The Dark Universe revival may be dead on arrival as the two main players who wanted to resurrect the classic movie monsters have departed from the project.
Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan have separated themselves from the franchise, leaving the fate of icons such as Frankenstein, The Wolfman and Jekyll and Hyde up in the air.
This move may be because of the dismal reception of the Tom Cruise disaster that was The Mummy this year. Unable to choose between an action film, horror film or lightweight comedy, the movie was bombed by critics leaving craters at the box office.
Kurtzman is turning his attention toward television, while Morgan would rather make more Fast and Furious movies; that says a lot.
But Universal is not giving up yet. There have been talks that Jason Blum has been offered the franchise. Speculation also surrounds how exactly the stories would continue. They might throw out the idea of an interconnected universe, and just make each film stand on its own.
“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 Universal president of production Peter 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.”
Of course, we would love to see these classic monsters come back to the big screen, but not if they are over-produced, dazzling action sequenced CGI monstrosities.
We want our Universal monsters to be realistic, scary, yes, but that realism in the originals was captured by the actors who gave life to their characters, not by fisticuffs and car chases, but with human emotions.
Although we would love to see Frankenstein on a motorcycle speeding through the streets of London, that is a different movie- I don’t want to see these classics Bruckheimered.
Universal would be wise to re-capture the gothic nature of the originals with huge sets, haunting cinematography and psychological horror, rather than grease up the stories with a slick disaster film narrative.
Jason Blum has a good eye for talent. If he’s offered the job he may be able to find someone who can do it right this time.
But I have a question: what’s Guillermo del Toro doing for the next 10 years?