Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Alan Moore's Films.....(Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

Alan Moore is disturbed, and his works show a psyche much like Stephen King's. His writing is legendary, spanning works with characters from DC Comics and Marvel Comics, as well as several independent collections. It's the independent stuff that has made him a legend, and arguably the most influential comic-book writer in mainstream media (Frank Miller being the only one close to him). Books like From Hell, Tom Strong, V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, & Watchmen have made him famous in both written and cinematic form. The Watchmen Graphic Novel is the all-time best-selling graphic novel, and the only comic-book to appear in Time Magazine's top 100 Novels. The following are the Alan Moore film collection:

1. From Hell. Stars Johnny Depp & Heather Graham in a suspense thriller about the Jack the Ripper murders, based on Moore's book by the same name. In 19th century London, Mary Kelly (Graham) and her fellow prostitutes trudge on through daily life, until their friend Ann is kidnapped and they are drawn into a conspiracy with links higher up than they could possibly imagine. It becomes apparent that they are being hunted down, one by one as the various prostitutes are murdered and mutilated post mortem.

The murders grab the attention of Police Inspector Frederick Abberline (Depp), a brilliant yet troubled man whose police work is often aided by his psychic "visions". Abberline's investigations reveal that the murders point to an educated person, due to the precise and almost surgical method used. After Abberline is suspended by those wishing to hide the truth, He discovers that the conspiracy has huge implications that reach clear to the Throne of England.

I love Johnny Depp movies, and this one was carried by his great acting. Although Alan Moore didn't like the movie, I never read the graphic novel and was impressed with the plot.

2. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Stars Sean Connery in an alternate version of the 19th century world. After attacks on the Bank of England and a German factory bring Europe to the brink of war, legendary Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) is recruited to investigate the situation. Quatermain travels to London and meets the mysterious "M", who introduces him to his "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", and invites Quatermain to join with them to investigate and stop the growing crisis.

The League then travels to Venice and around the world to stop the Fantom, who is behind the crimes and crisis. Can their supernatural skill and talents end the crisis, and avoid war, or is it too late?

Lots of action, great technological inventions that look true to the times, and Sean Connery make for a wonderful film, that was disliked by Alan Moore, but liked by me!

3. V for Vendetta. The film stars Natalie Portman as Evey Hammond, Hugo Weaving as V, Stephen Rea as Inspector Finch and John Hurt as Chancellor Sutler. The filmmakers removed many of the anarchist themes and drug references present in the original story and also altered the political message to what they believed would be more relevant to a 2006 audience, much to the disgust of Alan Moore.

In the near future, Britain is ruled by a totalitarian regime. Evey Hammond, a young woman who works at a TV station, is rescued from state police by a Guy Fawkes-masked vigilante known as "V". Evey witnesses V's destruction of the Old Bailey, which the government explains to the public as a planned demolition, but this is shown to be a lie when V takes over the state-run TV station the next day. He broadcasts a message urging the people of Britain to rise against the oppressive government on November 5, one year from that day, when V will destroy the Houses of Parliament. Evey then helps V to escape the TV station.

Evey is taken captive and imprisoned, Inspector Finch investigates V's past and his motivations, and England rises to the brink of revolution in this out-of-the-box film based on Alan Moore's book by the same name and involving the talented Wachowski brothers (who orchestrated the Matrix films).

I liked this film because of the theme, though friends who have seen it say that it glorifies terrorism in some ways. I personally thought the movie to be much better than the graphic novel.

4. Watchmen. The film is set in an alternate history of 1985 at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, as a group of mostly retired vigilantes investigates an apparent conspiracy against them and uncovers something even more grandiose and sinister.

They go on the hunt to track down the conspirators, and delve into their own histories, regrets, and loves. The end is unexpected, climatic, and good.

This movie is worth watching for the opening credits and fight scene alone, but I had to watch it three times to really appreciate it! Many who read the graphic novel came away disappointed.....but since I never read the book (I have a collection of over 350 Graphic Novels, but was never really interested in reading the best-selling Graphic Novel of all-time...go figure!), I liked this movie.

Stars a bunch of "no-name" actors and actresses, which I thought was great for the characters that were involved. Good special effects, and a superhero feel make this an enjoyable movie.

In summary...much like a Beatles fan can't be an Elvis fan & vice-versa...if you are a fan of Alan Moore's Graphic Novels, then you are probably not going to be a fan of the movies.....Alan Moore isn't! He has publicly criticized all of the films based on his works....though I'm sure he still cashes the royalty checks. On the other hand, if you liked the films listed here, then save yourself some money and don't buy the Graphic Novels, because you'll probably be disappointed.

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