Rebirth of the Dark Universe?

The seeming collapse of Universal’s Dark Universe cinematic universe should maybe be seen as a blessing in disguise.

Keep in mind Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy earned over $409 million on a budget of $125 million, which isn’t a terrible outcome (though promotional costs, which I haven’t seen, are important) and indicates an interest in the concept.

Interestingly, NOT casting Tom Cruise might have better shown how much interest there was in The Mummy–and by extension their Dark Universe–and likely would have cost less to produce, which could mean the movie would have had a better chance at profitability.

What Universal needs to do is to go back to the original movies–and for a start emphasizing horror, as opposed to action– and put Jason Blum at the helm because if he and his Blumhouse Pictures production shingle–conveniently at Universal as well–has proven anything, it’s that he knows how to make extremely profitable horror movies at minimal cost.

By way of illustration, Blum’s The Purge cost $3 million and Insidious cost $1.5 million and earned $98 million and $97 million, respectively.

Which is exactly what Dark Universe needs right now.

 

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Full Metal Alchemist – Official Trailer

Screenshot 2017-11-02 01.51.33I recall that someone explained why it is that Japanese people in anime don’t look particularly Japanese, but I don’t recall the explanation (which implies that it didn’t particularly resonate for me).

I should mention that my feeling also doesn’t apply to all anime.  Characters from the works of Hayao Miyzaki appear distinctly Japanese (in terms of how they’re drawn).

Which is one of the reasons I enjoyed Gantz: 0:  all the characters looked Japanese (which makes sense when something takes place in Japan).

I was bothered as much as anyone else by Scarlett Johansson’s casting as the Major in Ghost in the Shell though less because she was playing a Japanese character–since as I explained earlier, the Major never looked Japanese to me–more than I knew she was despite that fact and therefore should be played by a Japanese person.

Though having seen the trailer for Full Metal Alchemist–filmed with an entirely Japanese cast–it looks a bit…off, especially compared to the episodes of the anime I have seen.

It’s sort of weird, but it reminds me of someone’s interpretation of Full Metal Alchemist–which it obviously is–but I mean in a more deeper, essential sense of who these characters are.

It’s like it were being made especially for the Japanese market–which in a sense it is–after the Hollywood version.

If that makes any sense.

Will the Nightbreed Rise Again?

Production company Morgan Creek recently announced that they’re changing their name to the Morgan Creek Entertainment Group.

And…why would anyone (who isn’t directly or indirectly involved with Morgan Creek) care?

The reason is because one of the movies in their catalogue is Clive Barker’s Nightbreed (based on the short story, Cabal from The Books of Blood). 

An almost legendarily troubled production, Nightbreed was an attempt by Barker to move away from the gore of his prior film, Hellraiser. 

And it might have worked, if it weren’t for the fact that at the time Morgan Creek wanted a slasher movie–it came out in 1990, when slasher movies were in vogue–and if they couldn’t get Clive Barker to make them one, they’d take control of his film and  do it themselves!

So somewhere in the ballpark of an hour of footage was cut from the movie, altering storylines in ways that Barker hadn’t intended; literally changing the structure, flow and intent of the movie.

And while various attempts have been made since the release of Nightbreed to restore it to an approximation of his vision, the damage had been done and Barker only directed one other movie, 1995’s The Lord of Illusions (from The Books of Blood, Vol. 6) since that time.

Fast-forwarding to today there’s no guarantee that Barker will have anything to do with Nightbreed, be it a television series or a feature film, but it’s logical that the relaunched Morgan Creek Entertainment would would at least seek to have Barker on in an executive producer capacity, if only go to satisfy the legions of fans of his work because I am comfortable saying that without Barker’s imprimatur, a reboot is DOA.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Official Trailer #2

Screenshot 2017-10-10 13.54.53I have to admit that this trailer brought a smile to my face; which I honestly didn’t expect because as of late Star Wars movies have become known for the drama behind the scenes than on the screen since becoming a part of Disney.

And dissatisfaction with a director or the way a story seems to be progressing is by no means uncommon, though with Lucasfilm it seem to occur on a regular basis, such as with Rogue One, and the upcoming Han Solo prequel.

Which is why Rian Johnson’s (Brick, Looper) upcoming The Last Jedi is so refreshing.  It appears that he got the job, and shot the movie.  (Seemingly) No fuss, no muss and thankfully no drama.

Pacific Rim: Uprising – Teaser Trailer

1993’s kaiju versus giant robots epic Pacific Rim never appeared to find its audience domestically–earning three times more ($102 million vs $309 million) at the foreign box office (primarily China). 

And it’s hard to understand why, epecially when you take into account it had more heart and was more clever in it’s first five minutes the all the Transmorphers movies combined (that’s not a typo.  I despise those movies so much I dare not type their names) and those made gobs of money. 

On the strength of the aforementioned foreign box recepts we’re getting a sequel: Pacific Rim: Uprising (speaking of which, who’s doing the ‘uprising?’  The first movie revolved around extra dimensional beings who entered this world through a rift in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean though the subtitle implies a significant change in relationship between humans and the aliens).  

What I know for certain is that Guillermo Del Toro will not be directing this time around (that honor goes to Steven DeKnight). 

And I am not sure how I feel about that.  Part of my problem is that I tend to over-emphasize with Del Toro (a person I have never met, and vice versa) on the strength of his movies.  

I really–somewhat irrationally, I know–really want him to succeed despite there being little (other than having seen a well put together and interesting movie) benefit or incentive for me to feel that way. 

Though there’s also the feeling that so many lesser directors manage to be much more successful on top of  the list of projects he has either abandoned or never got to make (The Hobbit and At the Mountains of Madness come to mind though I’m still holding out for the latter) for various reasons. 

Though if anyone were to replace Del Toro, Steven DeKnight is a great choice (check him out on Twitter at @stevendeknight he’s interesting, opinionated and refreshingly free of bs and pretentiousness). 

Kind of like Del Toro himself. 

Isle of Dogs -Trailer

Screenshot 2017-09-21 12.54.32I literally don’t get all the love for Wes Anderson (that being said I have also never sat though a single one of his movies).

There’s something very elite, very pretentious about the man and his films that bothers me on an almost visceral level.

How dare a filmmaker not cater to the masses with more Transformers-like drek?  How dare he bring his own particular style and feeling that makes each of his movies unique?

And speaking of which, where’s the T&A?  All these movies with women being treated like…women is really disconcerting.

Here’s the trailer for Anderson’s latest, a stop-motion movie called Isle of Dogs (and I’m willing to bet that there aren’t any scantily-clad lady bottoms to be seen) from the director of The Fantastic Mr. Fox (which also didn’t have much in the way of scantily clad women).

 

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – Trailer

I see what they’re trying to do with Jake Kasdan’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, but for the life of me I’m not entirely sure why (other than a studio banking on nostalgia and an establised iP, that is).   I haven’t seen Joe Johnston’s 1995 Jumanji, which I assume this movie is a reboot of, in awhile but this feels so…excessive.

And perhaps that approach is warranted, since the movie is revolving around a video game system, as opposed to the board games of the prior movies.

Though Jumanji–and it’s sequel of sorts, Zathura–felt like relatively small affairs when all is said and done, while the reboot feels massive and lacking the intimacy–and perhaps the heart–of those earlier films.

And while I know that Sony has a deal in place to share Spider-Man with Marvel Studios that deal likely does not extend to this movie.

Here’s a closeup of the above poster…


And here’s a closeup from one of the stingers (end credit scenes) at the end of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.

Coincidence!?  Probably.