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In essays on the subject of centricity, I've most often used the image of a geometrical circle, which, as I explained here,  owes someth...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Though I didn't mention it in PART 1 of this blogpost-series (collect them all!), I also have some issues with Moore's comments on adaptation that dovetail with my concepts of literary modes.

I'm not going to deal at length with Moore's numerous attacks in the WIRED interview on both modern FX-cinema and on all film-adaptations of his comics-work. I think his justifications for why comics shouldn't be adapted into films make no more sense than saying that literary characters not explicitly created to "cross over" with one another are inherently damaged by such antics, which I've refuted here. Obviously the art of pastiche is the whole raison d'etre of LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, moments of social satire notwithstanding.

I've stated here the simple maxim that anything that can be done well is worth doing. From this notion follows the pluralist principle that there's no inherent superiority between, say, the act of creating a good action-adventure story and that of creating a good satire of that story. Elsewhere, as an example of this principle, I elaborated that although Frank Miller's film THE SPIRIT was a poor film, Miller's approach to his adaptation of Eisner, which approach involved switching from one mode to another, was not inherently a bad thing, any more than Robert Aldrich's travesty of the KISS ME DEADLY source novel was inherently bad. In certain iterations the movement from the subtle to the gross can be as interesting as the reverse, though elitists will of course privilege the latter.

Now, about that WATCHMEN film--

Just to indulge in a little advance hypothesizing, I think that whatever emerges from the directorial lens of Zack Snyder will also probably result in a change of modes. In MERIT RAISED IV I analyzed the Moore/Gibbons WATCHMEN as being characteristic of the ironic mode due to the way it portrays the consequences of seeking power, so that:

"the mythological universe of Moore and Gibbons seems like one of those visions from Gnostic theology: a world of pure suffering and alienation"

I predict that Snyder will go all-out to make a faithful adaptation of Moore and Gibbons, but that it won't present such a world, for all that a recent sneak peek seemed to be faithfully rendering Rorschach's "descent into the abyss." In making this hypothesis I partially agree with Alan Moore's assertion that the nature of the medium (at least in its Hollywood manifestation) will mitigate against presenting the graphic novel in its original mode. I think in all likelihood it will come closer to Frye's mode of the "high mimetic:" that is, it will be either epic in tone, tragic in tone, or a little of both. This is pretty much what Snyder's 300 was in modal terms, though neither it nor its source material were particularly good examples of the high mimetic mode.

Amusingly, in this LA TIMES piece, Snyder sounds at least as authoritarian as Moore on the subject of how unique his work is:

"We're killing the comic-book movie, we're ending it," Snyder said. "This movie is the last comic-book movie, for good or bad."

In other words, if it succeeds, Snyder can claim he exceeded all previous accomplishments (though it's doubtful it'll top DARK KNIGHT's receipts). And if it flops-- "I meant to do that."

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