Tuesday, April 03, 2007

TMNT changed my life. After my first introduction at a comic book store in downtown Georgetown, I began obsessively reading all the comics and graphic novels. I built a vast network of sewers for myself and my brother to play in with his TMNT action figures. We had repeat viewings of all the movies (well, maybe not so much part 3) and had all the cartoon episodes on tape. My art club project in grade 8 was a climactic rooftop battle between the Turtles, Shredder and his Footclan cronies. "TMNT and other Strangeness" was my first foray into RPG's, which would eventually affect my life profoundly and deeply. It introduced me to the world of "Dungeons & Dragons", leading to "Dragonlance" and then finally culminating with "Darksun" (the greatest fantasy gaming world ever created, although I am now falling for "Eberron"). Needless to say, the Turtles filled a large portion of my life, and they are dear to my heart.

Fastforward to last week. I was more than ecstatic about seeing the latest TMNT movie. It had been more than 15 years since I saw a Turtles movie on the big screen, so I was more than eager to see it. And then days before, an anonymous friend told me he had got his hands on a DVD with 300, TMNT, Pan's Labyrinth and the Roast of William Shattner. I was torn. What to do? Should I watch the movie? An actual pirated movie? Should I condone this illegal act, putting our friends in the stuntworld out of work, as we learned from those happy PSAs at the local movie theatre. Piracy IS stealing, or so I've been told.

I finally reached a compromise. I mean, really, Bob the stuntman isn't going to lose any money because I watched a pirated DVD, unless, somehow, he is getting a cut of the profits. And unless he's Tom Cruise, I don't think he is. So, I decided, out of sheer curiosity, just to watch the first 10 minutes or so of TMNT, to help me work up a healthy appetite for my green-skinned friends. To ensure that the money I was about to spend was a wise decision. Unfortunately, I spent the next hour and a half watching utter and complete crap.

I won't waste my time writing a critique of a movie that destroyed part of my childhood (yes, I am taking this personally, but hey, I'm a nerd). So what is my point you may be asking yourself. Well, I'll tell you. I try to avoid piracy. I don't see the point, unless there are circumstances beyond your control stopping you from seeing the movie. This was the reason we acquired so many DVD's while living in China, because it was the only way to see these movies since the Chinese government bars all but 20 or so foreign movies per year. That and the fact they cost so little. Who would not buy a 3 disc edition of "Happy Together" for $5?

TMNT was the first time, here, in Canada, that I watched a pirated movie and was actually happy I did. I was glad I supported piracy. It saved me $15. Why would I want to pay the studio and the theatre a sum of money, which, for a trip to the theatre (the "Scotiabank theatre" to be exact, since everyone loves theatres named after banks) is quite ridiculous, only to watch them butcher something I have held dear to my heart for almost 20 years. Why would I want to support crap. Crap that, quite frankly, will both insult and impair our children's intelligence, beating them over the head with "the moral of the story." It made me cringe. It almost made me sick. I now support piracy, at least on the grounds of testing out movies you aren't so sure of. Yes, if I like the film, I will still buy the DVD, or I will still go the theatres to watch it, since nothing compares to actually seeing a film in a theatre.

But for now, I condone piracy. Good on you China and Canada for your lax piracy laws!

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