Not too long ago word came down that Jonathan Liebesman was in talks to direct the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. While I was excited for news about the film finally moving forward, I can't say I was overly thrilled with the choice of director. While not necessarily bad, there were a few other directors I think would do an awesome job with the Turtles reboot instead.
Let me say this first, this isn't about any hate towards Liebesman. I'm not dismissing him out of hand, he just doesn't have as much experience with this type of action film, as I'd want out of a TMNT director. So think of this as more of a wishlist as opposed to a "Liebesman won't do a good job" type article.
This is first on my list for a reason...they'd be my first choice (duh). Say what you will about the Wachowskis, but they're still a very exciting directing duo. That, and they really know how to film action/martial arts scenes. While many people were disappointed in the Matrix sequels (I wasn't, but whatever), it's hard to deny that the action scenes were still top notch. The Wachowskis just know how to film action and in bringing the Turtles back for a new generation, they're going to have to display some awesome skills.
On top of that, the Wachowskis know how to handle a story. While they got a little heavy handed in The Matrix, one can't deny the impact the first film had, nor the deftness in which they handled the V for Vendetta adaptation. I know they didn't direct that film themselves, but they were heavily involved in adapting the script. In short, they've got the action prowess and story-telling abilities to give the TMNT a great film.
If the name Stephen Chow doesn't ring any immediate bells, don't feel too bad. He's mostly been a director/actor over in China for his entire career, but a couple of his films have made it our way over here. Most notable among these is, Kung Fu Hustle, in which he both directed and starred in the film.
Whil a comedic type director may seem an odd choice, I think it'd be perfect for Ninja Turtles. I'm not saying I want another campy/goofy film like we got with Turtles 3, but witty and sometimes goofy humor are part of the Turtles' personalities. Chow can do great martial arts action work, and I think could tone down the zaniness enough to give Turtles the humorous side it needs, without going overboard with it.
I like Zack Snyder. I know for some reason it's become popular to hate on the director, but I think a lot of that is unjustified. Sure, Sucker Punch was more of a mess than I wanted it to be, but let's take a look at the rest of his record. The man has made a killing in adapting comic books for the big screen.
When it comes to making things work on the big screen (that probably shouldn't) he's done a phenomenal job. It's when he's left to his own story creation that he runs into snags. He's got a penchant for action and could do the Turtles justice without fear on that front. Personally I think he'd bring a new and exciting edge to the franchise, which is perfect for a reboot.
I know Bird seems like an odd choice on here, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. While most of his experience has been focused on animation, he proved with Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol that he can also handle good live-action ass kicking. The action scenes were top notch and a showed an aptitude for crafting exciting moments.
His animation experience is also a reason I like him for Turtles. I mean, the guy made Ratatouille and The Incredibles, a pair of my favorite Pixar films. That experience only proves the man knows how to work an engaging story that's fun for audiences of all ages...Which is something a good TMNT movie should do as well.
While Leterrier appears last on my list here, that doesn't mean I consider him the least qualified. While many movie fans are still trying to get the terrible taste of Clash of the Titans out of our mouths, I won't blame it entirely on him. Nor does that erase his pretty awesome filmography that came before it.
The first two Transporter films (with Jason Statham) and Jet Li's Unleashed remain some of my favorite action/martial arts films around (at least on this side of the world). They featured some amazing fight sequences, along with characters you truly enjoyed watching. His work on The Incredible Hulk shows he's adept at handling the supernatural side of things as well and making it feel 'realistic'. When you're dealing with talking, crime-fighting Turtles, you need any help in that area.
Sure there are tons of other big martial arts directors over in China and Japan I could have listed, but I tried to limit myself seeing as how many movie buffs may not have heard or seen them before. That doesn't mean they wouldn't be good for the directing role, but considering it's a Hollywood film, they wouldn't likely be picked either.
While it appears that Liebesman's role as director is already sealed (especially with a release date set now), I still look to this as a wishlist of sorts. A new Ninja Turtles movie is something I've wanted for a long time and I hope justice can be done. Got a favorite director you think would be perfect to revive the Turtles, that I didn't mention? Be sure to tell us below!
A film/video editor at heart, Jordan dips his hands in many areas of filmmaking, including producing and VFX. On top of that he's a huge nerd and cartoonist, though you shouldn't hold that against him. He's been writing on the film industry for a number of years now and has had his worked featured on a number of other major film sites.
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