Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

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Angel Tarragon
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Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by Angel Tarragon » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:43 pm

Called it... After the bombing of the two attempts to get it running with Dracula Untold and the new The Mummy, I didn't have much hope for this franchise.
When the going gets tough, the weak go running…

A not-so-shocking report over at THR says that writer-producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, who were hired as Universal’s “Dark Universe” architects, have departed the franchise.

Just five months after Universal released a cast photo promising a slew of movies starring the likes of Johnny Depp, Russell Crowe, and Javier Bardem — all drawn on characters like the Invisible Man, Wolf Man and Frankenstein in its stable of classic horror films — none of the projects appears to have a pulse.

As the site notes, in early October, Universal pulled the plug on preproduction that had started in London for Bride of Frankenstein — which was to have followed The Mummy as the second entry in the series — partly because execs felt the script by writer-director Bill Condon wasn’t ready. Angelina Jolie had been courted for the lead but is now not attached. Insiders insist Condon (Beauty and the Beast) remains attached, but no date has been set to resume work, and a Feb. 14, 2019, release has been shelved.

“Emblematic of Dark Universe’s problems is the tony office building on the Universal lot that was revamped at considerable expense for the new venture. After being decked out in monster regalia, it now sits mostly empty.”

With the head of the snake lopped off, Universal allegedly isn’t pulling the plug. The site notes that the studio is exploring its options. One road involves offering the IP to high-profile filmmakers or producers with ideas for one-off movies not connected to a larger universe. It’s also possible that the studio could find a new architect who could overhaul the concept (James Wan, maybe?).

Universal president of production Peter Cramer sidestepped the issue, claiming that they’re more focused on getting a special kind of director than worrying about release dates.

“We’ve learned many lessons throughout the creative process on Dark Universe so far, and we are viewing these titles as filmmaker-driven vehicles, each with their own distinct vision,” says Cramer. “We are not rushing to meet a release date and will move forward with these films when we feel they are the best versions of themselves.”

This is a load of crap, especially considering they hired Alex Kurtzman to head the Dark Universe and direct The Mummy, and Bill Condon for Bride of Frankenstein. The extra special irony in Cramer’s statement is that Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water, opening Dec. 1, 2017, is directly inspired by The Creature From the Black Lagoon, and will be an Oscar-contender for Fox Searchlight. What makes this even more hilarious is that del Toro was once attached to direct a Black Lagoon remake for Universal. Hmmmm?

While Universal may be seeking other options, they’ve yet to crack the Monsterverse with their horrid films ranging from The Wolfman to Dracula Untold. As horror purists, we hope they can figure this out, but for now, at least we have del Toro’s The Shape of Water to tide us over.
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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by Havard » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:06 pm

I just saw this. I still haven't watched the Mummy, but I heard it was pretty forgetable. These last couple of years everyone from Unversal (Dark Universe) to WB (DC) to Sony (MiB/Ghost Busters/Jump Street) to Legendary (Godzilla/Kong Monsterverse) have been trying to create their own Cinematic Universes inspired by the MCU. Gradually, they have all found out that creating such a universe is a really hard thing to do. And most importantly, you can't just declare your grandouse plans before you have a single hit movie to start from or risk looking like a fool.

Marvel started out with Iron Man which was a smash hit. Even then they were just sort of teasing the idea of the whole thing leading up to the Avengers for a few years before they were sure it would lead anywhere.

Then everyone else jumped on the band wagon and they pretty much all ended up looking like fools.

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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by Angel Tarragon » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:14 pm

Totally agree with you Havard. So far I haven't been too keen on the DCU, but I am reserving final judgement for Justice League.

I haven't seen Kong Skull Island. Has anyone here seen it? What did you think of it (no spoilers please)?

Earlier this month I saw Spiderman: Homecoming in the discount theater and it didn't thrill me. Ant-Man was the last MCU movie I got a lot of fun out of. I haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy 2 or Thor Ragnarok yet. Ragnarok looks decent, but if I don't like it is going to be the nail in the coffin for MCU and I.

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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by Havard » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:27 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:Totally agree with you Havard. So far I haven't been too keen on the DCU, but I am reserving final judgement for Justice League.
Agreed. There is still a chance to turn things around. I thought Wonder Woman was fine, but not as good as many of the critics and hardcore fans claimed. Still, it was a step in the right direction.
I haven't seen Kong Skull Island. Has anyone here seen it? What did you think of it (no spoilers please)?
I just watched it this weekend. It wasn't as bad as I feared.
Earlier this month I saw Spiderman: Homecoming in the discount theater and it didn't thrill me. Ant-Man was the last MCU movie I got a lot of fun out of. I haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy 2 or Thor Ragnarok yet. Ragnarok looks decent, but if I don't like it is going to be the nail in the coffin for MCU and I.
I am a huge fan of the MCU movies. I really liked Spider-Man. I think Ragnarok is the best MCU movie of the year though. I would have preferred a bit more poignancy to the movie compared to the comedy bits, but I loved how this movie shaped the setting and things to come. Guardians 2 wasn't as good as the original, but it was fun and had a scene that really got to me in a good way.

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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by Angel Tarragon » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:38 pm

Havard wrote:Agreed. There is still a chance to turn things around. I thought Wonder Woman was fine, but not as good as many of the critics and hardcore fans claimed. Still, it was a step in the right direction.
While I didn't love Wonder Woman, I did think it was okay if perhaps unnecessary... I am actually burnt out on origin stories. This isn't to say I didn't like it or that I don't think it has any worth, just not entirely my cup of tea...and it is a movie I desperately wanted to see in the theater and I am glad I got a chance to./
Havard wrote:
Angel Tarragon wrote:I haven't seen Kong Skull Island. Has anyone here seen it? What did you think of it (no spoilers please)?
I just watched it this weekend. It wasn't as bad as I feared.
That's good to hear. I have heard mixed things about it, but I do value the opinions of other gamers moreso than movie critics. In fact I really try to avoid the movie critics as they do tend to pan movies I end up quite enjoying.
Havard wrote:I am a huge fan of the MCU movies. I really liked Spider-Man. I think Ragnarok is the best MCU movie of the year though. I would have preferred a bit more poignancy to the movie compared to the comedy bits, but I loved how this movie shaped the setting and things to come. Guardians 2 wasn't as good as the original, but it was fun and had a scene that really got to me in a good way.
I was too right up until Captain America: Civil War...I was so bored with it I almost fell asleep to it...three times! I really enjoyed Guardians 1 so I am looking forawrd to seeing Guardians 2 when the opportunity arises. There's a good chance I'll be seeing Ragnarok in a couple of days, if not in an IMAX, than at the Harkins Cine Capri.

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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by Saunatonttu » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:23 am

I thought Wonder Woman was fine, but not as good as many of the critics and hardcore fans claimed.
Still the best superhero movie so far :) That might not mean much (beretwise), until we get someone to do to the genre what Kubrick did to sci-fi movies, or something, but it's still #1
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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by Angel Tarragon » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:51 pm

Saunatonttu wrote:That might not mean much (beretwise), until we get someone to do to the genre what Kubrick did to sci-fi movies, or something, ...
Still waiting on that myself. This isn't to say that I'm not enjoying superhero movies, but very rarely do they truly thrill me.

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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by Havard » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:57 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote: I was too right up until Captain America: Civil War...I was so bored with it I almost fell asleep to it...three times! I really enjoyed Guardians 1 so I am looking forawrd to seeing Guardians 2 when the opportunity arises. There's a good chance I'll be seeing Ragnarok in a couple of days, if not in an IMAX, than at the Harkins Cine Capri.
Looks like we have pretty different opinions then. Civil War is not a perfect movie, but I loved seeing the culimination of the relationship between Cap and Tony. Two characters we have gotten to know and love over so many movies, portrayed by amazing actors. It was really something unique in movie history. I also loved the introduction of Black Panther and Spider-Man into the MCU and the slightly bleak ending to the movie.

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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by Havard » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:58 pm

Saunatonttu wrote:
I thought Wonder Woman was fine, but not as good as many of the critics and hardcore fans claimed.
Still the best superhero movie so far :) That might not mean much (beretwise), until we get someone to do to the genre what Kubrick did to sci-fi movies, or something, but it's still #1
Avengers. Winter Soldier. Guardians. Logan. Deadpool.

Enjoy your beret friend ;)

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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by Angel Tarragon » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:08 pm

Havard wrote:Looks like we have pretty different opinions then. Civil War is not a perfect movie, but I loved seeing the culimination of the relationship between Cap and Tony. Two characters we have gotten to know and love over so many movies, portrayed by amazing actors. It was really something unique in movie history. I also loved the introduction of Black Panther and Spider-Man into the MCU and the slightly bleak ending to the movie.
In all fairness, I do need to give it another shake. There are a lot of movies that I haven't seen that take more a of a precedent though.

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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by Saunatonttu » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:06 pm

Speaking of a Proper Movie about superheroes. Ang Lee's Hulk flirted with the idea, and could pretty much have been able to pull it off, if Lee didn't lean on the concept of comicbooks with slightly too much nudge & wink visually. And of course it suffered from having to be a film about Hulk (which has a mandatory amount of HULK SMASH, no doubt)... but yeah. What I am worried, is who would be able to do a true and serious movie about folks who wear short underwear over long underwear without having to resort to deconstructionism and thus making it not really a superhero filem.

Oh, well, maybe one day...
Havard wrote: Avengers. Winter Soldier. Guardians. Logan. Deadpool.

Enjoy your beret friend ;)

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1) Wonder Woman 2) Iron Man 3) Winter Soldier 4) Logan 5) Adam West Batfeature and Battoon
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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by shesheyan » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:18 pm

Skull Island is average. It ignores the love story between Kong and the lead female in favour of a lot of monster battles without the skill and visual beauty of Pacific Rim. Peter Jackson's Kong is still the best movie.

Rented the Mummy yesterday. The script is very weak. When I see that 3 writers worked on the script and then another group of 3 different writers worked on the screenplay I know I'm going to watch a forgettable movie.

Mummy is not visually pleasing. The lighting is too dark during the night scenes. The female lead is badly written. Most of her dialogue consist of repeating the name of Tom Cruises character over and over again during action scene. The mummy is only an accessory to the convoluted origine story for the introduction of Tom Cruise's monstrous-character. The transformation happens in the last half hour. And that is were the film utterly fails. If you are going to do a monster origine story, the character should be transformed in the first 30 minutes and then he struggles with his curse and double identity. Maybe the writers thought they were being creative/clever with their reversal of the concept but it simply doesn't work and leaves the spectator frustrated with having watch 90 minutes of filler scenes only to get to the important stuff at the end... :facepalm:

If you want a successful movie attempt at a supernatural univers re-watch Underworld with excellent and beautiful Kate Beckinsale. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as was flawed but fun to watch. If you haven't watch the Penny Dreadful tv series you should.
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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by Havard » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:22 pm

The Kong/Godzilla universe is separae from Universal's "Dark Universe" right?

I agree with you that the Godzilla movie was pretty forgettable though, but probably better than the Godzilla movie. I am not really a big fan of these huge monster movies though. I like the original King Kong story because of the elements of the misunderstood giant who is killed in the end. Taking away that, then there is little more than special effects left?

I think the Dark Universe had some potential on the drawing board, but like most of these cinematic universes, they need to make a single good movie before they announce all their grand plans. I wonder if Universal will try over again with a new launch?

I guess pretty much every shared universe except the MCU has failed so far.

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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by night_druid » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:36 pm

The monsterverse is separate from the dark universe, so we'll still get Godzilla and king kong vs godzilla.

The '14 Godzilla flick was a tease. I wanted to see Godzilla fight, not whoever Aaron Taylor-Johnson was supposed to be trying to cross the Pacific on civilian aircraft and just so happens to run into monsters on every leg of the trip. The entire movie to me can be summed up as 15 minutes of stuff I want to see, and however much stuff I would cut. :P

I liked Legendary's King Kong. Pretty good movie for what it was, and gave me what I wanted in Godzilla: lots of kong screen-time. :)
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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by willpell » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:25 am

night_druid wrote:I liked Legendary's King Kong. Pretty good movie for what it was, and gave me what I wanted in Godzilla: lots of kong screen-time. :)
Assuming you mean the Peter Jackson King Kong movie, I love it, but this year's Kong: Skull Island is definitely more Kaiju-ish as a movie, and arguably better overall.

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Re: Universal Abandons Dark Universe...

Post by night_druid » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:54 am

willpell wrote:
night_druid wrote:I liked Legendary's King Kong. Pretty good movie for what it was, and gave me what I wanted in Godzilla: lots of kong screen-time. :)
Assuming you mean the Peter Jackson King Kong movie, I love it, but this year's Kong: Skull Island is definitely more Kaiju-ish as a movie, and arguably better overall.
Legendary did Skull Island. I like both, really. Peter Jackson's movie was a fair remake of the original, Skull Island was everything Godzilla should have been, and sets up King Kong vs Godzilla.
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