Right, so I watched Wanted this past weekend. Enough people have already written reviews of the film, so I’m not going to waste time stating why I feel the way I do about it. Let’s move on to two interesting things I noticed while watching the movie.
But for the record, I fucking loved that movie. It was well-filmed and edited. The acting was spot on to what the movie needed. It had great action, great movement, and great attitude. Yes, it’s not dynamic cinema, but it’s fantastic summer fun. Anyway.
First and foremost, I was struck by the oddity of the crowd that was in the theatre with me and that I witnessed purchasing tickets. It could’ve just been my location, but there were far more…shall we say, grown-ups…in the theatre that I would’ve expected. I saw the movie Friday night, and there were hardly anyone in the early 20 demographic that I feel the movie was skewed towards. There were far more viewers that appeared to be in their late 30s (and maybe even older) than the teens you’d expect to be at a summer blockbuster. It’s not like there were any other big films playing for them to be at.
Was it the star power that drew an older crowd? Did the concept of Mr. Freeman as a badass pull in non-comic book-geek crowd? But in all truth, when has he not been a badass on screen? So that can’t be it. It could’ve have been that they were fans of the director, as this was his first American film. So I’m confused. I doubt that they read the comic. And I can’t believe that some random older couple who were out grabbing an early-bird special saw the movie marquee and thought that it would be a rollicking good time before turning in early and yelling at the punks on their lawn. Oh well, I guess it’s just a mystery of amazing world of cinema.
The second thing I noticed was the fact that book and graphic novel adaptations are making huge strides in the film industry, and I am very pleased with that. The very fact that I am making that statement is something of an oddity for me. I’m an English major, so when I hear about movies based on books, I start to worry. I feel that books provide a much better entertainment experience. As cliché as this sounds, books allow you to develop the story in your own mind and involve yourself in the action. Books give a greater sense of depth to the story. They allow us to see certain aspects of characters that movies can’t go into. It’s pretty damn difficult to really sell an inner monologue or narration on film, right?
The only book adaptations that I’ve been fully behind are those based on Philip Dick stories or books. Those movies expanded the experiences the books provided and further developed the concepts he presented. Other movies never captured the true feeling of the books they stemmed from, in my opinion. I guess what it really boils down to is that I have my favorite parts of books that I want to see on the big screen. We all do, right? And when those scenes don’t make it into the movie, or show up in drastically different ways, we get upset…at least, I get upset. There, I admitted it.
But as of late, I’ve been watching this kind of movie with a different eye. I still watch the movie coming from the standpoint of being a fan of the book or graphic novel. Example: when I watched Wanted, I was constantly comparing it to the comic. I compared the plot, the characters, the action, and so on. But I also watch the movie from the standpoint that it’s just a movie. It’s not easy, I can tell you that. However, it does allow me the pleasure of enjoying the movie and not getting furious when details are changed and events play out differently. Sometimes a movie based on a book is a great movie on its own, even though the connection to the book is incredibly general.
That being said, have I changed my feelings about the Lord of the Rings movies? Absolutely not. I still dislike them to an extreme degree. Do I still feel ify about the Harry Potter movies? Yes. And Stardust? Don’t get me started. And even with as much as I loved Wanted, I still have issues with it. I didn’t like the toss-away line to Mr. Rictus. The whole “oh look, our names have turned up in the weave” plot twist was completely random and without resolution or reasoning. But I loved other aspects. The whole first act of the movie was a fantastic representation of the comic. It was spot on to the attitude of the comic and was amazingly portrayed.
I guess the point of the story is that if you walk into a movie with expectations based on the script’s source material, you set yourself up to be disappointed. Most of the time, anyway. Maybe there isn’t any point to any of this. Maybe an entertaining movie can be entertaining whether it’s true to what it was based on or not. Maybe all that matters is how well a movie can take us out of our boring lives for a few moments and alleviate the repetition of the daily grind.