How Not To: Alan Moore Adaptations

At this point the only way the public knows about Alan Moore is his ranting. When he isn’t doing yet another League of Extraordinary Gentlemen spin-off he is on his soap box about the comic industry. For the most part he is complaining about how filmmakers butcher his library for adaptations. Heck, he is now ranting whenever a friend of his gets an adaptation of his own (most recent includes the Dwayne Johnson stinker Hercules). Honestly, Moore getting on his soapbox any time is getting a bit tiring considering how frequently he complains about the same thing. But let’s face it, the man does have a point.

If you know anything about Moore’s piece on the Jack the Ripper murders it is fucking dense. So obviously turning it only into a two hour thriller isn’t the best way to go about adapting it. While the film takes elements from the book, such as the Freemason elements and Gull’s motivations, there just isn’t enough here to warrant this a true adaptation. It’s like the screenwriters looked at the enormous graphic novel, said ‘Fuck this!’, and then used key words to craft their own story.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is not only the film that cemented Moore’s views on the film industry but it also made Sean Connery quit acting for good. Yet another series that has complicated back story and is annotated like hell; the film pretty much avoids all of the complex structure of this universe Moore created and turned it into a dumb action film. And boy howdy is this a dumb film. Not only is the action confusing itself but the characters in this are insanely stupid. Also, the filmmakers decided to ignore the Mina character, who is one of the strongest female leads in a comic book, and turned her into a damsel in distress. Again, this is a film that has made us not have a Sean Connery-lead film in over a decade. The world will never get the Zardoz 2 because of this shit!

You are going to notice a trend here but screenwriters don’t seem to know how to grasp Moore’s writing. For V for Vendetta it was written at a turbulent time politically in Britain’s history. But what the Wachowskis and James McTeigue do is give us the most obvious, and basic, complaints about government. It must be said though that Hugo Weaving does a great job as V but for the most part it becomes a slog to watch halfway through. If anything this film revolutionized the Guy Fawkes masks shown all over the place including being the icon for the group Anonymous. Now I don’t want this blog hacked into hell so I don’t take this as a front against that secretive group. But the movie based on their looks? Utter garbage.

Now I should preface by saying that I enjoy the Watchmen adaptation for what it is. There is no way you can realistically make a film about such a complicated story and also one involved the most intricate universe put on print. But I give Zack Snyder credit for taking the basic thriller story of The Comedian getting murdered and turning it into an entertaining film. It suffers from the Snyder tricks such as an over abundance of slow-mo and things look a little to ‘shiny’ at times. But the action is pretty good, the musical cues (for the most part) fit perfectly with the time frame, and the actors involved are honestly doing a good job with the material. Jackie Early Haley is a fantastic Rorschach and, if anything, at least it is nice to see that character be perfectly adapted on screen.

I haven’t even gotten to the films that were influenced by Alan Moore’s work but did not use a particular story involved. Films like Green Lantern and Constantine tried so desperately to grab the people’s attention but ultimately failed in the box office. If you haven’t noticed the big trend with these adaptations is that they only take the basics of his work and try not to go in-depth with them. Even the smallest of Moore’s work has such depth and back story to everything it becomes impossible to read everything in one sitting. Everyone just thinks you can take the basics of his work and turn it into mindless entertainment. Obviously that is not the case and while we have loads of stories by him to keep mining it is probably best we stop trying to soil the man’s legacy. Although it must be said an adaptation of The Killing Joke might still work…

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