Why did Universal Studios’ planned DARK UNIVERSE crash and burn? I have my theories, and doubtless you all have yours. Some opinions carry more weight than others, though, and I can’t think of any weightier one than that of Guillermo Del Toro. Universal offered control of the Dark Universe to Guillermo back in the day (in 2007, actually), back when he was working on a remake of THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, but he turned them down (a decision he says he regrets), unfortunately for monster fans everywhere. (Or maybe not so unfortunately. When plans for that CREATURE flick fell through, Guillermo just went and made his own version. That film, entitled THE SHAPE OF WATER, is garnering rave reviews as it makes its rounds on the circuit, even commanding respect from the commoner critics.)
Why does Guillermo say the Dark Universe fell apart? In short, because the creators don’t love the Monsters enough. Said Guillermo: “I think that there is a postmodern attitude towards the genre that tries to disarm or disassemble the genre in a postmodern way…I think that when you approach characters with earnest love, it’s a lot less safe because you’re not above the material.” Yep. That covers my theory, too. You have to love ’em to do it right. Casting Duane “The Rock” Johnson as the Wolfman, for example; that ain’t love. That ain’t even respect.