Who Watches the Watchmen Movie?

I loved the Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller film adaptation of Sin City. It was an aesthetic triumph. I recently re-watched it when Forrest Black and I went clubbing in Portland with DJ Mohawk Adam and Sin City is still fun when re-watching it on a large screen in a goth-industrial nightclub.

Truthfully, the actual comic book Sin City turned me off though. Frank Miller was instrumental in getting me into comics with his Dark Knight re-envisioning of Batman in a much grittier world. But, when I got to the part of Sin City where the chick is all freaking out about how the bad guy made her watch while he ate her hand, I just rolled my eyes and pretty much gave up on reading comics. I didn’t mind giving Sin City a chance to entertain me as a movie because there was no fond memory of a book it could destroy.

The other major factor in me becoming less satisfied with the comic book medium was that I read Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Watchmen is the most perfect comic anyone anywhere has ever done. It is hauntingly emotionally beautiful, vividly memorable, philosophically and politically insightful, and still a great action tale. Once I had read Watchmen, nothing else in the field could really compare.

Because Watchmen was an important work, I feel like it is news that the trailer for the long-rumored Watchmen movie has been released. I post it here, if you’d like to view it.

It has been widely reported that author Alan Moore is not happy with the film adaptation of his seminal graphic novel. If it turns out that Alan Moore in fact does not like it, then I will personally almost certainly avoid seeing the movie.

Yes, I know Alan Moore should not have taken the movie industry’s money in a deal which allowed them to pervert his vision. I give Frank Miller huge kudos for making a deal on Sin City where he could be happy with the outcome. I give Robert Rodriguez huge kudos for giving up his Directors Guild membership in order to be able to give Frank Miller proper credit on Sin City. Robert Rodriguez lost some big deal work for going against the DGA, but he produced something damn excellent in Sin City by doing so.

V is for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and From Hell were also made from Alan Moore comic books. IMDB has the following quotes from Alan Moore on his feelings about movie adaptations of his work:

“The answer I always fall back on is to quote Raymond Chandler. People said: ‘Raymond, don’t you feel devastated by how Hollywood has destroyed your books?’ And he would take them into his study, point to the bookshelf and say, ‘There they are. Look, they’re fine.’ The film has got nothing to do with my work. It has a coincidental title to a book I’ve done and they’ve given me a huge wedge of money. No problem with that . . . the comics medium as it stands seems to me to have been allowed to become a cucumber patch for producing new movie franchise . . . League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was the reason why I decided to take my name off all subsequent films . . . I want them to say, ‘We’re not going to give you any money for your work, you’re not going to get any credit for it and we’re not going to put your name on it.’ To see a line of dialogue or a character that I have poured that much emotional involvement into, to see them casually travestied and watered down and distorted… it’s kind of painful. It’s much better just to avoid them altogether.”

Given all that, it seems messed up that so many of Alan Moore’s works have been optioned for film. I’m assuming he had to have signed off on this at some point in time, but I think the problem is that it is very difficult to have one’s work widely seen in comics without being published by Marvel or DC Comics and they both tend to retain things like movie rights. My understanding is that, when development started on Constantine, Alan Moore rejected both payment and credit for having created the Hellblazer character, giving his share to the comic book artist who first drew the Constantine character for the Alan Moore Swamp Thing scripts for DC Comics. That shows at least belated integrity, even though perhaps the best thing would be for Alan Moore to have never cashed corporate checks, if he wanted to be free of corporate masters.

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avatar Posted by on July 24, 2008. Filed under Blue Blood. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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