This could either be the best thing ever, or the worst thing ever…

20 Jul

Brad and I got a really late start to Knott’s Berry Farm, so we decided to postpone it until Monday night and went to see the new Batman movie instead. It was good, and it’s Joker was the best Joker I’ve ever seen. But I couldn’t really focus on the movie because of one of the previews that they showed.

They are making the graphic novel “The Watchmen” into a movie.

Yes, I screamed in the theater when this preview started, and tears almost came to my eyes.

I’m the first to admit that I’m the biggest fucking nerd on the planet. And that includes being a total comic book dork. And “The Watchmen” is, hands down, the most brilliant superhero comic that has ever been written- because it makes superheroes into regular people (well, except for Dr. Manhattan- you’ve gotta have at least ONE misfit of science-gone-wrong, right?)- and puts it all in terms that make it emotionally accessible, and grounded in reality, actual psychology, and true human behavior. It’s an anti-superhero superhero novel. Do I sound like one of those hobbit-obsessed people who taught themselves how to speak in elfin, trying to convince the normal and functioning population that “Lord of the Rings” really has real-life value? Probably. But I don’t give a shit. If you haven’t read “The Watchmen”… it’s worth the $20 to get the graphic novel and take it in. It won the Hugo Award, for christ’s sake… and for a comic book to win that is pretty fucking impressive.

Here’s my clutching fear, though…. they could ruin it. Hollywood has done it countless times before, and I will throw a public temper-tantrum if they do it with “The Watchmen”. When I was about 18 or so, they made that “Tank Girl” movie. I LOOOVED Tank Girl… so much so that I had the same tattoo that she did on my shoulder. It was the funniest comic book EVER. And even though I didn’t understand how the hell Lori Petty could possibly be Tank Girl, I was still excited about the movie coming out. And then I saw it. And I couldn’t pick up a Tank Girl comic for 5 years after that. The movie was a bullshit pile of garbage that had NOTHING to do with the comic (I’m sorry, but T.G. would have never tried to save a kid from a child prostitution ring… she would have shot the kid in the head and stole everyone’s beer)… and the fact that there was a musical number in the middle of the movie made me want to vomit. And Lori Petty was TERRIBLE!!!!!!… they should have just found some little unknown Australian punk chick and had her be T.G. instead. And it took me YEARS to not hate Iggy Pop for his cameo in it. Did I take this all a little too seriously? Yup… I surely did. But when you fall in love with a precious little secret, and then that secret is opened up to the general public- you want it to be portrayed in it’s original light… not some Hollywood back-wash bullshit that makes you ashamed for ever having heard of it.

The same thing was done to “Ghost World” by Daniel Clowes. The story is this beautiful one of 2 girls with this wonderful and confused love for each other transitioning into adults with weirdo Clowes madness thrown in here and there. The Steve Buscemi character in the comic was barely a side-note as a funny/pathetic accent character and had NOTHING to do with the actual story. But the movie made him an actual character so that the story was more coherent for the general public. It was really fucking annoying.

The thing that is so much fun about comics and graphic novels is that they AREN’T based in reality, and the bending of reality’s rules is what makes them a blast. But that sometimes doesn’t transition well into film. The “Tank Girl” comic is fun because it’s nonsense… there’s nothing more to it than a drunk chick with serious access to heavy artillery stumbling around the Outback fucking kangaroo-men and acting bonkers. But that doesn’t play out well to the general public, so they have to attach some sappy story to it to dumb it down. Comics-turned-movies have been botched time and time again because they try to make sense of nonsense- and the end result is a horrible betrayal to the original story. Yes, I’m one of those “purist” assholes who bitches about shit like this. And I’m not going to apologize for it. HA!

So as excited as I am about “The Watchmen”… I’m also a little scared to see it. This book has been my “comfort food” for over a decade. Whenever I’m stressed, it’s what I read before I go to bed at night so I can sleep. When I got home from the movies last night, I looked up all the websites dedicated to it and watched all the “making of the movie” trailers… and it looks like they have gone to amazing lengths to stick to the exact story. So much so that it even amazed one of the makers of the comic in interviews with them (and I love the fact that the illustrator had a major hand in the making of the movie). So that eases my mind a bit. BUT when they proposed the idea of the movie to Alan Moore- the writer of the novel- and asked “How do you make a movie of The Watchmen?”… his response was “You don’t”, and has refused to have anything to do with it. That leaves me fearful.

The countdown to the movie coming out is 228 days. I am forcing Brad to read the graphic novel right now so that he will be up to the hours upon hours of critique-conversations that we will have after I drag him to see the movie opening night. He refuses to participate in the “Harry Potter” mania with me- but the long-standing love that I have for this story goes far deeper than Potter, so he MUST play along. If he gets to drag me to countless punk and grindcore shows and expects me to pretend to give a shit, then his job is to at least get his feet wet in my world of comic book geekery. It’s only fair, right? Plus, all my comic-nerd friends are back in Kansas, so I need someone out here who will be a nerd with me.

If any of you haven’t read the novel- go get it. Now. It really really is worth it. (And you can be nerdy with me when the movie comes out).

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11 Responses to “This could either be the best thing ever, or the worst thing ever…”

  1. kasia July 20, 2008 at 6:36 pm #

    I was so unbelievably pissed with tank girl. I can’t even tell you. And I had the same impending doom feeling about Watchmen when I saw the preview. It’ll be pretty to look at, but will they fuck up the story line?

    Iron man rocked, Dark Knight kicked ass, was not so happy with the second Hellboy and have yet to see the newest Hulk movie. I would give my left tit for the next X Men installment.

    I’ll either be screaming for joy or the largest bank of obscenities I can find come 228 days from now.

  2. juju galaxie July 20, 2008 at 6:36 pm #

    I completely understand. I am the same way…I have two words for you…AEON FLUX.
    They ruined the movie so completely I was mad for weeks!!! : )

  3. Kristen Ferrell July 21, 2008 at 9:40 am #

    I thought that if they wanted to make a movie of Aeon Flux, they should have kept it animated. The illustration style of it was so unique, that having that in movie form would have been cool. I wouldn’t let myself see it because I knew that it would be a full blown irritant.

    I’m not sure how they’re going to stick to the whole story line in “The Watchmen”. the beautiful thing about the story is that it’s so complex, and comes from so many different character’s point of view, and there are so many subtle details that even after a decade+ of reading it, I still find new things in it. I know they can’t capture it all in film, but how do they even begin without it being 9 hours long? And it won’t make sense if it isn’t that long. It’s like the latest Harry Potter movie… unless you’ve read the book, you really don’t know exactly what’s going on because they had to cut so much out for the movie.

    I don’t understand how hollywood hasn’t learned from it’s mistakes by now. “Loose adaptations” of books and comics just DO NOT fly, and are an insult the original work. After the movie “I, Robot”, I pretty much gave up on books that were made into movies. That was one of my favorite Asimov books, and they BUTCHERED it. I was very grumpy at Will Smith for that movie, and I made Sully read the original book before I allowed him to see it.

    Has anyone out there seen “Art School Confidential”, which was made from Daniel Clowes comics? I’m afraid to see it.. but curious enough to ask about it.

  4. whitney July 21, 2008 at 1:06 pm #

    ya know, when the previews came on for The Watchmen” i really had no idea what it was. i reckon i will have to look into the graphic novel!

    youre fear for the new movie being shitty is something i am grateful for not having with the new Batman movies! Chris Nolan hit everything SPOT ON. he didnt pull a joel movie-mocker and butcher all the characters and story lines.

    and yes, heath ledger IS definitely the best Joker i’ve ever seen… regaurdless of him being dead, it can honstly and truly be his best role ever… and as far as playing the Joker goes…. holy crap… that movie was EPPPIIICCCC!!!!!!!!!!!

    i’m a total Batman fag.

    i’m totally going to see it again and again in IMAX form again and again…. that shit was so clear you could see Christian Bale’s chapped bat lips.

  5. Kristen Ferrell July 21, 2008 at 2:55 pm #

    i was really impressed with The Dark Knight… though I had to break it to Sully last night that he wasn’t allowed to see it for another couple of years. That Joker was one of the most beautifully fucked up characters I’ve ever seen in a superhero movie, and I looooved him. BUT it really isn’t something for a 10 year old (though I was really grossed out by how many little tiny kids were in the theaters watching the movie- which by the way was over past midnight… which also grossed me out that these stupid parents let their tiny kids stay up that late). But I’m one of those really strict parents who doesn’t let Sully play video games, and only lets him play educational-but-super-fun computer games like “Zoo Tycoon” and “Harry Potter”, and doesn’t let him watch violent movies. I won’t even let him watch The Simpsons because I’ve seen him instantly regurgitate the smart-ass Bart bullshit on the few occasions that he has watched it at other people’s houses. Yeah- he’s being raised in that lame “national geographic” house. But I have no regrets. 🙂

    and yes, lovely Whitney… go get “The Watchmen”. There are so few beautiful and smart stories out there anymore- and this is one of them. You’ll love it.

  6. whitney July 21, 2008 at 5:09 pm #

    oh there are definitely parts in that movie that arent suitable for kids. it was even a little scary to james and i… i really don’t want to give away which part i am referring to just incase other people havent seen it… all i can say is that it reminded me of scary things you see terrorists do today… that’s what made it so real to me. so yeah, definitely not suitable to kids! i’m suprised they got only a PG-13 rating!

    and i just hope to fricken god that they don’t make a 3rd one and try and replace the joker… that would be terrible…

  7. Kristen Ferrell July 22, 2008 at 10:18 am #

    with as huge as this movie is, and as much money as it’s going to make- they’ll TOTALLY make another one and try to replace the joker. there isn’t a doubt in my mine. and it will be terrible.

    i was really surprised by the PG-13 rating, too. just because there aren’t sex scenes, tons of bad language, and spurting blood doesn’t mean that it is ok for little kids. Excessive violence, destructive situations, and psychologically menacing behavior portrayed by characters are just as bad for little minds as all the things that usually earn an R rating. ESPECIALLY in situations where the bad guy (the Joker) is the most charismatic and enjoyable character in the film. By the middle of the movie, I was rooting for the Joker because he was the most interesting and entertaining. So were the little kids in the theater. I’m 32, so I can handle it. The 5 year olds in the theater can’t say that.
    I always like to hope that parents will use some common sense with these situations and see the movie themselves before taking their kids (like I do). But obviously that is rarely the case. And our society’s attitude on age-appropriateness when it comes to TV and movies doesn’t help curb this. You can buy “South Park” t-shirts in sizes for 6 and 7 year olds… so obviously these stupid parents are getting a “thumbs up” from the industry when they let their kids view this stuff.

  8. butcherbaby August 10, 2008 at 11:08 pm #

    when i was a kid, like 4 or 5, i remember my mom dragging us along to see “the owl & the pussycat”. no excessive violence or cussing, but definately an adult movie! i just remember being bored to death….i still don’t know why she didn’t just go with my dad or grandma or aunt or someone. oh yeah, and in those days movies were still “double features”, so we had to sit through TWO innapropriate and dull movies, though my vague memories of the second film (if it was even that particular time, i know she took us to grown up movies at more than once) make me think i might actaully like it if i saw it now…it was something about a taxi driver or car upholsterer in tijuana, very colorful and i think funny. i just wish i could remember the name!

  9. la August 19, 2008 at 1:57 am #

    couldn’t agree with you more. book and comics based movies are usually incredably disappointing…

    what i’m interested in is how do you handle explaining to sully that he cannot watch a movie or play violent video games? how does he except it? he’s getting older, so i guess it’ll be harder and harder to be conscious parent.

  10. Kristen Ferrell August 19, 2008 at 8:20 am #

    Sully is extremely logical, and as long as you have a good reason for a rule, he accepts it. This is also where his insane intelligence totally benefits us. He understands basic psychology, and how everything we see and experience has an effect on how we act and view things; and if you aren’t old enough to be able to really understand the difference between fact and fiction,it can lead to unwanted behavior or nightmares. A few months ago he was giving me a little bit of flack about it, and then I read him an article about some kid who dedicated all his time to some violent on-line role playing game, and then went and killed close to a dozen people with a knife because he was acting out the game. Sully knows that he gets obsessive over games and shows, and I really didn’t have to say much else about it after that. He wanted to see “The Dark Knight” really badly… but after I saw it, I told him that the Joker did things to his victims that kids just shouldn’t see- and Sully was TOTALLY ok with not seeing it and just said that he’d see it when he was alot older. He’s gotten really good about self-regulating with this kind of stuff. I’m pretty lucky. 🙂

  11. la August 21, 2008 at 3:38 am #

    wow, you are lucky, but you have good parenting skills too, impressive!

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