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Judge Rules Fox Has Copyright Claim To Watchmen

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the there-are-ways-of-telling dept.

The Courts 262

fermion writes "According to the NYT, a judge has decided that Fox owns the copyright to Watchmen, not Warner. Is this an example of copyright law becoming so complex that companies can abuse the court system to prevent competition, or just extreme incompetence by Warner? In the current business environment, either explanation is believable. Yet it is unbelievable that seasoned producers would spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create a movie that they can't even release. It seems the judge didn't want to bring this to a jury, and maybe daring Warner to appeal, or Fox to settle." The article says that Fox acquired movie rights to the Watchmen story in the late 1980s, but budget disputes and personnel changes have muddied the waters; Wikipedia has a bit more on the "development hell" which has plagued the film project.

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Too Bad (3, Insightful)

deathtopaulw (1032050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232549)

Too bad there are no directors still living that are capable of capturing what actually makes this work a masterpiece. I look forward to not even watching this movie.

Re:Too Bad (3, Insightful)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232579)

Ditto. I think the format alone (feature film vs. miniseries with a good budget) is going to make it suck, let alone your point about capable directors (or writers, for that matter). I don't know how you can cram that entire graphic novel into a 2-hour movie.

Re:Too Bad (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232617)

I don't read comics, but here's my story:

I dropped a brown rope this morning the size of a small black child. At one point, I wasn't sure if I was taking a shit, or it the shit was taking me. And while I'm on that point, what's the deal with taking a shit? Shouldn't it be leaving a shit? I'm certainly not taking anything with me when I'm done.

But back on topic, Fox sucks ass.

Re:Too Bad (1, Offtopic)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232719)

How did that get mod insightful? Funny, sure, but insightful? I guess it's insightful into that AC's stool, but come on!

Re:Too Bad (4, Funny)

jonr (1130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232735)

It's meta-humor.

Re:Too Bad (4, Informative)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232725)

I don't know how you can cram that entire graphic novel into a 2-hour movie.

By cutting a lot and releasing an extended version later that is 220 minutes [scifi.com] long.

Re:Too Bad (5, Informative)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232823)

I don't know how you can cram that entire graphic novel into a 2-hour movie.

Theres no way to keep 100% of it unchanged and uncut, but that's true of any media conversion. Many people seem to consider the original comic book form to be perfect, many of those people are going to be disappointed with the result no matter how good the movie is of it's own right. Some because they read the comics first, some because of a warped sense of elitism. That doesn't mean the movie is doomed to be worse than the comic books to an unbiased judge. It could be changed for the better.

Re:Too Bad (4, Insightful)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232981)

I don't know that "elitist" is necessarily the right word to use when describing people unhappy with a cinematic remake that in no way resembles the original material, but your point is still valid. I would argue based on that, however, that when a book has 1,000 pages and is well-received, then I'd posit that those 1,000 pages are there for a reason. There just isn't a way to do that justice in 120 minutes worth of film - even if a picture IS worth 1,000 words. There's simply too much content to convey. That's why I argue a mini-series with a good budget might be more appropriate for something like Watchmen. Yes, I know that Watchmen doesn't have 1,000 pages, but it's a pretty dense book nonetheless.

All this arguing about it amounts to precisely nothing, however, as no one asked us to make the movie. We'll just have to wait and see what they can or can't do with it. ;)

Re:Too Bad (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233049)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then film is worth, oh let's see.

Yup. 24,000 words per second. It'll be fine. ;)

Re:Too Bad (2, Funny)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233281)

Until you view it as NTSC, then it's 29,970 words per second. Unfortunately it's worth less in Europe, only 25,000 words per second.

Re:Too Bad (3, Insightful)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233571)

If it's being shot on film then it's 24,000 words per second. PAL and NTSC just duplicate some of those words and then mix them back in to give the appearance of more words per second.

Re:Too Bad (1)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233289)

LOL, touché.

Re:Too Bad (2, Interesting)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233329)

Actually, its very accurate considering the parent poster put people who were fans of Watchmen before it was being made into a movie in a separate category. I've noticed some people, even if they have NEVER EVER read the original book/novel/graphic novel/comic book or what have you instantly rag on a movie version of the story. The only thing I too can think of is a "warped sense of elitism" in which their point of view is correct at all times and everyone else is a moron.

The previews, from someone who has never seen/read Watchmen, looked promising. It may be a live action "cliff notes" version of the novel, but I go to the theater to be entertained and out of the house, usually with friends. It could be a crappy conversion, but still a good movie.

Re:Too Bad (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233417)

I'm more of an anti-comic-book-literalist - I wonder why studios are willing to pay big bucks for rights to comic books when it's just as easy to make up another superhero, since they're all pretty much the same. Two of my favorite movies this year were Batman and James Bond. But how much of that is due to the authors of the original series? Zilch, IMHO. The Bond movie could have been altered very slightly and passed for Mission Impossible or Bourne Identity. Batman is close enough to Spider Man, Superman, Iron Man, or random new made-up -Man. The Incredibles made up half a dozen new superheroes and they all seemed familiar even so. Batman, Superman - anything that has enough iterations has been good sometimes and sucked sometimes, so it's certainly no intrinsic value of the character or original comic book plotline that matters. I can see a producer shelling out for brand familiarity, but Watchmen doesn't offer much of that.

Re:Too Bad (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26233477)

The reason 'I-just-made-him-up-man' doesn't generally show up in the box office is simply because there's no anticipated built in audience.

Even though Hancock was somewhat of a Zzzz movie for me, it managed to make $600m worldwide.. So it's not unprecedented.

Although, really what it comes down to is that good film ideas don't make it to the surface often in Hollywood. Regardless of the great ideas that may get bandied about on a daily basis, all you have to do is consider that they made _3_ movies in the http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107438/ [imdb.com] 'Look who's talking' series.

_3_

Sit and think about that for a second.

_3_.

__ 3 __

And yet, we still have yet to see Goonies _2_.

fuck Hollywood.

fuck them up their 'Lets bring Michael Knight back' asses.

They did the Watchmen movie for the simple reason that 'gritty' comic book movies were proven hot by Sin City and 300. Look on IMDB, Sin City 2 is in pre-production and Sin City 3 is in planning. They're already planning "300-2" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1253863/ [imdb.com] .. Are you kidding me?

Hollywood finds one single good idea and then spreads it as thin as possible until we are revolted by the idea of _another_ film in the series coming out. Then they find a new idea. Then in 10-20 years it becomes retro and cool again and a new generation of dummies will line up for the rehashed garbage that the latest generation of sub-retarded writers belch out in-between the projects they _really_ care about..

Re:Too Bad (4, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232963)

I don't know how you can cram that entire graphic novel into a 2-hour movie.

you don't need to. you can always make as many sequels as you need. just look at LotR.

as i understand it, Watchmen consists of only 12 standard comic books. and the hardcover release is listed on Amazon as having only 436 pages. it's not inconceivable that they could adapt the comic into a trilogy or quadrilogy/tetralogy. an adaptation doesn't have to be a word-for-word screen translation of the original work. otherwise, how would you ever adapt a comic book series like Ghost in the Shell, which spans across 3 volumes and totaling 834 pages? or how about Akira, which spans 6 volumes, each of which being anywhere from 288 pages to 440 pages?

full-length films generally have higher production values than TV series. you just don't get the same budget or writing & acting quality on TV. frankly, a well-produced film adaptation stands a much better chance of being good (and doing justice to its source material) than a TV series.

personally, i don't even think there's anything worth watching on TV outside of documentary shows (Horizon, Air Crash Investigations, Seconds to Disaster, Nova, Mythbusters, etc.). comedy is about the only fiction genre with decent quality programming on TV, and most of those are animated series like Futurama, American Dad, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, South Park, etc. the last truly great non-animated TV series i saw was Arrested Development, but that canceled after only 2 seasons.

Re:Too Bad (4, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233139)

as i understand it, Watchmen consists of only 12 standard comic books. and the hardcover release is listed on Amazon as having only 436 pages. it's not inconceivable that they could adapt the comic into a trilogy or quadrilogy/tetralogy.

It's pretty inconceivable, though. Watchmen isn't an adventure story like LotR. It's really an exploration of characters and ideas set in the form of a murder mystery within the milieu of American comic-book superheroes. Breaking it into two or more movies would be highly unsatisfying. It might be possible to break it at the point at which [characters] decide to help [character] escape from [place], but most of the "action" up until that point takes place in flashbacks! The audience would be left looking forward to the big climax, sure -- but they'd mostly feel puzzled and ripped off, because the entire setup of the movie was the mystery of who killed [character] and they never found out who. In fact, they would barely have even been offered a suspect by that point.

Re:Too Bad (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233445)

Leaving off the mystery of "whodunit" until the second movie worked in Kill Bill ;)

Re:Too Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26233495)

wrong on two counts. arrested development went three seasons and heroes is absolutely worth watching and outside of your suggested safe zone.

Re:Too Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26233565)

MOTION DENIED

Heroes after season two is merely a sci-fi soap opera for people of below average intelligence.

The only good moments left are those with Hiro, but COME ON. The chick GOES BACK IN TIME by running... carrying the other guy with her? She doesn't overshoot or anything, she just shows up at the right moment, DOESN'T EVEN STOP, grabs him and dashes back to the right moment when she left?

That show has gotten sub-retarded. My suspension of disbelief thwacked back and hit me in the face.

Re:Too Bad (2, Informative)

Silvrmane (773720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232785)

I guess you know more than the artist who drew the graphic novel, and has, you know, SEEN the movie:
Gibbons: I am feeling very optimistic about the film. I have been pleased with everything I have seen, and every successive thing I see makes me feel better. I've seen parts of it now three or four times, and I can still watch them again very happily. Like a graphic novel, there are depths of detail and meaning in film that give themselves up on a first viewing, and I am really looking forward to getting the director's cut of the DVD so I can go through it frame by frame. Which itself is a similar experience some have the first time they read Watchmen, and which the film is cruelly denying me! [Laughs]
http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2008/12/archaeologizing.html [wired.com]

Re:Too Bad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232835)

I guess you know more than the artist who drew the graphic novel, and has, you know, SEEN the movie:
Gibbons: I am feeling very optimistic about the film. I have been pleased with everything I have seen, and every successive thing I see makes me feel better.

Or maybe he hates it, but he gets a percentage of the gross, so he wants you to go and see this steaming turd of a movie, since he won't make any money otherwise.

Re:Too Bad (1)

Silvrmane (773720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233429)

Except, how do you know it's a steaming turd of a movie? I don't know if it's bad or good. If I listened to everyone who hated a movie for one reason or another, I'd have missed out on some of my favorite movies, ever. But to dismiss a movie based on nothing more than opinion, or what you thought of the trailer, or whatever silly prejudice you want to foster, well, that's just not rational.

Maybe it's the greatest graphic novel of all time (I found it a bit self-indulgent and repetitive at times) but dude, it's only a graphic novel. Just like this is only a movie.

Note to Alan Moore: get over yourself already. You write comic books.

Re:Too Bad (1)

FluffyWithTeeth (890188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232837)

Do remember that for every Watchmen project, Gibbon gets paid twice, both his share and the writer's. I'm sure he's happy about anything that has the name Watchmen...

Re:Too Bad (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232843)

I guess you know more than the artist who drew the graphic novel, and has, you know, SEEN the movie

Yes. Ignore the fact the the graphic novel's writter and creator, Alan Moore, thinks so poorly of the project that he doesn't even want his name attached to it:

But I guess that you know more than him.

Re:Too Bad (4, Insightful)

insllvn (994053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232899)

Moore hasn't seen it and has said he will assume it to be trash regardless of public reception, critical acclaim or the decent of the almighty to induct the work into some sort of cosmic hall of cinematic excellence. Moore has been burned so badly in the past, he fears the flame to much to come into the light. He is hardly unbiased. Neither is Gibbons, who, as others have noted, has financial interest in the success of the film. Shit, I guess the only fair thing to do would be to see it and pass your own judgment.

Re:Too Bad (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233061)

Moore hasn't seen it and won't see it and automatically assumes that a movie adaptation of his work will suck (admittedly, after V For Vendetta, I don't necessarily disagree), but using him as a source is disingenuous at best.

Re:Too Bad (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233201)

Gibbons: I am feeling very optimistic about the film.

Media Executive places a neat stack of cash on Gibbons' desk

Gibbons: I have been pleased with everything I have seen, and every successive thing I see makes me feel better.

Media Executive places a second, even larger stack of cash on the desk. Camera pans to reveal a very expensive looking home theatre system, complete with an attactive female bartender.

Gibbons: I've seen parts of it now three or four times, and I can still watch them again very happily.

Re:Too Bad (5, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232795)

there are no directors still living that are capable of capturing what actually makes this work a masterpiece.

How convenient: Your hypothesis cannot be tested because of copyright law.

Re:Too Bad (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232853)

That's what they said about the Lord Of The Rings but it didn't turn out too bad, even though anal types still go on and on about how "unfaithful" it is.

Re:Too Bad (3, Funny)

timothy (36799) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232865)

Those types will always be around; in the future, video rental stores (if they exist) will have entire wings devoted to various incarnations of "Batman," into which they can be shoved.

The Lord of the Rings movies went way past anything I expected, into the same class of story -- for me, tastes vary -- as L.A. Confidential, where the book and movie have some major disjoint but each is masterful within its realm.

timothy

"But what about Tom Bomba--" CRUNCH. SMACK. CRUNCH.

"I said, what about--" SMACKASMACKASMACKASMACKA!

"Honestly, if only--" RATTATTTAATATATATATAA!!

Re:Too Bad (3, Informative)

The Rizz (1319) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233203)

[...] where the book and movie have some major disjoint but each is masterful within its realm.

Probably the greatest example of a book changing when made into a movie, yet both being fantastic in their own ways, would be Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? [wikipedia.org] and Blade Runner [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Too Bad (2, Funny)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233387)

In fact, I would argue that most Phillip K. Dick books are better as movies, once Hollywood has a chance to make some kind of sense with them.

Re:Too Bad (1)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233597)

PKD loved Blade Runner, he totally understood the fact that film is a different medium so even the same story has to be told in a different way.

I actually find the controversy about Deckard being a replicant, something that was played with in the the book and then discarded, highly amusing. You can construct arguments for and against depending on your point of view and the version of the film you're watching but those arguments are pretty much at the core of what the book was trying to get at - what counts as human?

Re:Too Bad (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233277)

"The Lord of the Rings movies went way past anything I expected, into the same class of story -- for me, tastes vary -- as L.A. Confidential, where the book and movie have some major disjoint but each is masterful within its realm."

I don't get why the book and movie need to share the same name if they are not going to share a plot.

Can't the movie be 'inspired by...' or do what another poster suggested and cop a Blade Runner - where the story and name changed significantly enough that no one expected a faithful translation.

Re:Too Bad (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233243)

Some films take their source material seriously and change what they think is necessary in order to improve it as a film. Others seems to just want to change it all around for no good reason at all. Having listened to what Peter Jackson said in the extras, there no doubt in my mind that he knows how a good film should be. And then there's the plot of LotR, which doesn't fit that format at all. He shrank it, stretched it, tweaked it and rearranged it and I think the biggest testament of it all is how you most of the time don't notice it. Obviously bits and pieces were lost (Tom Bombadil) but in the hands of a lesser director LotR would easily become a mashup of incoherent scenes.

That said, some of the things are entirely Jackson's doing like Sam turning back which was never and would never have been a part of Tolkien's story. It heightens the drama but isn't true to the book at all, Sam is the unwavering cliff that carries Frodo through it all. Other movies, well sometimes I suspect the director has barely read a slashdot summary's worth of the content. A successful movie that you want to make a movie of has a good plot. Sometimes you have to make hard choices on what's vital and not but you don't just scrap the basics and make a completely different story set in the same universe. Jackson strayed a few times but most of the time he made it fit.

In movies you can say a lot with a few scenes, like the one with Arwen's future as there's burials and statues while she lingers on. Other times nothing is said at all like with the Elven struggles against the evil. If he hadn't put them at Helm's Deep, the Elves would be nothing more than the guys running away. At the best of times, you manage to give something to both - like in the scene with the soup where the LotR-fans gets to hear that he's a decendant of Numenor blessed with long life, while the regulars have a have a silly romantic scene as he avoids eating the yucky soup. A movie that's only great if you've read the book isn't a very good movie at all.

Yeah, who can stand those people? (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233355)

Yeah. Anal types. Like those smug know-it-alls who read the books. They've got a lot of nerve. Don't they? Besides, books are no fun anyways. All those annoying words everywhere.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go watch Dune. Geez but I *love* that movie. Going to follow that up with Starship Troopers.

I just love movie night. Pass the popcorn!

Re:Yeah, who can stand those people? (1)

rxan (1424721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233421)

I think he was just saying that these anal people expect the movie to be exactly like the book. And yes, they usually do go on and on about every single difference.

It's not practical or feasible most of the time to have a movie follow its source book precisely. These anal types really have nothing to bitch about.

Re:Yeah, who can stand those people? (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233529)

I respectfully submit that we anal types do in fact have something to bitch about.

I agree that it is not practical or feasible to follow the book exactly. Inner dialog is especially tricky, for instance.

But changes for the sake of change - that's wrong. And that's a lot of what I see. I could give examples, but I don't think you'd be interested.

But I will say this to Hollywood: If you think you can tell a better story...then write one, and don't mangle someone else's work.

Well... (5, Funny)

ultramk (470198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232571)

I guess we have the answer to the question "who watches the Watchmen?"

Nobody.

Re:Well... (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232587)

Sure, but maybe we can answer who watches the NotWatchingButCasuallyObserving(men).

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232599)

I guess we have the answer to the question "who watches the Watchmen?"

http://watchmenwatch.com/ [watchmenwatch.com]

Re:Well... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233057)

I guess we have the answer to the question "who watches the Watchmen?"

Nobody.

The correct answer is "the insurance adjusters.

No movie gets made without insurance and no film company can spend $100 million without a fat insurance policy.

Re:Well... (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233601)

Coast guard?

Perfect tagline from movie poster (4, Funny)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232593)

"Justice is coming to all of us no matter what we do."

Serves them all right.

Re:Perfect tagline from movie poster (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26233485)

It's clear from your lame and offensive comment that you are a homosexual pedophile. Perv.

Another Alan Moore IP... (5, Insightful)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232595)

... another film that ignores the meaning of the source work in favour of appeasing popcorn fifteen year olds.

Alan Moore goes about it the wrong way, but he's right. Hollywood needs to start coming up with its own ideas again.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (5, Interesting)

chrisG23 (812077) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232705)

I know, like the whole time I was watching it I was like wtf? this isnt at all like the graphic nov@#(&$# Wait. I have not seen it. It has not been released. It may not be released now.

When did Hollywood come up with its own ideas in the past? They were just ripping off fresher ideas (with notable exceptions of course, but the exceptions didn't come from Hollywood, it came from certain individual filmmakers/writers/directors working for Hollywood)

Hypothetical question. If some artsy filmmaker made a low budget Watchmen movie that was really low budget, Im talking about uses visual symbolism instead of special effects, less than half a million budget, etc etc, that was absolutely in keeping with the spirit and meaning of the source work would you go watch it? Would you watch it over a Hollywooded version that was visually cool?

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232775)

This is a comic book I couldn't possibly care less about, but if we change the question to the effects-laden Star Wars prequels versus a hypothetical low-budget film production of the classic Timothy Zahn trilogy, my answer would absolutely be yes.

Good visuals are part of film-making, obviously, but that doesn't require expensive technology. Hollywood and modern video gamer makers may think their audiences utterly lack any kind of imagination, but there's a lot to be said for the "don't fix the shark" technique.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (2, Insightful)

The Faywood Assassin (542375) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232889)

I would have to say that a decent level of special effects are required. This does not mean that enough SE will over ride a crappy or non-existent story, but we have achieved a level of sophistication that we want to see superpowers that are "conceivably realistic" (if that isn't an oxymoronic request).

I want to see webbing come right out of Spider-man's wrist, not Spider-man making a hand gesture and a net flying at the villain from off screen

A great storyline will not be able to support sub-par special effects, and vice versa.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (1)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233237)

A great storyline will not be able to support sub-par special effects, and vice versa.

I agree that great special effects are not able to support a sub-par script, but I'd have to disagree that a story (how implausible/impossible it might be) can not be told without the use of great special effects.
One example I can think of now would be the first season of Heroes: Whereas the story was quite compelling (for me at least), and the events are quite out of the ordinary, the supporting special effects were quite marginal.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (4, Insightful)

tm2b (42473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233371)

A great storyline will not be able to support sub-par special effects, and vice versa.

Not a Doctor Who fan, I see.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (2, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232923)

Hypothetical question. If some artsy filmmaker made a low budget Watchmen movie that was really low budget, Im talking about uses visual symbolism instead of special effects, less than half a million budget, etc etc, that was absolutely in keeping with the spirit and meaning of the source work would you go watch it? Would you watch it over a Hollywood version that was visually cool?

I can't speak for the entire Watchmen thing as I'm not into the whole comic book deal but I will tell you that I found the ultra-low budget Call of Cthulhu [imdb.com] was just the thing to helping me get my Lovecraft groove back on after a long time away from the old gents works.

And it's not that I've ever seen Lovecraft as low budget but I guess most people do simply by his association with the word "pulp."

Now, would I rather see a high rent version of the same thing? Only if it was spent on actors who can act. Eye candy doesn't mean anything if I can't get into the story. Eye candy is only good if it goes unnoticed instead of being the focus of a film.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26233065)

Is that a serious question you ask in the end?

Because if it was meant as a rhetorical question, I don't know what answer you expected there.

I for sure would prefer the version that's true to the spirit of the source over a CGI-fest any day.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (2, Insightful)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233117)

Hypothetical question. If some artsy filmmaker made a low budget Watchmen movie that was really low budget, Im talking about uses visual symbolism instead of special effects, less than half a million budget, etc etc, that was absolutely in keeping with the spirit and meaning of the source work would you go watch it? Would you watch it over a Hollywooded version that was visually cool?

The important question is not whether it keeps the spirit and meaning of the source work, but whether it's a good movie or not. Converting any source work to another medium is difficult because you have to keep the spirit of the original, but still maintain the best qualities of the medium you're transporting it to. Keeping the spirit and meaning of the original will already ruin a movie adaptation because the original source material is more than a 2 hour movie will provide. This means it will probably be upwards of a 6 hour movie and nobody would watch that.

Another thing about your hypothetical question is whether less than half a mil is enough to make such a movie and keep the spirit. The Watchmen was made by 2 very talented people, and that's about how many it takes to make a great graphic novel. To put in the same amount of production value that the graphic novel had into the movie would be a large undertaking. You need actors, a director, producer, camera crew, etc. Something like Watchmen made for less than half a million will look like an Ed Wood film. Terrible acting, terrible set design, terrible costumes, etc. How can a movie like that ever do the original Watchmen justice - even if the script is the best Watchmen script ever written? If you're making that movie, you're throwing away the best parts of filmmaking so why make it?

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (1)

tisch (1371229) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233315)

i would go out of my way to watch a low budget but wonderfully symbolic film, like 1984. but i am for people being brought in to the graphic novel realm by mass high-quality movies. a great number of people who will watch the watchmen (pun heh heh) may end up buying the book.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232737)

appeasing popcorn fifteen year olds.

That sounds about right. It is a movie adaptation of a comic after all.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232971)

Hollywood needs to start coming up with its own ideas again.

There are only a dozen or so basic story ideas, and they've been getting reused forever. Even Shakespeare was all retellings.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (1)

rxan (1424721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233441)

True. But I think a recent movie I saw with a less-rehashed storyline would be Iron Man. I was pleasantly surprised by the unorthodox flow of the storyline. But even parts of that movie were typical.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233519)

I think a recent movie I saw with a less-rehashed storyline would be Iron Man.

A superficial cad is presented with an unexpected challenge. He makes a straight-forward attempt at solving this problem. The solution seems reasonable, but fails, and the hero learns that the problem is more complicated than he thought. He tries a more complex and convoluted solution which seems like it will work, but it too fails. Then when all hope seems lost and the only thing left to try is a daring, all-or-nothing last-gasp effort, he miraculously succeeds, and becomes a better man along the way.

The pattern of "simple problem, simple solution that fails, harder problem, complex solution that fails, extremely difficult problem, near-hopeless desperate solution saves the day" can be found over and over and over again. Three tries is important - less than three is unsatisfying, more than three is tedious.

However, i still think Iron Man was a good movie with some clever twists hung on that tried-and-true framework.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26233359)

uh... where did you see that review? Everythig I've read + clips of the movie I've seen has not only been in keeping with the book, but almost a complete fucking page-to-film adaptation.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233405)

Hollywood needs to start coming up with its own ideas again.

Huh? Where have you been for last century plus? Hollywood has never been about coming up with it's own ideas - it's been all about adapting since Day One.

Re:Another Alan Moore IP... (2, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233443)

No, he's wrong. I will grant you that I haven't read V for Vendetta, so I can't speak to its faithfulness as an adaptation. However, it is an excellent movie on its own merits. Even if it does leave something to be desired as an adaptation of the book, well, it's in good company, many adaptations have that flaw. Something's faithfulness as an adaptation of the original material and its worth on its own are completely separate concepts. LOTR has some serious problems as an adaptation of Tolkien's work, but is an excellent movie nonetheless.

Alan Moore is pretty much whining about nothing with V for Vendetta. It's not like they took his work, ripped it up, and made a mindless action movie of it. Whatever was changed from the original material, the end result is still a moving and thought provoking movie. That's hardly a failure.

Oh well, (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232605)

It's going to suck anyways, so no big loss.

Pfft! Cut the baby in half! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26232621)

OR Just leak it to BitTorrent already!

everyone wins!

Re:Pfft! Cut the baby in half! (2, Interesting)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232633)

Exactly what I was thinking.

Fox would then scramble to make a deal with WB so that they could actually make money on it somehow.

Re:Pfft! Cut the baby in half! (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233415)

Fox would then scramble to make a deal with WB so that they could actually make money on it somehow.

And hopefully before the movie inevitably gets leaked. It would kind of suck for both parties if the movie was available only via BitTorrent for several months, while legal issues got sorted out.

Alan Moore's curse strikes again! (1)

chartreuse (16508) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232641)

The judge seems to have ruled quickly (the trial was going to be next month) so that Fox and WBros can make a settlement and get the damn thing out on time. Not that it's worth it without the squid ending...

Re:Alan Moore's curse strikes again! (0, Offtopic)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232727)

No squid ending? Where'd you learn that? The squid was needed to unite earth against an imaginary foe; I can't see another plausible ending except maybe a UFO.

Re:Alan Moore's curse strikes again! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232779)

I succumbed to google; can't spoil a movie/book I already (think) know the plot of. Seems the director doesn't understand the ending.

Re:Alan Moore's curse strikes again! (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233141)

I was (really) hoping that they had ditched that script. I take it you are referring to the one with the tachyon-boosted sniper rifle?

Re:Alan Moore's curse strikes again! (1)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233293)

Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Deadline picked up an interesting point from the Judge's ruling. Apparently the producer, Lawrence Gordon, on counsel's advice and invoking attorney/client privilege wouldn't testify as to his acquisition of his rights. One side not offering any evidence, perhaps, sped up the decision.

3-6-9 (1)

Slur (61510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232695)

Look, if they don't release it on 3-6-9 the magic won't work, and I'll be damned if I pay $8 to go see it on 7-3-9!

Luckily this is just a movie (4, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232747)

I can easily imagine such an issue forming around something more important, such as a medicine or piece of life saving technology.

Re:Luckily this is just a movie (1)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233559)

I can easily imagine this rather banal comment applying to 90% of the stories on Slashdot. That doesn't mean it should be modded up every time.

horray! (1, Interesting)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232801)

Hopefully this will allow the hollywood shitwigs to understand that copyright is not something for them to use at their leisure. It is a seriously flawed set of statutes that hurt everyone. I'm so glad they've finally been bitten by their own beast. Now maybe they will stop pouring so many dollars into making more draconian copyright laws that take rights away.

Re:horray! (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232931)

you kidding? to them this is what copyright is all about. They signed a contract 20 years ago and now that somebody else has done the work, they can get their "fair share". Fox fronted money 20 years ago for an option... they get their big payout now, this is working out well for them.

Re:horray! (4, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233413)

You have to be joking.

The only thing Hollywood does is create material that can be incredibly easily copied, and copyright and the laws that surround it are all that allows them to earn anything whatsoever.

Without copyright, film releases would look like this:

1) Film company pours tons of money and time into creating a movie.
2) Movie gets leaked before it's even released.
3) Everyone can grab a perfect copy of it from anywhere they want to.

Or, alternatively:

1) Film companies stop making movies because there's no way for them to make their investment back, an incredibly large amount of people lose their jobs, and one of the major exports from the US disappears.

If films weren't copyrightable, the entire industry would come crashing down, along with a decent chunk of the US economy.

Copyright laws are abused a lot, but they do not, as you say, hurt everyone. The situation without them would be much worse.

Enter paranoia mode (or not) (1, Interesting)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232811)

The original comic had a lot of political content - without committing any real spoilers for the few who read this without actually having read the comic, the most central plotline of the whole miniseries involves using the 'big lie' technique to manipulate the masses. There are some '9/11' parallels to this. There's also some more tangential stuff. Sticking with just what's revealed early in the series and trying to avoid spoilers, Nixon stays in power for his second term because the approximate Superman equivalent hero intervenes in Vietnam, a somewhat Captain America like hero, complete with a patriotic red, white and blue costume, is increasingly revealed as a real bastard, and the prior generation of heroes includes at least one that sounds like he got his costume idea straight from a KKK meeting.
      I'd gladly go into paranoid mode here and propose that this film's legal troubles might be from some people wanting to suppress the political criticism, but some of the rumors about what's still in and what's out make me wonder, is there actually anything left in it that involves even the tiniest bit of politically sensitive content? By some accounts, the only way the movie could make any comments the current administration might dislike would be by encouraging a few people to buy the graphic novel.

Re:Enter paranoia mode (or not) (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232961)

That's pretty paranoid, considering that there's a lot more overtly political material that's more explicitly about the current administration, and it really hasn't seen this sort of suppression.

Fox owns the copyright to Watchmen , not Warner (2, Funny)

pleasechooseanother2 (1438995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232867)

Warner still can release the movie via The Pirate Bay.

I, for one, am disappointed (2, Interesting)

blue l0g1c (1007517) | more than 5 years ago | (#26232895)

When the hype started for this movie, I downloaded all of the comics and read them in two sittings. That's how good it is. Unlike many, I was reserving judgement until I had actually seen the movie.

Sorry to flame you but... (5, Insightful)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233089)

I downloaded all of the comics

And that's why your opinion is irrelevant. Please purchase a trade paperback version, support the creators of the original content, then try again.

Sorry to be harsh. I did the same thing. But after reading the electronic versions, I understood what all the fuss was about and went and got a paperback version so I could enjoy the writing and admire the artwork without sitting in front of a computer, and also so Moore and Gibbons received whatever royalties they still get from the sales of their original work. They deserve it.

I imagine someone will release this movie, eventually. Warner will pay off Fox, or hold their nose and come up with some kind of royalties deal. But the funny thing is, after reading the graphic novel three times now, I don't really care if I see the movie or not. I know it will look cool, and the story might even be OK crammed into two-and-a-half hours, but the graphic novel will always be superior because it was never about plot.

SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!!!!

The ridiculous ending makes that clear. Even the characters can't believe it actually happens. The book, at its core, is about different kinds of characters and how they cope with the ugly world around them. The character development which happens in the book will never translate well to movie format.

So, sorry to flame you, but please, if you haven't already, go buy a copy of Watchmen and support the original creators. Otherwise it's like not voting and then complaining about the government. You know, like half of North America does.

Re:Sorry to flame you but... (2, Insightful)

Ender Wiggin 77 (865636) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233211)

I downloaded all of the comics

Sorry to be harsh. I did the same thing. But after reading the electronic versions, I understood what all the fuss was about and went and got a paperback version so I could enjoy the writing and admire the artwork without sitting in front of a computer, and also so Moore and Gibbons received whatever royalties they still get from the sales of their original work. They deserve it.

To be clear, you're saying people should only pay to read a book, see a movie, etc, if they end up liking it?

Re:Sorry to flame you but... (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233361)

I think that is fair, and it seems to me like the library model- try it out for free but you don't get to keep it. If you like it then buy it and you have a copy for whenever you want. I see what you are saying but he could just as easily gone to the bookstore and read it, or borrowed it from someone. To be clear, you're saying that we should ban all libraries?

Re:Sorry to flame you but... (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233491)

Why not? People have been trying to do that for quite some time. That's what book reviews are all about, right? So they've gotten better. Of course, there are probably those who would go with "well, I liked it somewhat, but not enough to pay for it." On the flip side, more exposure in many cases means more purchases as well.

The idea that every time someone reads / watches / listens to something the author should get paid is horribly antiquated. The idea that authors should get compensated for their work is not. Who cares if the dollars don't quite match the readership, if the new model increases both?

Re:Sorry to flame you but... (0)

edmicman (830206) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233305)

Or you could buy it used on Amazon and screw the original authors out of royalties, etc., too!

Re:Sorry to flame you but... (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233365)

Buying used indirectly helps sell new books by taking the cheaper used edition off the shelf causing future purchasers to buy a new copy. I often will check the used bin, but if what I want isn't there I move to the new shelf.

Re:Sorry to flame you but... (1)

Sparklepony (1088131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233451)

I borrowed it from a friend, read it, and gave it back to him when I was done. No extra copies were ever sold as a result. Did I rip off the orignal creators any worse than the guy who downloaded it? I'm actually not sure, it seems like I didn't but I can't think of exactly why not. The net result was exactly the same. BTW, I rea;;y liked Dr. Manhattan's time-awareness but thought the plot's ultimate resolution was ridiculous. I didn't pay any money for the experience, though, so some may consider my opinion invalid.

Re:Sorry to flame you but... (1)

BlueCodeWarrior (638065) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233473)

And that's why your opinion is irrelevant. Please purchase a trade paperback version, support the creators of the original content, then try again.

You do know that Alan Moore never really felt that he was properly compensated for the book, and it was bad enough that it caused him to split from DC and never work for them again, right?

But don't let me spoil your good feelings for you. Don't get me wrong, your intentions are well placed. But don't forget that you're not always supporting the artist when you buy.

This coming from someone who just got their dead tree Watchmen today. I re-read it all in one sitting. So good...

A fantasy film? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233005)

Our nation's economic woes are due to our immersion in fantasy...... Who CARES who owns yet another set of fantasy figures? BTW - reading the article, the judge says that Fox has a copyright INTEREST in the movie. He doesn't say that Fox outright OWNS it, just that they have a legitimate interest.

*sniff* (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233115)

It's Miracleman all over again. Well at least we know how THIS story ends.

Just Saw The Trailer (1)

NormHome (99305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233131)

I remember reading about this dispute several months ago and that there'd been an injunction issued regarding a release until it was resolved. Then just last week when I was at the movies I saw a trailer for Watchmen and it included a release date, I more or less took that to mean that this had been resolved. While I never read the graphic novels the trailer looks very interesting and I hope that this can be worked out so that the movie can be released on schedule.

I really have to wonder if Fox has a good faith belief that they actually have the legitimate copyright or if they're using litigation for a payday ala Sco.

Adaptation rights != copyrights (4, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233133)

The notion that Fox owns the copyright to Watchmen is utterly absurd (and presumably just incompetent reporting). The comics series was produced by Moore and Gibbons under contract with DC Comics, a subsidiary of Time Warner, and (rightly or wrongly) that company owns the copyright. Fox might hold an exclusive license to the movie rights to the material, but that's a very different question.

Re:Adaptation rights != copyrights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26233219)

The movie would be a derivative work. Derived works basically end up with two copyright holders. The copyright holder of the work it is based on and the creator of the new work.

So yes it is a copyright issue. That's the entire basis for adaption rights.

Re:Adaptation rights != copyrights (3, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233285)

You've missed the point. Fox has no copyright claim to the original work, and it has no copyright claim to the movie currently in production. This whole dispute is a contract dispute, not an ownership dispute. Everyone who knows anything about copyright law can confirm this.

Re:Adaptation rights != copyrights (1)

the white plague (1436257) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233435)

I think the copyright issue is that they licensed the right to make a specific type of derivative work from the copyright holder. Whether they purchased that right outright or only for a specific film that was never made is unclear.

copyright interest != copyright (5, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233409)

Fox might hold an exclusive license to the movie rights to the material, but that's a very different question.

If you actually bothered to RTFA carefully, you'd see that they have been ruled to have a copyright interest.

Since you're clearly ignorant on the matter and think "copyright interest" means "copyright" or "exclusive movie rights", try educating yourself instead [google.com] .

I know it comes as a shock to all you fifteen year olds, but IP law is simpler than "Cory Doctorow says I can give my stuff away and copyright is bad!"

Got Link? (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233177)

Anybody got a link to the actual judges ruling? I mean, it's nice to get a press release, but much better to get the actual ruling. There's nothing to show the actual merits to which the judge is opining on.

As they pointed out... (5, Insightful)

Landshark17 (807664) | more than 5 years ago | (#26233349)

As Quint pointed out on Ain't It Cool News, Fox waited till Warner Brother's practically had the film released before they bothered to excercise their copyright on the film, suggesting it might be an attempt to scoop up the cash on a blockbuster they wouldn't have to pay for.

Full article here: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/39578 [aintitcool.com]
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