Joe Alterio's blog on illustration, comix, design, animation, and other bouts of total awesomeness.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Worst. Movie. Ever.

Back sometime in 1987 or 1988, a tattered manila folder with KFC stains on it made it's way from DC out to glamourous Burbank, CA, onto the desk of some producer at Warner Brothers. On it was scrawled in child-like script 'Batman: The Movie". A worse thing has never happened to the film or comic world since. Well. Maybe this or this. But that's it.

As someone who is himself in the midst of collaborating on a pitch book based around a comic, I recognize immediately my position is untenable, but a man's gotta eat, and the reality is that comic book movies are big bucks these days. And I mean big bucks. And if you lump fantasy and sci-fi movies in there, you've just about got the big money market cornered.

The rise of the comic movie dovetailed nicely with the rise of CGI: if you ever seen the old Spider-man TV show and it's subsequent effects, you see why previously super hero media felt a little limp. There's only so many times you can run the film backwards before the kids catch on. Suddenly, fireballs and monsters looked really really cool. And everyone knows cool = moola.

The problem is that comics and movies operate in two completely different visual languages.

I won't bore you with some real pencil neck talk, but to be brief: no matter how fresh the effects are, comics always worked on the imagination in ways that made the reader complicit in the action of the comic book. Comics books are an active medium. Movies are passive: you just sit there and receive the cues. So whenever I see a movie translated from a comic book of fantasy novel, no matter how great it looks, a little piece of me dies because it's like watching everyone's imaginations stuffed into the same little box. Anyone that thought juggernaut's charges looked like anything but this, tough luck. That's the way it is now.

Without further ado, this amazing list of the Pulp Secret's Top Ten Worst Comic Book Movies. They're all incredibly crappy, and there's few I have to rush out and rent. It takes a lot to make an even crappier looking Fantastic Four movie. Prost!

1 comment:

Kevin O said...

I remember watching Supergirl, Superman 4 and Howard the Duck as a kid, having NO idea of how bad they actually were. It was a more innocent time, the late 80s...

I think the problem with a lot of comic book movies is that because there are super-powers involved, it blows the whole sense of drama-due-to-human-imperfection. When this mutant fights against that mutant, I know that the outcome is arbitrary because the powers themselves are purely fictional, invented, abstract - so I don't care.

Any half-decent comic book movie (Superman, Burton's Batman, Spiderman 2) is interesting to the degree that it focuses on the weaknesses of the characters rather than their powers.

And YOUR comic book adaptation, Joe, will be spectacular because, in spite of the fantastical setting, the characters themselves will be convincingly human.