Del Toro on "At the Mountains of Madness"

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by PsychoPere, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And their geometry is something that definitely requires more detail. It's alien because it's outside my personal experience (darn it!). Which is also maddening.

    So, logically, your avatar must be an image of R'lyeh. Where do I sign up for the cult?
     
  2. FordSVT

    FordSVT Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh boobs Cthulhu R'lyeh supermodels wgah'nagl fhtagn"
     
  3. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    To my mind, Lovecraft is not an author one typically reads because he's a good word-smith or even a particularly compelling storyteller, to me it's the sheer depth of imagination . I mean nobody ever wrote stuff like this before he did and he's inspired several generations of artists of all disciplines.

    As for the racism...yeah, I found it a very strange experience to come across the odd racial tirade while first reading one of his stories and while part of that is seeing it with modern eyes, there's no escaping the fact that the bloke was (even for his time) horrendously racist. And yet he was a rather strange breed of racist since he was usually very cynical of humanity in general and I certainly wouldn't say he was a white supremacist type. It's one of those things that you just have to accept as part of the man's psychology and move on.
     
  4. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can understand the sentiment toward Lovecraft's style -- it is an acquired taste and not everyone is going to bother with it. But the whole notion of "he's not a good word-smith or compelling storyteller anyway, so let's just focus on his imagination and lasting influence" doesn't make any sense. Lovecraft is an author, therefore his craft -- both storytelling and word-smith ability -- is inseparable from the innovative ideas he had.

    I'm not taking anything away from his stories as creative endeavors, either. nor am I taking away from his literary influence. Heck, I am not even criticizing Lovecraft in general (aside from his obvious racism, which doesn't particularly factor into At The Mountains of Madness) -- My criticism is focused solely on this one story. The problem is, even by his own standards of style, At The Mountains of Madness is a very poorly written story. Yes, the revelations are fascinating, but it's buried under what even the Narrator of the story would call, "cumbrous details."
     
  5. Goliath

    Goliath Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's my kind of incantation! :techman:
     
  6. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps I didn't phrase it very well. I didn't mean that HPL was a bad wordsmith or storyteller (more on that distinction later) on the contrary he wouldn't be such a recognised author if he was some talentless hack, I just meant that those are not his best or most distinguishing qualities; his imagination is.

    As for the other matter, "wordsmith" (to me at least) literally means the skill in specific word choice and sentence structure. "Storytelling" on the other hand is a more general skill that isn't the exclusive purview of writers and relates to the ability to weave together plot, narrative and characterisation to tell a compelling story. IMO characterisation was often HPL's weakest link, but that's another discussion.

    As for At the "Mountains of Madness" specifically, I think it has more substance than most of his tales and I think becomes an easier read once you recognise the framing device for what it is; a thin pretext to tell "A Brief History of the Elder Things."
     
  7. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If by "substance" you mean an encyclopedic recounting of the "History of Elder Things," then yes, At The Mountains of Madness has "substance." If you mean story, character or even theme, then it has far less substance than the vast majority of his writing.

    I'll say again. I like HPL -- as both a storyteller and a word-smith. And I recognize that his contributions have more to do with his ideas than with his style. But comparatively speaking, At The Mountains of Madness is a terrible story that was terribly written. The problem with the story, as you refer to it, is its "framing device." It's not simply a "thin pretext," it's a poorly devised and even more poorly executed pretext -- even by Lovecraft's own standards of storytelling, characterization and word-smith ability (by whatever definitions you wish to apply to those terms).
     
  8. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  9. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Dare we hope for a Cthulhu vs Xenu SMACKDOWN!!!??? :D

    I wanna see this damn movie someday. I'll stop making cracks about Tom Cruise if it will help. :(
     
  10. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    http://www.nooooooooooooooo.com/

    Please no Tom Cruise.. i like him in light summer action movies with insane stunts and the occasional funny one liner but this is a Del Toro movie and not some star vehicle.

    Please.. don't let Cruise overshadow that movie.. :(
     
  11. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think light action fare is what Cruise does worst in the sense of boringly. Give him something off kilter like Collateral or Magnolia and he can really deliver.
     
  12. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Did no one read the updated article where this isn't greenlit yet?
     
  13. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Honestly, I smelt something off the second I saw the name Tom Cruise. Nothing against the guy, but I really can't see GMT casting him in *this* particular film...though come to think of it, having an A-lister like Cruise attached might actually be what could get the film greenlit.
     
  14. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    After reading the second article it sounds like there was a colossal miscommunication involved from all parties involved in this movie...and that Don Murphy had false info, that the writer of the first article went with. Either way this film seems stalled again. Tom Cruise is attached to a few projects after he completes MIIV so perhaps this is the problem.
     
  15. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah. Doesn't stop us talking.

    Yep.