Thursday, February 2, 2012

Blast from the Past #466: March 22, 2005: Re: Second Draft of 114, and March 28, 2005: Re: Script 115

Subj:  Re:   Second Draft of 114
Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2005 4:06:31 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments on the second draft of Ep. 114.

1.) Re: the following:

You see, I had procured Master Yoshi’s ashes … through great difficulty.  And, I was determined to honor his wish that he be buried in the home of his family, the Ancient One, in Japan."

The wording here in the second line is a little awkward. Here is an alternative:

"And, I was determined to honor his wish that he be buried in the land of his birth, and near the home of his sensei, the Ancient One... in Japan."

I raised the question last time around about this idea that Yoshi was the Ancient One's "son". This seemed off to me, so I went back and looked at the flashback episode titled "A Tale of Master Yoshi" (#100)... and found this:

"*Establish the old style Japanese house with a gated entrance.
And so, the Ancient One took the boys to his house…

*The two boys are hungrily <SLURPING> down big bowls of ramen as the Ancient One looks on sitting in full lotus and smiling.
And, raised them both as if they were his own sons."

As far as I can tell, this is the only point in this episode or any other at which the word "son" and "Yoshi" were put together in regard to his relationship to the Ancient One. The rest of the time, Yoshi's relationship to the Ancient One is described as student to sensei.
Both Yoshi and Mashimi, in that episode, were orphans of war. Neither was literally the Ancient One's son. And aside from the "raised them both as if they were his own sons" line, there is nothing that speaks of the Ancient One adopting either boy -- and there is no indication that Hamato Yoshi took on the Ancient One's family name (whatever that is -- I don't think we've ever given him a name per se... or have we?). It is a fine point, but an important one, I think. I think it could be addressed in a very simple fashion, either by just referring to the Ancient One as Yoshi's sensei (instead of his "father"), or do that AND mention that Yoshi considered the Ancient One his "adoptive father".

2.) Re: the following:

"WIDE ON ROAD as Splinter/Tots trail the EERIE RED GLOW emanating from ONI and the Ancient One.
Hang on!  Hold the phone!
*ON MIKEY IN FRONT of SPLINTER – looking at his BROS, confused.
Doesn’t it freak you guys out that we don’t remember ANY of this???"

I like this, and have a suggestion for a sound effect -- when Mike breaks in with his voiceover, maybe there could be the classic "needle scratching record" sound (SKKRRRCCHHH!) -- you know, the one which sounds like somebody has yanked the needle off the record, interrupting the flow of the story -- just before he speaks.

-- Peter


Subj: Re: Script 115
Date: Monday, March 28, 2005 3:08:01 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments on the Ep. 115 first draft.

1.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON – The steaming TEA KETTLE as April’s hands pick it up and attempt to pour water into waiting CHANNEL 6 mugs –"

That mug bit is pretty funny.

2.) Re: the following:

Shall I assume that is only tea and not rat poison?
Poison won’t work if you have no heart."

Why "RAT poison"? I think just "poison" would be fine and not raise any questions about Splinter (April's rat pal) in this context.
Also, if you think about it, April's response is a little odd -- the clear implication (well, clear to me, anyway) is that she WOULD have put poison in Karai's tea, but unfortunately, Karai has no heart and it wouldn't work on her, so why bother? Which, I'm PRETTY sure, is NOT what we want April to be saying here.

3.) Re: the following:

"Karai grabs the TEA SERVICE and <SMASHES> it over Chaplin’s back. He sets her down.
Fool! They are not keeping me captive. They’re helping protect me!

Suddenly serious, Chaplin takes Karai’s hands. Casey and April share a concerned look behind them.
But mistress, nothing can protect you now. Haven’t you heard what’s happened?"

Karai's move here seems like slapstick, and out of character. I'm sure she could get Chaplin to put her down without resorting to this "Three Stooges" move. Why doesn't she nerve pinch him or something a bit more subtle?
Also, Chaplin telling her that "nothing can protect you now" seems goofy -- I mean, isn't that why he's there, to protect her? If he really believes that nothing can protect her now, why's he even bothering?
And while I didn't mind that Chaplin referred to her as "Mistress Karai" when he enters April's apartment, having him call her just "Mistress" in this last line seems odd to me... and more like something a Foot soldier would do. I think he should just call her by her name here.

4.) Re: the following:

"RAPHAEL, LEONARDO, and DONATELLO burst into the room a beat later - dropping from CEILING VENTS, popping from a GRATE in the floor, etc. A full-on Ninja entrance!"

This is very goofy... and pointless.

5.) Re: the following:

Terrible nightmares have plagued me since we first met the Ninja Tribunal--
Mikey raises his hand enthusiastically, as if in school.
Is it that one where you have a killer math test and you show up late and you’re not wearing any pants?"

I get the gag reference, but it would make a LOT more sense if it were said by someone who actually WEARS pants (which Mikey does not). Maybe a more Turtle-appropriate line could be used here... though I'm not sure what it would be.

6.) Re: the following:

Master Yoshi appears, like an angel… but he does nothing to protect himself as the Shredder attacks and… "

Splinter referring to Yoshi as an "angel" seems inappropriate, too Christian-like (which Splinter is not). Maybe "guardian spirit" would be better.

7.) Re: the following:

For someone who the Shredder impaled only a few days ago, you’re looking pretty healthy, Karai.
REVERSE – KARAI and CHAPLIN are on the roof in full armor (sans helmet) and she IS looking strong. 
Survival is what I do. We are in agreement, then? A temporary truce?"

Karai's "Survival is what I do" line is way too "cheesy movie tough guy" for me. Also, Leo's line seems superfluous -- I mean, we SEE that Karai is looking healthy and ready to fight. And it has little to do with Karai's response (which refers to a temporary truce). Perhaps Leo should instead say something about them working together against the Shredder.

8.) Re: the following:

The mood is tense. The Turtles pace one side of the room with Casey and April while Karai and Chaplin speak directly with Splinter and Ancient One."

If memory serves, this is the first time Karai has met the Ancient One. If so, it might be cool (though certainly not VITAL) to give her a moment in this scene where she expresses wonderment about being in the same room with him (assuming she would!) because she has heard tales of the legendary Ancient One. Or something.
And as I typed that, the thought occurred to me -- what would Karai be like now if, instead of the Utrom Shredder, she had had the Ancient One for her sensei?

9.) Re: the following:

Shredder has cast a spell of henkei – Metamorphosis."

A minor point -- but because Karai sees the Utrom Shredder as the "true" Shredder, I think she might say "This Shredder" instead of just "Shredder" here.

10.) Re: the following:

Ancient One and I have been meditating on Shredder’s presence here, and our investigation had uncovered a fluctuation in the city’s Ley Lines."

Would Splinter refer to the Ancient One as "Ancient One" or "THE Ancient One"? I would say the latter.

11.) Re: the following:

After they’d gone, we found out that the Shredder’s Mystics had been planning this day for decades. It was their little “Keystone Project.”
REVERSE – CHAPLIN projects the grid from a fitting in his ARMOR. Everyone gathers around behind him to see what he’s doing.
They bribed and blackmailed city officials to install mystical amplifiers around Manhattan, some as early as a century ago. I didn’t know what they were for-- Until now."

"A century ago"? That doesn't seem to fit into the timeline we have established with the Utrom Shredder coming to NYC... unless we want to say that the Foot Mystics came to NYC BEFORE the Utrom Shredder did... which I suppose is POSSIBLE, but is it LIKELY?

12.) Re: the following:

If the Shredder’s spell reaches the Keystones, it will anchor to the Ley Lines…and become irreversible. He will turn our world into a living nightmare."

While I am sure that Splinter knows a lot about things of a mystic nature, for some reason it seems that he (and Chaplin) are a bit too certain and sure of EXACTLY what is going to happen here. It strikes me that a lot of this is theory and conjecture on their parts, and should be referenced here as such.

13.) Re: the following:

Sure, pick one. The Statue of Liberty? Maybe the U.N. BUILDING? Oh, and where’s the closest “Dynamite R us?” "

Don's last bit here seems off, as I doubt (given his resourcefulness and what he might already have on hand) he would find much trouble coming up with enough explosive materials to destroy the Keystones (that is, IF he were willing to blow up the Statue of Liberty, etc.).

-- Pete


  1. One thing I liked about the series was seeing Karai and Shredder at the same time even if an alien it is a great beat to drive Karai's chracterization and see how they would interact. Karai is perhaps the best character study and like Baxter Stockman and Agent Bishop she can go from bad to good given the situation were different and even show a chance for it still to happen. I give kudos to the complex characters that can be presented like that.

  2. Pete,
    I know you've kinda stepped out of the TMNT lime light, but as co-creator your opinion still matters. Playmates has released prototypes of the figures from the new series as well as the first wave of "classic" Turtles based on the Fred Wolf series (supposedly if sales of those do well we may see Mirage lines...who knows.)Just wanted to hear your thoughts.
    Kevin "Jester" McGill

    1. Overall, I'd say that the figures of the "new" Turtles -- with the exception of the somewhat goofy-looking extra "wraps" on their hands and feet -- look pretty nice.

      The "classic" Turtles -- those based on the original TV series and toy line -- are okay, but having seen so many years of those original-look toys, I can't really get excited about more of the same, even though it is nice that these new ones seem to have a few detail points -- like articulated hands -- which are nifty.

      It's hard to tell, exactly, from the one closeup photo, but Splinter looks… bizarre. And I am still trying to figure out what April is wearing on her lower half (and why is one of her feet painted differently from the other?). Her pumpkin-shaped head is a little disturbing, to my eye anyway.

      The new Turtle van looks cool, as does the "Stealth Bike" (pretty obviously inspired by Batman's "Tumbler"). I like the scale of the new playset, even though there doesn't appear to be anything really new about it. I could be wrong -- it's hard to tell from the photo. I have to say that this is one area in which -- as nice as some of the playsets in the past were -- I always felt some disappointment. I know it is mostly due to economic considerations, but the playsets always seemed to feel more like somewhat two-dimensional "towers" as opposed to underground settings. I would love to see a playset which was even bigger, one which incorporated an entire street scene with pavement, sidewalks and buildings (or even building facades) on two (or more) sides, and then the underground area would really be underneath -- you'd have to lie on the floor to play with it. But I know that's a lot of plastic and packaging, so it will probably never happen.

      The Foot Clan Ninja looks nice, but I have to say that the Shredder's armor is in large part somewhat clunkily rendered, especially the forearm and calf pieces. Krang is interesting, possibly the closest Playmates has yet come to the original comics look of the Utroms in their exoskeletons, though the "lipstick" look on his exoskeleton's head is somewhat odd.

      And if I am reading the text correctly, it's nice to see that Karl Aaronian is back working with Playmates on this new series of toys. Go Karl! -- PL