Sunday, March 19, 2006

Have A Pleasant.

This week there've been a lot of very good interviews with Mister Alan Moore doing the rounds. (Here's a written one, and look!, a moving talking one too.

This in turn made me want to buy the copy of Mr. Moore's first non-graphic novel I'd seen at Ferret. On the way home from said purchase, I saw that some industrious individual had begun pasting up pseudo-revolutionary anarchy malarkey concerning the impending movie unconnected with Mr. Moore by any official channels, V For Vendetta.

(As a keen movie-poster-peruser, I find the official cinema posters for this movie to run the gamut from uncommonly exciting to astoundingly mediocre; of course, we mainly get the mediocre one here, but one I should have little regard for either way gets turned into a perplexingly engaging standee, so that's nice).

I don't want to seem like a great big fanboy here, but I have to agree with Moore here when he says he doesn't know why this movie was made. I find the urge to turn any narrative into a movie as soon as it's seen to have struck a chord with anyone to be somewhat ugly: somewhere between Hollywood waving its dick about and proving that anything any art form can do, it can do better[1]; and some sort of cynical assumption that if something is good, but it's in written-down form, that it'll never reach the audiences it could, so we'd better give it a leg-up by transforming those outmoded scrawly bits of paper into The Dominant Art Form Of The Twentieth Century[3].

And, I mean, I'm all for cinema, but really, how many okay movies do we need? If a narrative was invented in a certain medium, is tailored to fit that medium, and has enjoyed huge success in that medium, I fail to see how the logical next step is, "So of course it follows it should be converted into a completely different medium".

(I'd like someone who believes wholeheartedly in turning everything into a movie to explain whether this is done so as to allow the narrative to attain its full potential as a piece of storytelling - the ridiculousness of which should be apparent - or as an adjunct, an add-on to the source material, in the way film scripts get put into the past tense and have the dialogue directions replaced with far too many synonyms for "said" so as to justify the lofty title of "novelisation". I mean, nobody in their right mind treats the novelisations of such fine motion pictures as Alien and Superman 4 as real literature; isn't the movie-isation of V For Vendetta - and all other movies basd on previously existing material - until proven otherwise, much the same thing?)

I have not seen V For Vendetta. And if I were to list my favourite movies, a few adaptations would crop up. So my argument is flawed.

Alan Moore has not seen V For Vendetta. If he were to list his favourite movies, Don Murphy's adaptations of his prior work would not crop up[4]. This movie is not produced by Mr. Murphy[5]; it is produced by Joel Silver, a man known for high-quality motion pictures in an alternate universe. Look, MTV have conducted an insightful interview with him, which they have bookended with other insightful statements about the movie:

V For Retarded

...So while my reasons for not thinking V For Vendetta will be good are flawed, I remain cautiously confident that it will not be very good.

If I were a notch cleverer, I'd equate Hollywood's Need To Adapt Everything with exactly the sort of malevolence depicted in popular motion pictures such as V For Vendetta; luckily for y'all, I remain, as ever, far below that sort of thing.


[1] Patently untrue. It's a scientifically demonstrable truth that 90% of all movies-from-books, well over 50% of all movies-from-discographies, and 99.9%[2] of all movies-from-lives have fallen - quoting Science here again, people - a zillion miles short of doing justice to their source material.
[2] Find here provisional exception for documentaries that eschew strict Voglerifying of the narrative of a person's life; and/or biographies of people who've lived exceptionally boring lives and somehow had movies made of them. None of the latter spring to mind.
[3] There are quarters where people will tell you that the Twentieth Century is over with - which is, I'll admit, true - and that videogames are the dominant art form of the new century. These people are, of course, cretins who don't even make very good games.
[4] I actually rather enjoyed From Hell, albiet with the expected caveat of "utterly independent of the comic book". I can, however, see the point of someone who adhered fastidiously to actual historical details, characters and - where possible - actual lines of dialogue, only to have a movie come out that was an adaptation of your source material in as much as it was called the same thing.
[5] Who once accused me of splitting my time evenly between onanism and spending too long typing posts that would end up on alt.fan.tarantino; neither of which are actually false claims, though he did go so far as to imply that I sometimes did both at the same time, which would be impressive.

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