Per Deadline, Universal has summoned Alex Kurtzman (of the now defunct Kurtzman/Orci partnership) and Chris Morgan (of the Fast and Furious franchise) to be the “architects” behind a new, interconnected Universal monsters franchise.
Y’know, the film blogging community is a pretty curmudgeonly circle, but lately I find that my opinions are veering more toward optimism. But this… this announcement actually made me groan. I wouldn’t even call myself a Universal monster fanatic, but I do have a deep affinity for these characters, and I don’t want them slapped into a bunch of tone-deaf PG-13 movies that all tie together. I don’t want a Justice League where The Gill-man is the new Aquaman.
Another contributing factor to my disappointment is the inclusion of Alex Kurtzman, who has writing and producing credits on a handful of movies I don’t like. I’m tempering my knee-jerk reaction here, because the reality of the situation is that films with Kurtzman’s name on them often make a lot of money. He gets a lot of work because he’s probably a nice guy who delivers screenplays on time, and for some reason executives seem to eat ‘em up.
And that’s fine. Good for him. That’s how this business works. But none of those factors (or any combination of them) guarantee a good movie. I’m not saying Kurtzman isn’t capable of writing good movies, but his critical track record isn’t exactly pristine. Too bad that doesn’t matter.
I’m caught in an odd dichotomy here, because part of me wants monster movies to make money at the box office, and part of me wants monster movies to cater exactly to my personal tastes. Only one of these desires is realistic, though.
Call me when this franchise is all over, please. Oh, and let me know when Roberto Orci’s new Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers movie has hit the bargain bin. Only then will it be safe.
EDIT: A blogger acquaintance of mine made a fair point — this news about Kurtzman developing a new Uni Monsters universe isn’t exactly news. Back in May of 2011, it was announced that Kurtzman and Roberto Orci were going to produce some rebooted Mummy and Van Helsing movies. The former still can’t find a director despite its looming April 2016 release date, and the latter may still have Tom Cruise attached to star. The upcoming Dracula Untold might be the starting point for this new universe, but that depends on how it performs. If it bombs, count on 2016’s The Mummy being the first in the new Monsters universe.
The real news here is that Orci is no longer involved, since he and Kurtzman aren’t working together on movies anymore. Chris Morgan is intended to be a replacement for Orci, which I’d call a step in the right direction.