Frankenstein

I, Frankenstein What Will The Movie Promise

Kevin Grevioux’s I, Frankenstein a Darkstorm Studios graphic novel will be made into a movie.  Production will begin in July of 2010 and Patrick Tatopoulos production designer from Underworld is attached to direct. They described the movie as:

I, FRANKENSTEIN is a contemporary fantasy thriller in which the original monster of Victor Frankenstein stands between the human race and an uprising of supernatural creatures determined to overthrow the world.

This comes across to me as another monster turned savior tale like Hellboy.  It does not make it a bad sounding or good sounding movie.  What are the connections to Frankenstein and the mythical implications brought forth in the original tale?

Is I, Frankenstein just associated to it’s name sake as a patchwork man that Victor puts together to help save us?  Should we expect Frankenstein to ponder it’s existence and the reasoning behind why it was created?

That aside, I’m excited about the visual promise that is given to us with Patrick Tatopoulous involvement in the project.  He has demonstrated success in translating the gothic aesthetic in movies with his work on Underworld and gives me hope that the visuals will be awesome.

(via /Film)

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Why Progressive Speculative Fiction?

Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today- but the core of science fiction, its essence, the concept about which resolves, has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all. Isaac Asimov, "My Own View," The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

While Asimov was interested solely with Science Fiction, I believe the same can be said about Speculative Fiction as a whole. Many of the problems we face cannot be faced solely by working to fix the present conditions. If we do not explore the possible futures our choices could produce, we walk blindly into the future.

It is change, continuing change inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the word as it will be - and naturally this means that there must be an accurate perception of the world as it will be. This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our Everyman, must take on a science fictional way of thinking, whether he likes it or not or even whether he knows it or not. Only so can the deadly problems of today be solved.

Isaac Asimov, "My Own View," The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

Again, I would broaden his words out to all of Speculative Fiction.

Lovecraft's Mythos

Cthulhu in the lost city of R'lyeh
Image via Wikipedia

Numerous horror novels/movies have shown us the problems eugenics would unleash upon our societies. Lestat's hope that there is some good in the universe heightens his fear and motivates him to find the answers.

H. P. Lovecraft's fiction had a simple message behind the supernatural horror.  Humankind's chief sin is hubris.  We think too highly of ourselves, and as a result blind ourselves to the fact that somewhere in this vast cosmos, there are creatures who are infinitely more powerful than we are, and whose motives are unfathomable by human logic.

Cthulu, Nyarlahotep, Azathoth, the color out of space, and the color out of time are all horrifying warnings that if we lie to ourselves, pretending there is not a bigger fish out there, we will eventually be devoured by it.

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an all too familiar cautionary tale about scientific and technological advance without the restraining forces of morality and common sense.  The tale has been told and retold, spawning an entire subgenre of horror about the dangers of dabbling in things not understood.

The Resident Evil franchise, Godzilla, and so many others I could spend the rest of the year naming them have picked up the mantle and and shared the horrific future we could create for ourselves if we are not careful to think ahead and not blindly rush into the future.

Star Trek

star-trek-crew-tm.jpgShowed us a future we could hope for.  Imagine a world  where hunger and poverty were removed from the equation.  New challenges would raise their heads, some of which would threaten to return us to the barbaric world we had left behind.

Gene Roddenberry kindled a vision in the hearts and minds of his fans of a world of limitless possibilities.  A world were our only limitations were our imagination and our character.  It is a world to strive towards.

Lord of the Rings

In the Lord of the Rings books, J. R. R. Tolkien showed us a world on the cusp of transition from one age to another.  His mythic prose illuminated the choices that people have to make when culture finds itself on the crossroads of history.

The basic choice is demonstrated through the characters of Sauroman and Gandolf.  Their world, their age was ending.  They had the choice to either embrace the future and try to make the new world a better place to live, or to hold on the past and seek the destruction of the new world before it comes.  Gandolf chose the first path, Sauromon chose the latter.

Star Wars

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Image via Wikipedia

Anakin Skywalker is faced with the same choice in the Star Wars saga.  At first he fights the future out of his attachment, but when he is faced with the ultimate decision, watching the future be destroyed in the person of his son, he learns that he must let go of his attachments and help the future come.

I wonder if that is why more people don't love the prequel trilogy.  It touches a nerve in them, and despite our bravado, no one really wants to think of themselves as Darth Vader.  No one wants to entertain the thought that they could destroy everything they believe in and care for as a result of trying to protect it.

Like all great stories, Star Wars holds a mirror up to us and says, this could be you.

We need Progressive Speculative Fiction

Many things are hard to talk about.  Stories can often show us things we would not or could not have seen otherwise.

Next time, we will discuss the differences between Positive Scifi and Progressive Speculative Fiction.

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Del Toro and Frankenstein

frankenstein-jj-001 We already talked about The Scifi Wire’s questions to Guillermo Del Toro about the Hobbit (see it here), next the topic changed to Frankenstein.

Changing the subject, you say with your proposed Frankenstein movie you want to bring in elements from the novel that haven't been depicted yet.

Del Toro: Mmm-hmm, but that is two separate conversations. One is, I would love to do, like, a miniseries of the novel. But the [feature-film] project I have at Universal is not that. The project I have at Universal is trying to approach the mythology from a different point of view. So what you will see will be seeing the Frankenstein myth, but from a side, like an oblique way. If I told you exactly what it is, then it will be completely surpriseless by the time it is announced. But it won't be the straight Frankenstein, I don't think (Scifi Wire).

I love the idea of Del Toro making a miniseries out of the book, because there is so much in the novel that would be hard to condense into feature film.  This sounds like a Mary Reilly version of Frankenstein, and I am not sure that even Del Toro could pull that off and make it interesting.

Not through Victor Frankenstein's eyes, not through the monster's eyes, but somebody outside the bubble?

Del Toro: [laughs] It's not exactly Mary Reilly. It's not Igor's diary. No, but it's an ancillary story to ... Frankenstein, but it is period. ... (Scifi Wire)

Oh… ok, I am not sure how the Frankenstein myth could be told in this sort of oblique way unless it is told from the point of view of Igor or a villager.  I might have to read the book again to see if I can find clues to what he might be talking about.

So what is he planning to do?

It won't be the sympathetic-monster kind of thing?

Del Toro: Oh, you know, I think that we're going to go both ways. One of the things I love about Frankenstein is that the incarnations can vary so greatly. The greatest soulless monster of Frankenstein has always been Christopher Lee, because when he stares at you, there's really nobody home. It's literally one of the scariest moments I remember as a kid. I thought, "Oh, my God, this thing is not human." And the opposite, the complete polar opposite, is Boris Karloff, who is more human than humans. So you will have both those vibes in the piece (Scifi Wire).

So it will be a Christopher Lee meets Boris Karloff in a Frankenstein movie told in an oblique way… that isn’t hard to wrap your head around this idea unless you are not Del Toro himself.  I am not sure I see what he is planning to do.

Del Toro, The Remake Machine

What is Guillermo Del Toro doing for the next ten years?

The Hellboy director will remake Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five (BBC NEWS)

A part of me is very excited that Del Toro has signed a deal with Universal, but I am a little upset that he will be trapped in a pit of remakes instead of making the brilliant original films that made us fall in love with his work in the first place.

I feel guilty saying this, but I cannot wait to see the movies...