Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where They Are

Can I just say I'm so excited by this trailer?

Three things I've heard about this movie give me cause to maybe believe my hopes on this one:

1. Good director. A director who understands filmmaking and who won't just try to bring the book (the contents of the book) to the screen, but who will actually make a film out of it (i.e. what the director of Watchmen didn't do).

2. The studio doesn't like it. It tried to shut it down (after watching the finished product) and bring on a different director (i.e. someone who do the opposite of what I said just above).

3. Maurice Sendak, the author (and kind of a crotchety old man), likes the movie.

That's all I need to hear. I'm in. (It doesn't hurt that the trailer is gorgeous! What a fantastic job of bringing those monster's to life!)

A forth thing would be that, I know that there is more going in to the book than meets the eye. Sendak's traumatic childhood, his life experience of being a part of people-group that is as persecuted as they were/are, etc. go into this book, so that gives me the confidence to think that they're is room for expansion here.

Do you not love the first few moments of the trailer? So enchanting!


Conan Leblanc said...

looks AWESOME. The song was a perfect choice.

But, I'm curious exactly what you mean by your Watchmen quip?

Foolish Knight said...

Good question.

I felt that Watchmen (the movie) was a good tribute, a good summery, a good Cliff Notes version of the graphic novel Watchmen.

It was (I felt) not a good movie.

I'm not complaining that it was too short or that they left this or that out. That happens when you adapt something to screen. Movies are little; it's hard to fit a lot in there (and not, generally, a good idea).

The spirit of the book, the creativity, the innovation, was not carried over. The movie parroted the book. It was not an adaptation; it was merely a transfer.

Does that make sense?

Movies are different from plays and books (and anything else). I just wish people would stop treating them like they're the same.

Anyway. These are my initial, half-baked thoughts on the matter. I'd love to hear what you thought of it. I think a discussion on this would be great.

Thanks for commenting!

Anonymous said...

I am also excited beyond belief for this movie...maybe more excited than for any other movie this year.

I sort of see where you're coming from on Watchmen...I enjoyed it as a visual experience, but I agree that it was basically just the graphic novel on the screen, a lot of times so literally it was almost comical. I suppose the only creative license that was taken was taken in order to make the movie a bit shorter. I did, however, think most of the acting was well done (mainly Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan). Mostly, though, now that I think about it, I have forgotten almost everything about the movie other than its impressive visuals (particularly the opening credits sequence). It just didn't have the impact on me that, say, The Dark Knight or Children of Men did. Those are two extremely good, well-made films that have stuck with me and that I notice learn new things from with each viewing.

I also love what you say about movies being different from plays and books, which is part of why I liked Doubt so much. Same writer and director, but he changed a lot of the script for it to exist on the screen as its own work of art, while keeping the integrity of the story.

Foolish Knight said...

Thanks for commenting, Erik/Spork!

Yeah, the absolute literal transition did hurt it a few places (some of the lines work much better in the book than in the movie).

Children of Men is a good example of a movie that really became a movie to come to the screen (the book is very different).

So, at the end of day, I guess there are lots of different ways to bring a book to the screen. I'd hate to say that every story has to go through drastic revisions to become a good movie (I'm sure we can all think of very bad movies that are the result of that!).

Mainly where my heart lies (and I'm still sorting through all this), is for filmmakers to remember what their medium is and that it can be more than a form of mimicry.

Here would be another good topic for discussion: What are your favorite films that you think could not quite be reproduced in another medium? What films really remind you of all filmmaking can do?

Anonymous said...

Hmm...that's an interesting question.
I think Star Wars qualifies. Sure, their have been books written, but they aren't very good. The sense of adventure and peril that we feel when we see massive space battles or lightsaber duels onscreen is completely lost when put into a book. For me, an author describing a battle blow-by-blow is just boring. The same goes for Indiana Jones.

Also, I just watched Saving Private Ryan, and the impact that that movie has just couldn't be equaled in any other medium.

Those are the biggest examples that stick out to me.