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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Words and Pictures: A million fanboys crying

It seems to be the condescending right of every literate moviegoer to declare "the book was much better than the movie." Movies adapted from literary sources are almost painfully common today, but they're certainly nothing new. The Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay predates the award for Best Original Screenplay by 12 years. But with this pattern of adaptations comes the misconception that the film version of a literary work is nothing more than a book put to celluloid.

These claims and complaints are heard the loudest with movies based on comic books. In a sub-culture obsessed with consistency in story lines and memorizing the minutiae of every character, the authenticity of a movie adaptation is the most important selling point to comic book fans. If the original creator of a comic approves of the movie, that seals the deal.

This was shown recently with controversy related to the movie V for Vendetta. Alan Moore, co-creator and writer of the comic the movie is based on, signed off the movie rights but said he wanted nothing to do with it. A producer for the movie claimed at a press conference that Moore supported the movie, which made Moore more than a little angry. To save you the long story, Alan Moore will now no longer work with DC Comics, and that's kind of a big deal.

And one could say that Moore is justified in his dislike of Hollywood. Constantine and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, to name a just couple of his comics that have been adapted to movies, left a lot to be desired. One could also say that Moore doesn't have a leg to stand on after saying about movie adaptations, "As long as I could distance myself by not seeing them, enough to keep them separate, take the option money, I could be assured no one would confuse the two."

Some of Moore's complaints have to be thrown out offhand as the result of giving an eccentric writer a microphone. When Moore, who is British, complains that his graphic novel, which he wrote to be "uniquely British," was turned into a film that is too American, one has to wonder what he expected from American screenwriters, an American film company, and a heavily America dominated news-world. The rest

I'll be expanding on "V for Vendetta" as a movie and graphic novel in a very nerdy blogpost soon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put. I have seen some movies, though, that were just out and out better than the books they were based on, in all aspects. I can honestly say, however, I've never read a book which was based on a film that was a better work.
ps. It's about goddamn time you posted again

4/25/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I'm looking forward to the "nerdy" follow-up. I take issue with your assertion that Moore's commentary on the film should be "thrown out offhand". Isn't it really the case that, while he may be the co-creator on paper, Warner Bros. owns V for Vendetta and can therefore screw it up as much as they want to?

4/26/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Luke McIntyre said...

Some of Moore's comments have to be thrown out offhand. Follow-up coming soon.

4/26/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Killian said...

I can respect where Alan Moore's coming from.

His position has always been, as I understand it: "Eh - I don't really care what they do with my work. It's out there. It's not going to change. A shitty movie won't harm the integrity of the original work."

All he asks is that they leave him out of it as much as is possible.

The producer on this movie didn't do that. He actually lied about Moore being excited about the movie, put words in his mouth and reversed his position on the script.

I'm not sure I would have ended my comic line, broke ties with DC and told everyone to kiss my ass the way he did...but I'm not a mad writer-genius either...

5/01/2006 02:32:00 PM  

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