It is currently Thursday, March 5th and it is all I can do not to sit and twitch in my chair with anticipation for the film adaptation of Watchmen this Friday. However, even with this twisted knot of anxiety for the “success” of this film, the words of Alan Moore (author of the Watchmen graphic novel) ring in my ears. “I will be spitting venom all over [Watchmen] for months to come.” (This quote tends to be taken with much more malice than I believe was meant. Alan Moore seems to be a very light-hearted friendly fellow)
This essentially boils down to the question, are we justified in seeing film adaptations against the author’s judgment?
For Watchmen, this is a particually prickly predicamen for me, as I do so respect Alan Moore and his views. He has always had a certain, earthiness, that is usually not found in many of today’s culteral figures (even less so in the comic medium). Much of his (public) opinions on religion, politics, and society in general, just plain make sense to me. This includes a certain distaste for the film industry. The film industry (which I would like to seperate from films in general) tends to take a hardworking individual’s piece, throw insane amounts of money at it(that could be better used for the poor or hungry). Then to ensure the filming company (and other related companies) can continually reap the rewards of marketing, the original author/creator is tossed into a confusing maze born from a myriad of contracts and legaleze. Of which, at the center of this hell is not the infamous Minotaur, but rather another feared monster, the lawsuit, waiting to drain away what life he/she had left that they managed to slip away with from the project.
Very rarely do anyone other than the “stars” or any name leading the charge of the film (director, producer, etc) get the credit. Even then, the credit is somehow grown into this detesteble disfigured form of god-like worship. In the end, I could argue that the deserved praise belongs to the mind that originally birthed the creation. Not because it was his/her work that gave us the film, but because to ensure the corporate machine takes all it can it eat, it makes the creator to suffer and toil in all the legalized filth one can endure.
Yet, even if the “celebrity worship” could be directed at the original creator, it is likely more than what Mr. Moore would want to accept. It tends to border less on a simple “thank you” and more toward a pop-culture junkie asking what opinions he or she should have, next much like a beggar asking for coin.
Even awarding appreciation for such work seems to be corrupted by this disease Hollywood infects with.
So after all the negativity associated with film industry, can I (or we) be justified?
Short answer, yes. It is my money, I worked for it, and I can do what I want with it, period. No matter the opinion of my peers.
Long answer, how can I continue to give to the machine that insists on (to use Mr. Moore’s language) spewing venom on decent reasonability. Namely, abusing the rights of individuals, and spending unheard of amounts of money that could be better used elsewhere.
(It might be good to clarify that the “money” that Hollywood flaunts is often just numbers and not “real” money. Much like what Wall Street uses. This is confusing, I know, but a discussion for another day.)
Assuming I was justified in seeing the film, how can I look at myself in the mirror knowing I am supporting an industry that not only spends an amount, per film, that rivals a third-world country’s GDP, but also for such a superficial reason as making more money. By giving them my hard earned ten bucks, aren’t I just feeding the beast?
Well, I can say I am funding the film, and not the film industry. (Remember when I made the differentiation earlier?) While the monster that is the industry may be the ultimate force in delivering films, a film itself is actually comprised of many more lesser considered individuals. I can believe my cash is actually going to help that poor guy who had to deliver Christian Bale’s donoughts today (who you know you have a soft spot for now). Or the woman who helped build the original replica of a comic book scene. These people work as hard as I do, and deserve as much support as what the face on camera gets. While I have no control over what share of my ten dollars is given to these individuals, it does not change the fact I may like their work, or just want to support them.
And to say that just because we stop giving money to the industry will mean they stop so much of their (arguably) immoral devices, is a misnomer. Even if they received no more money for taking in beauty and delivering bile, this does not guarantee they would start doing things “right.” How do we know they wouldn’t just move to some other industry where their underhanded tactics would be better utilized? Honestly, just saying this industry performs these questionable acts because of society’s promotion, is an insult on free will. It is the equivalent of (to take an example from Watchmen) justifying a rape by saying the victim was dressed like she was “asking for it.” This makes it sound like the attacker had “no choice” in doing what he did. While it can be argued that there may have been mental (or physical) conditions that promoted the idea of rape for him. The fact remains, the rape was of his own accord, and we should not insult his being an agent of free will by saying otherwise.
So to say the industry delivers what we may consider garbage only because we pay it to, is an insult on the free willed individuals behind the helm of the industry. Simply put, they do it because it is their choice.
Well, to that end, I believe it is perfectly acceptable for me (and all other Watchmen/Alan Moore fans) to see this movie, and to enjoy it. After all, I don’t see Mr. Moore losing any sleep over me (one of millions) seeing this film, regardless of his opinion of the film industry. And to take a page from Watchmen, the movie has already been made (Ozymandias’ plan has already been set in motion). Why not just go ahead an enjoy it (just as Nite Owl and Silk Spectre would). I could take the ridged stance of a black and white deontological Rorshach… But we all know what happened to him. 🙂