Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Movies We'd Love to See - Sandman

So Mr Neil Gaiman, god of dark fantasy, mystic lore, fairy sex and all things weird and unlikeable, wrote a series of comics for DC called Sandman. And not only was the series critically acclaimed, it was actually good. In fact, it was freaking AWESOME. It was insanely popular. There were numerous secondary characters with stories of their own worthy of spin-offs such as Lucifer, and Death. It won a World Fantasy Award, among others. So where is the movie? Where are the action figures? The spin-offs? The coffee cups? The t-shirts?
Come on! It seems like the definition of a no-brainer.
But let’s think about this for a minute. The Sandman was a complex character. He was (for the most part) pretty-much up his own arse. He didn’t know how to chill, and he just wasn’t a very nice bloke. But even so, he was one of the most interesting characters ever to grace the pages of a comic book. The problem I see with making this movie is that the Sandman character, Morpheus, would need a bit of tinkering to get him up on the big screen. Getting audiences to identify with his up-tight, vengeful brand of melancholy without the detailed backstory of the comics would be a BIG ask. And once you start tinkering with a much-loved character, you tend to get die-hard fans a little hot under the collar…okay, okay. I’ll rephrase. If anyone seriously tinkered with a Morpheus, they would risk having their entrails ripped out and fed to the sharks with the ‘frikkin lasers’. 
A further issue for producers would be that Gaiman’s unusual style of storytelling has been copied over and over by many other writers, both within the DC stable and without. It would be difficult to take a particular story from the existing Sandman library and make a movie without it feeling somehow derivative. I know that sounds stupid, but there you go.

Add to this the fact that the Sandman stories were popular because they referenced - and were (to a degree) a mirror of - the pop culture of another time, and you have your third big problem. There are numerous pop-culture references throughout Sandman, but that version of pop is no longer...pop. It’s a new world out there on the edge, and the Sandman ain’t necessarily a part of it. The wheel turns.
But if it could work, what would it look like?
Director: Well, the usual suspects I guess: Del Toro, maybe Guy Ritchie, does Kenneth Branagh sound stupid? Yeah. Maybe David Fincher? I’d say Tim Burton, but the fact is I don’t enjoy his movies.
Title Role: I'd have to agree with others who've suggested Benedict Cumberbatch. He really has that whole brooding, "I've just had a carrot inserted where the sun don't shine," look going on.

PS. Someone has just asked me if I knew there were rumors of a TV series. Yes I did, but I think this is a bad idea. If you want to know why, open up the first page of the first Sandman. The art, the style, the drama says it all. This is too much for television.

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