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Dave Gibbons On the Forthcoming Watchmen Movie

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the alternate-title-the-winders dept.

Movies 181

An anonymous reader writes "Den Of Geek has been talking to comics legend Dave Gibbons about the upcoming transition of the Watchmen from the comic book to the silver screen. 'There are hardcore fans out there who'll be satisfied with nothing less than a word-for-word, line-for-line, scene-for-scene recreation of the comic book. I didn't believe that was ever going to happen.'" It's a rather short interview, but Gibbons addresses some interesting elements of both the movie and comic-book worlds.

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The End Is Nigh... (4, Funny)

berashith (222128) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589295)

See ya tomorrow

Let me just say: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23590325)

I won't be satisfied with anything less than a word-for-word, line-for-line, scene-for-scene recreation of the comic book

Conversions (4, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589391)

It will probably have as much to do with the comic book as Starship Troopers had to do with the Sci-Fi classic.

Keep in mind, there wasn't a whole, whole lot of action in Watchmen, & a lot of the intricacies of the "superheroes" relationships will probably be glossed over.

Re:Conversions (3, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589609)

just saw a trailer for starship troopers 3 yesterday. the people responsible for it should be killed. slowly and painfully.

Re:Conversions (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23589963)

There was a Starship Troopers 2??

Re:Conversions (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23590367)

There was a Starship Troopers 2??
Yes, and bar the 20 seconds of the incredibly fit naked blond bird (and frankly if that's what your after you go elsewhere) it was the worst film I've ever seen in my life. I'm confsed shocked and appalled at the concept of a 3rd movie being allowed.

Re:Conversions (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590795)

And yet, it was somehow still better than the first Starship Troopers movie. I will hate that travesty till I die.

Re:Conversions (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590833)

I think the first Starship Troopers was one of Verhoeven's best films. But then again, I despise Heinlen and think that hack DESERVED to be parodied. Verhoeven just sized the material up for exactly what it was.

Re:Conversions (0, Flamebait)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591187)

You, sir, are not fit to lick the Dean's boots. I hope you get ebola and die.

Re:Conversions (0, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591271)

And may you be cursed in Hell to watching Verhoeven parodies of ALL of Heinlein's books.

Re:Conversions (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591505)

I take that back. I hope you get ebola and live; death is too good for the likes of you.

Re:Conversions (1)

UttBuggly (871776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589813)

Amen!

I've railed against the Starship Troopers film(s) since day one. An absolute travesty, topped only by the garbage that is "I, Robot".

How Hollywood could ignore the brilliant script by Harlan Ellison and put out a Will Smith action vehicle instead is beyond me. Of course, $$$ are paramount (no pun intended) to the studios and art gets lost in the noise.

I hope Snyder understands the material well enough to capture some of the themes in the novel. I will see the film, but I don't have high hopes.

Re:Conversions (4, Insightful)

kithrup (778358) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589885)

I don't see how I, Robot is "garbage." Other than a large action scene that Asimov wouldn't've written in his books, the plot is entirely an Asimovian robotic mystery: the three laws (or four laws, as Asimov had in his later books) are completely integral to the plot; the clues are related to robotics and are visible to the viewer, instead of being hidden and revealed after the fact; and the societal impact of the technology is examined.

Even the actress they had playing Susan Calvin was the right age, and there was no romance between her and the main character.

It was a shockingly good science fiction movie.

Re:Conversions (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23590097)

the three laws (or four laws, as Asimov had in his later books) are completely integral to the plot
HOW can you say that with a straight face? The robot IGNORES THE FIRST LAW due to the second law - a complete contradiction of Asimov's novels. A HUGE ROBOT ARMY does exactly what Asimov detested in scifi, and prevented in his stories with the three laws.

Re:Conversions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23591623)

Zeroeth law pwns the First law, bitch.

Re:Conversions (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23590229)

Yes. And I fondly recall all the product placement that Isaac used to do in "I, Robot" and his others novels...

Re:Conversions (3, Insightful)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590235)

The main problem with it is that it was "With Folded Hands" [wikipedia.org] (with a Hollywood ending). Which is a good robot story, but it's by Jack Williamson not Isaac Asimov.

I therefore judge it a pretty good movie by Hollywood blockbuster standards. I wonder if Hollywood will ever make a movie that is actually based on I, Robot.

Re:Conversions (1)

kithrup (778358) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591307)

As I commented elsewhere: The Zeroeth Law.

Yes, it was very much inspired by Williamson... but, as with Asimov, in the movie it was a direct consequence of thinking through the three laws. In the case of With Folded Hands, it was more directly built into their programming.

That's why I say it was Asimovian: the character followed the laws thorugh, exactly as Asimov and Daneel did.

Re:Conversions (2, Insightful)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590247)

the plot is entirely an Asimovian robotic mystery

No, the plot is "Frankenstein". Asimov's whole motivation for inventing "The Three Laws" was to avoid falling into that literary rut, which was well-traversed back when he started writing and which is a bottomless canyon today.

I don't think the movie was garbage (hey, there's a reason Frankenstein was such a classic), but calling it "I, Robot" was just false advertising, even if the script subverted an Asimov idea while borrowing a couple character names.

Re:Conversions (1)

timholman (71886) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591223)

I don't think the movie was garbage (hey, there's a reason Frankenstein was such a classic), but calling it "I, Robot" was just false advertising, even if the script subverted an Asimov idea while borrowing a couple character names.

On the contrary, the basic plot twist for "I, Robot" came right out of two of Asimov's robot stories: "That Thou Art Mindful of Him" and especially "The Evitable Conflict", which was part of Asimov's "I, Robot" anthology. You can find summaries for both on Wikipedia. Also look up the Wikipedia article on the Three Laws, and read the section about the Zeroth Law of Robotics, whose basic concept is introduced in "The Evitable Conflict".

I don't understand how people can claim that the movie had nothing to do with the book titled "I, Robot". The book was an anthology, not a novel. The basic theme that the movie addressed was right out of "The Evitable Conflict". V.I.K.I. (from the movie) was only doing what the Machines (from the short story) were doing, but in a more blatant manner. Within the limitations of the sci-fi action genre, I thought the movie did a pretty good job.

Re:Conversions (1)

kithrup (778358) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591279)

Two words: Zeroeth Law.

If that doesn't mean anything to you, then you haven't read enough Asimov. If they do, then your criticisms don't hold water. Either way... the movie covered it, and covered it in almost exactly the same way that Daneel did, admittedly in a far more condensed way.

(I do have a problem with the big action scene at the end, because even with the Zeroeth Law, robots would have subdued, not injured or killed, human beings. The scene in Susan Calvin's apartment was dead on, however.)

Re:Conversions (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591735)

And of course the 'Frankenstein' movies are nothing like the book.

Re:Conversions (1)

OldHorton (198621) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590277)

Was this a sarcastic post?

Dr. Calvin's character was described precisely in the books and everything lead to her job choice, character, and specialty. If someone looked liked she did in the movie she would've lead a completely different life.

By the way there wasn't just one large action scene in the movie, there were several and all of it had nothing to do with the premise. Hollywood felt they needed beef it up since they felt most viewers wouldn't have been able to appreciate the storyline without it. It's just yet another instance of Hollywood producers thinking people are stupid so they must pander to it.

Re:Conversions (1)

kithrup (778358) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591239)

I suspect you haven't spoken with any highly-visible corporate women officers. Regardless of their personalities or original appearance... they get make-overs. They get expensive haircuts. They get extremely expensive clothes. And so forth.

Asimov did not foresee this; when he created Susan Calvin, the only way a woman would be in her mid-thirties, unmarried, and having a professional job is if she were unattractive, physically and emotionally. And Calvin fit that.

It does not match what really happened, and attempting to stick with that concept is, quite frankly, stupid and irrational.

Asimov had lots of small action scenes in his books. Being menaced by a robot with a modified First Law; the terror of having to go outside into the open; running to stop a robot caught in a loop... those spring to mind with no thought. What he didn't have was the large melée that the movie had at the end.

Re:Conversions (2, Interesting)

UttBuggly (871776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590905)

I have the original, serialized script by Ellison as published in Asimov's magazine. It's available in book form from Amazon.

If you read the Asimov stories and the script, there's no way on Earth you could construe the train wreck movie to anything the Good Doctor had created.

Susan Calvin's character was the one of the more horrible missteps in the movie. The character in the movie and in the books/stories share name only. Completely different characters. Susan Calvin NEVER WORE MAKEUP as was told in "Liar" and was in fact, an object of ridicule, pity, or fear, depending on who you were at US Robotics and Mechanical Men. Certainly not a "looker" like Bridget Monyahan. Hell, she didn't have the "balls" the Susan Calvin in the books had.

And excuse me, but did we even get a HINT of Donovan and Powell? Nope. Nada. Zilch.

No...this was a mess. Were Asimov still alive, he would have been very disappointed.

Re:Conversions (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591713)

except the robots weren't trying to take over the world...and it was set Farther into the future.

There was a "Total Recall" TV series; which was NOTHING like the movie. It was a LOT like the Asimov Robot books.
Really enjoyable series that was on a too small of a network to get picked up. Way ahead of it's time.

Re:Conversions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23590119)

The ST movie was supposed to be an insult to Heinlein, parodying the fascist leanings of his work, not an "accurate" adaptation (which is probably deserving for a guy who hyped up the military without ever seeing a second of combat).

Re:Conversions (1)

Nicolas Roard (96016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590397)

The ST movie was supposed to be an insult to Heinlein, parodying the fascist leanings of his work, not an "accurate" adaptation

Indeed -- when I saw that movie I kinda liked it, for the in your face irony and criticism of medias, action movies, propaganda -- remember the blatant propaganda shown on tv, the SS uniforms, etc. It was absolutely _obvious_ this was a parody and critical of all it was showing. I was astounded to read reviews on the web (on /. itself iirc) that actually took the movie as if it was a straight action flick...

Re:Conversions (2, Insightful)

Arccot (1115809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590777)

The ST movie was supposed to be an insult to Heinlein, parodying the fascist leanings of his work, not an "accurate" adaptation Indeed -- when I saw that movie I kinda liked it, for the in your face irony and criticism of medias, action movies, propaganda -- remember the blatant propaganda shown on tv, the SS uniforms, etc. It was absolutely _obvious_ this was a parody and critical of all it was showing. I was astounded to read reviews on the web (on /. itself iirc) that actually took the movie as if it was a straight action flick...
I think if it is a parody, it should have been a little thicker or less generic. Seeing it again (I originally read the book after the first movie), it still came off as either a kinda bad action movie, or a kinda bad parody. Army hate, media hate, and Nazi-like troops is a common theme in many films, so the bar for parody is very high on those topics.

There's plenty of Heinlein to parody, from his need to put spanking in virtually every single story (including this one), to his literary lust for girls (not women) and multiple partners sex. Both would have pandered well to the movie watching audience, while giving Heinlein readers something to laugh at if it's done in an over-the-top manner.

Re:Conversions (3, Interesting)

Bjrn (4836) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591283)

Straight from the horses mouth. [suicidegirls.com]

"That's very nice. I always thought the movie was badly understood. There was an article in The Washington Post when it came out that was not written by a movie critic. One of the editors wrote it saying that this was a neo-Nazi movie and I was promoting Fascism. That same article was published in all the European newspapers. When I went to do the publicity tour in Europe, everybody was already looking through that lens. The Washington Post is not a reliable newspaper anyway but they said the film was written by a neo-Nazi or a Fascist and directed by one. I strongly disagree with that. I saw it as a critique of American society. It is done in an ironic way but not pushing it very hard, which I hate because then it becomes dogmatic and becomes something else other than filmmaking. It was more that the novel by Robert Heinlein is very militaristic and has a tendency to be pro-Fascist a bit. We took a lot of cues out of American society at that time, which was [President Bill] Clinton, not realizing that a couple years later this whole situation would be much more acute and now you can put the film as a blueprint over Iraq or Afghanistan. But of course, I didn't know of bin Laden at that time." -- Paul Verhoeven

So the satire of some future militaristic state is realy a satire about our own present.

Re:Conversions (1)

Bjrn (4836) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590275)

I don't know about the other Starship Trooper films, but I thought the first one was pretty successful as an ironic satire of a militaristic and fascist "utopia". Watching it was a bit like reading Norman Spinrad book The Iron Dream [wikipedia.org] . You laugh and cringe at the same time.

Re:Conversions (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590599)

I really liked the first one aswell, especially the propaganda videos they inserted here and there. All the other films somehow managed to take all the bad parts of the first film and remove all the good parts.

Re:Conversions (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590955)

The Heinlein fans are all just cheesed off that Verhoeven made fun of their hero.

Yup. Expect it. (4, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590617)

Hollywood will glitz up the story, and gloss over the personal details. IMHO, it's the personal relationships that make the Watchmen such a good story. At its core it is a story about people, not action.

It'll be a shame to watch that take a back seat to special effects.

Re:Conversions (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591779)

It will probably have as much to do with the comic book as Starship Troopers had to do with the Sci-Fi classic.


And the basis for this is...what? Is the director actively hostile to the source material, as there was with film "adaptation" of Starship Troopers?

How Politically Correct...? (4, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589397)

While I'm hopeful that the movie will carry the same burning question as the book--do the ends justify the means?--I wonder how well the smaller themes can really be carried through.

Rorschach's rampant homophobia, for example, or the original Miss Jupiter's deep and abiding love for her would-be rapist, are uncomfortable but central topics in the book. Jon's gradual shedding of his costume down to full-frontal nudity, as he gradually distances himself from humanity, is also an important progression.

Obviously they can't include every side-trip in the entire graphic novel, but I suspect (with much disappoitment) that "controversy" is high on the list of criteria for making "obvious" cuts. Even watered-down, I suspect Watchmen will remain more powerful than your average Hollywood disaster, but... we'll see. For now I'm going with "cautiously optimistic."

Re:How Politically Correct...? (3, Interesting)

hassanchop (1261914) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590195)

"Rorschach's rampant homophobia, for example, or the original Miss Jupiter's deep and abiding love for her would-be rapist, are uncomfortable but central topics in the book."

Seeing as I barely noticed these things, I have to disagree that they are "central topics". It would be exceedingly easy to tell the important parts of the story while leaving most of that out, especially Rorschach's homophobia.

"Jon's gradual shedding of his costume down to full-frontal nudity, as he gradually distances himself from humanity, is also an important progression."

That I agree with. In the case of your previous examples, their absence would change little. This example was not only obvious, but necessary. Without removing the "deus ex machina" that Jon was, the story would have been impossible to tell.

I still think that stupid "tachyon" garbage Veidt used was a major flaw in the story. I lost a bit of respect for Moore for using technobabble and hand waving to get around Jon's immense power.

Re:How Politically Correct...? (1)

Kupek (75469) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590669)

Seeing as I barely noticed these things, I have to disagree that they are "central topics". It would be exceedingly easy to tell the important parts of the story while leaving most of that out, especially Rorschach's homophobia.
Story, yes. But like good literature, Watchmen is about its themes just as much as its story. I read Watchmen recently, and those two things were big deals to me. They made me uncomfortable, and consequently, I thought about them a lot.

I don't want to add to the silly geek speculation, but I think it is true that most Hollywood movies avoid making the viewer uncomfortable.

Re:How Politically Correct...? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23592397)

And homophobia? Would be more interesting if they showed his fear of women...

Are you kidding? (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590771)

Hollywood can't even handle a Phillip K. Dick story without slapping on a happy ending. Do you think for a second that they are going to spend tens of millions of $ on a movie and include ANYTHING that makes even one test screening audience the *slightest* bit uncomfortable?

The only way to do include any of this sort of material be to do it on the cheap and raise independent funding. If you accept Hollywood's fat cash, you accept that they're going to make your movie as inoffensive and audience-pleasing as possible. Those are the strings attached.

Re:How Politically Correct...? (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591127)

We'll see in they try to make it a detective story with Rorschach being a more hard core Batman falsely imprisoned and having to find his old ally or the "ends to a means" social commentary story about creating a greater foe in hopes that everyone will join together to create utopia. The fact that costumed adventures are there just happen to be part of their world is just a side effect.
Sadly, I think it will be the first with much of the explanation for the characters actions being left on the cutting room floor... But what can I say? It will be Pawn who closes his eyes and says mother, but Rorschach that opens them again.

Movie Adaptations (4, Insightful)

majorgoodvibes (1228026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589523)

are almost never 100% faithful - the closest I've seen lately is "No Country for Old Men."

It's not that it's impossible but it's just not necessary or preferable. If a movie gets the spirit of its source material, captures something of its style, and brings something new to it that could only be accomplished cinematically then it's probably a successful adaptation.

Re:Movie Adaptations (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590927)

There are occasions where a divergent interpretation actually bests the original material. Kubrick's film "The Shining" was brilliant. King's book, by contrast, was mediocre at best. Almost all the classic elements that come to mind when people think of "The Shining" today were added by Kubrick (who the fuck thinks of Jack running around a bunch of topiary animals with a croquet mallet?!?)

Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589567)

I doubt that Watchmen will get the treatment its due by Hollywood. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen didn't, and neither did V for Vendetta. Why should Watchmen?

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589641)

Appparently, he agrees.

How do you feel about Alan Moore's excision from the credits of Watchmen?

Uh oh.

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (4, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590623)

No uh oh, Moore is a asshole and its been well documented for years hes a egotistical asshole. His input has been sought for YEARS when it comes to movies of his works and he flat out refuses to help, then trashes what eventually is made under a misplaced idea that by denying his input it wont be made.

Granted he has good reason in the past to not want to be associated with big companies as hes been screwed more than once, but the same can be said about a lot of other talented comic writers out there and they have had no issues with playing the game even after being burned in the past. I highly doubt that without Frank Millers help, Sin City or 300 would have been half as impressive as they where.

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23591031)

Honest question... Why does he keep selling movie rights?

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (1)

travellersside (1227548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591741)

He doesn't. These were all sold long, long ago. It's just that nobody actually turned them into movies until fairly recently. After the appalling work done adapting his stories, he's done the best he can and had his name removed from any future ones. Sure, he's egotistical and all, but I defy anyone to say with a straight face that any of the adaptations of his stories were actually good films.

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23591659)

I don't think Alan Moore has ever worked with a publishing house he got along with. Plus, I don't think he wants to be involved in anything Watchmen-related. He's like the RMS of the comic book world.

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (3, Insightful)

berashith (222128) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589667)

Add to this the fact that Alan Moore isnt lending his name to the movie and I am even more skeptical. A dark story with a non-happy ending doesn't sit very well with focus groups. I will save my cash a read the book again.

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (4, Interesting)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589737)

A dark story with a non-happy ending doesn't sit very well with focus groups.
No kidding. Just look at what happened with I Am Legend. In the book, the hero dies at the end knowing that, to the vampires, he was the monster. And then there's V for Vendetta. How the hell did the Wachowskis take a character that was a bomb-making anarchist and make a liberal out of him?

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (2, Insightful)

ttrafford (62500) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590359)

I agree mostly (V wasn't really an anarchist, he just wanted to destroy the current system so that a new, better one could be built instead). Really, the major difference with "V" can be illustrated by this one key line change:

Original: "There is no flesh beneath this mask, there is only an idea"
Movie : "There is more than flesh beneath this mask, there is an idea"

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (3, Informative)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590713)

I agree mostly (V wasn't really an anarchist, he just wanted to destroy the current system so that a new, better one could be built instead). Really, the major difference with "V" can be illustrated by this one key line change:

I disagree. Read the novel again, especially his little "speech" to the statue of Lady Justice atop the Old Bailey where he said that he had once loved Justice, but had found a new love: Anarchy.

Also, remember what he said to Evey about what would happen after the Norsefire regime finally fell, how the people would have the chance to create for themselves a society of voluntary order, or to build another government and let history repeat itself.

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (1)

ttrafford (62500) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591345)

he had once loved Justice, but had found a new love: Anarchy.
Interesting. I had read this as him positioning anarchy as a weapon to use against Norsefire, not a suggestion for a permanent state of affairs.

the people would have the chance to create for themselves a society of voluntary order, or to build another government and let history repeat itself.
Hmm, I'll have to read it again. I don't recall anything implying that the concept of government itself was the cause of everything that happened.

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23592009)

Hmm, I'll have to read it again. I don't recall anything implying that the concept of government itself was the cause of everything that happened.
No? Check out the section (I think it's in part 2) where he takes over the TV station and broadcasts his own propaganda, threatening to dismiss humanity if it doesn't get its shit together.

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591931)

How the hell did the Wachowskis take a character that was a bomb-making anarchist and make a liberal out of him?
They used an integer with too few bits for his level of hatred for government. His hatred for government flipped back into the negative, so he wanted government to grow?

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (2, Informative)

ttrafford (62500) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590227)

Moore stated years ago he didn't want his name on any movies based on his creations. Whether this particular movie is good or not had no bearing on his decision.

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (4, Informative)

Dunx (23729) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590649)

You're missing the point - Alan has distanced himself from every recent film made of his work, he doesn't take the fees offered even. He talked about this quite extensively in an interview on Radio Four a few years ago in the Chain Reaction series.

So Alan Moore not having his name on the credits means nothing at all about the quality of the film.

Re:Alan Moore doesn't do well on screen (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591909)

A dark story with a non-happy ending doesn't sit very well with focus groups.

... Which is why the bulk of Hollywood movies are utterly boring, homogeneous pap [notdirtywriter.net] .

I'm not expecting (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589585)

I'm not expecting a direct, panel-for-panel adaptation. While I love Watchmen, I feel there's a few chunks that won't translate well into film, specifically some of the backstory snippets that are told through newspaper clippings and the like. I want the movie to be loyal to the original material, but not bound by it.

It's a Setup (1)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589673)

'There are hardcore fans out there who'll be satisfied with nothing less than a word-for-word, line-for-line, scene-for-scene recreation of the comic book. I didn't believe that was ever going to happen.'

Gibbons is clearly setting up a strawman dismissal of anybody who complains that the movie is insufficiently true to the book. Don't think it captured the original story faithfully enough, or skillfully enough? You're obviously a "hardcore" fan with unrealistic expectations.

Re:It's a Setup (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589795)

Don't think it captured the original story faithfully enough, or skillfully enough? You're obviously a "hardcore" fan with unrealistic expectations.

Well, yeah, but LXG and V for Vendetta didn't fail on account of being unfaithful to the book on a scene-by-scene basis; nor did Superman or Batman or Ironman or X-Men succeed on the basis of their adherence to the books --- in some cases, quite the opposite. LXG and V were just bad movies.

Re:It's a Setup (1)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590245)

Indeed there are other reasons to object to a movie. The fact that it is a badly-made movie is an obvious reason. But if you re-read my post, I'm sure you will realize that I am referring to a specific reason for objecting to Watchmen for which Gibbons has already crafted a straman dismissal--objecting on the grounds of lack of fidelity to the original story.

Ironically, I thought that V for Vendetta was a fine movie in its own right, but significantly unfaithful to the original story in a few very fundamental ways.

Re:It's a Setup (1)

Arccot (1115809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590859)

Ironically, I thought that V for Vendetta was a fine movie in its own right, but significantly unfaithful to the original story in a few very fundamental ways.
I really enjoyed V for Vendetta as a movie. I've never read it, so I didn't come in expecting anything. I think the reason the readers don't like it is because, like any movie based on a novel/comic, at best it's a pared-down version of the story they love and will never be able to stand up to the same height.

Re:It's a Setup (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591421)

But if you re-read my post, I'm sure you will realize that I am referring to a specific reason for objecting to Watchmen for which Gibbons has already crafted a straman dismissal--objecting on the grounds of lack of fidelity to the original story.

I dunno, it seems like it's a valid dismissal, as the opinions of comic book fans have about zero correlation with the quality of a motion picture. The last thing the world needs is a bunch of costumed vigilantes deciding what interpretation of "Watchmen" is permissible. Who watches the watchmen of "The Watchmen"? Alan Moore's disassociation with the project is more interesting, but that isn't what you were talking about.

Ironically, I thought that V for Vendetta was a fine movie in its own right, but significantly unfaithful to the original story in a few very fundamental ways.

You and my girlfriend and my parents; silly movie.

Re:It's a Setup (1)

edraven (45764) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590903)

Yeah, who does he think he is, anyway? Oh, wait... crap.

Screw the hard-core fans (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589701)

There are hardcore fans out there who'll be satisfied with nothing less than a word-for-word, line-for-line, scene-for-scene recreation of the comic book.

Right, so screw 'em, they'll never be happy with anything that doesn't match what they've built up in their heads. They can exercise their freedom of choice and not go. I didn't like the new Star Wars flicks, but I chose to see them for myself and formed my opinion afterwords.

Re:Screw the hard-core fans (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591559)

I never understand this line of reasoning. Gibbons is setting the bar pretty high for fans, but I do not think it is that high. For example, I Am Legend. If you take the thing that made it such a great story and then completely remove it from the book, wtf? And Constantine, an occult detective from all religions, which seems like a writers dream, but they pigeon holed him into just Catholicism and gimic it out with things like a stupid holy shot gun, wtf.

It would seem like when the movies are fairly faithful to the original story they get rewarded and the follow on sales long after the movie has been out more than make up for any short term gain. LOTR is not perfect, but a pretty faithful adaptation that continues to make boatloads of money. Spiderman II same thing. It almost pains me that they go to all the trouble to get these great stories and then mess them up. Really they should just write the crap stories from scratch so no one cares they butchered it and then there are also no royalties. From the outside looking in it would be much more profitable long term for them to stay true to the material.

hear hear. (4, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589703)

I think that as long as it's true to the spirit of the comic book, and as long as - in broad strokes - it follows the plot and the characterisations...I don't think you can ask for every individual detail to be replicated.


hear hear.

Watchmen is a classic. It is my favorite classic. I still get it down and read it every now and then and it still makes me shiver.

My instinctive reaction to the film is "Noooooo!", but on reflection I then think of the "V for Vendetta" movie and I remember that it is possible to make a damn good film out of a graphic novel without following it exactly. I know "Sin City" is more or less a scene for scene clone of the book, likewise "300" - but it does not have to be like that. Vendetta showed us that.

Re:hear hear. (2, Insightful)

MythoBeast (54294) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589847)

on reflection I then think of the "V for Vendetta" movie and I remember that it is possible to make a damn good film out of a graphic novel without following it exactly. I know "Sin City" is more or less a scene for scene clone of the book, likewise "300" - but it does not have to be like that. Vendetta showed us that.
I'm fine with both of these, but I think that many of us will agree that Watchmen is something special beyond any other graphic novel. Just like the greatest of songs out there aren't generally improved by interpretation, I can't help but feel that too much interpretation can only lessen the result.

I'm glad to see that the first re-creation of the novel is attempting to recreate it as close to the intention as possible. I would also be happy if, in the future, someone took it as inspiration to create interpretations, but I really want to see the graphic novel itself on screen first.

Re:hear hear. (2, Informative)

JeTmAn81 (836217) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590201)

I think it says something that the filmmakers have made an entirely separate feature out of the "Tales of the Black Freighter" scenes from the original work. This is getting released on DVD right after the movie debuts. They are putting a lot of time and care into doing this right, and I don't think it's going to turn out as just another explosion-fest.

Re:hear hear. (2, Insightful)

DMadCat (643046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590239)

And on the other end of the spectrum we have the X-Men trilogy which showed just how bad a Hollywood interpretation of a comic can be...

I predict this will bomb. (5, Funny)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589735)


Looks like its going to suck. Bad actors, the director is a dweeb, the special effects are going to be laughable.

With production values this bad, who will watch The Watchmen?

Re:I predict this will bomb. (3, Funny)

berashith (222128) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589759)

I have no mod points, but this is great.

Who watches the watchmen?

In Hollywood... nobody!

Re:I predict this will bomb. (1)

jaguth (1067484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591215)

In Soviet Russia, Watchmen watches the who!

Re:I predict this will bomb. (1)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589829)

The true telling opinion about the movie is the release date. March. If Hollywood believed it was going to be a smash they would release it in May. Or around July 4th (for the U.S.). Or at Christmas.

No, this movie is destined to either be a cult classic or a total transdimensional bomb.

Re:I predict this will bomb. (2, Insightful)

JeTmAn81 (836217) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590171)

Actually, 300, the director's last film, was released in March and made north of $400 million. It was widely acclaimed and considered an excellent translation of Frank Miller's graphic novel. Watchmen definitely has a chance to turn out well.

Re:I predict this will bomb. (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#23589857)

With production values this bad, who will watch The Watchmen?
 
I guess nobody, unless we get shipped off to Soviet Russia where, alas, we watch The Watchmen.

Re:I predict this will bomb. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23590351)

I guess nobody, unless we get shipped off to Soviet Russia where, alas, we watch The Watchmen.

Or Watchmen watches you.

Re:I predict this will bomb. (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590863)

"Who watches the Watchmen" already flips the phrase for "Soviet Russia /." jokes. So really, it should be, "In Soviet Russia, The Watchmen watch YOU!"

*Synapses crossfire* Ow.

I will... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590343)

And some people I know...

Re:I predict this will bomb. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23590411)

Flamebait? "who will watch The Watchmen?" is a quote from the book. I thought it was funny.

Re:I predict this will bomb. (1)

expatriot (903070) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591025)

I presume that people know that the phrase (and the Watchmen theme) comes from the latin phrase Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Re:I predict this will bomb. (2, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23592151)

I own the Dragons of Autumn Twilight movie. I can watch anything.

If this flops... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23589841)

Will critics say, "Who watches the Watchmen?"

Re:If this flops... (1)

bob.appleyard (1030756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590489)

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

I'm concerned already.... (2, Informative)

andre3001 (976515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590037)

I'm not sure that the only graphic novel to win the Hugo Award could be made into a mass-marketed movie that could do it justice. Already Zack Snyder (director of the upcoming film) has to trim 4 1/2 hours of film down to a puny 2 at best. Can you really cover it all in that short period of time? And BTW - the entire Tales of the Black Freighter will be released separately on DVD by Warner Bros right after the film comes out. Get out your pocket books, people!

Re:I'm concerned already.... (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591889)

...after the film comes out. Get out your pocket books, people!
You mean fire up the BitTorrent. You must be new here.

Know what's funny? (5, Interesting)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590107)

Every normal person I know seems to believe V for Vendetta was a great movie. Maybe adapting a good book into a good movie, even at the expense of diverging from the original work, isn't all bad.

I wish they'd change the title (3, Informative)

attemptedgoalie (634133) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590525)

As I understand it, in I Robot's case, the reason the story diverged so badly is because it wasn't based on the book at all.

The studio owned the name "I Robot" and used it on a similar story. The movie that came out under that title would have been called something else if they hadn't already owned that particular name.

Can't Fit in 90 Minutes (4, Insightful)

ewhac (5844) | more than 6 years ago | (#23590685)

The Watchmen sprawls all over the place, and there's no way it would fit in three hours' running time, much less the Hollywood-standard 90 minutes. Something's going to get chopped.

Personally, I nominate for deletion the entire novel-within-the-novel of the shipwrecked castaway. Every time that came up, I found myself flipping forward, looking for the main story to pick up again. In fact, it seemed all the extra characters who we saw passing by the newsstand in New York were just "whales" (q.v. Douglas Adams).

I would be very disappointed if Rorschach's backstory as told to the psychologist were cut. Some amazingly powerful and resonant stuff in there. "Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later."

Really, really good.

Schwab

Re:Can't Fit in 90 Minutes (4, Informative)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591047)

The director has already said that it's a three-hour movie, although he's in a fight with the studio to keep it that long.

As for the story of the Black Freighter, it will be released in its entirety as a separate DVD-only animated film, released along with the Watchmen's theatrical release. More on that here. [io9.com]

I think they are taking extreme steps to make this movie faithful to the comic, and I'm heartened that it will be entertaining and true to the original. But we'll see....

Re:Can't Fit in 90 Minutes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23592359)

The shipwrecked castaway story has already been removed from the story (I hear it is going to be included in the dvd and possibly starring Gerard Butler)

Too bad but likely this is going to be a stinker (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591027)

Maybe it will be a good movie that isn't the Watchmen.

I respect Alan Moore's opinion personally.

I'm not sure if this could have been made into anything less than a hard "R" movie anyway. Very adult content.

Including the pirate comic subtext in the movie would be very hard.

It probably deserves a trilogy or mini-series to be done right any way.

other difficult things (1)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591583)

The knot-tops / lesbian romance subplot.

The paranoid right-wing rag subplot.

The role of the Comedian in present events.

Rorschach's unyielding, twisted sense of justice, which leads to his death. Is Rorschach's misanthropic voice the ultimate soul of the book?

The more I think about it, the more the Watchmen seems bound to its time. It was kind of thrilling to see a comic book deal with social issues. But because that was such a novel thing for a comic book to do, it could just sort of gesture at them. (As, for example, with the whole urban crime / police strike backstory.) It was enough for the book to say "we're aware of these things, and so should you be, because they shed light on today's events." The events in question, however, were those of the late 1970s and early 1980s in the U.S. and Britain. In sum, although I revere the Watchmen, I wonder how good its geopolitical or geosocial perception will look in a world that has changed so much since then.

In a sense, V for Vendetta got lucky in being made into a movie at the time it did, in that its portrait of a repressive society founded on propaganda designed to arouse fear of terrorist attack was just too deliciously close to present events for a scriptwriter to ignore. Here, too, it's enough just to make the Voice of London broadcast look like something on Fox News or CNN to stir up the audience. And of course the word "terrorist." In the end, I guess the low-hanging fruit of connection to today's events made for an enjoyable movie.

Watchmen will have none of these advantages and will have to sell itself on completely different grounds, on something closer to its own terms. I hope the producers will find a way.

Re:other difficult things (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23592479)

Having read elsewhere in this thread that Moore never credits work like this, I can't use that as an indicator any... moore.

Just wanted to say something... (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23591081)

If anyone is excited to see the movie Watchmen, you should really make sure to see the movie Taxi Driver first.
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