By Jay Stringer
Mike wrote recently about film adaptations. Well, okay, it was a blog he was stuck with thanks to the evil genius Weddle. Since that blog inspired this one, I’ll let them fight over who gets the credit.
Film versions, who needs ‘em, eh?
Well, we all do, it seems. But Why? Being a paid up card carrying geek, I spent a lot of my life so far talking about film adaptations; dream casting, the scripts I’d write, what Tim Burton messed up, who was the best Marlowe….the list goes on.
It seems to be an important aspect of literature, both comics and novels, to keep one eye on the silver screen.
I think last year was a watershed for me. I’ll take you back a little farther to make the point though, about 18 months ago I was talking to friend who shared my love of the comic book opus WATCHMEN. “I’m so nervous about the film,” he said, “what if they mess it up?”
I realised for the first time that I wasn’t nervous about the film. Moreover, I wasn’t particularly excited. I didn’t feel the brining need to see the book adapted into a film like so many of my friends seemed to. And it takes us back to that quote that always gets given to whichever 40’s author is cool at any given moment, that the filmmakers cannot damage the book, because “it’s right there on the shelf.” I had my WATCHMEN. It was perfect in its true form and I didn’t need it in any other.
Then the film came and went and did nothing to change my mind. I still have the story in it’s natural, perfect form, full of subtlety and craft and intelligence. I don’t need a two-dimensional film version, any more than I need a novelisation or a concept album.
I’m still not totally immune. I saw THE DARK KNIGHT in the theatres as many times as the rest of you. I was drawn into the fun of SHERLOCK HOLMES this week. I love to be knocked out by the occasional concept album adaptation. But I’m not obsessed with the concept like I once was. I don’t indulge in dream casting. I don’t look at the books on my shelf hoping they someday get taken seriously as films. Because I already have the stories the way they are meant to be. I’m past stressing over who gets cast in GREEN LANTERN or how badly Clive Owen would butcher Marlowe.
A book is a book. A comic is a comic. An album is an album. So why is it hard wired into us to want a film version?
From the point of view of the writer, there is a very practical reason, the chance to put a little extra food on the table. So that’s understandable.
But for the rest of us? Where does this come from?
Is it because Cinema was such an important cultural language in the twentieth century? If that’s the answer, what’s next? And what will films want to be adapted into in the years to come?