Monday, December 01, 2008

Two Comic Book Trailers

Watchmen



Stephen Frug hates it so much he cannot even speak. He hates it so much I am on the verge of taking up a collection to make him go to the movie and write a really detailed review of how much he hates it, because from his blog it sounds like he is not going to go anywhere near it. I still hold out cautious optimism, of the sort when you know the relationship you are in will end in tears, but you go ahead and just try to enjoy the time you have left. In this case it is the time between the trailers and the actual movie, though for Stephen Frug, the party ended earlier than that.

Reactions?

The Spirit



I am starting to actually get interested in this. Miller's interest in the Spirit character is odd, because it obviously means a lot to him, but it is far too distant for a mainstream crowd to recognize, and it is even too distant for me to really get hung up on it as an "interpretation" of the character -- in a completely uncritical and lazy way I have already decided this is basically a new Miller character with no connection to Eisner's character, which is perhaps how Miller wants it. I have been thinking a lot about Miller's Batman. I have written extensively about how creators after Miller have lived in the Shadow of his Bat, but how has Millers later career been in the Shadow of that same Bat? What kind of anxiety of influence thing does he have, not with an earlier creator, but with his younger self? Is there any chance that his Spirit movie will be some kind of Batman movie is disguise? Cause that would make me like it. I will go see it in theaters.

16 comments:

scott91777 said...

I think this will definitely be more Miller's Spirit than Eisner's. I think, though, Eisner has been championed for the subtlety and inventive storytelling of his latter Spirit work. Granted, that's there and is very well showcased in The Best of The Spirit trade that DC has (the cheaper paperback... not the expensive archival ones). I remember a bit in the book Eisner/Miller where Miller praised Eisner for the subtelty of his work and admitted his own lack of subtlety in his own work.

However, I recently picked up another Spirit Collection entitled Femme Fatales and, in this volume, it is clear that The Spirit was also a puply crime comic filled with voluptuous vixens... and the comic also had great/groundbreaking visual compositions. In short, the kind of thing Miller loves.

So, I think what we will get is Miller's version of the Spirit based on what he took from the comic: hot chicks and dynamic visuals.

Jason said...

First time I saw the Watchmen trailer, I hated Rorschach's voice. This time it didn't strike me quite as badly -- although it still seems to lack a certain power. Maybe in the final film, it will have been treated so it's a bit firmer, not so thin.

When I saw "Sin City," I made the mistake of re-reading all the comics days before seeing the film. So the film was SO boring to me -- the dialogue was just too fresh in my mind, so the word-for-word recreation had me yawning.

I'm not going to touch the Watchmen graphic novel between now and then, so hopefully this latest note-for-note recreation will seem a tad fresher to me.

It opens the day before my 31st birthday. I'm definitely going to see it opening weekend -- hopefully ON my birthday. 'Twill be a nice present (I'm hoping from someone else, but to myself if necessary ...).

James said...

Rather than make 1 million complaints, I'll just say I find this post-Rodrigues-Sin-City method of adapting comic books to be excruciatingly unimaginative.

finsof72 said...

My brother and I finally have the funding to put together our own rendition of "The Invisble Man" and with our script we've sort've combined the style of Nolan and Miller. We're planning on using grainy, borderline-sepia tones (we're still shooting it in HD)and focusing not so much on telling a monster story but a story about how a man becomes a monster. One of the problems I ran into when adapting it was that when including elements of previous renditions, it was all very comic-booky and we've tried to make something more realistic and true to H.G. Wells' original story.

Which comes to the point that it seems like every type of medium is aiming more towards "realism", including videogames, and while that's fine for some things it's damn right boring for others, and this doesn't just apply to movies (ala "Grand Theft Auto IV"). Though a few months ago I had no intention of seeing this "Watchmen" thing, which I had never heard of before seeing the preview, I'm not looking forward too it, along with "The Spirit," in the hopes of seeing a comic book movie that actually IS comic-booky and not just "gritty" and "real."

finsof72 said...

*in my post above when I said "not" looking forward to it I meant "now,"...proves that improper proofreading can lead to an opposing point

Streebo said...

It's more likely that Miller's Spirit will be Sin City in disguise.

Mile Watt posted his own anti-Miller's Spirit rant several weeks ago over at Film Threat.

Andrew said...

As an adaptation, I think Watchmen is hopeless. I'm pretty sure that Zac Snyder actually thinks it's just a superhero book with more "realism," so that's the angle he's running with. As a movie, it might be okay. It should have some pretty impressive visuals and the soundtrack is going to have a lot of Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel.

As for the Spirit, it looks like Miller's Sin City meets The Crow (what's with the unkillable thing? I've only read Darwyn Cooke's Spirit, but it was good, and it was pretty much just a pulpy detective story), and I don't think I can stomach that much of Miller's dialogue ("I'm going to kill you all kinds of dead" really?)

Kyle said...

Though those are pretty bad trailers for fans of the characters, it was nice to end one with a good Muse song. And I had no idea Sand Serif was a bad girl, this version seems a bit like P'Gell (I've also read mostly Cooke's Spirit so far).

scott91777 said...

Kyle,

Sand Serif was basically the inspiration for the Elektra/Daredevil relationship: The Spirit's first love who, through tragic circumstance, often finds herself working on the opposite side of the law.... but is not entirely 'bad' so to speak.

speedreeder said...

Y'know fellas, we've all read the Watchmen, and everyone here has their own spin on it, so, I think there are bound to be a lot of disappointed comic freaks. That said, I recently saw Anton Corbijn's "Control" which is a biopic about the life and death of Joy Division's Ian Curtis. I have a friend who's been a huge Joy Division fan for over 25 years, and he hated the movie. The people who didn't know anything about Ian Curtis and JD, seemed to think it was a great movie. This seems to be a pattern with many adaptations; fans hate it, non-fans like it.

I don't think the job of a director making an adaptation is to make a small number of comic fans happy, that probably spells doom for any movie. (If the director can make comic fans and a general audience happy, I suppose that would be the best of both worlds.) Comic book fans can also try a little bit harder and be more open minded about seeing their favorite characters in new and different adventures. In my 20+ years of collecting comics I have found comic book nerds to be extremely conservative about new takes on their favorite characters. These new takes are frequently very badly done, though, just look at the death of Superman! (I'm thinking the folks here at Geoff's blog are a bit more open minded than the general comic audience.)
Anyway I just wanted to throw that observation out there. I guess the lesson is to check your baggage at the theatre lobby. (If you can!)

Streebo said...

I'm actually looking forward to both the WATCHMEN and The Spirit movies. As a die-hard comic reader over the past twenty or so years - I've learned to accept new adaptations whenever they come along. Some are good - some are bad - most are shite. Sometimes - something great comes along. I know there's no way possible to adapt Moore and Gibbons' WATCHMEN into a two hour film - so concessions will have to be made. I'm just looking forward to a kick butt superhero movie that might be tangentially related to the WATCHMEN story. I am sure the movie will draw in some new readers to comics and more readers is a good thing for the industry.

It's too bad HBO's Preacher series died on the vine. It would have been fascinating to see how that could have been handled over the long term.

Streebo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Streebo said...

Deleted comment was moi. Double post. :(

Mikey said...

I remember reading something I very much agree with (I do not remember where), that at the heart of The Spirit there is a kind of benign humanism, and that Miller does not do benign humanism and seems instead to be treating the hat and tie as fetish objects.

I'm going to be seeing this because I'm curious to see how/if the movie reconciles the charm of Eisner's creation with the relatively charmless world of Frank Miller. Miller is, if anything, going to have to up his game.

Another key distinction which Miller doesn't get but will have to learn: "femme fatales" are not the same as "prostitutes with guns."

speedreeder said...

Mikey, I think you've got it right on! Frank Miller's Spirit is looking like Sin City with a suit and tie.
I think Darwyn Cooke's take on the Spirit was really spot on, Cooke really caught "the spirit" of the Spirit, while updating it and introducing it to a new audience, Sergio Arragonés has done a pretty good job of keeping the feeling of fun and adventure going in the current book.

Stephen said...

If anyone were to take up a collection for me to see the movie, I'd spend it on a copy of the book, which I'd then give away to someone who's never read it.

I actually kinda agree with speedreader that it's not the job of movies to be a faithful adaptation -- it's their job to be a good movie. If I had any faith that Watchmen might be that, I might consider seeing it. It was that faith that got destroyed by the second preview.

That said, I wasn't actually hoping for a faithful adaptation -- I was hoping for no movie at all. If the various creators who are making Watchmen feel the need to make a good superhero movie, let them write it themselves and not despoil the good name of a superb book, a masterpiece of the medium, whose reputation will inevitably be tarnished by what is made, even if it is very good on its own terms, just as a (sufficiently culturally central) comic of Citizen Kane couldn't be anything but a disappointment. Of course, such a comic would be an oddity or marketing gimmick; the movie (given the cultural power of the medium) will overlay the reputation of the book, to the latter's detriment.

So yeah: make a good movie. Don't worry about the comics fans. But don't try to sell tickets based on a reputation you can't do anything but harm.

My attitude is, I quite understand, quixotic and strange and not shared by almost anybody. But given that one of the few people who *do* share the attitude is Alan Moore should perhaps get it a bit more of a hearing than if it were just me. Terry Gilliam, one of my favorite directors, decided not to make the movie based on Moore's advice. If ever director had been as respectful, and as wise, I'd have been happier.

-- There, I think I sufficiently vindicated Geoff's description of how much I hate the thing.

I imagine there are a lot of comics readers who would feel roughly similar about Spirit -- and probably justifiably so, given its place in the medium -- but since I've always had a lot more admiration than love for it myself, I don't feel that way.

SF