When you look at Quentin Tarantino’s entire body of work, it’s clear to see he has a certain style about him. Although his strengths are quite specific to his own creations, there’s an argument to be made that they could be applied to another film or franchise.
Allow me to showcase how and why Tarantino should write and direct… a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. Stick with me now.
Look at the characters of a TMNT film, the core of the story, if you will. Four brothers that live together underground, hidden away from the world. All that time cooped up together would obviously mean that they would converse, a lot. One thing that QT does extremely well is dialogue; be it a group of people talking (opening of Reservoir Dogs), two men having an intense one-on-one conversation (opening of Inglourious Basterds) or even a man giving a speech to a perplexed young boy about the whereabouts of a particular watch (Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction). So, you know that even in the quiet scenes at home, before they head out and fight crime, would be kept immersive and interesting with Tarantino discourses.
When you think about it, QT has spent years already writing these types of characters. In Leonardo, you have the troubled leader with wisdom and a good heart, just like Uma Thurman’s The Bride, who just happens to also be handy with a katana. Donatello, the fast-talking nerd genius with just a hint of cockiness, is similar to the character Tarantino himself played in Reservoir Dogs as Mr Brown. When it comes to the no-nonsense, tough-as-nails Raphael, you need look no further than Reservoir Dogs’ Mr Blonde, played brilliantly by Michael Madsen. For the laid back and goofy Michelangelo, the obvious choice is Brad Pitt’s character from True Romance, Floyd. Pitt’s turn here may have just been a short appearance, but it was extremely well portrayed. And lastly, the perfect comparison for the fatherly figure, the wise and reserved Splinter, would be David Carradine’s titular antagonist from Kill Bill. Now, of course that’s not to say that these are literal translations of these characters, but rather a springboard into the psyche of how these characters could be portrayed here.
In regards to the villain, it would be wise to stick with Shredder. He has always been the Ninja Turtles’ most formidable foe, and QT is absolutely excellent at crafting memorable villains. Notable inclusions would be Leonardo DiCaprio’s Calvin Candy in Django Unchained and Christoph Waltz’s Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds. These two creations carry a certain gravitas, they’re decidedly malicious, despicable creatures, and yet they are villains that you hate to love – or love to hate, depending on your tastes.
If QT’s Ninja Turtles film were to be made, it would be for the fans of the original 80’s cartoon that want to see it brought back with vigour. Despite the cheese, that original 1990 film was quite dark in its own right, which is exactly why the kids of that generation would want to see this film with a hard R rating. Deadpool and now Logan have shown that there is most definitely an audience hungry for adult-oriented comic adaptations, and that’s exactly what the Turtles need. As seen with Kill Bill and From Dusk Till Dawn, we know that QT can deftly handle the gritty and visceral action scenes that would be needed for a ramped up new Turtles movie, and I firmly believe that people would want to see the Turtles actually drawing blood. I mean, seriously, two of the weapons of choice used by members of the team are sharp and deadly weapons; the film should reflect that. Perhaps QT could introduce us to the Turtles a number of years into their lives, fed up with criminals returning and continuing to run amok, until, screw it – they take a more brutal and final approach to the scum of the city.
Non CG Design
As far as the aesthetics of the original characters, it could be redone. Although I personally didn’t mind the recent Michael Bay-produced Turtle films, one thing they did get wrong was the overall look. They looked like big, hulking monsters, ill-conceived appearances that didn’t sit well with much of the fan base. QT could really take it back to basics. He is not a massive user of visual effects and therefore could get away with, dare I say it, prosthetic suits! Or, given how well the animated scene of Kill Bill looked, he could even do a Ninja Turtles film in anime style and still do justice to these characters. But if I had to choose between those two, I would choose the former.
If the Ninja Turtles were to get another reboot treatment, which is of course inevitable at this point in Hollywood, I can think of no one better to take a hold of this franchise than Mr. Quentin Tarantino. Ehem, Mr. Tarantino, if you’re reading this, please at the very least consider taking it on. I’m sure I am not alone in thinking that you would do a stellar job with it.