Cowabunga—Michael Bay relaunching Ninja Turtles

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 4:31 PM EST

Guess who just lost Megan Fox but gained a band of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Deadline reports that Platinum Dunes has teamed with Paramount and Nickelodeon to relaunch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Dunes, of course, is Michael Bay's production company, which has produced exclusively horror remakes up until now.

Platinum Dunes has worked most frequently with New Line on their properties Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. New Line also produced the original Turtles movies, but Paramount and Nick bought the rights to the franchise in October. Paramount makes Bay's Transformers movies and has also had luck with Hasbro's G.I. Joe.

Bay presumably won't direct, as he has only served as producer at Platinum Dunes. Still, the move to a major studio with a children's network might suggest a tentpole-sized big-budget remake.

Most popular in the '80s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in comic books. Four turtles were mutated in the sewers and trained in the martial arts by their master, Splinter, a mutated rat. He named them after his favorite painters: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Rafael. See, it was educational, too! They also popularized the catch phrases "cowabunga" and "turtle power!" The turtles battled Shredder and the foot clan in animated TV series and inspired collectible action figures you could play with at home.

This will be the third time the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have starred in their own movies. New Line Cinema produced a trilogy of films between 1990 and 1993. The first one was pretty awesome, with actors in animatronic turtle costumes interacting with a dark New York City a la Batman. I even kind of dig Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Vanilla Ice cameo and all. It's still cool turtle suits fighting, and they got Ernie Reyes Jr. to join in the kicking.

By the time the turtles went back in time for Part III, the live-action films weren't cool anymore. Imagi animation studio tried a CGI-animated movie released in 2007. The turtles looked great, but it didn't even make its money back, let alone revive the Turtles franchise. It was only three years ago, and I don't even remember what it was about. I think one of them went to South America and then came back to fight Shredder. John Woo was even attached to one Ninja Turtles project before Imagi, but that never got made.

What do you think? Could Michael Bay save the Turtles? Could it be any worse than Turtles in Time?