Monday, February 2, 2009

Movie #12: The Mindscape of Alan Moore (2003)

Is it better to know the mechanics of the trick, or to simply be enthralled by what's in front of you?

I asked myself that because the question of magic comes up quite a bit in THE MINDSCAPE OF ALAN MOORE, a quasi-documentary that touches upon Moore's early years and rise as one of the most respected and gifted creators in the field of comics, but largely concerns itself with his personal beliefs and ideas about the nature of magic, art, and writing. His milestones are touched upon, and we even get a few glimpses of his own filmic envisions of Watchmen, V For Vendetta, and even a brief glimpse of John Constantine from Hellblazer (he originated the character in Swamp Thing, although never actually wrote an issue of Hellblazer). But the vast majority of his work isn't mentioned at all (Tom Strong, Top Ten, Promethea) or, if it is (Lost Girls, From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), it's only in passing reference.

All in all it's a pretty poor documentary - Moore seems to have had a very large hand in the shaping of the film, and as a result it feels manipulative in a way that none of his comic work does. I hesitate to recommend this to even die-hard fans (of which I consider myself a member) because of the question I asked myself at the beginning of this review. I came away knowing a lot more about the man who crafted some of my favorite stories, but felt the poorer for it. Maybe this is an isolated instance, but I suddenly feel very glad that Moore has nothing to do with his filmic adaptations, and that he's as reclusive as he is. All the better to simply soak up the wonderful words and not pay heed to the bearded man behind them.

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