Russ Fischer for Slash Film:
Today DC announced Before Watchmen, a set of seven interlocking prequel miniseries that will feature Watchmen characters such as Rorschach, the Comedian and Nite Owl.
I'm not a reader of graphic novels, but considering the obviously passionate following of Watchmen, it's sad to see DC executives caving to the lure of profit alone. Sadly, such decision-making is symptomatic of the true problems in the creative industry, particularly in Hollywood.
Reading of Before Watchmen, I was reminded of Mark Harris' fantastic article for GQ about the drastic decline of the entertainment industry (published February, 2011). Evidently Slash Film's readers were too. Aimed at the vapid adoption of sequels and prequels in film, Harris' message sadly (and shamefully) applies to most creative mediums.
Harris makes the case that the film-going public is clamoring for quality entertainment and is willing to pay for it but, instead, it has become easier to regurgitate previously successful formulas and squeeze out horrendous sequels. Harris writes:
Now it's your turn again, Hollywood. Because somewhere out there, somebody has a pitch as good as Inception. There will no doubt be a dozen reasons not to green-light it. But say yes and we just might give you another $800 million out of gratitude.
Make no mistake: Hollywood wants that $800 million. And in fact, they may have figured out the perfect way to extract it from our wallets. It took twenty-four years to get here, but it's finally happening: Top Gun 2.
Utterly pointless, particularly when considering the evident wealth of creativity in most creative industries.
Independent thinkers and creators are repeatedly cast aside in favor of "safe investments" into big household names. The Before Watchmen incident wholly embodies this dire state of affairs, as evidenced by the repeated promises from DC executives to leave the Watchmen intellectual property alone without the endorsement of its original creators.
Regardless of the quality of the final product, the manner in which this has been handled is a shameful and sobering reminder of the state of creative media.