I am not a huge fan of Brett Ratner. Forgetting the fact that he fucked up the fantastic original X-Men trilogy with The Last Stand, he's only made a few films that I've actually liked (his first two, Money Talks and Rush Hour, are among them). Still, he's got his place in showbiz and a project like Tower Heist, which he's prepping for a November 4th release, is right up his alley, but there are plenty of movies that I can safely say aren't. Hercules: The Thracian Wars, under his direction, would more than likely fail. No question. Unfortunately, I'd say the same of The 39 Clues, a production he's just signed on to helm for DreamWorks.
Originally optioned as a directing vehicle for Steven Spielberg in 2008, the multi-platform story from Scholastic Media (which spans a novel and collectible card series as well as an online experience) gives insight into the Cahills, the worlds most powerful family. Each book provides clues about the nature of their power and wealth and the series is currently on its 11th entry. It will shape up to be a globe-trekking adventure mystery that seemed perfect for Spielberg, but the filmmaker has been busy with bigger gigs as of late (War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin will both hit theaters this December, with Lincoln getting set to follow in late 2012 at the rate which it is moving).
Enter the Rat man, whose last feature was 2007's Rush Hour 3. After a lengthy absence from the director's chair, it appears that he's ready to make a speedy return to the spotlight. He's been in contention for a number of projects in the last few weeks, which indicates that he wants to be more active behind the camera in the coming years. It's surprising that he's signed on for this project, as he's got plenty on his own plate set up through his company Rat Entertainment. My guess is that Jeff Nathanson, with whom he regularly collaborates, turned in a hell of a script for The 39 Clues and that has influenced his decision. Nathanson is, of course, the treasured scribe responsible for two of Rat's Rush Hour films as well as Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal, so it makes sense that he'd recruit his two best friends in the business for this super-sized flick. I'm still looking forward to the movie even though I've got little confidence in Ratner, but I'm sure Spielberg knew what he was doing when he hired him.