Friday, July 11, 2008

My Problem with Movies Adapted from Comics

We are glutting ourselves on men and women in tights.

There was an age when the world cringed at the sight of a movie featuring characters and stories gleaned from the pages of graphic novels. Remember "Steel" starring Shaq? Yeah, movies based on comics can totally suck if the studio tries hard enough.

Nowadays we have high profile projects such as "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight" that are very buzz worthy endeavors. But movie studios wrongly believe any character born out of the world of primary colors can generate a huge return on their investment. I suspect there are scripts floating around with Forbush Man as the central character.

We are heading toward a crunch where movies based on comics get big, bloated and not worth the digital effects poured into them. There is talk now that the Hulk movie franchise may not continue even though its latest installment made a respectable share of loot at the box office.

In the end it comes down to the numbers. Movies heavy on special effects can be huge draws and are often the top ticket sellers each year. But the success of "Iron Man" will not be shared by all heroes. Lame scripts, poor direction and just bad concepts from the studios are part of the problem. The reality is, not every comic title is worth an adaption.

Hulk does not belong in his own movie. The character is difficult to sell to the general audience. While Bruce Banner is a victim of science gone wrong, he is his own greatest enemy. It's a gripping story concept, but a challenge to market an audience looking for a hero to save the day or speak to some higher moral cause. Hulk break stuff like overactive child. Bad men in uniforms shoot Hulk with big guns. Hulk rip arms off men in uniforms (or at least he should).

My guess is the only way we will see the Hulk on screen again is in the forthcoming Avengers movie. The original comic in the 1960s that introduced the Avengers featured the Hulk on yet another misguided rampage that the team of heroes had to stop. The motif of other heroes trying to calm to Hulk down is repeated constantly. Whatever Bruce Banner's problems are, it's hard to keep standing in his corner as a movie audience.

So here is my prediction: After "The Dark Knight" has its moment in the sun, things will get frigid with this genre of movies. There are few tent poles left to support the weight of expectations in this market. We will see an "Iron Man" sequel, some Avengers movies and several more obscure titles that only fanboys are feverish over. But this genre is going to go the way of such sci-fi franchises as Star Wars and Star Trek. They will wear out their welcome and fade into nostalgic memory.


The First Book of James said...

As long as Dark Horse stays out of the race... sure I love Adam Hughes' "Ghost" but "Barb Wire" and "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" are what came from them instead.

acereporter73 said...

Those examples are exactly what I mean. Seriously, did we need a movie for "Mystery Men"? Even "Daredevil", "Elektra" and "Superman Returns" with notable characters were mediocre efforts. Keep your fingers crossed on "Watchmen".

Then you have stuff like "Hancock" which just confuses the matter.

acereporter73 said...

Then again, you also have something slick such as "Batman: Gotham Knight". It's a directo-to-video, animated release also available on demand.

Much like "The Animatrix" and "The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury" animated videos, this bridges the gap between live-action installments of the most recent Batman movies.

"Gotham Knight" is a slick collection of animated shorts, each with a distinct style but the same voice actors playing recurring roles. The BEST part is Batman is voiced by Kevin Conroy, who portrayed the character going way back to "Batman: the Animated Series" on through the "Justice League" shows. It's like having my old Batman back again.

What "Gotham Knight" doesn't do however is make me feel like I am watching the Batman as played by Christian Bale. Perhaps I will feel differently after watching the forthcoming "The Dark Knight". Maybe there will be some small plot connections that surface, but for now this really feels like a stand-alone video feature.

mesanchez79 said...

I don't have a problem with these comic book movies and I'm sure they'll continue to keep making them. There's a lot of graphic novels that I've never heard of that are being made into movies now. It is the big trend and the market is just being tapped.

My problem is with Hollywood and those damn suit and ties changing the comic book storylines! Lets not mention the Punisher movies ... ok lets. The Punisher is an easy movie to make. Changing the storyline of who and how he came to be The Punisher never made any sense. If the character was good enough to get this far in the comic world, why do they have a need to change the story?? Keep it the same and you'll have the die hards watching the movie two or three times and then buying the DVD Special Editions. Its the die hards who have gotten Frank this far, not the average joe.

There's so many crappy movies out there, I think a lot of those earlier movies were rushed esp with Spider-man doing so good. With Marvel now at the helm, I think these movies will just get better. I can only hope this new Punisher movie doesn't suck, cause iron man and hulk kicked ass and I'll be pist! This movie is being rebooted for the 3rd time!! How hard can it be?

Watchmen trailer is suppose to be in front of The Dark Knight. I also bought the Batman cartoon, looking forward to watching it tonight or tomorrow.

acereporter73 said...

At one point when the studios were considering reviving Superman in the movies, someone suggested putting in a giant spider for him to fight. Why? Because someone at the studio felt spiders were the deadliest creatures out there... no other reason. No real logic.

People in the studios who have all the money don't "get" the source material and try to change it into something they can understand. It happens with books as well.

It makes me kinda scared when they hire a director to oversee one of these movies who says they never really heard of the characters...

Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away