Image credit: Paramount Pictures
Before the trailer for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie dropped, I was as sceptical as anyone. Michael Bay, this time as a producer, takes another 90s kids' beloved property and repeatedly, heartlessly milks it for cash, we all know the drill. Or do we?
Having watched the trailer, my opinion on the project completely changed - from pessimistic doubt, to fervent excitement. That got me thinking, and I came to a decision - it's OK to look forward to a new film from someone who doesn't have a perfect track record. Here's why...
We live in an age where so much money is pushed into Hollywood to find the next billion dollar hit that it's almost impossible to tell the good projects from the bad. Years of reinforcement should by now have taught us one rule - that even the most brilliant filmmaker is still capable of making an awful movie.
There are plenty of examples to choose from. Who wasn't hugely excited at the prospect of more Star Wars films when the prequel trilogy was announced? With George Lucas, inventor of the galaxy far, far away the helm, these were very highly anticipated films. But they sadly ended up stuffed with acting more wooden than an oak cabinet and a mind-boggling plot about a planetary trade embargo.
Similarly, when Steven Spielberg returned to the much-loved Indiana Jones franchise for a fourth instalment, we ended up with a very dodgy film full of nuked fridges, CGI gophers and completely misplaced aliens. Even more recently, JJ Abrams returned to the Star Trek franchise last year, a series he expertly re-launched in 2009, only to produce a film which disappointed a lot of fans. No filmmaker is perfect, and no-one can be trusted to make a good film 100% of the time.
What's my point I hear you cry? Well, essentially, that this can work both ways. An amazing film can come from the most unlikely place too. Who would've thought that after the poorly plotted mess that was Quantum of Solace that the Bond franchise would bounce back so well. And who did they get in to make this happen? A big name action director to save the day, maybe?
No, they chose Sam Mendes. A man at-the-time best known for directing American Beauty in 1999, whose most recent directorial gig had been quirky indie rom-com Away We Go. As Screen Junkies hilariously pointed out in their Honest Trailer, the biggest 'action sequence' he had filmed at the point MGM hired him involved a plastic bag aimlessly floating around. With the faith of the studio behind him though, Mendes produced the most successful Bond film ever, and one of the best-received too.
Likewise, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is currently raking in outstanding reviews, and will no doubt be a huge global smash. Who would be the top choice to direct this critically acclaimed paranoid thriller about corruption in the government? David Fincher maybe? Well scrap that idea, they chose the Russo brothers instead, best known for their work on TV comedies Arrested Development and Community.
Marvel excels at subverting director-choice expectations and consistently delivers the goods, another example being Jon Favreau who directed Iron Man, the birth of the worldwide money magnet known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, despite the fact his biggest directorial gig prior had been Christmas family film Elf.
When you think about it then, anyone can make a good film, and anyone can make a bad film. Much-loved directors can try to rekindle their old magic and produce some of their worst work ever, while inexperienced blockbuster directors can attempt something completely alien to them and produce something incredible.
Just because Michael Bay is involved in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, I was put off. But now that I've seen some footage, I am very much hoping to be proven wrong. His track record might not be perfect, and director Jonathan Liebesman's is pretty bad too (his stinking CV includes Texas Chainsaw Masacre: The Beginning, Battle Los Angeles and Wrath of the Titans), but that doesn't mean they might not pull an amazing film out of the bag.
From the trailer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles looks very funny, with epic action and a tone which playfully pokes fun at the brooding superhero craze which kicked off with The Dark Knight. That sounds like the makings of a very enjoyable film, so we shouldn't care who made it. There's a lot to like in that trailer, and I for one fully intend to check it out the cinema.
Check out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer here, then try to tell me it doesn't look cool
If you liked this blog, you can read more of Rob's film writing here.