Guillermo del Toro abandoned “The Hobbit” and we now know why: next year he’ll be shooting “At the mountains of madness”. James Cameron himself will be assisting on the 3D. Big fan of Lovecraft, del Toro wasn’t able to find funds for his dream project because, according to his own words that I quote from memory, “the insignificance of the human being in the universe is not a theme that would sell much popcorn”.
But maybe it will.
An early, undated version of the script surfaced online, and even though sites like ScriptShadow were forced to remove not only the link but even the (rather positive) review, the PDF should still be around. I could finally read it last weekend.
Co-written with Matthew Robbins (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Mimic), the text contains an adventure movie which is at the same time classical and modern: classical in its love for the mistery of the unknown, and modern in the unbreakable pace that keeps the reader (future spectator) glued to the seat. The script sweats love not only for Lovecraft but also for Poe and all the horror and sci-fi literature of a century ago.
On the negative side, the script lacks any memorable characters, which is maybe its bigger flaw, as ScriptShadow pointed out. And certain attempts to humanize them (like Dyers briefly glimpsed wife or Gedney’s worries about his brother Pip) are clichéd and not relevant to the plot. Probably in an effort to cut down on the number of pages (i.e. cut down costs, i.e. convince investors), some informations and themes are forced onto the mouths of the characters, thus verbalizing the topics for the dumbest memeber in the audience. The reading reminded me of the viewing of Hellboy 2: rich imagination, poor storytelling.
We can take for granted that the movie will be a visual show. The script’s descriptions are brief (lesson taken!) but del Toro and Cameron will distill much wealth from the original story. We can only hope that the flaws in this version of the script have been solved in later revisions. Defective or not, I just can’t wait.
As a farewell, a soundtrack suggestion, both for del Toro and for readers of the script: the Antarctic beauty of the music of Max Richter