Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blast from the Past #579: May 28, 2002: Re: Splinter




Subj: Re: Splinter
Date: Tuesday, May 28, 2002 9:37:51 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 5/28/02 5:41:04 PM, Lloyd writes:

Hey Peter –

After Splinter takes out the four attacking Mousers on his own (episode 1),
would it be out of character for him to smile and say to himself, “Heh. This
old rat’s still got it!” or simply “I still got it!”  Funny/nice character
beat for him, or nah?

Lloyd,

If Splinter said something like that, I think he might say "I still have it" (he does speak more  properly grammatically than Raph, for example). However, I can't say that kind of humor for Splinter is totally to my taste. Actually, a scene like that might be a perfect opportunity to "be inspired by" the moment in  the new STAR WARS movie where Yoda, after flipping around in mid air and fighting this intense Force/lightsaber battle with Count Dooku, he picks up his little staff/cane and hobbles away, re-establishing the (what we know now is) the illusion that he is a frail old creature. I could see Splinter doing something like that  -- dusting himself off, then hobbling away on his staff.

-- Pete

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In a message dated 5/29/02 4:49:24 PM, Lloyd writes:

Hey Pete -

Just looking for your reaction to Gary's notes, and Don's
"grappling-hook-in-bo-staff" idea in particular.

Lemme know as soon as possible.

Thanks,

Lloyd

Lloyd,

I'll make comments as appropriate below.

--Peter

-----Original Message-----
From: Gary
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2002 4:08 PM
To: Lloyd Goldfine
Cc: Peter Laird
Subject: 2nd Episode Outline and Background Art

Hi Lloyd,  After holding off for most of the day in hopes of hearing the
thoughts of Playmates on the 2nd outline, I wanted to get you my comments by
4 PM as promised, so here goes.

It seemed to me that the Mouser that the Turtles initially follow does an
awful lot of indiscriminate gnawing and destruction as it makes its way back
to Stockman's lab.  Do you feel this destructive pattern is necessary and
logical?  Can't it find its way home without gnawing through everything in
its path?>>

I think we discussed this or something like this last week in a phone call.  It doesn't bother me much that the Mouser behaves in this fashion at this point in time -- after all, it's one which has been broken and then repaired by Don and so might be a little flaky -- but maybe something should be said to indicate that.

<<Next it seems kind of convenient that Don has brought along a grapple hook,
but I see the need in this episode and future episodes for Don to have a
number of gadgets at the ready.  Therefore, I wonder whether Don should
frequently travel with a bag of technological goodies or maybe his bo staff
should be a hi-tech device in its own right.  For example, maybe the bo
staff could fire a grapple type device in this episode.  If this appeals to
you and the writers it would be a concept that Pete should approve before
putting it into practice.>>

Actually, this brings up another good question -- what, besides their "signature" weapons, do the turtles carry on their persons? In the first issue of the original comic, for example, we show the turtles using their "climbing claws" -- well, where did those come from? I guess I always assumed that they had some little things tucked away inside their belts, like climbing claws, shuriken, et. Possibly there would be room for a collapsible grapping hook and cord inside a belt. Or perhaps we should consider giving the turtles some kind of small pouch which could attach to their belts that could hold such small items.

In the past I've toyed with the idea of making Don's staff be more "multi-functional", and don't have a HUGE problem with having a built-in grapple-firing device... but it might be better (more realistic?) to have the turtles carry such tools with them instead of building them into their weapons.

<<On page 2, when the water main breaks, I was left kind of wondering whether
the water just keeps flowing fast and furious, as it probably should, given
that it is described as a "serious water main", or if the water flow somehow
stops?  If the later, how and why does it stop?>>

Good point. What does happen in "real life" when a main breaks? Can't the Water Dept. shut off the main after the break is detected -- and can't breaks be detected by instruments which record sudden radical changes in water pressure?

<<On page 3, the description of Raph, and then presumably the rest of the
guys, "leaping, dodging, flipping" to avoid subway cars seems a bit over the
top.  Maybe we could bring the action down to earth a bit.>>

Not sure why this one didn't faze me when I read it, but Gary makes a good point about the "over the top" nature of this action. When I try to picture it in my head, I really can't.

<<Also on page 3, I did not understand why the Mouser is unfazed by April
smashing it with a fire extinguisher.  Is April that weak compared to, say,
Splinter, who can readily dispatch a Mouser with a walking stick?>>

Another good point, and similar to what we've discussed before about keeping the power and durability of the Mousers consistent from scene to scene. As Gary suggested to me, maybe April DOES smash one Mouser with a lucky blow from the fire extinguisher, but there are a lot more behind that one and maybe one of those chomps down on the fire extinghuisher and punctures it, releasing a huge cloud of carbon dioxide (or whatever's in those things), which April thinks is a good thing because it will cover her tracks as she makes her escape (she's wrong, or course). Just thinking about it now, it could be a cool visual to see the Mousers emerging out of this fog as they take off after April.

<<Next, at the very end, I'm not sure why Raph has to act like a total
out-of-control madman and not allow Don to collect one functioning or
semi-functioning Mouser.  I think it might be better to either allow Don to
capture one or give Raph a legitimate reason for smashing every last one of
the Mousers to pieces.>>

I think Raph is acting in character here, and think it should be changed only if the following episode(s) require that Don have a Mouser to take home with him to examine or whatever.

<<Finally, the very last line of dialog "So?  Can I keep her?" is very close
to a line from the first movie.  Therefore, I think we may want to stay away
from plagiarism whenever possible.  Plus the line makes Mike seem like kind
of a sex starved pervert to me.  In the movie they at least knew who April
was from watching her on TV.>>

I didn't at all get the "sex starved pervert" implication, and the plagiarism thing is questionable (who actually came up with that line?), but when you stop and think about it, it made a lot more sense in the movie in the context of the scene as opposed to here in the context of this scene. I could live with losing it and coming up with a new funny line ("Is it my breath?" or something).

-- Pete

15 comments:

  1. Hey Pete, there is a script going around the net that people claim is the aborted script for the new TMNT film. I have no idea if it's real or not but I thought you should know about it.
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B22ZbuTtrOA3aDdpWFhUNGRacWs/edit?pli=1

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    1. Sadly, it is very real. And yes, Mr. Laird, you should know about it.

      A short summary is here: http://tmntnottant.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-tant-script-reviewed.html

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    2. 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

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  2. 'sex starved pervert?' sounds like the same kind of reasoning that lead to april being 'aged down' in the new series... presumably because it was considered 'creepy' to have an older woman hang out with teenage mutants. bah. Glad the line was kept.. I didn't think that at all, rPRECISELY because it reminded me of the first movie..got a huge smile :).

    Raph trashing the mouser just cause he's raph got a big laugh out of me, so I'm also glad that was kept....probably what i would have done too if all those things had just destroyed my home :).

    The duffle bag, however, was a brilliant idea. so simple, but something that came in so handy during the course of the series. I never did like the 'Oh look, I had this plot device in my belt the whole time' type of thing :). and a utility belt of pouches would have been too batman like in design..

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  3. "Plus the line makes Mike seem like kind
    of a sex starved pervert to me."


    That was a weird thing to say. Hmmmm...

    PL Said: "Actually, a scene like that might be a perfect opportunity to "be inspired by" the moment in the new STAR WARS movie where Yoda, after flipping around in mid air and fighting this intense Force/lightsaber battle with Count Dooku, he picks up his little staff/cane and hobbles away, re-establishing the (what we know now is) the illusion that he is a frail old creature. I could see Splinter doing something like that."

    A most excellent call Pete.

    Thanks for posting that script Dan. That was an interesting read to say the least. I couldn't help myself and had to read it. I just had to quench my curiosity. Now it is burned into my frontal lobe and I can't get it out. Do'h!

    PL Said: "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."

    I can't say that I blame you. When I was a metal polisher in my younger days we had a saying, "You can't polish a turd." With all due respect Pete, even with your excellent story telling skills, you could not polish that turd.

    PL Said: "TMNT fans should be grateful to the new "powers that be" that they did not allow this wretched thing to go any further."

    As a TMNT fan I am grateful this will never go beyond a bad script posted on the internet. Personally I still dig the first live action movie. I thought it was well done. It is still very enjoyable to watch.

    Thanks for sharing,
    -M

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    1. "I can't say that I blame you. When I was a metal polisher in my younger days we had a saying, "You can't polish a turd." With all due respect Pete, even with your excellent story telling skills, you could not polish that turd. "

      I'm pretty sure you're right about that, Mark. -- PL

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  4. Hey Mr. Laird...Hypothetically, if you can recommend any changes that SHOULD be made to the script, what would they be?

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    1. John, 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

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    2. Ha thanks MR. Laird, despite the fact that these guidelines I'm thinking of would have to be done by more competent writers, they'd change the whole movie and still allow them to come up with a so-called "new story":

      - Put Casey back in New York and make him the vigilante he always was but take the primary focus off of him altogether and make him a supporting character

      - Retcon the childhood love affair aspect between April and Casey and make their relationship develop through the film when they first meet

      - change Colonel Schrader and The foot from being military and have them be ninja like they were in the comics as well as implying his connection to Splinter and Hamato Yoshi

      - Give the Turtles a more prominent introduction, make their one liners more clever and expand on the "outcast" element of their characters that's touched on in the script.

      - Jettison the idea of the race of warrior turtles and the prophecy/chosen ones angle as well as them going their separate ways to protect the orbs but instead tie in the T.C.R.I canisters to the Invasion angle.

      - Give Krang more lines as well as Bebop and Rocksteady

      - Make Splinter not just get beat up like he does in the script.

      Think those would be some good guidelines for a "new story" that's still true to TMNT media unlike the script?

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    3. It's a good start... but I think it's also fairly close to accomplishing what I suggested -- throwing out the whole thing and starting over. (And I'd ditch Bebop and Rocksteady completely.) -- PL

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    4. So you would keep Krang?

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    5. No. But it might be fun to put Utroms in the movie. -- PL

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  6. I really don't understand why nobody never really bothered to just use any of the original writers from any of the original four movies? NINJA T4RTLES did good, so why are they trying to fix something that's never broken?

    Kevin Munroe did a great job, and we would all would have belived that he would have gotten the "unspoken greenlight" to go ahead and ease on to NINJA T5RTLES.

    Everytime Hollywood Bigwigs touch a great franchise, it gets turned into crap, because they only care about $$$$. We all saw what happened to Speed Racer(Macha Gogogo), Dragon Ball, and countless others.

    Me and you both know that SOME GREAT FRANCHISES CAN NOT SURVIVE WITHOUT THEIR CREATORS. The only way this new movie is gonna fly right, is if YOU, YOURSELF step in there and become an Executive Producer/Supervisor over the whole thing.

    TMNT is basically the last great franchise that hasn't been crapped on up to this point by Hollywood. And it is also YOUR LEGACY (as well as Kevin Eastman's). I understand and FULLY RESPECT that you relinquished yourself of day-to-day operation on the franchise, but please don't let the box-office "know-it-alls" destroy it.

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