Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mountains is Dead, Long Live Mountains

(From Pan's Labyrinth. In all sorts of ways, one of the most terrifying scenes in the history of movies.)

This news is really disappointing. Guillermo Del Toro is one of the authentic great 'artists' today - and a rare one who finds it as easy to do good camp like Hellboy as he does high-minded fantasy like Pan's Labyrinth. Like most of the greats, hitting up against reality proves very difficult. He spent two years waiting to direct 'The Hobbit' while Peter Jackson struggled to raise with the appropriate funds. He is now walking away from a second project, 'At the Mountains of Madness' because Universal Pictures refused to fund the picture if it had an R-rating. This may go down in movie history as one of the most astonishingly wrong plays of all time. A film like this could be the first to take the cheap artificiality of James Cameron's 3-D vision and turn it into some real art. Even if people in less numbers came to the theaters, those who did would have come to see this movie again and again on a level well past Avatar.

Film is not an artform that takes kindly to patience. Like so many of the big Scorsese projects which he couldn't make until years after he announced them, 'At the Mountains of Madness' could come out freeze-dried after years of red-lights, its conception drained of its innovativeness by the passage of time. If so, the loss will be ours.

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