Saturday, November 17, 2007

J'espere que Cloverfield ≠ Cthulhu

I spent about fifteen minutes combing through the web, trying to find leaked images of the tightly-guarded monster from J.J. Abrams' upcoming film, Cloverfield. That's all I could stomach before realizing I'd rather just see it when everyone else does. The amount of time some people have put into analyzing the trailer (which reveals nothing) and analyzing cloud patterns in the teaser poster (which just looks like clouds to me) is staggering. Every time there is a highly guarded event movie in the geek world, there are tomes-worth of speculation spun from the web. Everyone insists, "No, THIS is exactly how the plot of Spider-Man 3 will unfold!" or "THIS is the new grille design for Optimus Prime!" And, invariably, everyone is wrong. This is TIME WASTED, people. Go solve that theorem you've been working on, or play a video game, or spend more time with your pet iguana. Anything else would be quality time in comparison.

I certainly hope many of the bloggers are wrong about one thing: even though the web suggests that it's been denied by Abrams, one of the most prevalent theories out there is that the monster is Cthulhu, the unpronounceable master of people's nightmares from the work of the grand-daddy of modern horror, H.P. Lovecraft. But, while Cthulhu is indeed a big slimy monster (above), the beauty and horror of his story is what happens when he's not on the page. The Cult of Cthulhu is perhaps more frightening than the monster itself. This god-like entity can haunt and control the subconsciousness of a population... can drive men who haven't seen or heard of him mad with fear... can make murderers and psychopaths of anyone through ancient, demonic magic. Cloverfield, on the other hand, seems to be a simple, good-old-fashined disaster/monster flick. Nothing wrong with that. It's been a long time since a truly good one. But I see nothing in the trailers that indicates any build-up in collective fear and subconscious paranoia. I somehow doubt there will be any bloody orgies of the damned in Cloverfield (Lovecraft really was a sick f%#*).

Cthulhu could make a really good movie (there's a straight-to-video one I haven't seen). But I sort of hope Cloverfield is just a big slimy monster movie (à la the original Kong or the kaiju big-boy himself, Gojira). When they do Lovecraft, I want them to do Lovecraft.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Victory!

Many saw 300 and recognized on its soundtrack several cues from Elliot Goldenthal's amazing score to Titus. I'm very partial to Goldenthal's music, and (full disclosure) a biased fan because I've worked for the man (and to know him is to love him).

At long last, a settlement has been reached, and Tyler Yates ("composer") and the producers of 300 have finally had their comeuppance. I certainly wasn't the only one who noted the plagiarism and contacted EG's camp, but this blogger is proud to have been one small part of sounding the alarm bell.

Listen to "Returns a King" from 300 and then listen to "Victorious Titus." Compare Yates' "Remember Us" to the crescendo of Goldenthal's "Finale." You don't have to be a musician to hear how shameless it is.

It probably went down like this: they started using El's music as a temp track in editing (a standard practice). They fell so in love with it, and Yates couldn't best it, so rather than pay for the tracks or the rights to rerecord it, they just go with "no one will notice." It's hard to say to what extent this is Yates' fault. I'm sure he would rather have had some original music in there, but the honorable thing to do would have been to take his name off, or somehow get Elliot the credit he deserves. Is this a producer's blunder? An incompotent legal affairs division at Warner Brothers? Some executive's idea of cutting corners to save money? Well, a whole orchestra of musicians and a crew of engineers and mixers were hired and paid to record unoriginal music, and now WB has had to pay god-knows-how-much on top of it. Awesome.

Check out the 300 DVD website (image below). The fine print reads:

Warner Bros. Pictures acknowledges and regrets that a number of the music cues for the score of "300" were, without our knowledge or participation, derived from music composed by Academy Award winning composer Elliot Goldenthal for the motion picture "Titus." Warner Bros. Pictures has great respect for Elliot, our longtime collaborator, and is pleased to have amicably resolved this matter.

The same t
ext ran in a full-page ad in the
Hollywood Reporter (thanks, Matty G, for pointing that out to me). Congratulations, El.