Friday, October 6, 2017

Rebooting The Dark Universe (again)

Movie industry reports have indicated that "The Bride of Frankenstein", which was to be the successor to "The Mummy" in Universal's Dark Universe franchise, is being pushed back for retooling.  This really comes as no surprise considering the abysmal performance of "The Mummy" at the box office.  This is yet another kick in the balls to the Dark Universe which has had a number of false starts over the years beginning with "Dracula Untold".

Personally, I don't understand the point of creating a shard universe of monsters. Universal keeps pumping money into making movies that connect with each other, but what's the payoff? Do all of the monsters get together in some big team-up film and do the Monster Mash together? Perhaps Dracula accuses the rest of the monsters of copyright infringement because the Monster Mash borrows too heavily from his Transylvania Twist. Then, a gritty law drama plays out involving 19th Century copyright law, questions of legal standing regarding laws from a country that no longer exists as well as the concept of "life of the artist" as it possibly pertains to "undeath of the artist". Dracula wins the case and is awarded back royalties which then go to pay off his legal fees, thus proving that lawyers are the root of all evil in the universe.

I guess that Universal could do a team-up film that's an Avengers/Suicide Squad mashup. The Nick Fury character (a Van Helsing) brings the monsters together in order to fight an even more sinister evil. The monsters could easily be shoe-horned into equivalents on the Avengers team:

  • Dracula is like Captain America, having slept since the late 1800s and he has to try to re-integrate into the world.
  • The Mummy is Thor 
  • Frankenstein is the Hulk, obviously.
  • Wolfman is Iron Man.
  • Invisible Man is Quicksilver (What, you didn't SEE that coming?)
  • Creature From the Black lagoon is the Scarlet Witch.
  • Phantom of the Opera is Black Widow

So, Van Helsing puts the team together and they're tasked with stopping something/someone from unleashing the ancient source of Evil which would turn our dimension into the Dark Universe, the universe where Evil reigns. They're each tempted along the way with how the rule of the Dark Universe would help them, but they resist and defeat it. Then, they break their bonds and escape back into the world until they are needed again.

Honestly, the big problem with Universal's Dark Universe is that it's putting their monsters in big budget action movies starring 50 year-old actors. They need to think smaller and do a $40 million horror film with some comedic elements. They need to rely on the psychological aspects of horror rather than CGI-fest destruction. They need to invest in the story first and make universe building secondary. The shared universe should be little more than an afterthought. Just having crossover films would work, doing something akin to Monster Squad on a more serialized scale.

Ultimately, I'd want to see horror comedy crossover films starring Seth Rogan and James Franco doing their best Abbot and Costello impersonation. Scenes for "Seth Rogan and James Fanco Meet The Mummy" practically write themselves:

[A desperately horny and impossibly high Seth Rogan eyes up The Mummy and debates with Franco on whether or not she's do-able.]

Franco: Do her! Take one for the team.
Rogan: She's old! She's like.....two hundred years old!
Franco: That just means she the ultimate cougar.
Rogan: Yeah, but what if it means her lady parts are all wrinkled and dusty?
Franco: Well, if you can't get her juices flowing down there, then I don't know what to tell ya.
Rogan: I didn't bring any condoms! What if she has some ancient STD or something and I end up as patient zero spreading the ancient Egyptian equivalent of The Clap?
Franco: Are you kidding? She's all wrapped up already! You're good to go.

I think that there's some potential for the Universal monsters, it's just that Universal has to get the dollar signs out of their eyes and lower the scale of the movies. While the franchise has some life in it (pun intended) it doesn't have the potential to make Avengers-level dollars. But, with lower budgets, personal stories and better writing, the franchise still stands to make a respectable pile.

No comments:

Post a Comment