Bill Watterson via mpetrus001/Flickr
Bill Watterson, the creator of the Calvin & Hobbes comic, recently held an interview with the Mental Floss website. This was news in of itself because he’s a noted recluse who rarely ventures out into the public eye since he shuttered his creation in late 1995. The most notable thing he said was that he wouldn’t allow the strip to be adapted to the big screen.
But still, I say, if Watterson really exercised extreme caution and prudence, he could pick something like, oh say…Pixar (a company that even he admitted he loved). Imagine a whole CGI Calvin & Hobbes movie instead of that half-CGI, half-live action dreck that was Garfield and The Smurfs. To quote from Breaking Bad: No half-measures. Imagine a really well-done movie that managed to capture the whimsy of the comic. Watterson would still have enough pull even with a comic that last ran two decades ago. If I were the one choosing, I could see a Brad Bird-helmed movie being REALLY good.
I’ve always wondered what Spaceman Spiff would sound like on the big screen. If the people doing this, and I could see Bird not stepping outside the lines, it would be a really interesting vision. This would be a movie that practically wrote itself.
I can understand that he wants to protect his own intellectual property – and kudos to him for that, since the movie industry does not really have a great track record when it comes to lifting from the funny pages. For this purpose, I’m separating these comics from the ones in the Marvel and DC universe – aka the superhero genre. There have been good adaptations from those, like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, a couple of Batman movies and The Avengers. I’m thinking of comics like Garfield and Asterix.
The problem with those movies is that the creators didn’t seem to care about what happens to their property. What did Jim Davis care that the Garfield movies were the equivalent of cat litter (yes, I know I’ve been picking on this movie, but it’s such a huge punching bag) ? He was already a billionaire before the movies were made. Once the contracts have been signed, it’s like the quality.
But keep Joss Whedon away from it…the last thing we need is to have a twist ending where an important member of the cast dies.