Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Watchmen ship has already sailed, so where’s The Sandman movie, already?

I bet you can’t wait for that Watchmen movie. It’s got all the right ingredients—that killer trailer, “visionary” director, Zack Snyder, and the prospects of finally being filmable even though it’s been called un-filmable for years. So in other words, it’s a really big deal, right? Well, yeah, but you know what would be even better? An adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series, which spans eleven whole books, making Alan Moore’s opus look like a short story in comparison.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I WILL see the Watchmen movie. How can I not? It’s practically The Dark Knight of 2009. But what I’m saying is this: The Watchmen, as grand as it is, doesn’t even come close to the epic scale of the dream lord, Morpheus’ tale as he deals with complex issues like what it means to dream, and what it means to live within those dreams. All the while, he’s also dealing with his dysfunctional family as they go about their merry little ways embodying death, destruction, and other natural occurrences that begin with the letter D.

If anything, The Sandman, with its complex theories of existence would be the real un-filmable picture, right? But let’s look even deeper. The story for The Watchmen is dated. Taking place in an alternate universe in the 80’s where the U.S. actually won Vietnam, it works as a good period piece, but doesn’t address current day issues. I know Snyder wanted to stay as close to the text as possible, but the story of Russia edging closer to a nuclear scenario just doesn’t seem as viable today when we’re dealing with a conflict in the very real Iraq.

On the flipside, though, The Sandman has a timeless quality to it and can be filmed in any era, so why not this one while it’s still fresh in the public mind? The Watchmen came out in the 1980s and it belongs there, but Sandman lived most of its life through the 90s and it’s still quite relevant. Plus, Gaiman would be involved in the project, leading to a pretty close adaptation, while Moore’s lack of interest in The Watchmen movie is going to lead to some pretty radical changes, namely in the ending. So come on, Hollywood, you’re sleeping on a real goldmine here! Wake up and bring The Sandman to the masses. That Watchmen ship as already sailed.

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