This was one of my favourite films growing up. I know, I know – I’ve read countless articles detailing all the ways in which the 2003 adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (hereafter LXG, for brevity’s sake) messed up Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal source material. The film was apparently such a nightmare to make, it ended the careers of its director Stephen Norrington and star Sean Connery in one fell swoop. Re-watching it now, 14 years after the fact, the flaws stand out as clear as day. But I can’t help loving this strange, beleaguered blip in the comic book movie landscape, and here’s why…
The second post in my exploration of Charles Williams’ macabre masterpiece Descent into Hell…
In which I make more promises than I’ll likely be able to keep…
There’s a monster in my eye. He’s been there for a while. He sits where I used to see, but now I don’t see so well anymore.
Ah, Solaris. What a twisted, tangled relationship we have endured for over ten years now. And yet, I keep returning to this mysterious, melancholy story whether I want to or not. It has some sort of indefinable, unsettling power all of its own, one as sinister as the eponymous planet’s influence on the doomed characters. And like those lonely, frightened astronauts, I too have no idea why or how the story unfolds as it does; I only know that I’m on this ride until the bitter end – and now you’re coming along with me. So, let’s begin.
If you can get past the somewhat macabre title, you’ll find an uncommonly beautiful story about the power of fear, forgiveness and free will from the mind of Tolkien/ Lewis’s fellow (yet lesser-known) Inkling, Charles Williams. Confession time: I’d never heard of this author until recently, and I only discovered his work through searching ‘Doppelgänger books’ on Google for my PhD.
But Descent into Hell is so much more than this.
Oh Sleepy Hollow. What happened to you? If you’re a ‘Sleepyhead’ – a self-confessed fan of Fox’s fantasy adventure series – you might (like me) be seriously reconsidering whether you want to spend any more time in the company of a show which has squandered almost all of its potential and much of its fandom’s patience and good-will by this point. (We shall not speak of the season 3 finale, the grief is still too near).
So let’s revamp it. Go back to square one, and sort this thing out. Disclaimer: I know that hindsight is 20/20 and I have no idea what it’s like to make a consistent, imaginative and entertaining series – but here’s how I would have done it anyway…
Does what it says on the tin. Another short story from the vault.
Many thanks to IJ Benneyworth (@scribecorps) for his fantastic insight on an early draft!
[Note: Yes the wings aren’t that proportionate. Fortunately for me, this isn’t an art blog…]
My writing mojo has been M.I.A. for a little while now.
‘The monster is not in my face, but in my soul…’ ~ John Clare/ Caliban
Penny Dreadful is one of the best shows ever made.