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The Wrath of Alan Moore

We’ve heard it all beforeWatchmen author Alan Moore is against the film adaptation of his seminal comic masterpiece.

In a recent interview with the LA Times, Moore seemed to revel in the film’s recent misfortune, and, in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, claimed responsibility for all of the bad luck.

Will the film even be coming out? There are these legal problems now, which I find wonderfully ironic. Perhaps it's been cursed from afar, from England. And I can tell you that I will also be spitting venom all over it for months to come.

As a fan of the Northampton bard, I can hardly blame him. There has been a sordid legacy of pitifully unfaithful movies adapted from Alan Moore’s catalog — The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell, Constantine, V for Vendetta. Most of these films are virtually un-watchable, and although many might say “V” was not that bad a movie, it bears little resemblance to Alan Moore’s original story.

But is Moore really against having his creations adapted to film, or is he raging against the Hollywood machine that has time and again bastardized his visions comic panel by comic panel?

I find film in its modern form to be quite bullying. It spoon-feeds us, which has the effect of watering down our collective cultural imagination. It is as if we are freshly hatched birds looking up with our mouths open waiting for Hollywood to feed us more regurgitated worms. The 'Watchmen' film sounds like more regurgitated worms. I for one am sick of worms.

Moore went on to explain how sick he is of the Hollywood “machine” and the commercial filmmaking business in general.

They take an idea, bowdlerize it, blow it up, make it infantile and spend $100 million to give people a brief escape from their boring and often demeaning lives at work. It's obscene and it's offensive. This is not the culture I signed up for. I'm sure I sound like Bobby Fischer talking about chess.

Believe it or not, Moore was not always so anti-Hollywood. In fact, he even wrote a screenplay once, and earlier in his career was not against having his work adapted into movies. And he’s also not against film in every form, since he participated in the documentary film, The Mindscape of Alan Moore which will be released in the US on DVD in two weeks. In an recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Moore explained that he gave Hollywood a shot once, but that they failed to come through for him.

Hollywood and American comics, I have given them a chance, and I think 20 years is long enough. If they were going to deliver, they would have done it by now.

Moore isn’t just angry at the modern film industry for churning out what he thinks are bad films and insulting adaptations, but for it’s influence over the modern comics industry as well.

There are three or four companies now that exist for the sole purpose of creating not comics, but storyboards for films. It may be true that the only reason the comic book industry now exists is for this purpose, to create characters for movies, board games and other types of merchandise.

Now, I know Alan Moore’s anti-Watchmen movie sentiments have really angered some fans, but they really need to look at the entire situation in perspective. Perhaps if Snyder’s Watchmen movie was made twenty years ago, Moore would have been supportive. If it was a good movie and a faithful adaptation, Moore might have even liked it, and sung Snyder's praises. But, now — today — it’s just too late for that.

We also have to understand that, just because Moore has had it with the modern movie industry, and will not support the film adaptation of Watchmen, doesn't mean Snyder’s film will inherently be a bad movie or an unfaithful adaptation.

Time and again we have heard Zack Snyder, cast and crew sing Moore’s praises. We have witnessed first hand how hard they are working to make a great film; a faithful film. And we’ve seen it with our own eyes at Comic-Con in San Diego and in the video journals the production releases each month. I’ve personally been to the set and seen first hand what a great job Zack and company was doing, and heard with my own ears how Watchmen comic co-creator Dave Gibbons loved the early cut of the movie he saw.

At the same time, we need to give Alan Moore the respect he deserves and he has earned. Allow him to distance himself from this movie without criticizing him for being closed minded. I mean, he gave us Watchmen. Without Moore there wouldn’t be a movie, because there wouldn’t be a Hugo Award winning story to adapt a movie from.

So, Alan, if you’re out there — I understand. I just hope you understand that as fans, some of us still have faith that this can be a good film. Some of us can be supportive of Zack Snyder and rally behind his efforts to make a great Watchmen movie, while still respecting and admiring your position and your convictions as an artist and a human being.

In the end, when all is said and done, and no matter what happens, we will still have your book. We will still have Watchmen. And, when you really think about it, that’s really all that matters.

9.19.08 Source: LA Times

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