I posted a blurb on Twitter Monday that I am reading William Gibson’s Neuromancer for the fourth time. This came about primarily because of two things, a: I didn’t get to the library over the weekend like I had planned to, and b: on Saturday night CW aired the 1995 cyberpunk classic Johnny Mnemonic, one of my all time favorite movies. If you didn’t know—and shame on you if you don’t—this movie is base on Gibson’s short story of the same name and was adapted for film by the author himself. Long story short, I was inspired to give Neuromancer another read since it is a continuation of the Johnny Mnemonic universe, and is number two on my favorite book list. How does this relate to movie news? That’s easy, I’ve been hearing murmurs across cyberspace that Joseph Kahn is directing the film adaptation of Neuromancer which stars Hayden Christensen as the main character,
Case Cage. Then while sorting through my bloated RSS feed on Sunday night I came across the new teaser poster for the film.
It would be an understatement to say that fans are a little pissed off about the whole film adaptation. There are grumbles about everything from the choice of directors and his style of film making, to the casting of the main character and the audacity of changing his name from Case to Cage—which I can understand too, since it’s not 1993. Now people are ragging on the poster art as well, granted at first glance it looks pretty cool, but fanboys like me can read between the lines and surmise one thing; the designer who did this art hasn’t actually read the book. Which is a shame, it’s a great book. The only thing I’m going to rip on is the nail mohawk and the blatant reference to steampunk, that gear-centric style that has already begun to wear out it’s welcome mostly due to the obnoxious ponces prancing about in their high school drama club version of victorian era garb. *back on track* While Neuromancer has a tiny bit of brass and bolts towards the end of the book, the bulk of the setting is a dystopic future where gritty neon laced streets are cluttered with fantastic technology, silicon, wet-wire implants and razor girls, not bloody gears. So back to the drawing board for you son.
William Gibson gave his own rather nonchalant replay to this one-sheet, you can read it here. This last bit can pretty much sum it up though.
…I regard screen adaptations of my work with little more than simple childlike curiosity.
I think this is a bunch of bull considering he once said that when he was writing the film adaptation of Johnny Mnemonic he intentionally left out any hint that the character Jane is actually Molly from Neuromancer because he knew the film couldn’t do her justice. At one point in time he must’ve cared enough about his characters and fans not to bastardize them. The fact that he pretty much says he doesn’t care for the film adaptation of the work that made him famous leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Granted, I always figured that the film adaptation of Neuromancer wouldn’t be that good, they usually aren’t, but damn, sacrificing your crown jewel to Hollywood is just plain cold. That’s why I always argued that Neuromancer should be adapted as an anime instead of a live action film. Maybe, just maybe the powers that be will deem it profitable to create a direct to dvd anime series such as Animatrix and Batman: Gotham Knight, featuring the short stories from Burning Chrome that relate to the Sprawl series including a faithful retelling of Johnny Mnemonic. In the end, that would be a little too much to ask.