‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Lands a Directing Titan

Back when it was first announced that Platinum Dunes had plans to put together a new live action Ninja Turtles movie, Neil Miller found himself pondering what sort of picture they intended to make. Platinum Dunes is known mostly for relaunching popular but tarnished horror franchises, so did that mean that they intended on giving us a gritty, adult take on the Turtles, kind of like the original Eastman and Laird comics? Or would they still be taking a more kid friendly approach, like the cartoon and live action film series of the 90s, which raked in bajillions of dollars by appealing to a younger audience?

Now that there are some names attached to the creative end of this one, what it’s going to look like is becoming more clear. According to a new report from Variety, Michael Bay and company have hired Jonathan Liebesman to direct. At first glance, that might lead you to believe that this could be a seriously dark film, as Liebesman was the guy who did The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning for New Line back in 2006, and that was a pretty dark, R-rated remake. But if you look at the work he’s been doing lately, he’s been hovering much more in the PG-13 range, and he’s been doing the sort of films that are generally too epic in scope to limit your audience by putting in questionable content. His last film was Battle: Los Angeles, and he’s got Wrath of the Titans coming up; movies like that are expected to be big blockbusters.

When you look at the writers attached, what tone this Turtles adventure is likely to take emerges even more. Liebesman will be working from a script by Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec, the guys who just wrote Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. That movie had some hard hitting action and some big adventure, but once again, nothing too dark, nothing very questionable; a film that most people wouldn’t blink at taking their kids to.

So while this new version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is certainly looking to be a bit less kiddie than those PG-rated, foam rubber flicks from the 90s, people who are holding out for a gritty, bloody samurai movie with a cursing Raphael and what have you are likely to be severely disappointed. And, you know what? That’s okay. A little Turtle fun is a good thing. Just as long as we don’t bring in Krang or the Neutrinos, I’ll be fine. And is it too early to start campaigning for them to bring back Elias Koteas as Casey Jones again? He is Casey Jones to me, to the point where I get upset seeing him do other things.

Weaned on the genre films of the 80s. Reared by the independent movement of the 90s. Earned a BA for writing stuff in the 00s. Reviews current releases at

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