Thursday, March 23, 2006

R for Redundant

A lot of hoopla has been thrown around due to the latest release of the V for Vendetta movie, based on Alan Moore's comics by the same name.

I've not seen the movie, so I can't really commend about it (let's just say that fans of Moore, and the writer himself are Not Pleased), but I think that Alan Moore's works would, in general, make a lousy movie, as they are very cinematic.

I know this sounds like arguing for the sake of argument, but there's a very simple logic behind this one. Take any Alan Moore comic, and you'll realise what I mean by "cinematic". The quasi-camera movements of the POV (the sidewalk to top floor zoomout at the start of Watchmen comes to mind as a good example, as well as the train scene from the first V for Vendetta), the way characters move around the panels, etc. It's all very "cinematic" and makes the panels almost spring out of the pages and come to life, as if you're watching a movie instead of reading a comic. And for that reason, it will never work as a true, live-action or animated, movie.

If it's still not clear, the whole concept of Moore's writing revolves around making the comics itself an engrossing, moving, vivid, immersing and, in general, cinematic. This works in the confinements of the media, i.e. a printed comic book. Taking this, and presenting it in a movie just doesn't work. If anything, it's redundant. V for Vendetta's plot is spread across 10 issues, dictating the narrative development and the pace of the story. This isn't a Batman movie, based on a comic that is 70 years old with a thousand issues to its name, but a short, concise, and self-containing story, created with the format in mind, and for the format. Transposing it to a 2 hour movie would mean crippling it, removing all that is good about it, and hanging it to dry. It might be a great movie, but it will be a great movie despite being a poor representation of the original material (not that it's a bad thing, Kubrik's The Shining basically butchered the Stephen King book, but was a masterpiece nonetheless).

There's also been rumours that the Watchmen movie license is rolling around in Hollywood, looking for someone to take it and make a movie out of it. Here's to hoping it will never find one.


At 24 March, 2006 11:24, Anonymous Uri said...

"I know this sounds like arguing for the sake of argument.."

That sounds like the reason for the existence of this blog, and many other blogs as well...

At 24 March, 2006 11:34, Anonymous uri said...

"The quasi-camera movements of the POV ...[snipped] And for that reason, it will never work as a true, live-action or animated, movie."

This argument simply doesn't stick. I've seen films that recreate certain "looks" previously associated with other visual media.
All this means is that you need to get a photography director who gets the cinematic quality the same way you do and attempts to recreate that.

At 27 March, 2006 06:06, Blogger Erez said...

It can be done, but some "action" scenes in V for Vendetta can take a couple of pages, and have a very careful pacing. Recreating them blow-for-blow would either mean a very long and slow-motioned scene (stretching a 5 seconds movement into a 3-minute one), or would not use the same pacing.


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