Will relaunch the new Pootmootoo very soon.
In the meantime I recommend shooting over to Frankenblogger and check out the latest on Design Linguistics which has been described as "the most exciting new development in Intelligent Design Theory". There's an exclusive interview the founder of the field, retired Brigadier-General Samson P. Hetero-Smythe.
Trust me, it's worth it.
The View From Mt Pootmootoo
Here we are at the Temple of the Rubber-Suit Monster, within the clouds atop Mt Pootmootoo, hidden somewhere in the sea of suburbia. This is a journal of casual thoughts and comments regarding speculative, innovative & fantastic film and the post-modern cinematic condition.
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Will relaunch the new Pootmootoo very soon.
Saturday, January 18, 2003
THE ORIGINAL MT POOTMOOTOO
This is a piece from a few years ago in which I first mentioned the fabled Mt Pootmootoo. However, Iíve made some slight alterations as it originally was a response to some astute comments by author David Luckett to the subjects of my observation and opinion. The minor changes are to make it less provincial and more self-contained. Yes, thereís evidence that it refers to things not in the text, but I donít think youíll mind.
Why am I posting this? To sort of mark an occasion.
Itís the beginning of a new year and I feel itís time to rethink this blog and my purpose for it. So while I consider what direction to take it and what changes, I thought Iíd fill the gap with this, my first return to Mt Pootmootoo.
Here I was, having a ball going on about monster movies - Gamera, Godzilla, the big dudes, the hip rubbery fun boys of cinema Ė when suddenly Dave bursts on-line and expresses forthrightly his adamant belief in the banality of it all. Dave's strong words against all this monster movie stuff shook me to the core. And what made it so much worse was that I didn't know how to respond. Dave's eloquence left me at a disturbing
disadvantage. One where I knew I couldn't compete in rhetoric. He had struck like a stealth bomber over Baghdad, dropping his destructive load concisely and effectively, inflicting painful damage to my rubber-suited defense systems. This created doubts in my monsterdom faith. It looked like my spirit guides, Godzilla, Gamera, and their torches of enlightenment would be snuffed out, giving way to cold dark reality. I became afraid. I feared losing my focus on the tightrope and that I would soon tumble into
the void that is the cinema-verite of mundane life.
It was then that I knew I had to seek guidance and reaffirm my faith in giant rubber-suited monsters. And so, I began my trek.
I took my back-pack, a banana sandwich and a print-out of Dave's letter and walked the rough and tumble roads to the heart of the suburban sea. There I climbed Mt Pootmootoo. Strange, people don't seem to notice there's a mountain there, but no matter. I made the trek up the side of the mountain along the winding path surrounded by lush ferns, growing strong in the wetness of low lying cloud. But they soon disappeared in the mists below me as I looked up, through the crystal clear air, to the temple atop the white-capped mountain. I was short of breath when I reached the huge
wooden doors, ornately carved with big bulky creatures of eye, tooth and claw. I banged on the ancient wood, a dull thunk, but soon it slowly opened and awaiting me was my old Sensei.
"I knew you would return to us," he said, his face an image of serenity, only betrayed by eyes holding a deep within glow like fading embers. Close to exhaustion I fell to his feet and cried into the snow and dirt.
"Sensei, I'm failing you. I'm failing the godsĒ, I cried in muffled voice. My faith has been shaken and I fear I shall never return to the folds of rubber-suit warmth."
My Sensei lifted me up, wiping the dirt from my jaw with the hem of his robe. "It is good that one's tree is shaken from time to time. And, when no one is there to do so, you should shake the tree yourself. Come, rest and let's make you warm again."
As I followed through the rooms of the temple, my memories of a past life returned. We walked past the praying room where a towering statue of Godzilla sits before bowed monks, some placing incense before his towering form. Then the video room; young novice monks, heads freshly shaved, were watching GAMERA VS GAOS. I recall with pleasure my time of doing the same. I think I saw that film sixteen times before the koan at its centre appeared like crystal in my own thought. Sensei, back then had ask me, "Why does Gamera defeat Gaos?"
I replied, "Because we want him to".
He seemed please with that. I recall another time after having watched the original GODZILLA that Sensei asked me, "Why does Godzilla breath flame on the people?" And him hitting me on the head with a rolled up TV guide when I said, "Cause he
can". I learnt, only after twenty four more viewings, that the right answer is, "The people burn themselves."
We reached the warm kitchen and I was given two-minute noodles, oriental flavour, and a dry robe. When I was suitably rested, my Sensei gestured me to follow. We went out into the meditation garden and sat under a statue of Rodan, wings stretched out ready to produce that colossal force of wind capable of destroying hundreds of a tiled-roof temples, but today those same wings were protecting me and my Sensei from the chilled breeze, a light edge of snow resting on those stone shoulders. He asked me what has led me to be so troubled, to become so afraid of the illusions that some call "real life". I reached into my bag and pulled out the paper containing Dave's fearful words. The wise monk put on his glasses, little round circles, and read calmly, and carefully all that was on the page. When finished, he put down the page and smiled wistfully to himself for just a brief moment.
"Why are you so afraid of the words on this paper?" He asked, his gentle smile never wavering.
"Because he says it's all crap."
"My young monk, it is crap."
"Did you not learn anything when you were my student? Of course it is all crap, that is the simple beauty of it."
"He says it's all a waste."
"Nothing is wasted. Nothing is used. It simple is, from one moment to the next. Frankenstein's monster was Boris Karloff in make-up, a man who has left our material world, yet does not the monster still live? King Kong was only all of nine inches tall and could not move and yet did he not hold the world in his hands?"
"Yeah sure, I guess."
"Hmm, perhaps it is time you saw KING KONG again."
"I think BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN would be better."
"But Sensei, what about the points he makes in his letter."
"This letter, by Mr. Luckett, hmm." Sensei pondered for a fraction of a moment before ever-so slightly broadening his wistful smile. "Do you see how he begins by referring to a film to describe how he feels? A scene from Disney's ALADDIN. But what is ALADDIN? It is but sheets of plastic with acrylic paint dabbed on them, the voice of Robin Williams reading a line, he probably altered, by a scriptwriter working in a committee, in what was meant as only a flippant, mildly humourous comment to do little more than lighten an already light moment in a seemingly frivolous film with little more purpose than to entertain on a childlike level of being. And yet he took that moment and applied it to describing his state of mind, an experience in his life. He empowered his communication, enhanced his expression of feeling with something seemingly not worthy of further thought outside of eliciting childlike laughter. Did he not lift up that moment into a higher plain of discourse or did he lower himself into its pool of
He gave me a moment to ponder that one before continuing.
"He speaks of his delight in the game of cricket, but although he enjoys watching this sport, he is not deluded to its unimportant nature in things. And just so, when one is playing cricket, one should not be confused to its unimportance either. After all, it is only a game, played for enjoyment. But to enhance that enjoyment, to make it worthwhile as a game to play, you try to play well. One knows that life isn't altered by missing the ball, having your stumped knocked away or someone taking the catch, but one still tries to hit that ball as best they can, to make the game as interesting a sport as one is capable of. But it is only a game?"
"But Sensei, what about his cutting comments about post-modernism? You know I live for post-modernism."
"What am I? Am I not post-modernism to you? All is post-modern and nothing is post-modern. As you have a choice to who you are and no choice, so to have others have a choice and no choice in how they see who you are. More important my young critic, would life not be that less interesting if all saw the same?"
"He says it's a crock."
"He is right."
"But I don't see it as crock."
"You are right. There is no wrong. Is there a wrong as Godzilla takes each step in Tokyo. When Gamera comes to vanquish a foe and destroys a block of Osaka in the landing, is he being wrong or is he being Gamera? Like when the giant squid attacks the Nautilus or the giant ants set up home in the Los Angeles sewers. When the Creature from the Black Lagoon swims with Julie Adams. When Jaws munches on Robert Shaw. When the face-hugger attaches itself to John Hurt. When the Rancor takes a swipe at Luke Skywalker. When the hydra strikes at Jason. When the Medusa tries to turn Perseus to stone. When Son of Kong holds Carl Denham above the rising
waters. Are they being wrong? Are they being right? Or are they simple being? Simply monsters."
Just then an image of the Giant Claw picking up the toy train sprung up in my mind, its squawk of terror reverberating across the paper-mache of my consciousness. And I understood. Sensei could see that fleeting moment of satori and his smile broadened once more.
"What are you thinking, my young monk?"
"It is a load of crock. It is just post-modern bullshit. It's all bullshit. Everything. Monsters and non-monsters alike."
"No more, no less than anything else."
"Sensei, why was I so afraid? Why was I afraid of losing my faith?"
"Why are you afraid of anything?"
"I'm now no longer afraid of losing my faith as I now see that faith is an illusion. And why do I need faith when it makes no difference to have it or not?"
"Monsters will always be."
"Yes, Sensei, I see that now"
"And as long as we have monsters, we have need for a sense of humour."
"No monsters, no joke."
"Now, my young monk, you are beginning to see the suit."
[For Stephen Dedman, who did it so much better in his story "Miniatures", Eidolon #20, Eidolon Publications]
Sunday, January 12, 2003
Universal Pictures logo and music of low ominous strings with faint harp tinkles.
Cut to helicopter shot of a large science vessel in deep blue ocean.
Voice over: Deep in the Indian Ocean, man is about to discover a past thought
to be only legend.
Cut to a net being raised out of the water. A large lump of pitted larva like rock
hits the ship deck. Close up of a hammer hitting the rock and it breaking open
to reveal a hint of gold. A nondescript science type lady calls over her shoulder.
Non-descript science type lady: Doctor, take a look at this.
Bob Balaban enters shot to look at off-screen object.
Bob Balaban: My god.
Wide shot of Brendan Fraser, long hair and unshaven, on a higher deck.
Brendan Fraser: What have you got there?
Close-up of part of a gold statue poking out of the dark rock. A symbolic
statue of a strange creature.
Medium shot of Fraser and Balaban looking at object out-of-focus in
Balaban: What does this mean?
Fraser: A legend comes true, my friend.
Cut to a press conference with Fraser and Balaban at a table, the golden
statue, all shiny next to them. Lots a media and cameras flashing.
Close-up of Fraser leaning to mic.
Fraser: We have found the lost continent of Lemuria.
Voices rumble, cameras flash faster.
Marching type, getting things done music starts with shots of a fleet of
ships chugging along. A mini-sub being lifted by crane over the side.
Close up of Fraser in the sub with a head set on.
Fraser: Okay people, let's make history.
Cut to black and silence for a nano-second before the sub-lights go on and
ominous music returns. Close up of Hank Azaria as sub driver. His eyes go
wide as he sees something.
Hank Azaria: My god.
Fraser moves to porthole. We get a moment of his excited expression
reflected in the dark glass.
Black is quickly replaced by sub lights silhouetting a large encrusted figure,
not unlike the shape of the small gold statue.
Cut to close up of Fraser back on deck all very excited.
Fraser: I'm telling you, there's a whole city down there.
Female voice, out of shot: A city of gold.
Wider shot of Fraser and Balaban. They lean back to reveal Jennifer
Connelly, ponytail and round rim glasses.
Close up of Fraser: So who invited you?
Medium shot of Connelly, pans up to Terry O'Quinn climbing down a ladder,
wearing blue blazer and a pencil mustache.
O'Quinn: I did.
Close up of Fraser looking unhappy.
Close-up of Connelly. Voice of Quinn.
O'Quinn: This is Doctor Reynolds of the Institute of Ocean Archeology. She's
knows everything that's known about Lemuria.
Close up of Fraser: This is my expedition and I choose...
Medium shot of O'Quinn as he walks up to an uncomfortable Connelly.
O'Quinn: No Doctor Carlson. I paid for this jaunt of yours. It's my
Close up ship captain Delroy Lindo supervising the transporting of wooden
crates. Close up of a crate being opened to reveal automatic rifles.
O'Quinn, voice over: And I intend to protect my investment.
Medium shot of Connelly and Fraser.
Connelly: I hope we can work together, Doctor.
Fraser: Well, I hope you bought your boots...
Close up of fake radar image of a cross-section of city with a cave under
Fraser: ...because it's hollow under the city and dry.
Shot of underground lagoon and the mini-sub surfacing.
Wide shot of Fraser, Connelly, Balaban, Azaria and non-descript others in
caving outfits surrounded by rock. Very wide shot of team in a huge
matte-painting of cavernous terrain with huge ancient city ruins all
around. Tracking shot towards a huge shiny statue, torch lights wavering
across it. The statue looks like the two previous ones shown. It's a
fearsome creature, like a reptilian ape but scaly and with a fish like
tail. The claws and teeth are prominent.
Balaban, voice over: My god. What is that?
Medium shot of actors looking at statue, torches pointed.
Connelly: It's Ebirah, the god that protected Lemuria from enemies who
threatened to plunder it.
Close up of non-descript pointing a video camera at the statue. Close-up of
O'Quinn back on the ship looking at a monitor. Close up monitor image of
statue's shiny surface.
O'Quinn: My god, that's solid gold.
Close up of Balaban close to the ground looking at something. He calls to
Fraser. Close up of Balaban's hand with a very large tip of a razor sharp
curved claw in his hand.
Balaban, voice over: Look at this fossil.
Close up of Fraser looking serious.
Fraser: That's no fossil.
Camera tracks towards actors as they turn to camera in response to a bizarre
Fraser: Let's get out of here. Fast!
Music turns to action as we see the actors running toward a sub in a lagoon.
Close up of Fraser about to close hatch when he looks up to camera. We get
a point-of-view shot of something running very high up moving down towards Fraser
and the sub. We hear slow heavy breathing and a thump thump thump. Medium
close-up of Fraser.
Fraser, shouting: Dive! Now!
He slams shut the hatch.
Cut to characters cramped in the sub. Azaria is wrestling with controls.
Azaria: Hold on.
External shot of unrealistic light in deep water. It's another creature
p.o.v. as it slams into the sub. Inside the sub, everything shakes, sparks
fly. Close up of Connelly and Fraser, obviously getting close. Connelly is
now without glasses.
Music stops. Wide shot of sub bursting to surface. It's raining. The
skies are dark. A storm is brewing. Medium shot of Fraser storming onto
the bridge. Other ships can be seen out of the bridge windows. Fraser
shouts to Lindo.
Fraser: Get the hell out of here. Right now!
Medium shot of perplexed O'Quinn.
O'Quinn: Now just hold on there.
Close up of Fraser: You said it. Hold on! Tight!
Underwater, p.o.v. shot of bottom of a ship. Low bubbling underwater
sounds. We are moving quickly towards the ship.
Wide shot of deck of a transport ship, obviously different to main ship. A
sailor is batting down hatches on deck when a huge claw, the massive dark
talons glistening, grabs onto the rail. Then the other claw. CGI shot of
whole ship being quickly pulled under. Then it bursts out of the water
again with the creature on it. But shot is too quick to get a good look
at the beast.
Close up of Lindo with binoculars.
Lindo: My god.
Wide shot of bottom part of creature, scaly belly and four claws ripping up
the bridge of the transport ship in the wind and rain.
Close up of Fraser: Get us out of here, captain. Now!
Wide shot of far away transport ship. The figure, not being seen properly
through the storm, is turning about on the distant ship. It goes to crouch
and pushing the ship back under the surface, leaps high towards camera.
Close up of Lindo staring up in amazement. The figure of the creature is
falling towards the camera very fast. It blankets the shot and we here a
Big beat music begins as we get a rapid montage of action shots. Fraser
leaping off an edge. O'Quinn is pointing a gun. Fraser lights a flare.
Azaria screams. Connelly jumps when a huge claws comes through the metal
wall. An explosion among the ancient Lemurian ruins. A shot from under
the water of Fraser falling towards camera, breaking the surface. Connelly
climbing out of a hole. Close up of Bob Balaban with a hint of jaws reflected
in his glasses. Fraser and Azaria running down an ancient stone stairwell.
Extreme close-up of Fraser obviously in a perilous situation staring
intently. The music stops with a clang. Cut to black.
Original ominous music begins.
Image of Fraser standing among ruins.
Voice over: Brendan Fraser.
Image of Connelly shakily holding a rifle to camera.
Voice over: Jennifer Connelly.
Fade to black and fade in title which voice over announces.
Fades away, then we see cast and crew credits. Fades to black.
Cut to Fraser and Azaria, bruised and weary, on a raft. It's raining, but
flames on the water all round them.
Azaria: We have kill that monster.
Fraser: Out here we're the monsters. And to protect itself it will kill
Cut to black and silence momentarily.
Cut to Connelly slowly turning around to large figure behind her. Pull
focus to figure to see it as a set of sharp teeth jaws. It howls.
Cut to black and silence.
Fade in: IT'S COMING SOON