I’m not sure whether or not to bother rereading Watchmen before the movie, because I believe movies are always far more enjoyable if you haven’t read (or can hardly remember) the book. The book is substantially superior 90% of the time, so you might as well spare yourself some impotent huffing in the cinema, appreciate the movie on its own merits, and then savour the additional depth and luxury that lots and lots of words can offer.

I think it was fairly safe to read this Microsoft Paint condensed version though.

No One Will Watch The Watchmen / Mute Miyazaki

Random surfing led me to the following nuggets of information at Sci Fi Wire:

  • The Watchmen movie isn’t happening any more. Oh well. As I wrote a while ago (in response to a comment telling me that a Watchmen movie was in the works), I had my doubts about how well they could adapt it. I’m still not going to stop compiling my dream cast list when bored on the bus though. Recently, Dennis Hopper came to mind as The Comedian.

  • The person making an English dub of Howl’s Moving Castle had to do so without any input from original director Hayao Miyazaki. Upon sending a long list of his questions to Japan he was warned that Miyazaki probably wouldn’t answer, and true enough, he didn’t.

    “We didn’t add anything that wasn’t there in the film. So, of course, we are faithful to the dialogue that’s there. But in the end, you just kind of have to trust your own instincts on a lot of things, and that’s apparently what Miyazaki [who did not respond to Docter’s questions] expects from us.”

    I don’t know if the English dub of Spirited Away was done the same way, but if it was then I guess that might be one reason people don’t tend to be that satisfied with it. And unlike Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle is pretty damn incoherent to begin with. It seems a curious way to do things to me – certainly an interesting experiment in film interpretation, but not the best way of producing the only version of Howl’s Moving Castle most casual English-speaking viewers will ever see.

I Really Really Hate Birds And That Ernst Painting Has Always Freaked Me Out, But…

(The following passage is a fictional excerpt from an ornithological journal.)

“Is it possible, I wonder, to study a bird so closely, to observe and catalogue its peculiarities in such minute detail, that it becomes invisible? Is it possible that while fastidiously calibrating the span of its wings or the length of its tarsus, we somehow lose sight of its poetry? That in our pedestrian descriptions of a marbled or vermiculated plumage we forfeit a glimpse of living canvases, cascades of carefully toned browns and golds that would shame Kandinsky, misty explosions of colour to rival Monet? I believe that we do. I believe that in approaching our subject with the sensibilities of statisticians and dissectionists, we distance ourselves increasingly from the marvelous and spell-binding planet of imagination whose gravity drew us to our studies in the first place.

When we stare into the catatonic black bead of a Parakeet’s eye we must teach ourselves to glimpse the cold, alien madness that Max Ernst perceived when he chose to robe his naked brides in confections of scarlet feather and the transplanted monstrous heads of exotic birds. When some ocean-going Kite or Tern is captured in the sharp blue gaze of our Zeiss lenses, we must be able to see the stop motion flight of sepia gulls through the early kinetic photographs of Muybridge, beating white wings tracing a slow oscilloscope line through space and time.”

Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons