"Daybreakers" was a surprisingly entertaining early 2010 release. The first quarter of any year is typically Hollywood's test lab and cesspool; movies frequently come here to die. It wasn't so in this case, and that's thanks largely to Peter and Michael Spierig, aka The Spierig Brothers.
"Daybreakers" is a rather unconventional vampire action flick, one set in a world which has been overrun by the blood-suckers to the point that they're the dominant species on the planet and human plasma has become a precious, dwindling commodity, something to be farmed from any survivors that are found. The brothers Spierig serve up a deft mixture of action, humor and the occasional jump scare, all while pulling solid performances out of stars Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe. The news today is that the Spierig's will be bringing their talents to the long-in-development "Dark Crystal" sequel, a 3-D feature titled "Power of the Dark Crystal."
Personally, I think this is a perfect pairing of filmmakers and source material. You can find the key reasons why after the jump.
Before there was "Daybreakers" there was "Undead," a 2003 Australian comedy/horror flick set in a small fishing village which spirals into chaos after meteorites turn most of the locals into hideous undead creatures. There's a lot of Sam Raimi going on here, that potent mix of schlocky-yet-effective visual effects and wry humor. There's also a four-barreled shotgun.
There's a temptation when you're working with Willem Dafoe to simply let him tap into his inner super-villain. We saw it used to great effect in "Spider-Man." The Spierigs reined Willem in a bit however, using his crazy only in very controlled bursts in "Daybreakers." In other words, they understand the meaning of restraint. Which is very important with a franchise like "The Dark Crystal," which could easily spiral into fantasy hilarity. Also, they armed Dafoe with a crossbow-mounted shotgun.
Both "Undead" and "Daybreakers" are memorable largely because there's such creative ideas behind them. The Spierigs are skilled at creating a unique vision, something that stands apart from what we know in such a way that it is instantly memorable. "Daybreakers" was strong, but it didn't break them out; "Power of the Dark Crystal" could do just that.
They've Got The Right Idea
The Spierig's said the following in a statement responding to the news:
Michael Spierig: "We feel a tremendous amount of responsibility in telling this story with the same meticulous care that Jim Henson and Frank Oz gave the 1982 original."
Peter Spierig: "This is a chance to take the world of puppetry into the modern age by using modern techniques (like motion capture CGI) and the tried and true methods (like puppetry and animatronics) to create a one hundred percent real world that is unique to 'The Dark Crystal.'"
Anyone who's seen the original should be feeling some relief right now at the news that the duo intends to employ puppetry and animatronics -- which were so effective in the original -- in addition to all of the modern effects and camera trickery.