Sunday, 2 May 2010
updating Lovecraft: DAGON
- the pacing;
DAGON doesn't let up for one second. As soon as the boat crashes near Spanish shores, it's chase-chase-chase with lots of weird and wonderful stuff going on. There are all the awesome monsters, great deaths and thick atmosphere. A very fun film indeed!
it's all very dynamic and makes the film feel a lot bigger.
What doesn't work:
- the score is frankly, shite. It's boring and doesn't help things one bit.
DAGON does follow the original story "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" reasonably close, but as usual, they still had to change stuff.
-action shifted to present day - sort of inevitable, since budget wasn't unlimited
-action is set in Spain, not New England - again, has to do with where the production company is based.
However, the biggest and hardest to bear deviation from the source has to be the "comic relief" protagonist. Now Lovecraft was strongly opposed to anyone editing his texts once he was done with them. Had he still been with us, can you imagine his indignation at seeing actor Ezra Godden's behaviour as Paul Marsh?
Why on Earth they made the main hero such a clown?
Most of the time he looks like a whimpering, bespectacled rodent wearing a vile orange jumper(yes, I did notice that it says MISCATONIC UNVERSITY on it).
I don't think Godden's performance is bad, it could be considered successful in some other kind of film. But in the rainy, forlorn universe of H.P. Lovecraft his deliberate clowning about just doesn't cut it. It feels weird and out-of-place.
A square-jawed, no-nonsense hero could have been a lot more appropriate.
Hell, even wooden "tough guy" shit Hugo Stiglitz delivered on NIGHTMARE CITY would be a lot more a lot more suitable here than Godden's bitching and grimacing. Yes, he does kick some minor fishman ass towards the finale, but by then it's too little, too late.
It's a bit shocking to see how legendary actor Francisco Rabal (Antonioni's L'ECLISSE, Lenzi's NIGHTMARE CITY) let go of himself. The guy looks like hell, and they still gave him a topless scene! However, Rabal is never less than convincing as a demented alcoholic tramp.
The movie is dedicated to his memory.
Apparently, the original script for DAGON was ready as far back as 1985, but something held it back from being filmed. It would have been shot in the US and without CGI back then.
But hey, there's not a terrible amount of CGI in DAGON, and it's tolerable.
The film is damn entertaining, one of Gordon's very best
...but the book's still better:)))