Posts Tagged ‘Pirates’

God Exists, And He’s Awesome

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Watchmen, the Citizen Kane of comic books, the last word in superhero stories, the Grand Poobah of clever clever sequential storytelling, has finally been made into a movie. Many years ago I lived in Wrexham, and this was around the time I was first getting into comics, so I would regularly trudge down to my local comic shop (more of a stall actually) and try to find something that was as good as Judgment On Gotham. Every time, and I mean every single time I went in there, the guy who ran it asked me if I had read Watchmen and that ‘they’ should make it into a film. I never really wanted to get in a conversation with him (he once asked me how many packs of condoms I thought he should take with him on a holiday abroad. The correct answer was that he should have probably got himself chemically castrated, just in case), but I always felt that there is no way Watchmen could be adequately filmed. It’s too long, too dense, and too entrenched in the medium of comics to work. As good as the story and characters were, the best thing about Watchmen is the way the story is told. And you would have to lose the whole Pirate thing.

 

It’s unfortunate that even amongst comics’ most ardent devotees, movies are seen as the superior art form, and the ultimate compliment (and goal) for a comic is to be adapted for the cinema. Ghost World is an okay movie but the comic is so much better. Spider-Man, X-Men and their sequels are adaptations and contractions of entire series, and don’t exactly tell specific stories (I’ll never forgive Sam Raimi for bastardising The Death of Gwen Stacy in the first one. Ah maybe, life’s too short).

 

However, and back on topic. The trailer to the Watchmen movie looks pretty awesome. No wonder Dave Gibbons is stoked. Maybe even the mighty Alan Moore will give it a look. C’mon Affable Al, it might be a laugh! Although I noticed that the music on the trailer is by Smashing Pumpkins. Now I like The Smashing Pumpkins. Mostly. After all, Billy Corgan is a well known control freak, and he invented ’emo’ (does that make him an emomaniac?). BUT this song was last heard on the soundtrack to Batman & Robin truly one of the worst cinematic experiences of my life. Yes yes it’s an easy target, and even Joel Schumacher admits it’s terrible (apparently the DVD commentary is a hoot), but is this really an association the film studio wants to create? Maybe a grinning, neon Arnold Schwarzaneggar is just what this flick needs!

 

Share

The Seldom Seen Squid

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

I am conflicted about this whole Watchmen movie thing.

A lot of adaptations of comics seem to miss the best elements of the originals. One of the most notable things (if you were going to be unkind, the only notable thing) about Frank Miller’s Sin City was the histrionic chiaroscuro of the artwork, which is of course the one thing you don’t get carried over into the film version. It just ends up as a bunch of actors shot in grey tones. The characters and stories weren’t much cop to begin with, which is why I never bothered watching it. Similarly The Spirit was all about Will Eisner’s quirky and inventive approach to storytelling, page layouts and generally mucking about with the form, whereas the film version just redoes Sin City.

The best thing about Watchmen is its structure, and the canny tricks Moore and Gibbons used in their storytelling. Luckily enough it has good characters, some fairly complex themes and a good story (even though one of the main plot threads is half inched from an old Outer Limits episode, which Moore directly alludes to in one chapter), so a film version should at least be watchable and might even be great.

That pirate comic will never work as a cartoon though. The point is?the kid is reading the comic and then you’re reading the comic in the comic, and then you’re reading them both at the same time. That’s metatextual… or something.?Should have just left it out. It’s like Tom Bombadil!

Some of the appeal of Watchmen for comics fans are the explicit references it makes to superhero comics (and American adventure comics in general).?Of course, to a mainstream audience who don’t know their Charltons from their Gold Keys, that stuff is meaningless, and the superhero genre is a fairly recent cinematic thing. However, it looks like director Zack Snyder is creating associations with past superhero movies. The redesign of the Nite Owl costume makes its links with Batman even more apparent (who cares about The Blue Beetle, right?), and Ozymandias seems to have been reborn in the mould of Joel Schumacher’s rubber nippled greek god fantasies.

Share