Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blast from the Past #379: Feb. 18, 2004: comments on Ep. 66 first draft script

Feb. 18, 2004: comments on Ep. 66 first draft script

From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments on the first draft script for Ep. 66.

comments on Ep. 66 first draft / "The Darkness Within"

1.) Re: the following:

CLOSE ON – Leonardo’s heart starts to pump hard in a rapid cycle of systole and diastole.  <HEART BEAT>."

This seems totally bizarre, unnecessary and inappropriate to me. And much the same thing could be accomplished with sound (loud heartbeats), I think.

2.) Re: the following:

"ANGLE ON – There is the <FAINT SOUND OF TURNING GEARS> as the elevator begins to descend.

DOWN ON – The elevator <DESCENDS> on it’s thick cable and pulleys away from camera."

Have the Turtles recently installed an antique Otis lift? I don't recall the alien-like elevator that the Turtles discovered in their lair -- the ONLY elevator in there, if memory serves --being so creaky, so... ordinary.

3.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON – Angel holds up an old, minted gold coin."

Even if the animators are somehow able to SHOW that the coin is gold, I think it is quite odd that none of the Turtles or Splinter remark on the fact that Angel's brother has apparently found a stash of GOLD coins. That's not something that happens every day.
I think at the very least Don should make a comment about this nature of the coin, perhaps when he is talking about the date and its being Dutch.
Actually, I just thought of something that might be kind of funny: When Mike takes the coin, he bites it. Everyone gives him a look. Don says "What are you doing?" Mike says "They do this in the movies all the time -- I'm testing it to see if it's real gold!" Don sighs and grabs the coin from Mike and says "The only thing YOU'D be able to tell with that technique is whether it's really chocolate wrapped in gold-colored foil."

4.) Re: the following:

Hmm.  Ok.  But be careful."

I don't think Splinter says "Okay".

5.) Re: the following:

Don’t worry, Master S, we’re always careful … "

"Master S"...? I don't think so.

6.) Re: the following:

FOLLOW SIDE ON – The BattleShell <SPEEDS> along the street when suddenly its lights go out and the engine becomes a <QUIET HUSH>.
Stealth mode.  I just installed it.
The BattleShell <HUSHES> past a HOMELESS GUY <TALKING> on a cell phone.
Sweet.  What does this button do?
O.T.S. – The Homeless Guy whips around as suddenly the BattleShell emits a <KLAXXON> and its lights flash.
Mikey, don’t touch anything else.  … Ever."

What the heck? I have NO idea why this scene is in this story. Does this "stealth mode" get used in this episode? Is it setting something up for a later episode? And which lights go off -- inside or outside, or both? And what the heck is a HOMELESS guy doing TALKING ON A CELLPHONE???!!! It all seems like goofy slapstick with no point.

7.) Re: the following:

Are you sure this is the place?"

A minor point -- but I can't see any reason why Don would ask this question at this moment. I mean, Angel has told them that her brother found the coins at a construction site, and here they are at a construction site. The line seems completely superfluous, and it could be excised with no ill effect.

8.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON – Leonardo approaches the building’s large, carved oak doors and gives them a slight push.
WIDER – The doors <SWING> open widely on their hinges and the turtles, followed by Angel, walk into the darkness."

Even IF the building's front doors were left unlocked (which seems kind of odd), I doubt that approach would be the one the Turtles would take -- they would be more likely to try to find a less-obvious entry point.

9.) I'm not sure if there is any particular significance to the name "Van Clephas", but it just occurred to me that it might be cool if we could come up with a clever anagram of "Lovecraft" to use instead of Clephus. (I'm pretty sure I have an anagram generating program somewhere, and if I can find it I'll give it a shot.)

10.) Re: the following:

Hello!  Is there anybody here?"

Great ninja technique! I'm joking, of course.

11.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON – Angel examines a broken piece of oak paneling, held up by scaffolding.  She <TUGS> the piece of wood aside to reveal an old lever, which she <PULLS>.
DOWN ANGLE ON – The eye mosaic suddenly changes as the tiles of eye’s pupil <FLIP> and the pupil <TRANSFORMS> into a staircase descending into darkness.
You found it, Angel, you wanna go first?"

First, the way Angel finds the lever which opens the staircase seems a bit odd to me -- why would she be examining a "broken piece of oak paneling, held up by scaffolding"? I think if would be better and visually cooler if maybe she was with Mike when he's looking at the bust of Van Clephus (and this bit might work better it the bust was in a recessed alcove in a wall), and she does something with the bust (maybe goes to lean it toward her to get a better look at it) and the bust tips forward and IT activates the staircase.
And Raph's line seems TOTALLY out of character.

12.) Re: the following:

"WIDE – The turtles and Angel step off the spiral staircase which <RETRACTS> upwards.  "

Aside from being an interesting visual, is there any reason for the staircase to automatically retract? I haven't read the script all the way through yet, but wouldn't it make more sense if it stayed in the open position so that the Turtles could make their escape back up it?

13.) Re: the following:

"PAN ACROSS – The inscription over the door reads "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate".
What’s it say, Don?
It’s Italian.  It says …  Abandon …  all …  shoes … ye who …  enter here.  At least, I think it does.
CLOSE ON – Raphael gives Donatello a confused look.
Abandon all shoes?  What’s that supposed to mean."

I don't get the point of this gag. Don can read all the "Italian" (why Italian? why not Latin? or Dutch?) EXCEPT for the word he translates as "shoes"?

14.) Re: the following:

"PUSH IN ON – The skeletons chest cavity is filled by a small creature with writhing tentacles and one central sinister red eye as it emits a <HIGH-PITCHED SCREECH>"

This is a little too close to the Utroms in their robotic exoskeletons for my comfort. I'm not even sure we NEED these "small creature with writhing tentacles" anyway... but if we DO, maybe it would be better if they were in the SKULLS instead, with tentacles coming out of the eye sockets and mouths.

15.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON – Angel peers around from behind Leonardo’s shell.
Perhaps they’re friendly."

Hmm... animated skeletons with weird tentacled creatures in them, brandishing weapons -- and THIS is what Angel says? Just plain stupid. 

16.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON – The Elizabethan skeleton faces off against Donatello as it <SWISHES> its rapier in the air, then salutes him.
CLOSE ON – Donatello gives him a curious look, then <FLOURISHES> his staff and salutes back."

I could very well be wrong, and I'll have to check my history book, but is an "Elizabethan" character an anachronism? Did the Elizabethan period predate European arrival in the New World?
Also, I don't get the "salute" bit. I thought these skeletons were animated solely by the power of the Cthulhu-type monster in this story, but this bit implies that some of the living personality of that dead person is still present. Does that make any sense?

17.) Re: the following:

"53. OLD MAN (O.C.)
Close the door!
WHIP PAN TO – The silhouette of an Old Man, holding a bright lantern stands in the tunnel behind the turtles.
ANGLE ON – The turtles charge forward and begin to shove the door which begins to <SWING> on its hinges.
CLOSE ON – With the turtles pushing as hard as they can, the door <SLAMS> shut, catching one skeletal arm which <FALLS> apart as the door <CLOSES>."

I suppose this will be worked out at the storyboard stage, but I'd like to get some clarity now -- exactly which way is this door swinging? Did it swing INWARD or OUTWARD when the Turtles first saw it? Which is spookier? (Later on, we see Angel and the Old Man putting their backs against the door and pushing it shut from the outside, so I guess that  would imply that it swings OUT... but is that necessarily the best idea?)
Also, how does the door open in the first place, and why? Should we have the Turtles and/or Angel actually do something to make it open, rather than have it just open on its own for no apparent reason? And how (and why) does it stay closed once the Turtles have retreated, conveniently keeping the skeletons from pursuing them?

18.) Re: the following:

"FRONT ON – An Iroquois brave stands at the entrance to a cave leading into the meteorite.  He is dressed as the Native American skeleton was earlier, as he flourishes the same tomahawk."

It would be cool if we could get some kind of authenticity in the Iroquois garb/headress. Also -- what's up with this "cave"? I thought the sky stone was in a big rut (that it made) on the surface. Maybe it would be cool if instead of being in a cave the sky stone is surrounded by an Iroquois-built hut or hogan (whatever style they used at that time), and that building over time is replaced by various other buildings, ending up with the massive stone edifice in this story.
And can we come up with a cooler name than "sky stone"?

19.) Re: the following:

Yeah, it makes a change from fighting the Shredder …  Y’know that thousand-year-old evil from outer space dude."

This doesn't sound at all like Don -- but it does sound like Raph or Mike.

20.) Re: the following:

LOW ON – The turtles find themselves in a tube, <DRIPPING> with slime.  The walls are porous lava, which glow with an interior ambient light."

Is this the same tunnel in which the Turtles fought the skeletons earlier? It would seem to have to be, as they entered it through that same golden door. If so, why is it lit now when earlier it was dark?

21.) Re: the following:

Do you guys buy that Old Man’s story?
At this point, I’m just about willing to believe anything.
Uhm, Leo, did I mention Master Splinter  said I should be in charge and stuff.
Well, maybe not anything."

The Mike/Leo gag is funny, but totally wrong for the situation. I say lose it.

22.) Re: the following:

[plaintiff]  Noooooooooooo!"

"Plaintiff" is a person who instigates a lawsuit. I think the word needed here is "plaintive".

23.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON – Suddenly Casey and April reach up and <PULL> off their faces like rubber (think Mission Impossible) to reveal in place of their usual features, a mass of writhing tentacles with a central red eye.
CLOSE ON – Donatello antics back in fear.
April …  Casey …  What’s happening?  Why are you?  I …  I …
WIDER – Suddenly April grabs the dinner table and <HURLS> it across the room.
CLOSE ON – Casey picks a limp Donatello up, his feet dangling off the floor."

It seems very odd -- because there doesn't seem to be any reason for it -- that Don doesn't fight or struggle at all in this scene. If it's necessary that Don be helpless, I would buy that the monstrous Casey and April are too strong for Don and are able to pick him up in a grasp which does not allow him to escape.

24.) Re: the following:

(to self)
I’m home?!  That’s funny.  I could have sworn I was in an underground meteorite about to face some ancient evil creature who lives off fear."

Minor point, but -- are they actually INSIDE the meteorite? I didn't get that. If they are in fact NOT inside it, I suggest changing Mike's lines thusly:

(to self)
I’m home?!  That’s funny.  I could have sworn I was in an underground tunnel about to face some ancient evil creature who lives in a meteorite  and feeds off fear."

25.) This may be too much, but while reading Mikey's dream sequence, I thought it might be cool if his warped adversaries keep saying -- in their insane screechy voices from the mountains of madness -- "Cowabunga! Cowabunga! Cowabunga!" That would drive anyone over the edge!

26.) Re: the following:

Raph!  Wake up!  It’s all a bad dream!
Michelangelo stops slapping him as Raphael blinks his eyes open and looks around.
A bad dream?  But …  how do I know this is real?
Michelangelo thinks for a [BEAT] …  then begins to <SLAP> Raphael again.
(between slaps)
Ok …  Ok …  It’s …  not …  a …  dream …"

How about, instead of having Mike start slapping Raph again, he instead lets loose with one of those HUGE patented Mikey BURPS right in Raph's face?

27.) The bit where the creature stings Leo again and Leo starts to imagine that he is in the Saharan desert seems really pointless and unnecessary.

28.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON – Leonardo grabs the tomahawk from his belt.  The tomahawk is glowing blue."

Like Frodo's sword Sting in the presence of nasty, tricksy Orcses? Maybe we should use a different color.

29.) I still don't understand the relationship of the old man to the creature, especially when we reveal that he is the original Van Clephas. Did the creature keep him alive all this time through some eldritch magical means? If so, why? If the old man is the creature's slave, how is he able to help the Turtles? And if the old man is NOT the creature's slave, why hasn't he destroyed the creature before this? I mean, he knew about the tomahawk, after all... right?

30.) Re: the following:

Angel, when your brother goes to work tomorrow, make sure he fills this tunnel with concrete.  We don’t ever want to go into that place again.  Now let’s leave this creepy building.
157. ANGEL
Does this place make you afraid, Leo?
Yes, Angel.  It sure does."

This is probably the worst dialogue I've read in a long time, and that's on top of it being totally unnecessary. Let's see... the creature has just been destroyed -- as far as they can tell -- so why the heck is Leo telling Angel's brother to fill the tunnel with concrete? And how, exactly, would Angel's brother be able to do such a thing? And... "We don’t ever want to go into that place again."? Well... DON'T!!! I say lose all this -- maybe just have Leo give a last look around and say something like "Let's get out of here."

-- Pete

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blast from the Past #378: Feb. 16, 2004: comments on Ep. 65 first draft script

Feb. 16, 2004: comments on Ep. 65 first draft script

From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments on Ep. 65 first draft script. No major problems, just a few detail suggestions:

1.) Would it be interesting to have young Casey wear glasses? I know he doesn't wear them in the present, but there could be several ways around that -- he could wear contacts, for example.
The reason I suggest it is that it would be another way to draw the viewer's attention away from who this kid really is, until the final reveal.
And while we're on that subject -- I really want to avoid giving too much away about the surprise in this episode, and when we get around to writing up the synopses for season three to post online, let's not have anything for this episode which refers at all to the fact that this kid is Casey, i.e. "The Turtles try to teach a kid who is strangely familiar" or anything like that.

2.) Re: the following:

"23. APRIL
(to turtles)
At least I’m happy to see you guys.  I was about to make some hot chocolate.  I can easily make enough for four teenage turtles."

I think it sounds odd for April to say "four teenage turtles". And because -- I think -- this scene is supposed to show she is still a little mad at Casey, it might be better if she instead says (with a pointed look at Casey) "I can easily make enough for FIVE."
And when Casey perks up and expects to be part of this hot chocolate party, she could ignore him, then count -- first pointing at the Turtles -- "One, two, three, four..." then point at herself "... five." Then she gives him another look, and she and the Turtles go inside, leaving Casey outside.

3.) Re: the following:

"26. CASEY
Come on, April.  You wasn’t that scared.  You beat the crud out of me."

"You wasn't" sounds too stupid for Casey. Let's just have him say "You weren't".

4.) Re: the following:

"ON – THE FOUR TURTLES AS - Donatello’s ShellCel rings.
It’s probably Casey.
CLOSER ON – DONATELLO answers the ShellCel holding it up to the side of his head …
What up, numbskull?"

"What up, numbskull?" is much more of a Raph or Mikey phrase. And I think it would be funnier if Don answers the phone and "rubs it in" by first loudly slurping his hot chocolate, then saying something like "Mmm--mmm! That's some mighty fine hot chocolate, April!" -- just before the annoying fax-like screech comes over the phone.

5.) Re: the following:

Casey is such a bonehead.
Yeah, but, April kicked his sorry be-hind all over that alley."

I would swap who speaks these lines, and have Don say "Casey can be such a bonehead."

6.) Re: the following:

"38. APRIL
I’m okay.  I have to admit the training from Master Splinter did come in pretty handy.  But, Casey caught me by surprise.  I should have heard him coming.  You guys would have.
WIDER ON – THE FOUR TURTLES look at each other.
I guess.  After a while, you get a sixth sense for that."

To reinforce the "teaching" theme of this story, I would suggest changing Leo's line as follows:

"It's something Master Splinter has spent a long time giving us lessons on. After a while -- if you've studied hard enough -- you get a sixth sense for it."

It also just occurred to me that it might be fun to do a story where we actually see Splinter giving April lessons. The line "I've never trained a human before" (spoken by Splinter, of course) just popped into my head.

7.) Re: the following:

Could you guys teach me?  To be more aware?
THE FOUR TURTLES are reticent.  Raphael shakes his head.
No way!"

I think it would be cool if there is a beat after April's line, a moment where the Turtles all look knowingly at one another (all remembering their failure with that young kid, which we will shortly see in flashback)... then Raph could say his line.

8.) Re: the following:

Yeah, last time we tried to play sensei, it didn’t work out too well."

Leo would say "yes", not "Yeah".

9.) Re: the following:

Raph, that’s no way to tell a story.  Here, let me do it.  [story voice] It was many, many moons ago …
ON – THE WINDOW and the darkness outside … PUSH IN AS …
… on a night as dark as this …"

I'm up for Mikey starting to tell the story in a humorous way, but this as is is kind of weak. Maybe start it out like this:

MIKE: It was a dark and stormy night... in a galaxy far, far away...

RAPH: Mikey...!

MIKE: Uh... I mean, many moons ago...

10.) Re: the following:

You had better hope you never let me catch going out of the sewers!"

There's a "you" missing in this line, but it's awkward anyway -- I would change it to read as follows:

"You had better hope I never catch you going out of the sewers!"

11.) Re: the following:

… was destiny … or, actually, it was kid named Arnie that needed help."

I'd prefer that Mike doesn't refer to the kid by name in this line. So it should read:

… was destiny … or, actually, it was this kid who needed help."

12.) Not that EVERYTHING in these stories has to be connected, but as I was reading this scene with Arnie and Steve, I had this image in my head of Steve being a young black kid -- who later grows up to be "Silver Sentry"! Is that too much?

13.) Re: the following:

"DOWN LOW AS – Small turtle tot hands (Leo Tot’s) hook a clothesline around the ankle of Teen Roughneck #4 and …
WIDER – Teen Roughneck #4 goes to move forward and TRIPS and falls into Danny McDonough.
Watch it, man.
WIDER STILL – Arnie is on the ground leaning against the dead end wall.  The teen roughnecks and Danny McDonough look down at Arnie.
Next time, don’t use our street, man. [to roughnecks] Come on, let’s get out of here."

It seems kind of odd that the punks pick this moment to leave Arnie alone -- why don't they continue to harass him? Might it be better if we hear a police siren in the distance (not necessarily coming for these punks, but THEY don't know that), and that causes them to break off their assault?

14.) Re: the following:

Dilemma is Greek for "two ideas.""

Is it? I'd never heard that before.

15.) Re: the following:

"104. RAPH TOT
Well, I got two ideas, let’s kick butt and let’s kick butt.  Those creeps are getting away."

Might be cooler if Raph says:

"104. RAPH TOT
Well, I got two ideas, let’s kick butt and let’s take names.  Those creeps are getting away."

16.) Re: the following:

"121. LEO TOT
Train in the ways of martial arts.  I can help you.  I’m something of a … sensei."

I would prefer it if Leo said something like this instead:

"Train in the art of self-defense. I can help you... teach you..."

17.) Re: the following:

Excellent Michelangelo.  Donatello lift your leg higher the kick.  Enough for now, it is Leonardo’s turn."

Should that read "Donatello, lift your leg higher for the kick"?

18.) Re: the following:

"CLOSER ON – DONATELLO is <SNORING> with his eyes open as he’s pulling ropes that … 
PAN ACROSS/FOLLOW THE ROPES through a series of secret pulleys and disguises and …
THE ROPES GO TO MIKEY TOT’S BED – Mikey Tot isn’t there.  Donatello has rigged a papier-mâché head and a series of rope pulleys and a <RECORDED SNORE> to mimic Mikey in bed where he should be (in an "Escape for Alcatraz" kind of way)."

I'm unclear what exactly the ropes and pulleys are for -- they don't seem to do anything.

19.) Re: the following:

(to self)
Something is not right.  Michelangelo’s breathing sounds strange.  I should see if he is all right."

The use of the word "right" twice here bothers me a little -- how about if we have Splinter say "I should see if he is ill."

20.) Re: the following:

"LEO TOT calls out to Master Splinter.
156. LEO TOT
Master Splinter, I just had a bad dream and I need a drink of water.
RAPH TOT sits up in his bed.
Me too, Master Splinter, I need a drink of water.
MASTER SPLINTER turns around in FOREGROUND and in the BACKGROUND, Mikey Tot slips into his bed and stash the papier-mâché head …
Me three.  May I please have a glass of water?
Upon hearing Michelangelo’s voice, Splinter turns and looks at Mikey Tot … Splinter’s suspicions fade …
I will go and get three …
Four, please.
Four glasses of water." 

Wouldn't it make more sense if Don asks for water before Mikey?

21.) Re: the following:

"CLOSER ON - He hurls them like shuriken right at CAMERA and …
ON – THE METAL PLATED DOOR of the rooftop stairway exit as the chess pieces come <ZINGING> in and <STICK> in the door with deadly precision."

WOW!!! The sharpest chess pieces in history! This is terribly silly -- how about having him know over some soda cans or something with the chess pieces?

All in all, a fun episode!

-- Pete

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Blast from the Past #377: More notes from the development of the 4Kids TMNT series:Feb. 13, 2004: Outlines 67 & 68

Feb. 13, 2004: Outlines 67 & 68

From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 2/12/04 5:45:35 PM, Lloyd writes:

<< Howdy Peter!

Just a quick noodge re: your notes on 67 and 68.  Operators are standing

As always, thanks mucho!



Here you go!

notes on Ep. 68 outline ("The Entity Below")

 1.) Re: the following: 

"From space, the massive SUN fills the screen, until Mercury slides slowly through close FOREGROUND to block it with a dramatic rumble.  "

Not to be too much of a science nerd, but I hope that we aren't saying here that the "rumble"is the sound of Mercury moving through space. I think a dramatic musical cue would make more sense.

2.) Re: the following:

"We hear DONATELLO’S V/O explaining the phenomenon taking place – a planetary alignment so wide-ranging that it hasn’t occurred in over twenty-thousand years.  The convergence of every planet and over fifty percent of the moons, stretching all the way to Pluto.  "

Science nerd here -- is this "convergence (not sure what that means -- does the writer mean 'alignment '?) of every planet and over fifty percent of the moons" something from real science and astronomy, or something completely made up? Involving "every planet and over fifty percent of the moons" seems a little over the top, and if we could do something that actually HAS a basis in science, perhaps with fewer planetary bodies if necessary, it would raise my science nerd comfort level.

3.) Re: the following:

"We then hyper-drive through the solar system, passing the other planets to stop at Pluto, where we find a stark landscape.  We move across a field of thin reeds, each with clusters of CRYSTALS naturally formed at their tips.  "

I don't know if I'm reading this right... is the writer saying that there are fields of living reeds GROWING on Pluto? Or are these some kind of strange mineral thing?

4.) Re: the following:

"In voice over, Donatello further explains that many astrologists assure us that this alignment will not result in any catastrophic events.  Of course, others believe just the opposite.  "But what’s the point in worrying, it’s not like we can do anything about it, right?" "

Like me, Donatello couldn't give a rat's ass about what "astrologists" have to say. On the other hand, we would pay a lot more attention to what ASTRONOMERS would tell us.

5.) Re: the following:

"It’s a flurry of reaching arms, swatting hands, and flying utensils, as DONATELLO, RAPHAEL, and LEONARDO pile food on their plates, while MICHELANGELO sneakily fills his own plate from theirs.  By the time they all sit back to eat, they notice their plates are empty... with a stuffed Mikey letting out a reverberating belch.  He denies everything, including claims that he’s been putting on weight.  That’s when his chair collapses beneath him "

Wow... this writer is channeling Fred Wolf big time! REALLY silly, lame slapstick.
While I think all of this goofy slapstick crap needs to go, it just occurred to me that it might be cool to have Don (who of course would be aware of and interested in it) talking about the planetary alignment with his brothers, and he uses some objects from the table -- some fruit, doughnuts, bagels, etc. -- to demonstrate how all of the planets are lining up. Nearing the end of his explanation, just when he's about to sum up what the effects of this kind alignment might (or might not) be on Earth, he could look around with a puzzled expression and say "What happened to Earth?" Then he and everyone else looks at Mikey, who's stuffing a big doughnut (which Don had used to represent Earth) into his mouth. With an innocent expression, Mike says "What?" (slightly muffled by the doughnut crammed in his gob, of course).

6.) Re: the following:

"And speaking of the Entity – they see him standing upon a towering spire across the lava lake from them, looking powerfully majestic as he flings a handful of yellow crystals shards into the lava.  Their splashes twist up like geysers, the tips of which form into LAVA MONSTERS that leap onto the cliff where the Turtles are."

LEAPIN' LAVA! The image of lava monsters that LEAP just doesn't work for me. I think their movements should be move flowing/lurching/sliding. Also, if they are truly made of lava, which as we all know is molten ROCK and pretty freakin' HOT, I hope we are not going to have them GRABBING and HOLDING the Turtles at any time during their battle.

7.) Re: the following:

"In the Underground City, the Turtles try to fight the lava monsters, but regular weapons are useless… plunging ineffectually into their lava bodies… the metal weapons almost melting in the process. "

It makes senses that the Turtles' weapons would be pretty useless against monsters made of LAVA, but how are we going to show that the metal weapons are "almost" melting? It might be more effective to have Leo and/or Raph actually lose one sword and/or sai because they do in fact melt.

8.) There seem to be an AWFUL lot of people in the underground city now ("the city is populated with beings just like the Entity"... "bustling streets"...). If memory serves, there weren't that many "frozen" beings in the "Secret Hall" as we saw in a past episode. Where are all these people coming from? And do we really need huge numbers of them?

9.) Re: the following:

"Versalia and the turtles must then make a daring escape across the high cable, which carries the gondola… only to find the spiteful Mage controlling the lava.  He splashes it up like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, as the Turtles and Versalia make their way back to the high ledge where the Tunneler is.

But finally, the Underground City sinks beneath the lava … all the Y’Lyntians are gone forever – the Mage’s efforts ceasing."

This seems like a pretty weak ending to the Entity -- he's just standing there making lava splash and then he's gone. What's up with that?

10.) Re: the following:

"RETURNING TO THE LAIR, the Turtles find a grateful Splinter waiting for them.  He knows the boys saved the world, and yet no one will ever realize it.  They at least will have his gratitude.  Splinter gestures to an elaborate Japanese dinner set beautifully on the table, the entrees covered.

The Turtles sit politely, napkins on laps, eyeing the enticingly covered dishes, as Splinter slowly removes the lids to reveal – squid.  After diving for cover out of reflex from the sulfur squids, the Turtles excuse themselves – saying that they’re kind of watching their weight... no offense."

I know that this is an attempt at a humorous wrap-up to the story, but it seems -- at least to me -- to be totally inappropriate and stupid, and worst of all UNNECESSARY. Why not just end with the Turtles saying goodbye to Versalia? The squid gag is just painfully lame.


notes on Ep. 70 ("Gravity")

Before I get into my comments, I just have to share a goofy idea that just flashed into my head when I read the title for this episode -- what if we created a character (not for this episode) who would be a kind of "science witch" (I know, kind of a contradiction in terms...) who could control the forces of gravity, attraction and repulsion -- and her name is "Aunty Gravity"? Okay, I'm better now...

1.) Re: the following:

"DR. DOME attempts to tunnel through the conical rock below the city with his DOMEBOT and DOMEOIDS.  Even that proves futile, due to the atmospheric shield.  "

This implies to me that the atmospheric shield extends THROUGH the rock. Does this make sense? 

2.) Re: the following:

"Unfortunately, the same devices that control the atmospheric shield also control the anti-gravity field.  Any attempt to shut off the shield from inside the city would risk sending Beijing plummeting to Earth.  (We see the anti-grav devices lodged in the middle of Tiananmen Square, cordoned off by barricades.)  "

Several odd assumptions here. First, wouldn't the first priority be getting Beijing back to Earth, NOT shutting off the shield while the city is in the upper atmosphere (which might kill everybody in the city if the air is thin enough)? Second, why are the anti-grav devices "cordoned off by barricades"? What does that accomplish? Who put the barricades up? Doesn't it make more sense that whatever scientists and engineers in Beijing would be working around the clock trying to understand and use those anti-grav devices? And third, how does anyone KNOW that turning off the shield will also shut down the anti-gravity?

3.) Re: the following:

"DISSOLVE TO a private Foot-owned airfield outside of the city, where SAKI, KARAI, HUN and STOCKMAN are gathered as CHAPLIN unveils his latest project, opening the doors of a huge hangar to reveal a gleaming, Miyazaki-like, HIGH ALTITUDE AIRSHIP.  

Chaplin, naturally, has no idea why Saki wanted him to build the blimp.  He's just jazzed to have the chance to tinker with another cool toy.  Chaplin's success (and subsequent praise from Saki), of course, means more of a threat to Stockman, who all this time has been insisting to Saki that it couldn't be built."

I had to laugh at this one -- Stockman, inventor of the Mousers and any number of other incredibly complicated and technologically sophisticated machines, is telling Saki that Chaplin's airship -- a dirigible!!! -- "couldn't be built"?!!!  Huh???!!

4.) Re: the following:

"In the middle of their stakeout, Donatello receives another mysterious call on his ShellCell.  It's the same annoying fax connection tone.  But this time he's prepared.  He brought his palmtop computer to trace the signal.  He discovers the source of the signal is a nearby cell phone/communications array.  As he peers through his binocs at the nearby rooftop satellite dish array (which astute viewers may recognize as the site where the Fugitoid jacked in to broadcast the anti-signal that masked his positronic signal in Ep. 57), Don doesn't notice as his palmtop gives off a connection screech and proceeds to download a very big file…"

It is my techno-geek duty to remind you that the "screech" as described sounds like the "handshake" that dial-up computer modems make... and high-speed connections DON'T make that noise, as far as I know. So if this is a REALLY huge file, and it makes sense that it is being downloaded via a high-speed wireless connection, it should be silent. Maybe all we really need is a graphic, anyway.

5.) Re: the following:

"WIPE TO THE AIRSHIP HANGAR, where Stockman and Hun prepare for their mission, grumbling about how their status has fallen in the Foot organization, finding an odd comradely.  "

Should that be "camaraderie"?

6.) Does Hun notice that Karai is saved by the Turtles who have broken out of their free-falling crate? If so, I'm sure that would raise some questions in his mind.

7.) I hope that Beijing is not going to be empty of people -- i.e. when the Turtles steal the bicycles, it might be cool if they are seen by some freaked-out Beijing-ites who mistake them for more aliens.

8.) Re: the following:

"Chaplin unleashes his surprise: Mousers, Version 2.0 -- inspired by Stockman's original metal munchers, but MUCH bigger, badder, tougher and jet powered.    "

I have nothing against new and improved Mousers, but are we saying here that they FLY? I'm not sure I'm loving that.
And now that I've read the rest of the outline and see that the writer indeed intends the Mega Mousers to fly, and to have Chaplin fly ON one, I REALLY don't like it. And while we're on the subject, the whole thing with Chaplin trying to escape on a flying Mouser and the gag with Don suckering Chaplin in only to have Mikey bash him with his 'chuks is just BAD. Seeing as Chaplin ends up on the ground with everyone else in Beijing, why not have him try to help the Turtles to return Beijing to the Earth?

9.) What the heck happened to Hun? One moment Stockman is abandoning him on the "doomed" Beijing, and then later we see him with Stockman meeting with Saki back in NY.

-- Pete