Early Watchmen reviews are in and the consensus seems to be that while technically accomplished and very faithful to Moore’s graphic novel, the movie lacks spirit, succeeding in engaging the audience intellectually, but ultimately failing to engage them emotionally. The common criticism seems to be that Director Zack Snyder’s loyalty to the source material proves Watchmen’s undoing. Hmmm. I’m reminded of a past Mind Meld discussion over on SF Signal in which I was asked to weigh in on why many sf/f book adaptations fail. At the time, I wrote:

“People need to accept the fact that books are books and movies are movies, each to be appreciated on their own merits. In a best case scenario, they compliment one another and, hopefully, draw potential fans from one to the other. In a worst case scenario, they are utter tragedies that leave fans bemoaning the fact that, say, David Lynch was ever given the green light to make Dune.

My advice to filmmakers is to avoid getting caught up in the details of the source material and just concentrate on producing a good movie. Make the movie, not the book because, let’s face it, if you go down that route, you’re just begging for direct comparisons and, at the end of the day, the book is always better.”

You’re never going to please everyone. Stray too far from the book and you risk alienating fans of the original source material. Adhere too doggedly to the source material and you risk alienating viewers who may not be familiar with the book. The best adaptations walk that fine line between remaining true to the spirit of the book and striking out in a bold new direction. One movie that succeeded where so many others failed was Children of Men. A brilliant movie and a great book – but both very different animals. Another example is Blade Runner, one of my favorite movies based on a brilliant book, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which, coincidentally, was my Top February Read.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick

Very similar to the movie, it focuses on our protagonist, Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter working for the San Francisco Police Department who is charged with the task of retiring a group of androids who hijacked a Martian transport and escaped to Earth. The field of bio-synthetics has come a long way however and, as a result, androids are nearly indistinguishable from their human counterparts. The only way to differentiate between them is by means of the Voight-Kampff test that measures a subject’s ability to empathize. Humans can. Android’s cannot.

In terms of structure, it’s very similar to the movie although the book contains an assortment of truly out-there story elements, from a bizarre religious movement called Mercerism to a WTF?! narrative detour to an alternate android police station. It’s mighty weird but typical Dick and one can’t help but embrace the quirkiness as it, in a wild and roundabout way, reinforces the themes of individual identity and personal reality that the movie does in a much subtler fashion (the director‘s cut is much closer to the novel in this respect, actually inferring that Deckard himself may be a replicant).

The movie eschews most of the quirkiness in favor of a bleak dystopian setting that Philip K. Dick captures so effectively in the character of Deckard, his own misgivings about his job and, in particular, his ultimately heartbreaking quest to purchase a real animal – given that, by this point in Earth’s future, real animals are all but extinct. But the scene that stands out for me above all others is the infamous “spider scene” in which we are offered a glimpse of a replicant’s emotional detachment as Priss, one of the hunted androids, pulls the legs off a spider simply to prove it can make do with just four. Her clinical approach to the creature’s suffering is deeply unsettling.

A great book. And an equally great movie. But two very different entities.

As for Watchmen, I loved the graphic novel and fully intend to pick up the DVD when it comes out so I can judge for myself. If nothing else, it looks gorgeous. But before anyone starts feeling too sorry for the creative behind the movie, take heart. Early tracking has Watchmen doing BIG box-office, which is great because that holds the promise for more theatrical adaptations of literary genre favorites, be they fantasy, SF, horror, or comic book-based. And more such adaptations increase the likelihood that, every so often, someone will get it right.

I sent author Mark J. Ferrari your questions yesterday and I found the following email in my inbox this morning: “These are REALLY good questions, and I will enjoy answering them this weekend! Please feel free to thank your participants as soon as convenient
for their interest and their great questions.” So, thanks to everyone who took the time to post questions and comments…


And thanks to Chev. I received the Pug Mugs calendar. It joins my other Pug calendar on my office bulletin board.

Today’s entry is dedicated to birthday gal Deni B. Also best wishes to belated birthday, uh, individual AscendedTauri.


Majorsal writes: “do you know how close amanda is to finishing the q/a?”

Answer: Nope. I told her to take her time and that there was no rush.

Siba writes: “what does it take to add you to my facebook friendlist…”

Answer: Getting me back on facebook would be a start.

Shiny writes: “Last night (well, early this morning) I read through my current script and it didn’t suck. In fact I like that damn thing and I’m in love with the characters again.”

Answer: That’s funny. Tuesday night, I re-read what I’d written so far on the short story and hated it so much I was ready to scrap the whole thing. I re-read it on Wednesday and liked what I had so much that I was inspired to work on it today. I think it’s an odd/even day thing.

Ordinarysuperhero writes: “I wanted to ask, somewhere along that vein- what do you think should be more important to an author? That they enjoy their work or that their audience enjoys it? Or should it be both in equal amounts?”

Answer: It has to be a bit of both. You can, of course, just write for yourself but, at the end of the day, no one will care about your work other than you. On the other hand, you can’t be so worried about what your audience will and won’t like that you risk compromising your work.

Nicholas writes: “Bonjour Mr. Mallozzi, quand verrons nous les premieres images de Stargate Universe, et les photos promotionnelles?”

Response: C’est mois.

Translation: We’ll be seeing the first images of Stargate Universe this month.

Fifi writes: “What, no Joe Flanigan Q and A????”

Answer: Uh, no.

Ytimyona writes: “Hey Joe… do you think you could host guest blogs from some of the stars of SGU over the next break in shooting (or if, yanno, there’s an episode that is very light work for one of them)?”

Answer: Have already approached a number of them about doing a Q&A once they’ve had the chance to settle in.

PG15 writes: “One more Q: Is Peter DeLuise directing “Fire”?”

Answer: He is.

Amconway writes: “Food for a Dog with an upset stomach…”

Answer: I prepare something very similar but instead of carrots I use peas.

Dee writes: “Hi – I realize this probably isn’t the most appropriate venue – but wondering how I might contact Mr. Mallozzi or Alan McCullough by email.”


Narelle from Aus writes: “Got the Wii setup and going yet?”

Answer: Yep, and got the wife a whack of games including Hell’s Kitchen. I hope the computer-generated Gordon actually swears at the players.

Belouchi writes: “1. Did they fix that tainted Camulus ZPM from Zero Hour, if not why not use it as a weapon?
2. If Atlantis does go back to Pegasus, would they be more likely to return to the original Planet: Lantia or the one they were in prior to the events of Enemy at the gates?
3. Does the Antartic outpost carry more drones than Atlantis and doesn’t fire streams like we saw in the lost city season 7 SG1?
4. Will we see Daedalus class ships from the Brits and the Frenchies given that we found out the Russians( Korolev) and the Chinese( Sun Tzu) had/have one?
5. After all these years are there still Goual’ds out there that need to be taken into consideration; we know all the system lords were wiped out from Stargate Continum but there is the chance of lesser Goualds with powerful ships and armies?
6. Are you done with the Script for Project Twilight, if yes, when can we know of the title?”

Answers: 1. No. It was inferred that the ZPM contained a fatal flaw and that, when next powered up, it would explode.

2. Yeah, I wonder.

3. The city of Atlantis has more drones in its arsenal.

4. No plans to see a French or British ship.

5. There are definitely some goa’uld out there, biding their time.

6. If you’re referring to the Atlantis script – no. I mentioned in yesterday’s entry that we had a very detailed outline though.

AscendedTauri writes: “Oh, I also just purchased Mr.Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” and I plan on reading it in the near future. How is he doing in regards to Universe? Any chance we’ll see a script from him this first season?”

Answer: That’s up to John.

75 thoughts on “March 5, 2009: Early Watchmen Reviews Are In, My Top February Read, and The Mailbag

  1. Hmmm. I have to admit to never having read any Watchman comics. Perhaps I should. There seem to be a lot of things I haven’t read lately…

  2. Regarding movies and books – I’ve always felt that short stories make better films than books – see Brokeback Mountain, Away From Her for recent examples… what do you think Joe? Do you think short stories make better films? A movie cannot tell a 300 page novel the same way it can tell a 10 page stories – films have to be about one moment or a series of connected moments (which is what a short story does) whereas a novel tells a series of connected incidents (all of which are too long for a movie to tell succinctly) and so a movie based on a novel much excise material to make it fit. Or am I just rambling whilst drunk?

  3. Thanks for the notes on Blade Runner/Electric Sheep. I finished the book the other day (quite odd, sorta hard to get into it, but it was easier to immerse myself than Asimov’s Foundation), but I have yet to watch the movie. Apparently we do own it, though.

    Glad to see Peter’s back! I’ve missed seeing his mug in the background. I’m guessing he’ll show up somewhere in front of the camera in his episode?

  4. Majorsal writes: “do you know how close amanda is to finishing the q/a?”

    Answer: Nope. I told her to take her time and that there was no rush.

    but, joe, i told you i was holding my breath! shesh!




  5. yea your right, except that i happen to like Dune, hence the name lol. actually i never read the books just the movie and i think its very creative but needed alittle bit of fixing. now what is easier to do: write a book or make a movie? if i had a story in my head I will definitely want it as a movie because how many times can you read the same book really. but i will never know why books are enjoying all the sci fi/fantasy creativity while movies are left behind having barely scratched the surface of sci fi storytelling. books have the advantage, because it can dwell into the science at the same time have focus on the story itself like what you said about infoquake i think. and which is why BSG remained scienceless.

  6. Ooh, that would be weird if we saw more Goa’uld come to high power (but not *too* surprising).

    Yay, coming images of Stargate: Universe! By the sounds of it, everything is coming along very nicely?

    Have they got a score for ‘Universe’ yet? Will Joel Goldsmith be composing again?

    Thanks 🙂

  7. @Farscapefan : Thanks for the info, I did bookmark the page. Cool, as soon as things settle down I will definitely look at better. I have so many family and work issues right now it, my therapist is going to be living in luxury by the time things get sorted out.

  8. Joe! Thank you! How the hell did you know it’s my birthday? Made my day 🙂 Now, Michael Shanks can finish the day up for me on Burn Notice, and I can have old lady fantasies all night…

    @Trish: Thank you!

  9. I was just listening to a review on the radio. Apparently the character backstories are well-covered for the first two hours.

    The film of Forrest Gump was such a departure from the book that aside from the people who die, you’ll find a storyline completely different.

  10. Reminds me of some stuff I heard when the first Harry Potter movie came out and people were saying it stayed too true to the book. Well, if that really was a problem, it’s certainly been corrected in the later movies.

    I admit, I’m one of those people who goes into an adaptation largely expecting there to be no changes at all and complaining about every little thing. Well, that’s not entirely true, but I do nitpick an awful lot of stuff. Like the fact that the heights and ages of the X-Men were totally screwed around with. And how in the third HP movie, the whole explanation of the Marauders was completely left out (which made things rather confusing). I mean, I know that they have to make some changes, but too often what gets changed are things I actually care about, or little details that I pay attention to and see no reason for changing (like making three of the four hobbits blond, despite the fact that Tolkien explicitly said that blond is a very rare color for hobbits).

    That said, there are adaptations I quite like. Two examples:

    The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe – I went into this with high expectations and was not disappointed. I thought it was even better than the book somehow. This is partly due to the book being so short that they didn’t really need to cut anything out.

    Twilight – I went in with really low expectations, so I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, there’s still things I don’t like, but I felt that most of the changes were not all that important and that the basic flow of the movie stayed the same. Of course, we’re talking about an adaptation of a book that wasn’t exactly a masterpiece to begin with, so that’s part of the reason I’m so forgiving of the movie. The bad/cheesy/unrealistic parts of the movie are mostly things that carried over from the book. (Although that sparking effect *really* needs some work.)

    I think the best adaptations usually come when the author of the book either writes the screenplay or is at least very involved in its development.

  11. I’m just finishing Scalzi’s “The Last Colony” and have loved all three books in the series. I’d love to see what he would come up with for a Stargate script! And I’m pleased as all get out that he is acting as creative consultant for SGU!

    Joe, I see that you are reading “Best Served Cold” I am dreadfully jealous.

  12. Not in the scifi or fantasy genre by far, but the movie “Appaloosa” was surprisingly close to the novel of the same name by Robert B. Parker. I honestly could have brought the book along to the theater to follow along for much of it. Yes, I could see a few changes as well, though in each case you could see why they’d done it. A few things that worked in the novel just wouldn’t have translated well to the screen.

    Best part was, I ended up enjoying the movie quite a bit. Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris were great.

    Renee Zellweger, not so much. But what can ya do?

  13. One of my private shames is that I’ve yet to read Do Androids Dream…. Somehow I’ve managed to just not get around to it, or even put the book in the collection. Plan to remedy that when I pick up the BotM club selections next week.
    Turns out my canine guest prefers me, or my room, to my sister. So despite “Dogs”, I’ve re-discovered the joys of waking up to find a snoring mass claiming half the bed. Luckily my sleep has not suffered for it, and best of all I still foisted the mandatory first-thing-in-the-morning walk off on sis. I have to admit, retirement looks more appealing knowing that I would be able to devote the proper attention and devotion to a four legged friend.
    Thanks for the mailbag and all the other work you do here, and even more importantly, at Bridge Studio.

  14. Hey Joe,

    Thanks for the Watchmen review. Your take is about what I heard on NPR today.

    Very much loved Infoquake – even marked pages to help me write a review. I might even write it – and post in the appropriate blog page here. Going to read the other parts of the trilogy (as available), but reading Conn Iggulden’s Genghis series right now (historical novels). Good books – similar to Bernard Cornwell, but a little less violent.

    Keep up the good work!


  15. So on the topic of movies vs books… what do you think of Stephen King’s movies compared to his books? (in my opinion the movies don’t capture King’s tongue in cheek humour).

  16. @Gen Hated Appaloosa the movie the only reason I didn’t turn it off was because my dad and best friend were watching with me. But I enjoyed the book.

  17. Movie or book? They’re extremely different mediums so is it fair to directly compare? Judge each on it’s merits.
    Why is that when a question is posed it is expected that a black or white choice is made?
    I’m annoying (did I just hear a chorus of “Hell Yeah!”?). I find it hard to give a cut and dry answer because I believe there are many variables to take into account and the answer is not always definitive. It’s a side effect from spending too much time listening to Buddhist Monks. They enjoy the debate of the conversation, listening to the pros and cons, rather than reaching a conclusion.

    Joe, with your experience writing this short story, do you believe that writing a novel would be easier or harder?
    Hey, like my hypocrisy?

    Having a virtual Gordon Ramsey screaming at you seems, well, an odd form of self-imposed abuse…
    Is it virtual food or a Get Abused As You Cook style of game?

  18. Have already approached a number of them about doing a Q&A once they’ve had the chance to settle in.

    We’ll be seeing the first images of Stargate Universe this month.
    Yay! Does this mean MGM will let you post the behind-the-scenes stuff too, or just that there will be an actual trailer with actual people (and not just a voiceover) airing soon on the SciFi channel?

    I have been meaning to read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep for the longest time, but haven’t had a chance to acquire it. I’m gonna be here over break next week, so maybe I’ll take a trip downtown to the library and read it then!

    I believe I’ve already outed myself as a total Harry Potter nerd, so I’m not gonna feel embarrassed about the following rant:
    I think that staying true to the book is eversoimportant when adapting a book that has so many loyal fans. Personally, I don’t mind if you need to cut some of the secondary stories out in order to better focus on the primary one, but to add stuff in that wasn’t there in the first place is blasphemy. Kloves did a good job with the first and second HP movies, but after that he mauled the original source material in favor of flashier and edgier scenes and utterly failed in my eyes to provide a script that was true to the magnificence that is the Harry Potter novels. Okay, I’m done ranting now 😉

  19. Zack Snyder’s movies always LOOK good. My son is going tomorrow night with friends. I’ll report back on the teenage contingent.

    Oooh, you picked a Philip K. Dick book. What version of the movie have you seen? I can’t even remember how many there are now out on DVD.

    Do you actually cook for your dogs or are they on a special diet? I had a friend who cooked chicken every night for his elderly dog.

  20. You know Joe, in “some” social circles, we ***NEVER*** speak of the Lynch version of DUNE!! Especially after seeing that rather breath taking New Amsterdam Pictures mini series version AND its CHILDREN OF DUNE sequel!!

    People, if you’re a Herbert fan and have never seen these 2 epics, RUN to your nearest video place and BUY these things!! You won’t be disappointed!

  21. OOH! I’ve got an opinion! Personally I feel that the only movie adaptation of Stephen King’s was The Green Mile, it was a lovely if emotionally traumatising book and equally so the film.Christine, by comparison, was an excellent read but the movie was a sad disappointment, I’m not even going to comment on It or The Stand. King should only ever be read as there is just too much subtlety in his writing, saying that though I have been disappointed in his books of late and after reading Cell have been loathe to pick up any more, in fact I have a humungous copy of Duma Key on my nightstand that I really can’t get into. I certainly wasn’t disappointed with the LOTR series, although I have to say the extended versions are the only ones that work for me as they captured perfectly the essence of the books which is something that either happens or doesn’t. Similarly David Lynch’s Dune, I read the book, watched the movie and found the performances very wooden but the sets were wonderful(the FX are disappointingly basic but the overall atmosphere is pure Lynch.) I’ve tried several times to watch the other adaptation of Dune as a mini-series but I get bored after 20 minutes and so can’t pass judgement. What it all says though is that people watch movies for different reasons, I prefer Sci-Fi and currently horror(sometimes its thrillers NEVER chick-flicks *shudder*)and i want the same from a movie as from a book inasmuch as I want escapism. When reading I need uninterrupted peace and quiet (yeah right!) for several hours in order for me to totally absorb myself into it whereas a movie I’m happy to pause while I make a cup of tea or answer the phone, I am not as engaged, its a bit of time out. Am i making sense? Probably not. So where was I? Oh yeah, I read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep many years and one marriage ago and was surprised at how faithful the movie had been, I must re-read it now and see if that still holds.

  22. Bonjour,
    I was in the Paris International Agricultural Show, this week.
    I found A new Gustative experience ! a flaky pastry of “Roquefort”, bananas, and bitter chocolate, from Pierre Hermé.
    (Pierre Herme Salon Agriculture)
    Well, I taste it. it’s … how I can say … bizarre.
    If you can find it, eat it. It’s Alien’s food !
    Ciao Christelle

  23. Failing to engage emotionally? Phhhht. Whatever. I may not have cried my eyes out, but I was very engaged. I thought it was gory, beautiful, thought-provoking, intelligent, and it sucked me right in. The characters were, well, frakked beyond belief. And I loved it. It was so human. So not what I was expecting, and better than I expected in so many ways. I can’t say enough good things about it, despite the goriness I wasn’t expecting (though, in retrospect, I should have). I literally just got home from seeing it ten minutes ago.

  24. Hi, Joe
    Speak of the Sun Tzu, any chance the ship will appear on SGA movie?
    Because the ship wasn’t blow up in Enemy At The Gate.

  25. Peter DeLuise!! yay!!! since he’s back in the Stargate mix, maybe hed be willing to do a Q&A??

  26. I typically read the book first, suspend all expectations, then watch the movie.

    *Makes note to watch Blade Runner again.*

    I also never read any published reviews until I’ve watched the movie for myself. Otherwise, I would miss tons of great movies!

  27. I loved Watchmen. It was fantastic. Part of that review is right. It doesn’t stray too far from the graphic novel. Even some of the images are pretty much exactly the same. And also, it could have at times seemed a little cut off emotionally, but I was never thinking about that. I have always loved the characters so much, that I was just so excited to see them on screen, that it never crossed my mind while watching it tonight.

    All I could think about most of the time was how perfect Rorschach was. That made the movie for me. That was the make it or break it point. Everyone has that when it’s an adapted film. With Watchmen for me…it was Rorschach. He had to be perfect. And he is. Jackie Earle Haley IS Rorschach.

  28. I really like Peter D, glad to hear he’s back!!

    I get a kick that you keep vilifying Lynch’s Dune, an adaption that has grown on me given the disastrous attempt since (and someone is planning to try yet ANOTHER??) One reason I really like it is the cast, I think most of them were outstanding choices (even Sting! even Kyle M, it was a helluva debut!) C’mon, has anyone since done a more creepy Shadout Mapes or Baron H? To this day, when I read Dune books, I imagine the actors I liked in Lynch’s movie as the characters. Patrick Stewart & Richard Jordan NAILED their roles, I will never imagine anyone else as Gurney or Duncan. Or Freddie’s Thufir! I could go on!

    So, on the subject of book adaptions to screen, I have to say that the TV series based on The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind took a sharp right turn in the direction of good with the Mord-Sith episode, they absolutely nailed that character aspect! I still have issues with the cast but the weekly stories have gotten better and my interest is now piqued in anticipation of the next episode. The involvement of vet actor Michael Hurst hasn’t hurt either!

  29. And thanks to Chev. I received the Pug Mugs calendar. It joins my other Pug calendar on my office bulletin board.

    You’re welcome, sorry there was no chocolate. As soon as I saw it I thought of you and Jelly, Max and Bubba (sorry Lulu) and who could say no to a $5 calendar. I took the liberty of adding my birthday in May so there’s no excuse for forgetting :-D.

    Have you got any “mug shots” of your gang? Ones where they’re looking super guilty after chewing on your shoes.

    I thinks it’s a great idea for a staff calendar. You could take some mug shots of the other writers & producers and label them with their misdemeanors, like who puts the milk back in the fridge with a few drops inside it?

    Cheers, Chev

  30. I’m interested to see how Watchmen does here in Australia. I never thought graphic novels/comic books were a big thing here until about a year ago when I realised a lot of people I knew followed them and the screen adaptations. Then last year when Iron Man came out the local cinemas were sold out for four days straight, and the line for cancellations was out the door. It really seems like the superhero genre is being “revived”/coming back into mainstream popular culture. Whether or not this is a good/bad thing is debatable – thoughts?

    On films adapted from books, I agree with you Joe. At the end of the day a film is different to the book and creatives need to keep that in mind. On the other hand, I like to feel as though the people behind these films are as familiar with the original story as I am. A great example is 1408. I loved the King story, I found it trapped me in the world and wouldn’t let go until the last page was turned. The movie was different, particularly in terms of the character stories, but the cinematography, acting and script were so good that I hold it up as a fine film on it’s own. Some people may not feel the same, but you only have to look at all the King-related allusions in it to see that the film creators knew a lot about their subjects (author, story and film itself).

    Another book-to-film I love is Fight Club, which I actually watched before I read the book. I like the ending in the movie better than in the book, to be honest, but both are great pieces of work. But the movie was so vivid for me that when I finally got around to reading Palahniuk’s story, I had preconceived ideas and plot-points already mapped out. I didn’t like reading it that way and would have preferred to read the book before seeing the movie just to avoid that annoyance as a reader. Still, a lesson well learned I guess.

    On another note, in case anyone missed Joe’s original post to his SF Signal comments, which contained the link to the Mind Meld article, here it is:

    Hope you don’t mind me posting that Joe, but I went on a search for it because I was interested in seeing what other writers had to say and I thought there might be readers here who felt the same.


  31. So we had a little earthquake tonight, no really! I know you’re not supposed to enjoy them but I did. We don’t get many.

    Did you feel it Narelle?

    Cheers, Chev

  32. Also best wishes to belated birthday, uh, individual AscendedTauri.

    p.s. when May comes along…..I’m a girl

    People online frequently assume I’m a guy. I guess my screenname seems masculine or something ‘cos I think its pretty obvious.

    cheers, chev

  33. Awww I liked Dune..the movie…and the mini series.

    Strangely enough, I just finished a book called “The Androids Dream” which is, weirdly, a type of sheep that is electric blue in colour. It also involves a bizarre religion but is not a very engaging read if you are looking for more than fluff.

    It might be a good follow up book to Philip K. Dick’s novel.

  34. >>>Siba writes: “what does it take to add you to my facebook friendlist…”

    >>>Answer: Getting me back on facebook would be a start.

    No facebook?!? C’mon…we need you there! Infiltrating facebook is our version of conquering the world!
    I guess it all has to start somewhere 😉

    Well, if you don’t want to help us, then we’ll do it on our own… *innocent look*

    Thank you for the answer.

  35. As you probably know, I am not the biggest book reader, I am a movie goer. I have a sister who will say, “I want to read the book first” and I always tell her it is not a good idea because then you begin to compare the two and they are not the same. A book can take more time with descriptions whereas the movie has only so much time to get the full picture across. She just ends up complaining that the book was better and she wasted her money at the movies which is never a surprise to me when she does say it.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to see Atlantis go back to Lantea!

  36. Books and movies … I usually prefer “the book”. Reading a book is complete escapism for me; I tune out the world. You can talk to me and I will not hear you. An immersion, if the book is good, a love affair later savored over breakfast croissants and champagne in a loft gazing at the Eiffel Tower. In spring, yet. Movies? Exciting, cheap and fast … a hot two minute quickie in the back alley. Both have their merits and charms.

    Wait a minute. I was talking about books and movies, wasn’t I?

  37. Just wanted to add that there are various versions of the Blade Runner movie out there. The original one had a voice-over with Harrison Ford narrating. He was Deckard explaining the world he lived in. The next version, the director cut that out – it always bothered him – I think I recall he was asked to add it after intitial screenings. Now there is a Final Director’s cut, no voice-over and a different ending. (personally, I didn’t find it worth watching). I prefer Harrison Ford’s narration throughout the movie – just as I saw it when it first came out.
    I’ve read all the Dune series including the new prequel series. I do love the Dune and Children of Dune DVDs much better than Lynch’s Dune – but I might say too, that there is a longer version of Lynch’s Dune out there spinning around too. There are many entertaining stories about that movie – from making the outside skin of the worm from painted condoms to blowing the first part of the film’s budget on island trips for the cast and crew. Don’t know how much of that is true, however.

  38. “Also best wishes to belated birthday, uh, individual AscendedTauri.”

    At the last place I worked at, for the christmas dinner they put together a little “saucy” photo calendar of the women that worked there. They wanted to keep it a secret so they only emailed the female staff. They accidently included a 40yr old chinese man who had a name that someone thought was feminin.

  39. Regard the Dune Book series and the resultant movies, I have read the books and did view the original movie as well as the TV mini-series. I have been and continue to be a Dune fan since first reading Dune through the sequels including those by Brian Herbert.

    For me, the original movie characters portrayed my interpretation and perception of the characters as described in the book. For the most part, they personified what I read and brought the book to life.

    The original movie had some great actors and actresses as did the mini series. When the mini series was announced, I could hardly wait – ready for great treat, however the portrayal of some of the characters was dissappointing.

  40. @Chev: Thanks for the birthday wishes 🙂 I was in Guatemala for a huge earthwquake in 1976 or 1977 (holy crap I AM old) and lemme tell ya, I’ll take my chances with hurricanes in Florida anyday! Be well 🙂

  41. @Everyone who has seen Watchmen: Is this a movie to which I can take my 15-year-old daughter? She is an anime geek and she (and I, as her mom) is o.k. with animated violence and “adult themes” as long as there is no overt sex.

    Well, the economic downturn is wreaking havoc with my plans to get my son employed while he is home from college for the summer. The senior citizens here in the midwest have snapped up all of the part time jobs! Anyone have any suggestions about how to keep an asthmatic 19-year-old guy gainfully occupied for the summer? Maybe I should just let him go to summer school and worry about working next year.

  42. @maggiemayday: Spring is in the air and you’ve got it bad!

    … and I agree with your comments completely: books, movies, merits, back alleys… I’m off to take a cold shower now.

  43. Sorry for being nit picky but don’t you mean cet mois and not c’est mois?

  44. @maggiemayday,

    i hope your not serious, movies are not cheap and fast and they are definitely not a quickie in a back alley. what i like about movies is that they are able to dazzle you visually and makes it real to you. as fun as books are they are missing that element, where after finishing a book you say to yourself i wish that were a movie. it feels incomplete somehow. and seeing actors perform give life to a scene is a magnificent thing by itself. well i remember when i was in high school where i watched a group of my classmates perform a scene from Beowulf and i dont understand why but i teared up- they were mediocre but the way they were able to transform themselves into otherworldly people got through me at the time. it also explains why i always favor actors who are able to resurrect their childhood fantasies through their character.

  45. Bonjour Joseph =)

    Vous allez bien?

    Moi super!! Sympas cette article!!

    Aujourd’hui j’ai bien ri!…je passer une heures à m’aspérgé avec un amis de parfum d’homme (et oui on avait trouver ce des fille -_-‘) ..conclusion sa ne sens pas trés trés bon…

    Vous savez quoi? Je connais mon chauffeur de bus depuis 3 mois mais on ne sais parler que 4 heures, il a 37 ans j’en ai bientot 19, j’ai toujour rêver de regarder un match de mon équipe, il m’a inviter a un de leur match….je sais pas quoi répondre….

    Enfin je vais voir car mes parent ne sont pas trés Ok et c’est normal.

    Aller bisou, je vous adore!

  46. Dear Joe,

    Thanks for answering my tedious questions. But you know sir, concerning that tainted ZPM that would explode on their faces if powered : “1. No. It was inferred that the ZPM contained a fatal flaw and that, when next powered up, it would explode.”

    Well couldn’t they like use it as a booby trap weapon to eliminate several hives. How to do it, well a timed detonator/ zpm power extractor like the one the use for the Daedalus. Put it inside a cloacked jumper detonate it in proximity of the Hives right after jumping to Hyperspace… and voila.


  47. Hmmm…I must be an “Exciting, cheap and fast … a hot two minute quickie in the back alley” type. 😛 Movies always win out over books for me, simply because I love seeing characters come to life. And I always enjoy a book better if I see the movie first, that way I can visualize the characters easier as I read. But I’m a visual learner, so I guess that has some bearing on it (‘don’t tell me how to do it, don’t make me read how to do it – SHOW me how to do it’).

    As far as adaptations go, The Maltese Falcon was made twice – and failed – before the hugely successful 1941 Bogart version. The thinking behind the success of that film is that John Huston stayed as close to Dashiell Hammett’s novel as possible, something filmmakers rarely do. In this case it worked out exceptionally well.

    “People need to accept the fact that books are books and movies are movies, each to be appreciated on their own merits. In a best case scenario, they compliment one another and, hopefully, draw potential fans from one to the other.”

    I do agree with this. For instance, I look at the superhero films as just another AU, while most fanboys piss and moan over every single alteration. If I can read Wolverine in 616, and in Ultimate, and in a bazillion other universes, then why can’t I watch a movie that may be slightly different from all of that? And for those stories that are only set in one universe, I just see it as a ‘new’ story if it’s greatly altered from the source material.

    In the end, often it is a movie that draws me into a book – that happened with the Hornblower series. Because I’m a reluctant reader it rarely happens the other way round for me – I’m not likely to ever read the book first. But the movies certainly do make me want to learn more about the story or characters, and the best place for that is in the book. Anything extra I get from the book is bonus material, and rarely am I disappointed.


  48. Ha! This is funny…

    I have this picture of lovely Steve as my hotmail profile picture:

    A friend I haven’t seen in 20 years just posted a note to me, asking, “that pix… Is he your husband???? I got scared looking at this pix and moved to Canada! LOL!”

    Wait ’til she finds out Wraith ARE from Canada! 😆 I’m not sure she’s ever seen the show…it’s been quite a while since I spoke to her in person, and we just recently found each other again. Great gal, too…so much fun! We met in the early 80s, back in my wild and free days. But then we both got married, and circumstances had her moving out of the area…and I am really lousy at keeping in touch with people. But now that we’re both on the net, it’ll be much easier, esp. since she’s hearing impaired, and although I do have a TTY/TDD, it’s for the old style phones, which I don’t have anymore. Of course, this just reminds me how sucky my sign language is now – it’s been so long since I’ve actively used it…sad, really. I really should brush up on it, especially since many signs have changed over the years. But I still know the important ones – like, ‘idiot’, and ‘hungry’. 😀

    And…yes, yes, yes…rambling. Sorry.


  49. Joe:

    What is it with you and Joe Flanigan? Why no Q&A? Did you ask him and he declined? Do you think he’s like RDA — not the Q&A type? You don’t like him? He doesn’t like you? What?

    On a sad note…. Award-winning, sci-fi writer, Philip Jose Farmer died February 25, at age 91. His Riverworld series has always been a favorite of mine and got me interested in some of the historical characters he included in the books, particularly Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton.

  50. Me revoila!

    vous savez quoi? je suis folle

    C’est vrai je fait et j’aime des choses mais je ne sais pas pourquoi.

    Je pourrai cité:les écureuils, les poules, la sauce patatoes de chez Mcdo ou encore les canards en plastiques!

    Mais le plus incroyable c’est que je vous adore!!! O_o….comment c’est possible alors que vous habiter à l’autre bout de la terre, vous êtes un homme de 44 ans, producteur que je n’ai jamais vu!! et je vous adore qu’en même…
    Certain de mes amis ne comprenne pas pourquoi je n’aime pas des Joe F,Paul m, Ben B ou même des johny deep ou Brad pitt….c’est vraiment la qu’on ce dit que l’on est totalement crazy lol.

    Mais bon aprés tout je m’en fiche de ce que pense les gens, je vous est deja dit pourquoi je vous adore, et même si quelque fois je n’ai pas le temp de mêttre des commentaire trés constructif, je ne vous oublier pas et un jour!!!… veux vous voir en vrai!

    vous êtes même dans ma liste des choses à faire avant de mourir! (lol je sais je suis encore jeune mais bon^^) la voici:

    -Passez les restants de mes jour avec mon cheri.
    -Réussir ma vie professionel
    -Réussir mes étude
    -Aller à Vancourver et au USA
    -Rencontrés Joseph Mallozzi
    – D’être tout ma vie heureuse.

    Ce commentaire n’aura surment aucune importance pour vous, mais au moin c’est dit! =)

    Bonne journée, a demain Joseph^^!

    ps:…je vous adore x1000000000!

  51. Watchmen was very engaging for me. I wonder if the people who think it wasn’t are of the single, childless type? There was a LOT of emotional relationship focus in the telling of backstories … very telling partner and parent/child dynamics that wouldn’t have touched me as much 5 or 10 years ago, but that I found heartwrenching last night.

  52. Deni B. , Don’t be soo happy with OUR hurricane’s, remember ’04 and ’05 seasons? I went TO gainesville for 1 of them, and after the 2nd one , we were out of the house for 6 months rebuilding it. I do understand about the fear of earthquakes though, OK hurricanes 1st then earthquakes ….. but we don’t get them here, we are on sand. ” ” Thank you very much” sheryl

  53. sparrow_hawk:

    No, I wouldn’t take your daughter to Watchmen. If you want to avoid sex, that is. Small(ish) spoilers here, but there’s a full on sex scene, a naked blue demi-god/superhero (and yes, you see it all), and a rape scene.

    I know my mother would never have let me see it at 15.

    Though personally, I would worry more because of the violence/gore. It’s brutal.

  54. @sheryl: Hey! We were living in Homestead when Andrew hit. My frakking couch was about a mile away, couldn’t recogize our street or what was left of our house when we got back the next day. No trees, no lights, no water, no nothing. I’ve been living in the US for 30+ yrs, and I can tell you that even that was 100 times better than seeing the devastation in Guatemala City after the earthquake and nothing in place to help anybody. At least with hurricanes, we have plenty of warning to get the hell out, and in the end, as long as my family and dogs are ok, screw the house. We can rebuild or move. Seeing what was already a deplorable situation in Guatemala get that much worse after the earthquake, I often wonder why people here complain about how long it takes to fix things -or how the government isn’t “taking care” of the situation. At least we have stuff to fix!

    Hey Joe, sorry

  55. Looks like Joes blog may be showing up in oh so many other places,,,
    – Happy Birthday AscendedTauri and Deni.
    -Glad to see Peter D is coming back on board.
    – I hope the hurricane season for us here in Fl is one that doesn’t happen…
    –If I read the book and it doesn’t follow the movie, I have to hope it was done in the best interest of the movie. I don’t always approve, but whadda are you gonna do,,lol… 🙂
    — @das, where do you get all your cute pictures,,lol..

  56. Mierda, sorry about that, hit the “submit comment” button somehow yet again. Anyway, Joe, sorry about the rant above:) I think my daughter’s surprising me tomorrow with a visit from England (maybe wishful thinking?) , but she said to expect a package on Saturday morning for my birthday. I asked if it was animal, vegetable or mineral, she wouldn’t say. I asked if it was white, black or brown (?), she said white (but not a Bichon puppy, damn) and added I couldn’t wear it. Hmmm. Then, her husband made the mistake of ordering books from Amazon and had them sent here (which he does when they travel here) and they came yesterday. I’m cleaning/cooking like, well, a Jewish mother now. I guess if she doesn’t show, the house will be spotless, the dogs will be bathed and we’ll have a ton of food! Have a great weekend!

  57. Hey!!

    I would like ask you one thing:
    In the first 3 years of SGA we saw a litte tension – in terms of romance – between Sheppard and Teyla, is this tension gone?
    Do you have plans for samething like that for the future?

    Good afternoon !!

  58. I’m sitting watching Dawn of the Dead, I really enjoyed the George Bernard Shaw book it was based on….*checks medication dosage* OOPS! *keels over*

  59. Question:

    What search term do I type in to find out your current snail mail address for sending you stuffs?

  60. Well I just been to the cinema to the Watchman and I love every second of it.
    Never actually read the comic, I mean graphic novel, which I think in this case is an advantage as I went in with no preconception. I will at the earliest opportunity try to buy it as I enjoy the film so much through it could mean I start to hate the film.

    I absolutely love the ending the bad not so bad doing good in the world just the bad way, he show guilt at the end which I love. I think that describes his character pretty well. Love it when he says something on the line of “I am not like those comic book villains where I tell you my ground plan in time for you to stop me, no it already happen 35minutes ago.” love it.
    A great sex scene in the flying vehicle. The flame thrower bit was hilarious.

    I can also understand why people did not feel for the characters. I do not know why that is actually I think it might of been the actors acting ability or the over use of overlaying dialogue through out the scenes in the film. You rarely sure the actors faces move and speak on screen and it did sometime distract from the film and perhaps that why people felt emotionally detached from the characters it did not feel like they were the ones saying the words at times.

    The fight scenes in this was awsome, certainly not a film for people who do not like bone breaking sticking out of skin scenes or the general cracking of bones when ever they talk to a bad guy.

    Love the midget scenes in the prison. In fact they were some of the funniest scenes in the film in a rather sick way.

    I thought the length of the film was perfect, although I did hear a few complaints from people who I mention further down in this post that is was to long.

    I also love it that non of the characters was exactly heroes or in many aspects good.

    I also love the reason why the comedian called himself the comedian. He was a pretty evil guy in some ways.

    My only real complaint is the CGI in some places just did not look right, particularly the end bit where you know what is being destroyed it just look faked and well did not look as good as it could be. I also was not clean on how they made some scenes look like they came out of a comic book. This may change on second viewing through will have to wait until dvd come out.

    please people just do not drag your girlfriends along, who is going chit chat through the entire film. Their were several in the audience unfortuantly. One them was asking her boyfriend every ten seconds about what was happening on screen and why. I mean the story was not that complex but then she was blond. I think I will leave it here.

  61. @Sparrow_hawk

    Haven’t seen the Watchmen movie yet. But there’s good reasons why the film makers retain the R rating. There is extreme violence, the director Zack Snydner’s 300 is tame compare to the Watchmen. The movie follows the graphic novel closely. Which is definitely not for young teens. One final thought, the movie is about 243 minutes long. From friends who had seen it, expect a longer director’s cut.

    Will be seeing the Watchmen in the local IMAX theatre, just like for the 300.

  62. @ Airelle – I snatch the pics from anywhere I can, seeing as how I can’t do screen caps myself. 😛

    Guess what???! I got my Columbo box sets today – now I have seasons 1-7! Woo! The later movies were okay, but I prefer the earlier seasons. My two favorites are the one featuring Johnny Cash as a murderous gospel singer, and the episode where Louis Jourdan injects fugu poison into a bottle of wine. I am very happy! 😀


  63. sparrow_hawk

    Whole their very much overt sex scenes their not a lot left the imagination either, through nothing I have not seen by the time I was twelve so I say stop sheltering your daughter and take her to see it.

    And violence is extreme is many areas plenty of cracking bones and blood splatter. But now worst than 300, in fact there nothing that matches 300 head cutting scene in this film.

    Still hoping the director cut will show us what happen in the toilet.

  64. @ David – Hey, ya know – I’m over 40, sexually active and slightly pervy, and I don’t even like watching sex scenes. There are just some things left best to the imagination, and other things best left for parents to decide.


  65. Finally, a book I’ve read! I went through a P.K. Dick phase a few years ago and I love how different it is from the movie. Sheep would make an excellent mini series, though not sure if it would seem to samey-samey with Caprica (if that ever airs.) The weird TV religion reminds me of Benny Hin’s world domination. I worry what will happen if Hin every decides to use his power for evil. Already he’s got my former swingin’, drinkin’, Rat Pack worshipping dad to become a Hin-head who blindly follows Hin’s every utterance. I’ll be skipping Watchmen until I’m forced to see it on a plane. I can’t bear to watch another second of Jeffrey Dean Morgan. His blubbery ghost on Grey’s gives me the heebie jeebies.

  66. Oi , eu gostaria de saber , quando o dvd da 5ª temporada será lançado na América Latina? Outra coisa , o pai do bebê da Teyla esta em Atlantis?´por favor não separem a Teyla do Sheppard, eles merecem viver essa paixão que existe adormecida entre os dois. Eu assistir até a 4ª temporada , mais foi isso que eu percebi; apesar que o Sheppard é o garanhão da série , nem precisa fazer esforço, mais a Larrine a ex esposa não combinam com ele, Teyla é sua capacidade de ter compaixão por outros seres diferentes e ele é o líder que sempre esta perto para proteger a todos;torço para não se separarem, que sejam mais que amigos. Obrigada pela atenção e espero que alguém possa traduzir para o inglês, porque eu sou mais uma fã como todos os outros.

  67. Virginia Maria, olá!!! Que pena, a Teyla e o John não ficaram juntos (em termos de romance, é claro!).
    Eu já perdi minhas esperanças em séries que dão a entender algum relacionamento amoroso entre seus personagens principais, eles nunca ficam juntos… Aliás quase em nenhuma série (ou nenhuma que eu assisto) há uma vida normal para os personagens, eles nunca se casam, não têm filhos, etc. etc.
    Ele vão amadurecendo (melhor que envelhecendo?!) e nada. E quando aparece alguém com família, eles se separam. Portanto, cara Virginia, só assista, se divirta e não crie expectativas… (mas é tão bom sonhar, né?)
    Um abraço, Cláudia.

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