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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Thanks for Mako Mori

Dear Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro,

Thank you for Mako Mori.

Sincerely yours,
Me

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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?