The Borderlands franchise has poppy style as one of its main components. Whether you look at the CG art style or the title cards for each character as you meet them for the first time, there’s no denying the series has a unique visual style when compared to dark, brown, and somber shoot-em-ups. For this film, it’s gonna have to maintain that style, or at the very least, have something within that realm. There’s four people who come to mind for this sort of film, and it’s not gonna be Phil Lord and Chris Miller, directors behind surprisingly good hits like the Jump Street films and The Lego Movie and who have a downright supernatural talent for making things that don’t seem like good ideas turn out great.
First up on the list is Guy Ritchie, the director/producer/co-writer behind the most recent spy action-comedy The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the Sherlock Holmes films. If you’ve seen U.N.C.L.E. or either of the Holmes films, you know that Ritchie’s got a fun direction, good comedic timing, and a nice eye for cinematography. The character title cards in Borderlands are even said to be reminiscent of Guy Ritchie, complete with the humorous descriptions in those cards. With his penchant for grim and goofy humor, good direction, and good eye for musical selection, it’s practically a “no duh” that he should be behind the camera for this kind of work.
Second up is Brad Bird, the writer/director behind the still awesome Incredibles movie (and its sequel!) and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
Tomorrowland was also a thing. Both those films center around a group of characters bouncing off each other with a good dose of humor thrown in there. Bird’s cartoonish sensibilities would lend itself quite well to Borderlands’ madcap fun. If you need a good idea of what he’d do with the film as a writer or director, just rewatch the Edna Mode scene from Incredibles or the Dubai tower from Ghost Protocol. Aren’t they ridiculous, but also kinda awesome? That’s basically Gearbox’s franchise, and mathematically speaking, ridiculously awesome+ridiculously awesome=even more ridiculously awesome.
Third is director of Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service Matthew Vaughn. Action comedies with demented senses of humor and characters who are so stupid its baffling how they’re still alive are his bread and butter. With that said, the more grounded, human moments of both those films and the whole of X-Men: First Class show that Vaughn knows when to tone things down and let the characters just come together. He’s clearly making his mark as a guy directing movies that are way better than people would expect, and a Borderlands movie would go hand in hand with his somewhat underrated efforts. Of the people on this list, Vaughn would probably be the only one willing to take some fourth wall breaking jabs like having a Vault Hunter try to “sort out” their skill tree. If nothing else, it’d be fun to watch Vaughn and the writers try to trump that amazingly awesome church scene in Kingsman.
Finally: George Miller, the guy behind everyone’s favorite 2-hour car destruction porn flick of the year, Mad Max: Fury Road. Miller’s elevated himself to the top of the directorial food chain after the success of Fury Road, and there’s nowhere to go but up for him. He’s already gained some goodwill after releasing some of his work from his canceled Justice League movie, and rumors have been swirling around that he’ll be directing Man of Steel 2. All due respect, Miller should drop that project and move on to this one. Not just because car combat has proven to be his bread and butter, but because his eye for action scenes and cinematography would make a Borderlands movie awesome. Also, he should totally bring back that dude with the flamethrower guitar. Because why not.