is how we know that was a dream!

  • I thought TMNT was pretty amazing Im also a big Raphael fan, too; so, needless to say I was pretty happy. There were a few moments, like the arguing during breakfast, were I was so focused on the story and emotions, that I forgot I was watching animation, or even giant-sized turtles, for that matter, as I was so wrapped up in the moment.

  • I must say that I enjoyed this movie quite a bit, and I also would still rank it above TMNT II, though I'd be crazy to rank it above the original TMNT movie. However, you do make a few good points, and this movie isn't perfect. I was a little bugged by the fact that Karai wasn't given much of a role and, like you, if I hadn't already known who she was, I probably wouldn't even remember her name. There's only one thing I can think of that bugged me a LOT, though, and it was also one of the things you mentioned. I mean... if April could kick butt, I could accept that... but I wasn't too keen on the fact that she was holding her own against Karai. I mean, what the hell, dude? Either they were making April too strong or Karai not strong enough. Seriously, though, that part was just ridiculous. Karai wasn't the final boss of Tournament Fighters for nothing! It doesn't matter what continuity you look at, Karai is always a SUPER ninja! So, why in the hell is April able to match her skills with her? It doesn't make any sense! So, ya... the film is far from perfect, I'll admit... but I dunno... I still like it better than TMNT II. But, I suppose only slightly. Both movies, however, seem to have anticlimactic final battles, though. Super Shredder was only around for less than a minute before having the dock fall on him, of course. And in this movie, too much was going on at the end in a very abrupt way to really think much of it as a battle. And the Turtles should have had a harder time with the stone generals. Afterall, they had a harder time when fighting any of the 13 monsters, and as we can clearly see, the stone generals made sport of the 13 monsters. Ya, this movie was good, but it certainly isn't great, and I think it would have been better if, like you said, it didn't come out feeling so... rushed.

    I did still like it, so while there was things that bugged me, just to keep it balanced, I do want to point out the things it had going for it.

    1) Leonardo vs Raphael - Quite possibly the best fight in the whole movie.

    2) The CGI was very good, almost reminding me of The Incredibles at times. Plus, April and Karai were hot.

    Hmmm... well, there should be more than that... perhaps that was self-defeating. Regardless, though, I did still find the movie highly enjoyable, even though it does have it share of shortcomings.

    And on a somewhat unrelated note... has anybody else noticed that Michelangelo looked as though he was stoned 24/7?

  • agustinaldo says:

    1-You have to remember, than this was not April O'Neil, but rather April O'Niel as played by the scourge of mankind and montrsous abomination known as Sarah Michelle Gellar.

    SMG can only play Buffy.

    In "Scooby-Doo", she DIDN'T play Daphne, she played Buffy in a Daphne costume. Then she did it AGAIN.

    In "The Grudge", Buffy again.

    "I Know What You Did Last Summer", Buffy.

    Therefore, she wasn't playing April, she was playing Buffy again.

    And yes, SMG couldn't beat Gleek the Wonder Monkey, let alone a trained ninja (or Dracula, for that matter), but there are a lot of mindless die-hard fanboys (ie. retards) that are firmly convinced she could beat Karai because of her "Slayer Powers".

    SMG beating Karai is no more realistic than her beating The First Evil or The Master, or anyone who can fight worth a damn.

    2-Michelangelo has that "Dude Where's My Car"/Wayne and Garth/Jay and Silent Bob cool guy slacker attitude.

    Thus, he pretty much always seem high.

  • I never looked at it that way before, but you're right... everytime Sarah Michelle Gellar is in something, she always just plays... Buffy. The biggest offender would have to be Scooby-Doo, though... It didn't matter whether you were going by the continuity of the classic "Scooby-Doo, Where are you?" series, or by the continuity of "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo", or the continuity of "What's New, Scooby-Doo?". No matter how you look at it, Daphne was so out of character that it was ridiculous. At least all the others resembled some version of their character. Daphne was... well, Buffy.

    So, ya... unfortunately, that could be the reason that April was able to stand toe to toe with Karai in this movie. None of the other little things about the movie bothered me anywhere near as much as that part. It just... didn't seem right to me.

  • Wes says:

    Clown Prince: Yeah, those pretty much were the only things that the movie had going for it! I mean, I wasn't expecting it to be amazing, but when I go to the theater I generally expect my movies to be markedly better than the stuff I'm getting on Saturday morning. But aside from a few key scenes (well, one -- Raph vs Leo), I'd almost rather watch any of the episodes from the new 'toon than this! Even the ridiculous episodes in which the Turtles got stuck in that historical simulator thingy that somehow kept a perfect interactive copy of 14th century Japan and its inhabitants in its databanks had Feudal Shredder and shed more light on the Utroms' past.

    And seeing as how she barely got any characterization -- and that nothing in the movie explicitly stated otherwise -- you could always assume that this was movie Karai's first day on the job as a ninja. 😉

    And Mikey always seems high! Even back in the old 'toon, he constantly had the munchies.

    agustin: I dunno -- she kinda got impaled in I Know What You Did Last Summer without putting up much of a fight, so that wasn't very Buffy-like. She didn't fight at all in The Grudge, either, or Cruel Intentions... or like most of the movies she's been in. She did pretty much play Buffy in the Scooby-Doo flicks, though.

  • You do raise an interesting point, Wes. I think you could be right... perhaps this was Karai's "first day on the job", so to speak. The way she talked, it certainly did seem as though she hadn't met the Turtles for herself before this. I guess maybe I can accept that... though I still don't think April should be able to be a match for her.

    From what I've gathered, this seems to be in the continuity of the movies, and Karai wasn't in the other movies, so I guess it makes sense for her to be new at this... but I wonder... what the heck ever happened to Tatsu? It'd be nice if he were still around.

    I still stand by my comment on enjoying the movie, but I will say, however, that I do like the 2003 cartoon much better... though I'm having a very hard time trying to get used to Flash Forward... I can't seem to get myself to like Fast Forward, for some reason. It's like the show lost something... kinda like what happened to the 1987 cartoon when they introduced Dregg.

  • Er... ignore my first typo of Fast Forward...

  • agustinaldo says:

    1-Tastu found out he was gonna co-star with frickin' SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR, and he quit the series in disgust.

    And Keno went with him.

    2-You're right, Buffy Michelle Gellar would probably get lost on the way TO the pole.

    Seriously, she's so weak and pathethic she makes Carrot Top look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    She hasn't got ANY muscles in her body. At all.

    Her so-called "Slayer Powers" are just wirework and stuntmen.

    About "The Grudge", the fact that it took Ghost Boy TWO MOVIES just to kill Buffy Michelle Gellar makes him even more of a wuss and a weakling than her. He's more in the league of Casper the Friendly Ghost than a real, scary ghost.

    Bottom line: Buffy Michelle Gellar can't fight. Lucy Lawless can fight. The Rock can fight. Bruce Lee can fight. SMG can't.

    And did I mention the fact that she's the most annoying person on the face of the Earth, that no human being can ever be as annoying as she is, and that she most likely took acting classes from Keanu Reeves? Yes, I probably did.

    3-As you can guess from above, Karai would logically beat SMG even if it WAS her first day at being a ninja.

    4-Feudal Japan, huh?

    So the TMNT still remember the time they went back in time to rescue April and they defeated that pirate guy and the samurai overlord?

  • Wes says:

    Erm... what? SMG is an actress. I don't recall anyone saying that she had any real-world combat skills, let alone Slayer powers... so of course even a novice ninja could probably best her in combat. Now I think I understand why you hate her so much, though -- if I thought that SMG were a charlatan who had somehow managed to dupe the world into believing that she really is a supernatural warrior, I'd probably dislike her too!

  • Jester says:

    Let me guess, agustinaldo, not a big fan of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer? I kinda like SMG as an actress. And no she doesn't ALWAYS play Buffy. It is kind of odd her character schooled Karai though.

  • jukebox says:

    "Erm... what? SMG is an actress. I don't recall anyone saying that she had any real-world combat skills, let alone Slayer powers... so of course even a novice ninja could probably best her in combat. Now I think I understand why you hate her so much, though -- if I thought that SMG were a charlatan who had somehow managed to dupe the world into believing that she really is a supernatural warrior, I'd probably dislike her too!"


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