The surge of comic/graphic novels that have been adapted into films has dominated the film market for decades. From the original Batman to the latest release of Captain America, these films are supposed to be the embodiment of the source material, but in all honesty how many of them are even close?
The comic is, to some of us, an alternative to television, book and film. We immerse ourselves in vivid landscapes and feats of superhuman prowess, violent fights and monsters that only work on the page. So, when the news hits the internet that the comic or hero you have adored for years is getting their big screen adventure, a feeling of happiness and impending dread washes over you. The general problem with any adaptation of a comic is that you will never be able to portray the same magic on the screen. Even with the advances in technology, a simple black and white cell depicting the dark intentions of a killer is rarely mimicked, unless you’re Sin City, but the problems then comes in other films stealing the idea and making the effect seem cheap e.g. The Spirit.
…reference material for setting up shots…
Recent films like 300, Watchmen and Sin City stick closely to the drawings and storyboards of the novel. Film makers have even been known to take these storyboards on shoots as reference material for setting up shots. However the market needs storyline and effects to sell their big budget blockbusters and unfortunately more often than not one is sacrificed for the other (Green Lantern).
Of course, there are some examples that work well coming from page to screen (Hellboy, Iron Man, Thor, Watchmen) but even these have a devout group of haters who cling to their comics with righteous fury. Literary novels are just the same as it doesn’t matter if the book to film adaptation was word for word, scent, look and feel whatever you imagine from reading the source material will not appear on screen.
…what the author of the source thinks…
I am not saying I hate adaptations I just believe there needs to be a closer look at who is making the film, what the author of the source thinks and for everyone to stop caring about money.
Images courtesy of Mike Mignola and MARVEL