17 July 2008

holy shit

[See the headline]

Dawn of the Dead was an all right movie; it was smart in that it didn't try to recapture the brilliance of the Romero original, but was instead one of the best post-28 Days Later zombie movies (didn't hurt that it had a pretty wicked sense of humor, either). I think 300 was a spirited experiment that failed pretty miserably because it didn't have the soul that Dawn had. Too much CGI, too little spirit. Plus, I think the ending is terrible. There's a difference between adapting a piece of work to the screen and slapping that piece of work onscreen without any regard for the differences between the printed page and film.

I was so jazzed for Greengrass' adaptation of Watchmen; I heard the script was a brilliant distillation of that extraordinarily dense comic (which I still contend is one of the best works of literature produced in the modern age). I never got a chance to read it, but I imagine it's floating out there in the ether somewhere. Maybe I'll get to it one of these days.

It seems like Zack has his head on straight with Watchmen, though. He's certainly not a filmmaker without enthusiasm for his medium. I love how he's putting Tales of the Black Freighter out as a direct-to-DVD release around the time the movie proper comes out, both for people who revere the comic a bit too much (like me) or people interested in perusing the mythology of the original work a little more after they see the movie.

I know what's going on in every frame of the trailer; I hope Zack learned his lesson from 300 and didn't just cherry-pick scenes from Watchmen and slap them up on the screen. I wonder what it'd be like to watch it having never come across the comic book before, and experiencing it only as a movie for the first time. Would you care? Would you be excited? Or would it just look like another CGI-heavy comic book movie?

There are a few concerns, though, and the same ones that've marred his previous movies. First and foremost, too much goddamn slow motion. 300 killed slow-mo for something like a generation of filmmakers. He needs to learn to let things play at normal speed. Second, why is Rorshach doing a Wolverine vocal impersonation? Can't he sound weird and intimidating instead of just grizzled? Third, why the hell are they using a song from the Batman & Robin soundtrack (I guess technically it's from the "The End is the Beginning is the End" single the Pumpkins released, but that track, and its mirror - creatively titled "The Beginning is the End is the Beginning" - are on the soundtrack, and the single has that godawful B&R logo on the cover)? They get points for using a Pumpkins song, but lose many more fot its association for the popping of the superhero movie bubble. Also, I fear that the CGI is going to date it terribly. Will watching Watchmen in three years be like watching Spider-Man at home and getting pissed off because the digital effects are so shitty? Just because I'm excited, doesn't mean I can't worry.

UPDATE: Just showed the trailer to my roommate, who hasn't made it past the third chapter in the book no matter how many times he's tried. True to my fear, he didn't care at all. It looked cool (because it does), but he doesn't know anything about Dr. Manhattan, or Silk Spectre, or Ozymandias, or even Rorshach. Maybe this'll inspire him to pick the book up again, but I doubt it'll do that for everyone that sees the trailer. Did Zack make another movie that only fans of the original will dig? We'll see in about a year, I guess.

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