J.J. Abrams is admitting defeat with The Dark Tower.
He’s bailed out. Done. Star Trek II: The Return of Khan, or whatever he ends up doing with the new Trek saga is his immediate film future, as well as producing another Mission Impossible with Tom Cruise. For now, Stephen King’s magnum opus goes back on the unproduced shelf once again.
I’m blaming Abrams’ decision on what I call the “Watchmen effect”.
“The Watchmen effect”, by the terms of the OWF dictionary is as follows;
A phrase that encapsulates an epic sized book/graphic novel which if to be adapted 100% faithfully to film from the source material, would lose it’s soul in the process and simply become a check-list of quota’s to satisfy the fanboys who would bring out the knives if anything, even the most minute detail, was missing.
“The Watchmen effect” has the problem of not actually being able to please anyone. I say that as someone who liked Watchmen quite a bit back in March but I believe I’m totally in the minority on that one and for most, Zack Snyder’s movie wasn’t really all that.
Which is why the J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek was so smart. It had all the recognisable Trek traits but also added a lot of new things, explored some unanswered questions from Trek’s past and first and foremost… was a brand new story for film.
An intelligent article I’ve stumbled across at The ByGone Bureau explain this better than I ever could…
The recent trend of filming every remotely popular Marvel and DC Comics character has yielded a handful of successful adaptations, but there’s a difference between superhero movies and comic book movies. While superheros are found in comics, their movies are adaptations of their mythology rather than a direct interpretations their stories. The films take bits and pieces from decades of serialized plot lines and, even then, bring them together to tell a new, unique story. Spider-Man 2 has familiar conflicts and villains, but the story itself is completely new; The Dark Knight is a brilliant composite of several recent renderings of Batman.
Separated from superhero movies, the number of comic book films gets much smaller. The few successes are easy to count, and even then, they seem like exceptions. Ghost World, A History of Violence, and Road to Perdition, all excellent, deviate heavily from their source material. More importantly, all these examples are adapted well.
The failures, on the other hand, make up a big chunk of Alan Moore’s bibliography: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell, and V for Vendetta.