Monday, 20 August 2007

Why Alan Moore’s comic visions have never been realised and why Frank Millar’s have

To date three of Alan Moore’s graphic novels have been turned into major motion pictures or bastardised, depending on where you stand. I’m beyond the latter. These films are: From Hell, a jaunt into the world of Jack the Ripper. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; a collage of colourful characters from fiction, saving the day. And V for Vendetta, a scathing judgement on the greed and moral ambiguity during the Thatcher and Reagan administrations. From Hell became a so, so thriller with Johnny Depp passing a questionable cock’s egg accent, a Dick Van Dyke for the MyFace generation.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is so amazingly shit I’m surprised someone didn’t commit hari-kari. Head’s should have rolled. It’s not even that the characters have seemingly no resemblance to their comic counterparts; Alan Quartermain changes from being a has-been geriatric (in the comic)to an all action hero, played by Sean Connery.

No doubt because Sean didn’t want to be seen as weak, he used to be a champion body builder you know. Its just bollocks, the producers, director, whoever’s head is on a pike in my imagination, tried to pull every Hollywood trick imaginable. The leading lady, who happens to be a vampire, mysteriously doesn’t have any gaping wounds on her neck in the silver screen version. And Captain Nemo’s sub alone isn't enough of a toy making opportunity, so they’ve got a League of Gents, souped up, burnout car, that sort Vin Diesel would drive.

Last we have the most agreeable of the three in the same way that the flu is preferable over Ebola and AIDs. That’s too harsh V isn’t all that bad. If they’d told Natalie Portman to jump ship in both senses and hadn’t tried to make it overly English, cue the Benny Hill sequence, then it would have been a good film. Visually it’s the most similar to the comic version. Alan had nothing to do with these abominations and went as far as having his name removed from the last one.

But if the rumours are true and The Watchmen is being turned into a film I beg you Alan, you hairy Northampton troll, you have to co-direct or at least be on set. It’s too important a story, especially in the current global climate, political and literal for you to distance yourself. The Watchmen is incredible, I’ve made several none comic book converts read it on principal and all have said something along the lines of, ‘yep, tour de force.’ It’s a shame people don’t say that in real life. Seriously, if you’re ever to gamble on reading just one graphic novel let it be The Watchmen.

It’s getting late so I’ll make this short: the simple reason that Frank Millar’s graphic novels have been better realised on the big screen is his active participation. That’s not to say directors Robert Rodriguez and Zack Snyder on Sin City and 300 respectively aren’t talented in their own right but the fact that Millar co directed both helped massively. (I hope your taking notes Alan because you need to do this too from now on) If you want your creative vision realised then you need to do it yourself, to an extent.

Ok, done. Go read The Watchmen.

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