Friday, January 22, 2010

Movies + Comics = Steady Flirtation [A Chat]

I will be pretty dumb, if I host this month about comic books and neglect the fact that comics and the movie industry have been on an on and off flirtation ever since the former gained popularity and the latter discovered it was an attention whore. To acknowledge the connection between the two mediums I have asked The Book Smugglers [authorities on awesomeness] to have a short and not-serious/un-serious/anti-serious fun chat about comic book movies. We wanted to have fun and we did.
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1. If you see the cinema programs for the past decade, you will see that comic book movies have been booming, banging and exciting fans all over the world. I’m also talking particularly talking about the super hero variety. Unless you have been living in a cave, I am sure you have seen quite a few of these movies. Which one is your all time top pick and why?

Ana: I think I will have to go with Batman Begins and Dark Knight (I can pick two right? No? why not?). I love loads of Superheroes movies. Superman Returns is awesome, the old Superman, the old Batman movies. The first two Spider Man movies, the recent Watchmen, I even have a soft spot for Daredevil (shuddup). But Batman Begin and Dark Knight are just…awesome. They re-imagine, re-invent Batman and Gotham the way it should be: darker, grimmer. I thought the first Batman movie with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson was so good I watched it a gazillion times at the movies. How ludicrous. I was deluded. Poor teenager me. Let’s face it, Christian Bale is made of win.

Thea: Wow, ALL TIME pick? That’s a toughie. My gut instinct is to agree with Ana and go with Christopher Nolan’s take on the Caped Crusader, because, let’s face it, they are THE golden standard for comic book movies these days. The Dark Knight is probably my current favorite – dark, tense, terrifying, and wicked cool. Batman has his dignity back, all right, and no one can argue with Heath Ledger’s Joker (or Aaron Eckhart’s awesome Harvey Dent). Other favorites have to include: Dick Tracy, The Rocketeer (that’s right, it’s on there), Hellboy I&II (Hellboy, how I love thee so!), the original Batman films (all save the dreaded Batman & Robin), the old Superman films, Spidey 1&2, Iron Man, X-2, Akira, A History of Violence, The Incredible Hulk (YES, I love Bruce, wanna make something of it? I’ll Hulk-smash your ass!), Sin City, Road to Perdition, Persepolis, even the new Watchmen. The list goes on.

2. I agree that there have been EPIC WINS as far as comic book movies go like Iron Man and Dark Knight, but there have been as many FAILS in this category. Which one do you think is the worst movie made about a comic book series and why?

Ana : Dude. (insert picture of the Phantom). Need we say more?

Also we BOTH agree that although X-Men was a pretty good movie, Anna Paquin as Rogue is an atrocity. Character assassination.Casting fail.

Thea: Ok, in all seriousness…I actually LIKED The Phantom when I was younger. Yeah, he looks like a grape condom, but Billy Zane is so much fun in this role! And there are crystal skulls or something, right? It’s like a cross between Temple of Doom, Green Lantern, and a greedy Lex Luthor-type. And Kristy Swanson is in it (aka original Buffy)! And Catherine Zeta Jones! And JAMES REMAR!

I agree with the Anna Paquin hate though. She just really was not my Rogue.

But as for WORST comic to film adaptation ever, I’m gonna have to go with Batman and Robin. You know, I actually hated Uma Thurman after that film? I boycotted movies with her in it because of her gawdawful Poison Ivy. Other notable losers: Howard the Duck, Spidey 3 (sorry, hated it), Catwoman, Tank Girl, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Spirit (gags), The Fantastic Four films…there are a lot of epic fails out there.


3. I bet that every once in a while you read comic book series or graphic novels and I know that you have favorites among them. Which comic book series or graphic novel for that matter deserves to be made into a movie and why?

Ana: Harry, I would die a happy person if The Sandman was made into a movie. I know there have been talks. I’ve heard there were several scripts in the works. I know this is a herculean effort but if it works it will be SPLENDID. The Sandman is quite simply the best Graphic Novel ever for the story, the scope, the theme, the characters, the everything.

Thea: Gaiman’s Sandman is truly epic stuff, but I don’t know how it would fare as a movie. You know what I want to see as a movie?

WONDER WOMAN.

Come on people. We need a strong, beautiful, non-slutty superheroine. And who better than DC’s flagship warrior princess? I really wish the movie would get made already, all this back and forth is just so frustrating!

The other ones I’m super stoked for are the TV adaptations of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead (and as it’s going to be on AMC, with freaking Frank Darabont – of Shawshank, Green Mile and Mist fame – at the helm, I’m salivating) and Bill Willingham’s Fables. Both are series’ I read on a regular basis, and near and dear to my heart. I cannot wait.


4. The future is bright for comic book movie with titles such as Iron Man 2, Thor, The Green Lantern and so many others in production, but which one do you think will be the most awesome one and why will it kick blockbuster butt?

Ana: Can I say Thundercats? OMG I am dying for the Thundercats movie!!! Does Cartoon count? No? ok. Then, I am really looking forward to seeing Kick-ass, although there are no real super-heroes and I never really read the comics, but the trailers are really working for me right now.

Thea: Oooh, yeah! Kick-ass looks amazing! But I’m also excited for Iron Man 2, in the immediate future.

5. Here is something more theoretical for you guys. Should movies based on comic books follow the material closely [prime example is Watchmen, which followed the comic page by page] or should the scriptwriters be allowed creative freedom [examples are X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Catwoman] and why?

Ana: I wouldn’t say things are as clear cut as that. Watchmen did not follow the comic so closely (ok it did for the most part, but the ending, gaaaaaaaaah, the ending, nearly did me in). I am usually torn about these things. I think creative freedom is awesome but the original material needs to be taken into consideration as much as possible. I think that is the best way to go. Balance.

Thea: I’m inclined to agree with Ana. I’m not a “purist” by any stretch of the imagination – I do think that there are some things you can do in a comic book medium that simply can’t be translated effectively on screen. Watchmen is a good example of some of that. SOME poetic license is absolutely necessary.

BUT. There’s a huge difference between tweaking a backstory and modernizing a franchise (see Batman Begins), and completely going balls-wild and creating an entirely different character (see Halle Berry’s ridiculous Catwoman). There’s a line, and it needs to be respected. As Ana says, balance.


6. Part of why I love comic book movies are the spandex clad young actors doing violent things on screen and exuding primal sex appeal. With that in mind, who for you is the hottest on screen hero/heroine or villain/villainess?

Ana: do you even have to ask? Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine!!!

Thea: Hottest hero dude has to be Christopher Reeve’s Superman or Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Hottest Heroine goes to Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman. As for the more villainous characters, it’s a tossup between Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman and Rebecca Romijn’s Mystique. Oh, and even though the movie sucks, there’s something about Julian McMahon’s Doctor Doom that just does it for me.

7. Imagine you can control reality and wish to witness a super human fight to the semi-death. Which two masked individuals would you love to see pitted against each other?

Ana: Can I fight Thea to semi-death for the right to read our ARC of Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr when it comes out???

Thea: LOL. Seeing as it is getting mailed to me first, it’s not really a contest dude. Ok, fight to the death…I’d like to see a good old fashioned, non-superpowered fistfight brawl. Something like the Punisher throwing down with Rorschach. They can fight for who’s the badder vigilante bragging rights.

7 comments:

Brenda said...

Good chat! I'm so easy to please that I like pretty much every superhero/comic book movie. I vaguely remember Catwoman not being very good, though.

I'm most looking forward to Captain America!

Mark David said...

There's going to be a Thundercats movie? Wow!!!

Hagelrat said...

Yay booksmugglers in the library. Ace.

Harry Markov said...

@ Brenda: I am pretty easy to please too, but I have standards none the less, especially with super hero movies.

@MD: I heard that the project has been pulled out, because the CGI will be a tough one to make.

@ Adele: Yay, indeed.

Jeff said...

I think after seeing the special effects James Cameron used in Avatar they can make a cool Thundercats movie.

I have to say I did enjoy The Phantom in a guilty pleasure way. Treat Williams played a great over the top villian.

Best comic movie adaption I've seen is either Spider-Man 2 or 300. I thought they were closest I've scene to the original works.

Worst comic movie adaptions. Too many to name but to pick a few, All Punisher movies, All Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies, and Catwoman. Just thinking of the Halle Berry Catwoman movie makes me shudder.

What I would love to see most that hasn't been done. Death. Written and directed by the man himself Neil Gaiman.

Harry Markov said...

I would love to see Fables made into a movie, but otherwise I would do with whatever they make as long as it is shiny.

I haven't watched the Phantom and yes Catwoman was atrocious.

As far as best adaptation... I go with Watchmen, because apart from the dreadful ending, it got very close to the original and the cast to about an 80% was perfectly picked.

andrew said...

During the summer of 2008, at least, the price of a single movie ticket isn't likely to buy more on-screen entertainment value and cinematic ambition than The Dark Knight.




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