Tag: Watchmen

So We Beat On, Boats Against The Current, Borne INTO YOUR FACE

by on Feb.21, 2011, under Books, Movies

I’m tickled by the news that Baz Luhrmann is preparing to shoot The Great Gatsby in 3-D. It made a great video game, so why not?

I liked Spike Jonze’s Where The Wild Things Are, but I also wished at the time that it hadn’t been the definitive take — even that they’d have let a couple of other writers and directors use the costumes and sets to film their own takes on the material.

The industrial strength of a film adaptation has a way of establishing itself as the canonical vision of a printed work. It’s healthy for a print work, especially a classic, to be allowed more than one crack. Imagine how great it would be if, some years down the line a Watchmen adaptation came out that was as different from Zach Snyder’s take as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight was from Danny Elfman’s?

Given the giddy pasticheworks of Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge, and given the prima facie senselessness of telling a muted work like Gatsby in 3-D, I can’t help but be optimistic about this. Maybe, perversely, it will even have a touch of Hemingway’s apocryphal rebuttal in it.

x-posted at Alyssa Rosenberg.

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As Long As We’re Talking about Movies Based on Alan Moore Comics

by on Nov.08, 2009, under Comics, Movies

I finally got around to watching Watchmen, and as expected it was terrible. I expected to hate the changed ending, though, and I didn’t. It was a reasonable kludge to deal with the fact that Moore’s plot point of faking an alien invasion depended on a bunch of the intertextual insertions that couldn’t be reproduced in the movie, especially the pirate comics.

It was bizarre how needlessly graphic the violence was, though, and by god it was sloooooooow. Frankly the movie version needed to be far less faithful to the graphic novel, which reenacted and twisted the history of Golden and Silver Age comics. That history took forever on screen and probably made no sense to most viewers. Far better would have been to retain the core premise—villain wins in the end because he is right—and figure out some way to send up the recent history of comic-book-based movies.

Plus the acting was mostly crap.

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by on Aug.15, 2009, under Comics

Irredeemable cover

There are broadly speaking two strains of comics: the superhero kind and the non-superhero kind. I prefer the non- kind, although I can often be interested in stories that twist superhero conventions in an interesting way (like, for example, Watchmen or Powers, about which more in a moment). Mark Waid does pretty conventional superhero comics, although he has done a few experiments with superhero conventions like Kingdom Come and more recently Empire, which I liked.

Empire takes as its premise that the baddest supervillain has defeated all the heroes, and now rules over all the world with an iron grip. In Irredeemable the world’s greatest superhero has snapped and is now traveling around the world murdering millions of people at a time, taking time off every now and then to kill his former superteammates.

As Waid describes it in his preface:

In superhero comics, pretty much everyone who’s called upon to put on a cape is, at heart, emotionally equipped for the job.

I reject that premise.

No one simply turns “evil” one day. Villainy isn’t a light switch. The road to darkness is filled with moments of betrayal, of loss, of disappointment, and of superhuman weakness. In the case of the Plutonian [the hero-turned-villain of the book], there were sidekicks who sold his secrets. There were friends who preyed too often on his selflessness and enemies who showed him unsettling truths about himself.

Honestly, unless you’re already invested in the superhero genre who takes seriously the idea of “villainy?”

The idea of the superhero who goes nuts and destroys cities was done first and best by Alan Moore in Miracleman, with unbelievable drawings by John Totleben:


(I’ll put another one below the fold so it can spread out; otherwise it’ll either be too tiny or screw up the page formatting.)

It was also done pretty well recently in Powers Vol. 6: The Sellouts, with stunning art by Michael Avon Oeming.

So far, I’m not seeing anything new enough from Mark Waid to hold my non-superhero interest, and Peter Krause’s art can’t hold a candle to the two I just mentioned. The layouts are conventional and the panels feel static. It looks like your basic comic book art. Preview below the fold, followed by the page from Miracleman I promised.

(continue reading…)

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