The Overlord wrote:
Frankly as I said before I didn't think Smallville had very good VFX...
And as I
said in response, it makes no sense to use that very low-budget show as an exemplar for TV superhero shows in general.
And secondly by your logic, wouldn't all the changes made to Fantastic Four in their movies be okay?
No, of course not. I'm not saying all changes are good. I'm saying all changes are not bad. I'm saying that quality is not determined by whether a work is faithful or different -- it's determined, quite simply, by whether it's good
. A faithful version can be good or bad. An altered version can be good or bad. People keep trying to concoct these pat formulas and blanket generalizations -- a work is good if it does A and is bad if it does B -- and they're nonsense. A work is good if it's good. Period. It really is as simple as that.
The FF movies didn't fail because they changed things. On the contrary, a lot of the things they kept faithful to the comics were still mediorce in execution. They failed because they just weren't that well-done.
Really, this should be obvious by now. The movie that started the modern era of successful, high-quality Marvel films was X-Men
, and X2
and First Class
are also acclaimed as some of the best Marvel movies. But they're also incredibly unfaithful to the details of the source. They've changed everything. They've changed the relative ages of characters and the order in which they joined the team. They've changed their nationalities, changed their backstories, changed their relationships. But they told good stories
, and that's what matters. They were different from the originals, but the different thing they created was good in its own right, so people liked it.
Conversely, Green Lantern
failed because it was far too
faithful to the comics -- because it was so obsessed with cramming in references to decades' worth of convoluted comics continuity that it forgot that it was more important to tell a good, straightforward story.
What about the Catwoman movie, shouldn't an adaptation at least honor the spirit of the original work?
It's interesting you should put it that way. Let's look at what Halle Berry's Catwoman
really was. It was essentially a spinoff from the world of Tim Burton's Batman Returns
. In that movie, Selina Kyle "died," was surrounded by cats, and arose as a transformed person with new confidence and feline powers. The Catwoman
movie chose to interpret that as a supernatural transformation that had happened to many different women over the ages, and made its heroine implicitly the next person to undergo the same process that Selina had undergone in Burton's movie.
So let me ask you: Was Burton's Catwoman honoring the spirit of the original? The film changed Selina's character radically. It also changed Penguin radically, from an urbane, diminutive thief to some kind of sewer mutant. Fidelity to the source was not an issue there -- but people seemed to like the movie (though I personally think it's a mess).
Except if those characters play important role and you don't replace them with something interesting, can't it argued that the adaptation has suffered a bit?
Exactly -- "if you don't replace them with something interesting." That means that if you do
replace them with something interesting, it'll work just as well or better than the original. Again, it's not about change vs. fidelity, it's simply about telling a good story vs. telling a weaker story.
If high budget demands were part of the problem, doesn't prove my point?
No, because that's just one part of the equation. TV is a business, and as in any business, success is about making enough profit to offset your overhead. The higher the ratings a show gets, the bigger a budget it can sustain. The Flash
's ratings were hurt by its timeslot and the frequent preemptions, and that kept it from making enough profit to offset its cost. But if its ratings had been strong enough, it could've stayed on the air as a high-budgeted show. These are not things you can make simpleminded generalizations about. You need to consider the interplay of numerous factors.
I think you are pretty generous if you are saying the Adam West show had good production values. Bad production values were part of the camp appeal of that show, there was a lot of paper mache on that show.
Where the third season is concerned, you'd have a point, but you're absolutely wrong about the first two. Rememeber, this was a sitcom. Compared to any other sitcom on the air at the time, it was amazingly elaborate in its set designs, props, costumes, special effects, and stunt work. Don't forget, stunt sequences are complicated and expensive things to do. The minute-long fight sequences they did could easily take a day or two to shoot, and they did two or three of them per week! Not to mention that in the first season they had to spend extra money on optical effects to superimpose the BIFF-BAM-POWs -- which is why in the second season they switched to cutting in intertitles silent-movie style.
And could you really do something like Green Lantern and the Fantastic Four on a TV budget?
Not easily, but it would be far more viable today than ten years ago. And there are certainly plenty of other superheroes that could be done more easily. Again, blanket generalizations don't make sense.