Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Elfquest: The Movie. Say it Ain't So.

There's very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very (well you get the point) very bad news for fans of Elfquest the classic independent fantasy comic book by Richard & Wendy Pini. It seems that the guy who pissed all over Michael Chabon's Mysteries of Pittsburgh (resulting in an outraged Pittsburgh boycott and bad word of mouth) has his hands on the project. Yikes.

The Pinis themselves seem happy (they've discussed the news on their site) and include the director's quote
"...the most important thing is to stress that Warner Brothers loves the property (as does the director) and the plan is to do justice to the underlying work by honoring it in the adaptation. This is going to be the film version that EQ fans around the world have been waiting and hoping and dreaming for."
Don't the Pinis know that Rawson Marshall Thurber (best known for Dodgeball) also claimed to love Mysteries of Pittsburgh before he altered the most fundamental things about it? By all reports he gutted the novel and replaced it with something infinitely blander.

There's been talk of an Elfquest movie since at least the early 80s. The first edition debuted in the year of Star Wars, 1977. A movie would require an incisive and confident touch if it ever hoped to be as stirring as the comic book. It would require somebody as brilliant about transferring material from one medium to another as Peter Jackson... not someone willing to chuck out intricately woven details and idiosyncratic spirit.

And make no mistake, it's tricky source material. For an epic comic book story about cute hobbit-sized elves who have spiritual companions in wolves, it's got a randy anything-goes adult sexuality coursing through it, a good amount of violence, a ton of plot (it'd be better as a miniseries) and an Altman-sized ensemble full of surprisingly complicated characters who are rarely purely good or evil. True story: My ultra conservative dad who thinks comic books and movies are silly is obsessed with it. Weird, right? My family had to buy 3 copies of the graphic novel compilations since we all read it repeatedly, wearing out the binding. It inspires that kind of devotion.

I will be crying when Hollywood f***s this up. I never needed to see a movie made unless it was going to aim for genius.


Anonymous said...

I'm not an Elfquest fan, but it still saddens me to find out that another beloved written work is going to be ruined by Hollywood. If we make fun of them, will they stop?

Frank Anthony Polito said...

Lord only knows WHY Rawson Marshall Thurber keeps getting to work in Hollywood!

From DODGEBALL, to MOP, to ELFQUEST... Perhaps he's still trying to "find himself"?

Wonder what happened to his other work of genius, MAGNUM PU--I mean, PI?

Another sad, sad, day...
--Frank Anthony Polito, author of BAND FAGS! and moderator of the official MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH Film Boycott

Erich Kuersten said...

I used to be madly obsessed with Elfquest myself, from around 1979-1983. I can even still draw them and I remember which elf I would be and which one I was in love with, but that's the past, man. Yes, it's sad about talentless hacks spending $$ on intellectual properties and then draining them of everything that made them good and unique.

Just don't see it, and pretend it never happened. I mean, christ, it will probably be done as some sort of CGI thing ala SHREK. What a nightmare (the only way they could do it right is via anime or Ralph Bakshi)


"that's the past, man" probably needs to be my motto.

Thanks for the 'snap out of it' slap. ;)

I haven't looked at the Elfquest books in years. letting it go... letting it go...