Crimson Peak

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Last week I went to a press screening of Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro’s latest that he always calls “not a horror story but a Gothic romance.”

I doubt anyone who’s never read a single page of Jane Eyre will truly get what that description means. It’s also possible that anyone who ever DID read Jane Eyre might not get what he means by that until they see the movie with their own eyes.

Del Toro made Crimson Peak based on his love of horror, fairy tales and Gothic stories. He went at length describing the differences, according to himself, between these ‘genres’ and how he wanted to mix everything to create a world similar to those from the stories he loved.

“I like how similar fairytales and gothic tales are. There is in fact a fairy tale called Bluebeard’s Wives that is very similar to the tale of Crimson Peak. There is a gothic tale called Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu that is comparable too.

Fairy tales, gothic tales and horror are three forms of literature that are very closely related, but they’re not the same. You can have the most horrifying fairy tale and yet some elements define it as a fairy tale, mostly the whimsicality and the fact that the agency is supernatural in a non Judeo-Christian way. It’s elemental- a fairy, a dwarf, an ogre etc. Most of the time, the gothic tale involves romance. And by romance, I don’t just mean a love story, but a longing for a past that is very poetic. Horror always has elements that are different from the other two.

My inspiration was thinking, ‘Can I make a movie that is a mixture of all these things that I love?’”

A lot of titles were mentioned in the press when he taled about Crimson Peak. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (the Hitchcock film version is one of his favorites’) and Wuthering Heights came up a few times, as well as Jane Eyre and Uncle Silas. He also mentioned paintings by Caspar David Friedrich and John Atkinson Grimshaw, as well as ‘Deborah Kerr’s dress from The Innocents‘. If you know what these are, and can imagine them being mixed together with ghastly looking creatures that haunt the corridors at night, then you’ve pretty much managed to picture Crimson Peak inside your head. Continue reading

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Mads Mikkelsen: “Showdown is a small word for what’s happening between Hannibal and Francis Dolarhyde”

Photo credit: AXN Asia

Photo credit: AXN Asia

It’s less than 24 hours until Hannibal S3’s premiere and the excitement for the show based on Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter novels and characters is at its height. I was fortunate to have been granted an interview session with Mads Mikkelsen, who plays Dr Lecter himself, and talk about the series. As anyone can guess, I couldn’t not ask him about Francis Dolarhyde, a.k.a. The Tooth Fairy. But first let me explain why I felt the need to ask him that.

Pretty much everything you want to know about Richard Armitage’s Francis Dolarhyde has been covered everywhere. I can’t even begin to explain to you just how epic this role is – The Tooth Fairy is THAT iconic – and the fact that Richard Armitage gets to play this character is an honor to both actor and character. (And before anyone accuses me of idolizing a serial killer – no, I do not admire Dolarhyde for being a killer. I admire the character because he is a complex individual that requires deft handling by an accomplished actor on screen. Let’s just get that straight.) So far, we’ve heard plenty Richard’s involvement in the show, but they are mostly from Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller and, in a couple of occasion, from himself. (Most recently, Fangoria has an interview with Richard Armitage on Francis Dolarhyde.)

When the opportunity came up for me to interview Mads Mikkelsen (who is also one of my favorite actors) I couldn’t not ask him about working with Richard. I wanted to know, from a fellow actor’s point of view, what Francis Dolarhyde’s appearance in this series will mean for Hannibal Lecter’s character. In other versions, Dolarhyde’s case was what made Will Graham consult with Dr Lecter again, and Dolarhyde was said to idolize Lecter, but I wanted to know if the TV show is going that way or taking a different path.

Continue reading

Crimson Peak in Legendary Pictures panel at Hall H, SDCC 2014

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Guillermo del Toro seems intent on becoming a permanent fixture at San Diego Comic-Con 2014 by appearing every day on various panels. Which is good news for his fans, myself included. Today he introduced a teaser clip for his upcoming movie Crimson Peak starring Tom Hiddleston.

This is a description of the panel by Ed Douglas from Comingsoon.net.

Next up… Guillermo del Toro!!! (I think he literally has a panel every day)

He’s being asked why it’s the right time to return to horror. “I wanted to make a movie that can blend two sides of my personality.”

GDT is talking about how it will be r-rated and incredibly violent and Legendary said “okay”

He keeps saying that the film is going to be incredibly beautiful and he’s talking about the Occulus Rift experience at the booth

He’s going to show some footage!!!

Since it’s a year and a half he’s only going to show a little bit

He’s going to show the cast in wardrobe

When GDT mentioned Tom Hiddleston everyone screamed

He says that his cast is the special FX

GDT says that despite his good looks and bad boy image as Loki, Tom is also one of the nicest guys

GDT says that he wanted to make every scene look like a painting.

GDT isn’t answering any questions from the audience but he got them going by saying two things “Hellboy 3” and “At the Mountains of Madness”

Here’s a description of the clip.

He just showed what could be a releasable teaser trailer even though the movie is over a year away

It starts with a very gory version of the Legendary Pictures logo

it’s narrated by Tom Hiddleston and shows a lot of creepy images

The camera goes through this old house showing various parts including a floor covered in dead flies as Tom narrates

Here’s what Tom Hiddleston says over the teaser:

“A house as old as this one becomes in time a living thing
Timber for bones and winds for eyes
and sitting here all alone
It starts holding onto things
Keeping them alive when they shouldn’t be
Some of them good, some are bad
Some should never be spoken about again”

After that, we hear a very creepy voice saying “My Child” and it ends on an image of Mia Wasikowska cowering in her bed before a black hand appears and grabs her shoulder

Crimson Peak looked very cool, especially the logo which is floating in what looks like blood

Everything looks promising! What’s more, he also said that next year he’s probably going to return to San Diego Comic-Con and bring the cast with him. I can’t wait for that!

Tom Hiddleston himself was not there obviously but he Tweeted two pictures of props from the movie because he’s genius like that.

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And he had this to say about his absence:

See you next year, Hiddles.

Thanks for Mako Mori

Dear Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro,

Thank you for Mako Mori.

Sincerely yours,
Me

*

Mako Mori is one of my favorite movie characters of all time.

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The way GdT and Beacham made her a kick-ass heroine without making her a sex object is just fantastic. Also, the way you write about her is exquisite – her somewhat platonic relationship with Raleigh Becket is wonderful, although in my heart I do believe they did fall in love with each other.

When I remember how she looked up eagerly to her mentor and surrogate father, Stacker Pentecost, during Raleigh’s trials in the movie, I couldn’t stop smiling because she was so adorable. Even more fantastic is the way she corrected Raleigh when he told her that she didn’t have to obey Stacker’s orders. “It’s not obedience, Mr. Becket; it’s respect” is a line that will stay with me forever. It is Mako who makes both Raleigh and Stacker such awesome characters, because they both treat her with the same respect that she shows them.

And when I read in Tales Of Year Zero that Stacker adopted her, and how they stood embracing Tamsin Sevier like a family of three, the tears just won’t stop. Because then it made Mako’s “Goodbye, sensei” in the movie all the more poignant.

Poetic is also how I would describe Mako’s appearance. She’s not sexy, she’s not cutesy, she’s just Mako. The image of little Mako wearing blue coat and holding her red shoe is powerful. Del Toro said that the shoe represented her heart, something she lost (because the shoe was off her feet) because she lost her family from the Kaiju attack. She grew up to be a restrained and closed off woman, represented by the way she wore the all black and the umbrella in her first scene in the movie. Only when she joined Raleigh in the drift did their colors blend and mix, thus signifying Mako finding her heart once again.

This is too sweet for words. I don’t know how GdT and Beacham did it but they did. Pacific Rim is an all-out action movie that’s big and noisy but it has such a big heart in the form of Mako Mori. I wish more filmmakers would make movies this way!

The Lady Robot

Pacific Rim is officially one of my Top 3 movies of 2013.

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The leading Jaeger, Gipsy Danger, is apparently “a lady”. Stacker Pentecost calls it “the lady” (“we can clear the path, for the lady”, he says and it sounds all the more wonderful coming from him because he’s played by Idris Elba and Idris Elba is an absolute gentleman). Raleigh Becket refers to her as “she”. And The Lady Robot is definitely the hero of the movie.

Gipsy Danger is piloted by Raleigh, but he’s not as important as Mako Mori, who is another awesome lady in the movie.

It’s even better to have 2 leading ladies who absolutely surpass all the other dudes in terms of awesomeness than 10 female characters that are just decorations.

WHY DO I NOT HAVE MY OWN JAEGER TO PILOT ALREADY?

Pacific Rim: A Reaction

Just came back from the screening and I am frankly baffled.

I am baffled by the hate that some people have for Pacific Rim. I’ve seen it before in the internet. People calling this movie stupid and noisy and comparing it to Transformers. I understand that yes, people have different tastes and some people’s tastes don’t run to robot movies with sea monsters in it. But, this time around, I’m just not getting the reason behind the negativity. It’s like I don’t understand either how some people can be so hateful toward The Hobbit. To criticize a movie, that’s good. We could all use some criticism in our lives… but to hate a movie? Gee. Do the haters have nothing else to do?

The thing with Pacific Rim is that yeah, it’s super huge and metallic and shiny and noisy, but it’s also so much fun. It’s like when you eat a particularly delicious meal or find money in your pocket that you’ve forgotten you put there a long time ago. It’s a movie that gives you a rush, makes your heart beat a little faster and internally cheer at the movie heroism of it all.

There are robots – or, more accurately, Jaegers – that mimic the personalities of their pilots. There’s the rowdy Australian Jaeger, Striker Eureka, and then there’s the stiff Russian Jaeger, Cherno Alpha. You’ve got the small but ambitious Chinese Jaeger, Crimson Typhoon, and the underdog star of the ocean, Gipsy Danger. And the names! Even the names give me a rush! They go pow pow pow, bang boom bam, rip-that-Kaiju-apart-mofos! One’s got a sword and the other has knife-shaped arms. Then Idris Elba goes “we are cancelling the apocalypse!” and the words are not just a gimmicky tagline – it’s a moment achieved through the build-up of his character’s journey that feels so rewarding at the end.

It’s like, DEAR ZACK SNYDER, THIS IS HOW YOU BUILD UP A MOVIE AND MAKE THE ENDING WORK.

And also, DEAR MICHAEL BAY, THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE A ROBOT MOVIE.

(I’m actually a fan of the Transformers movies and I don’t hate them like most people do. But Pacific Rim is just on another level.)

The movie is geeky, yes, and non-geeks (or, rather, non-otaku) will probably not get it. But not getting it is no reason to hate. Or maybe it is. Because ignorance breeds hatred, most of the time, and that’s a problem many people seem to have with Pacific Rim. But personally, I feel that even if I hadn’t grown up with Neon Genesis Evangelion or Mobile Suit Gundam (I certainly didn’t like kaiju movies when I was a kid), or any kind of otaku (and J-pop) stuff from Japan, I still would’ve the film. I would appreciate its ability to make me forget the woes of the world for 131 minutes and its genuine effort at giving us an original script that doesn’t come from a book, a comic book, a previously made movie, a TV series, a radio show or a theater play.

Or maybe I’m just that big of a GdT fan. Hm.

Really, though, this is Travis Beacham and Guillermo del Toro saying, “Hey, kids, don’t plagiarize… but get inspired.” (Very similar to what Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer did with the very first Pirates movie.) It’s all about honoring the idea that inspired you, not copying what others have done before you. I can only wish I had an imagination like that.

What I’m trying to say is: keep an open mind and try it out. Of course, if you don’t like robots and monsters, don’t go for it… but don’t hate. Is that so hard to do?