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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:22 am 
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EmPiiRe x wrote:
People give Hollywood a bad rap because of films like Daredevil or Punisher (both of 'em), but don't give Hollywood credit for films like X-Men or Batman Begins. Hollywood is not a monolith whose single charge is to churn out mindless, 90-minute action films. They've proven again and again that, when they put their minds to it, they can take preexisting characters and mythologies and do something truly fantastic with them. Not only that, films that they actually tried to make good usually do 10x better at the box office. The Lord of the Rings, The Dark Knight, Spiderman, and Iron Man are some of the highest grossing films of all time. Studios no longer look down at comic books as an easy basis for a cheesy shooter; many recognize the literary depth and richness of the characters and their stories, and want to tell those stories.


X-Men?! Seriously?

Iron Man and Spiderman were both stripped of all depth and converted into a prepackaged toy. I can even quote Synder on this, "Spiderman is a fucking happy meal now".

Studios no longer look down at comic books as an easy basis for cheesy shooters, they look down at comics books as an easy basis for cheesy shooters that make a shitload of money if they are converted into mainstream crap ADD jocks can enjoy and spoon fed to the everyone.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:46 am 
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Just because X-Men or Spiderman weren't as brooding or dark as Batman Begins, they still included much of the psychology central to their characters. The story of Peter Parker was still intact, what drove him, what affect being Spiderman had on his life, how it affected his relationships with others, etc. Just because it was heavy on action, that doesn't automatically mean the soul had been sucked out of the characters. Iron Man, Spiderman, and X-Men were all critical successes on top of being financial ones. You can call them mindless, watered-down garbage, but you'd be pretty much alone in that opinion (RottenTomatoes.com). Bryan Singer, the guy who made the first two X-Men, is the fantastic director of movies like The Usual Suspects. And Sam Raimi, the guy behind Spiderman, made his name with visionary horror-comedies (The Evil Dead movies, Darkman, and Army of Darkness). These are not corny, hackney filmmakers. Your opinion that anything popular must automatically be watered-down garbage has been proven wrong by the last eight years of superhero movies. Have their been stinkers? Oh, hell yeah. Ghostrider, Punisher, Catwoman. But if you think that Iron Man and X-Men are just as bad, I don't know how seriously to take your opinion on movies. Christopher Nolan's movies are mainstream, corny crap?

Spiderman - 90% at RT
Spiderman 2 - 93% at RT
X-Men - 80% at RT
X2: X-Men United - 87% at RT
Iron Man - 93% at RT

If these were mindless pop corn flicks, nothing but 90-minutes of explosions and one-liners, they'd have been panned by critics and ignored by audiences. But they are some of the most widely praised and highest-grossing movies of the last decade.

Again, you condemn anything popular and liked by the filthy masses as garbage, something watered-down for jocks; an argument that seems based more in anti-social behavior born out of getting picked on in high school rather than intelligent consideration.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:50 am 
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EmPiiRe x wrote:
Just because X-Men or Spiderman weren't as brooding or dark as Batman Begins, they still included much of the psychology central to their characters. The story of Peter Parker was still intact, what drove him, what affect being Spiderman had on his life, how it affected his relationships with others, etc. Just because it was heavy on action, that doesn't automatically mean the soul had been sucked out of the characters. Iron Man, Spiderman, and X-Men were all critical successes on top of being financial ones. You can call them mindless, watered-down garbage, but you'd be pretty much alone in that opinion (RottenTomatoes.com). Bryan Singer, the guy who made the first two X-Men, is the fantastic director of movies like The Usual Suspects. And Sam Raimi, the guy behind Spiderman, made his name with visionary horror-comedies (The Evil Dead movies, Darkman, and Army of Darkness). These are not corny, hackney filmmakers. Your opinion that anything popular must automatically be watered-down garbage has been proven wrong by the last eight years of superhero movies. Have their been stinkers? Oh, hell yeah. Ghostrider, Punisher, Catwoman. But if you think that Iron Man and X-Men are just as bad, I don't know how seriously to take your opinion on movies. Christopher Nolan's movies are mainstream, corny crap?

Spiderman - 90% at RT
Spiderman 2 - 93% at RT
X-Men - 80% at RT
X2: X-Men United - 87% at RT
Iron Man - 93% at RT

If these were mindless pop corn flicks, nothing but 90-minutes of explosions and one-liners, they'd have been panned by critics and ignored by audiences. But they are some of the most widely praised and highest-grossing movies of the last decade.

Again, you condemn anything popular and liked by the filthy masses as garbage, something watered-down for jocks; an argument that seems based more in anti-social behavior born out of getting picked on in high school rather than intelligent consideration.


Yeah, people loved them. But the depth of the stories was replaced by coolness and action. Sure the story is sort of the same but that doesn't mean it was left intact. People watch The Hills and crap like Flavor of Love, that doesn't mean shit.

If you would have been a fan of any of the films you just mentioned, you would have been pissed off as shit when you saw the movies. Specially X-Men. The X-Men movies slaughtered the story.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:01 am 
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Sure the story is sort of the same but that doesn't mean it was left intact.


Is that like a joke?

You surmised that they were good because people loved them? No, people loved them because they were good. Just because Flavor of Love is on TV, I fail to see how that invalidates the general public's opinion of something. Does this make sense to you:

"Everybody loved Iron Man. Just about every film critic said it was a fantastic movie."

"Oh, yeah? Well, everybody loves Flavor of Love, so who cares what they think!"

It smacks of you being hostile towards other people's opinions, as looking down on people who don't share your tastes as ignorant hicks who'll watch anything that has guns or boobs in it. People did not flock to The Dark Knight to see mindless action, they did so because they wanted to see a great story, with fleshed-out, well-written characters. If it had been Batman & Robin 2, just a "cheesy shooter" for the stupid jocks, nobody would've gone to see it. The crux of your point is that people are stupid and only want to watch stupid things. Again, not an intelligent assessment, just something that seems to stem from getting picked on.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:38 am 
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Calm down, folks. EmPiiRe and 4d669, this is no easy topic you're discussing.

I recently took a semester-long class in Pop Culture (just an elective, by the way), and the very first question the professor asked was "What is Pop Culture?" Who determines what is pop culture? Is it in the hands of the consumers or the producers? We debated on it for the whole class and I don't think we ever came up with a solid answer. I'm not exaggerating when I say that long and successful careers have been built around that question. If anyone here is expecting a conclusive answer to that question, you're welcome to keep debating. Just don't be surprised if the debate goes on for dozens and dozens of pages and only ends in spite and disappointment.

For my part, I think that shorter works are easier to adapt to film than longer works are. With shorter works, you can keep what's there while adding what you need to make a solid movie out of it. By a similar token, comic book sagas like Batman or Spider-Man can be easily adapted, despite their decades-long histories, because such comic book continuities can easily be broken into pieces and then reassembled into a movie narrative. Take character from here, an event from there, toss in an origin story or two, mix it all together and voila! You could argue about how effectively this has been done, but a faithful adaptation in this way is certainly possible.

As for Watchmen, I think that the GN was considered "unfilmable" more for cultural reasons than for narrative reasons. If you don't believe me, just look at the previous screenplay drafts.

Exhibit A: That ridiculous alternate-universe ending in the Hamm draft. This is just speculation, but I'll bet that was a studio-mandated fuckup, so ordered because they didn't think the audience would understand that Watchmen took place in an alternate reality. The ending sucked, so Watchmen was considered UNFILMABLE.

Exhibit B: Veidt dies. This could only be explained by the audience's perceived need for the villain to get comeuppance at the end. This killed a key thematic point of the narrative, so Watchmen was considered UNFILMABLE.

Exhibit C: The endgame. Hayter himself said that no studio would pay $100 million to budget a movie which kills millions of people in the climax. As a result, the squid is removed, Veidt's plot loses all credibility and power, Watchmen was called UNFILMABLE.

Exhibit D: Watchmen was set in the modern-day, because the studios thought that was the only way for Watchmen's themes to be relevant. This screwed up the timeline and the characters, so Watchmen was considered UNFILMABLE.

Exhibit E: The studios couldn't figure out how to give SS a gun to shoot Veidt with, so they give her the power to conjure projectiles and call her Slingshot. This fucked up the character and was all-around ridiculous. UNFILMABLE.

I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the idea. The point is that these mistakes were all made with the assumption that Watchmen had to be dumbed down for mass audiences. Fortunately, I think it's obvious that Snyder and WB have realized (to some degree) that isn't true.

Bottom line: Watchmen could only ever be filmable under the hands of a studio, director and screenwriter with the courage to take chances and challenge the box office status quo. It never had a chance until WB and Snyder.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 2:09 am 
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Coming at it from an outside perspective, Watchmen is very intimidating. Thus, the knee-jerk response by writers or executives has been to somehow change or alter it to make it more accessible, more recognizable. But, what Znyder and WB see is that, on the heels of something like TDK, people aren't going to be scared away from engaging and absorbing stories, even ones that run two-and-a-half hours. There's a demand for these kinds of stories and these kinds of characters, and that's the demand that this movie is going to address. It's not going to be the explosions or fight sequences that define this film, people have had enough of that; it's going to be the same things that made the book what it is. Besides, how can it depend on action carrying it when there are, tops, five action sequences in the book:

The Blake/Veidt fight.

The Comedian and Dr. Manhattan in Vietnam.

Rorschach vs. the NYPD SWAT team.

The prison riot/Rorschach's escape.

Nite Owl and Rorschach confronting Veidt.

On top of that, those are all extremely important scenes vital to the development of either characters or the plot. Not mindless car chases or blockbuster shoot-outs just thrown in there as red meat. Most of the movie is going to consist of those "meat and potato" scenes driven by dialogue.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 3:22 am 
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they had to ground x men for it to work on film i thought the film's did it justice till ratner raped it


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:40 am 
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I simply like to think of Stanley Kubrick's quote when it comes to things being filmable...

"If it can be written or thought, it can be filmed"

It's simply a problem now of who has the balls to finance and direct it. Snyder and WB, as mentioned by Curiosity, are the 2 heads that have said balls.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:06 am 
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EmPiiRe x wrote:
Coming at it from an outside perspective, Watchmen is very intimidating. Thus, the knee-jerk response by writers or executives has been to somehow change or alter it to make it more accessible, more recognizable. But, what Znyder and WB see is that, on the heels of something like TDK, people aren't going to be scared away from engaging and absorbing stories, even ones that run two-and-a-half hours. There's a demand for these kinds of stories and these kinds of characters, and that's the demand that this movie is going to address. It's not going to be the explosions or fight sequences that define this film, people have had enough of that; it's going to be the same things that made the book what it is. Besides, how can it depend on action carrying it when there are, tops, five action sequences in the book:

The Blake/Veidt fight.

The Comedian and Dr. Manhattan in Vietnam.

Rorschach vs. the NYPD SWAT team.

The prison riot/Rorschach's escape.

Nite Owl and Rorschach confronting Veidt.

On top of that, those are all extremely important scenes vital to the development of either characters or the plot. Not mindless car chases or blockbuster shoot-outs just thrown in there as red meat. Most of the movie is going to consist of those "meat and potato" scenes driven by dialogue.

I certainly hope you're right, and given that they're reusing the same action shots over and over in the trailers, it does appear that Snyder has made a mostly dialogue-driven film. One thing I will throw out there: Evidently, Laurie goes in to the burning tenement when she and Nite Owl go to rescue people. I imagine Snyder has expanded that sequence to include one of those "hero, in the face of almost certain death, plunges into a fiery building to save a baby" moments (although I certainly hope not). This could or could not turn out to be another added action sequence. Also, that's the only scene I can think of that would have her falling through the ceiling in slow-mo, with fire in the background, like she does in all the trailers.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:22 am 
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The first thing I think about as being "unfilmable" is the symmetrical layout of issue V (see the Easter Egg thread from page 14 on). Moore and Gibbons must have spent an extraordinary amount of time and energy making that issue work out like that. It's one of the things that make Watchmen so cool and unique. How are you going to translate that to film?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:25 am 
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It probably won't. You're talking about one of the parts of the book that is specific to the medium. With film being far more fluid, it's going to be extremely hard to translate it.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:02 am 
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I thinks we are missing the original point of this thread.
Satan's Slut talked about making a FAITHFUL movie version, which he means is a panel-to-panel translation, with everything in it, every scene, dialogue, cut and metatext.

But I disagree with him. From that point of view, Watchmen IS actually unfilmable.
One of the first things one notice about Watchmen is that it reads like a movie. with zoom-in, zoom-out, fadings and so on. It's true. But this is also sort of an illusion; Watchmen has much much more than that. Every single panel is sort of a painting per se, filled with symbolisms, hints, foreshadowing, symmetry (read Ch. V) that can ONLY work if they are in a comic... in a PICTURE and not moving. A movie which is a panel-to-panel translation can only lose in regard of the GN, and not gain.

With all the courage and money, I think it's impossible to reproduce faithfully every single aspect of Watchmen without adapting it. Satan's Slut ideal is more of a "motion comic", and even THAT is lacking something.

However, even if such an adaptation existed, what would its point be?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:22 am 
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ShinSeifer wrote:
I thinks we are missing the original point of this thread.
Satan's Slut talked about making a FAITHFUL movie version, which he means is a panel-to-panel translation, with everything in it, every scene, dialogue, cut and metatext.

But I disagree with him. From that point of view, Watchmen IS actually unfilmable.
One of the first things one notice about Watchmen is that it reads like a movie. with zoom-in, zoom-out, fadings and so on. It's true. But this is also sort of an illusion; Watchmen has much much more than that. Every single panel is sort of a painting per se, filled with symbolisms, hints, foreshadowing, symmetry (read Ch. V) that can ONLY work if they are in a comic... in a PICTURE and not moving. A movie which is a panel-to-panel translation can only lose in regard of the GN, and not gain.

With all the courage and money, I think it's impossible to reproduce faithfully every single aspect of Watchmen without adapting it. Satan's Slut ideal is more of a "motion comic", and even THAT is lacking something.

However, even if such an adaptation existed, what would its point be?


Not really, no. :D

A Motion Comic is the LAST thing I want to see actually. I just want to see as much of the GN on screen as possible. The idea of putting each panel on screen replicated exactly is completely moot. As I mentioned in the OP, the GN already reads like a film would run to me, so the panels of the GN would be on screen anyway, contained within the framing and set-up of the shot.

I would be happy with tweaking certain elements, such as film colouring so the film is less garish than the GN, and making the squid look more convincing, and obviously minor elements would have to be added in the transition from a static medium to film.

As for running time, I think people are making the mistake of equating the thickness of the GN
with running time. A lot of the events in the GN are given panels and panels to show an event, which if translated to film would probably only run to seconds. I couldn't see an all-in faithful version running to much more than about three and a half hours. The only thing that prevents this, as previously mentioned is the studios reluctance to take risks; wrongly or rightly.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:06 pm 
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Quote:
As I mentioned in the OP, the GN already reads like a film would run to me, so the panels of the GN would be on screen anyway, contained within the framing and set-up of the shot.


And I agree. The GN DOES read like a movie, but a movie which is a faithful translation of the GN's panels wouldn't be Watchmen.
Because the movie-reading is just ONE, and the most superficial, way to read Watchmen, which is "multi-layered" not only in regard of the story or characters. There are too many things that won't fit in such an adaptation. Hints, symbolisms, symmetry. For example, the majority of the "smileys" that appear in the GN are recognizable only if the image is still. Like, the owlship against the full moon... or the red smoke after Rorschach's death.
The art of Watchmen is indeed the ability to mix a movie-like reading with specific, STILL images filled with details and easter eggs.

That's why I think a Watchmen movie must be adapted and cannot be a 100% faithful translation. However "adapted" must not mean "mainstreamed"

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:09 pm 
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I've noticed if, while you read, you envision Watchmen's constantly zooming and panning panels as an actual movie, it just doesn't really seem to work. It works great in the comic, but would look kind of bizarre on film. So right away you'd have to adapt it. I still think it's filmable; I just think it's interesting the most obvious aspect of the book, its supposedly cinematic panels, aren't as cinematic as originally thought.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:46 pm 
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The depth of the original stories was not just replaced by coolness and action in any of the X-Men or Spider-Man movies. That's just an absurd statement. IRON MAN wasn't completely devoid of depth either, but I will admit, catered mostly to action audiences. It did lose something in the translation.

Sam Hamm used his alternate ending because WB wouldn't let him kill millions of New Yorks in the late 80's. Not because WB was afraid people wouldn't get it wasn't our world. The first few beats of Hamm's script make it obvious that it's not our world as we know it.

Quote:
The Blake/Veidt fight.
The Comedian and Dr. Manhattan in Vietnam.
Rorschach vs. the NYPD SWAT team.
The prison riot/Rorschach's escape.
Nite Owl and Rorschach confronting Veidt.
There's also Laurie and Dan.[/quote]

Dan and Laurie VS Knot Tops
Rorschach and "Steve" in Happy Harry's
Rorschach VS the prisoners
Rorschach attacking Grice
Escaping the detectives

Those sequences, while not high or extended action, could be considered action nonetheless. But having read the scripts, this is still a mostly dialogue and story driven film with action where action makes sense or enhances the story.

Quote:
One of the first things one notice about Watchmen is that it reads like a movie. with zoom-in, zoom-out, fadings and so on. It's true. But this is also sort of an illusion; Watchmen has much much more than that. Every single panel is sort of a painting per se, filled with symbolisms, hints, foreshadowing, symmetry (read Ch. V) that can ONLY work if they are in a comic... in a PICTURE and not moving. A movie which is a panel-to-panel translation can only lose in regard of the GN, and not gain.


The meaning of all those "background" elements could be included in a movie. Easily. The film appears to have included quite a bit of it. The creators including symmetry in the work, even in terms of the layout of the panels and the movement of the action and story, doesn't make a work impossible to put on film in an almost exactly faithful manner. If you can see the symmetry visually, or feel it in the story, it can be translated to film. It's just not very likely.

Quote:
There are too many things that won't fit in such an adaptation. Hints, symbolisms, symmetry. For example, the majority of the "smileys" that appear in the GN are recognizable only if the image is still. Like, the owlship against the full moon... or the red smoke after Rorschach's death.


Properly rendered, even these elements could be kept intact. Perhaps with some variation of slo-mo, or other camera tricks. Remember, those images aren't there to scream "Here I am". They're meant to be subtle, and somewhat hidden.

The only thing a film couldn't conceivably do on some level is recreate the feel of reading the Black Freighter comic within a comic, and the additional material at the end of the chapters. But an adaption could be made that recreates the feel of a story within a story. And the UNDER THE HOOD documentary...that can come close. Other documentaries could easily include the information found in DR MANHATTAN AND THE SUPERPOWERS, Dan's writeup on Owl's, etc. It just wouldn't be reading it off the page.

The question is...would a WATCHMEN movie with completely faithful visuals and cuts and symbolism and every ounce of material included really be good to watch simply because the source material was all intact? Or would it feel a bit forced?

And what filmmaker wants to just take someone's work as is and copy it? I've never met a creative type worth their salt who would do that. Nor would I want to see that.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:00 pm 
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Quote:
For example, the majority of the "smileys" that appear in the GN are recognizable only if the image is still. Like, the owlship against the full moon... or the red smoke after Rorschach's death.


I disagree; these things could be quite easily done on film - it may only be for the benefit of hardcore fans, but it could easily be done.

Quote:
The only thing a film couldn't conceivably do on some level is recreate the feel of reading the Black Freighter comic within a comic, and the additional material at the end of the chapters. But an adaption could be made that recreates the feel of a story within a story. And the UNDER THE HOOD documentary...that can come close. Other documentaries could easily include the information found in DR MANHATTAN AND THE SUPERPOWERS, Dan's writeup on Owl's, etc. It just wouldn't be reading it off the page.


The Black Freighter would be do-able, but as you say wouldn't necessary recreate the right feel - for it to work on film, it would have to be a film being watched during the film. I can stand to lose the Black Freighter stuff. Some of the stuff from the end of the chapters could be done with voice overs and images; the action figure memo's could be done as voice over of the memo contents while the camera zooms around the exec writing the memo before zooming around close-ups of the proposed action figures. Or even do dummy commercial for the action figures with the voice over of the memo contents. I could live with even cutting down the contents of the memos for the sake of running time, but it would just enrich the whole experience to have some of it in there.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:21 pm 
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I personally think that Alan Moore just hates his fans and even more so if they think his work would be great on film.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 12:21 am 
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Lady_Rorschach wrote:
I personally think that Alan Moore just hates his fans and even more so if they think his work would be great on film.

Dave Gibbons has stated time and again that he thinks the Watchmen movie works, yet Moore still keeps in contact with him (for details, see our WCM-exclusive interview with Gibbons). If Moore has no hard feelings against Dave Gibbons for their differing opinions on the movie, I can hardly imagine Moore resenting us, mere peasant fans, for the same reason.

Anyway, what does that have to do with Watchmen's filmability, again?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:57 am 
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EmPiiRe x wrote:
In recent years, Moore has attacked the very idea of adaptation itself. No book, comic or novel, should ever be molested and brought out of it's original form. He has said that no matter the quality of a film based on something else, it's still just a cheap, unoriginal ripoff.

I certainly do think Moore hates people who make up silly stuff like that about him and put words in his mouth he never said, I would not call such people "fans" though.

I agree with ShinSeifer here, but the topic has been discussed a hundred times already on this board anyway: Watchmen requires you to flip back and forth in the book to compare pages and panels, often you have to look at a page in its entirety to understand a hidden meaning, there are hidden structural tricks like chapter V or the first panel of a chapter/last panel of a chapter comparison. And often these visual tricks convey additional layers about the characters and the story. Film is strictly linear (at least in a cinema), thus you cannot adapt these effects. Moore explained all that often enough himself in interviews and elsewhere, one can only wonder why people try to take quotes out of context and declare them as stupid without even bothering to read what is said next to the quotes. BTW it was Terry Gilliam who said "Watchmen is unfilmable" and not Moore.


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