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Blockbusted

Hollywood perfects the formula for failure.

Mar 30, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 27 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
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And there are a few other lessons as well. Such as: Americans still don't like it when America is portrayed as the villain. And: It's a big mistake to make movies based on the work of Alan Moore. The last movie made from an Alan Moore comic was V for Vendetta, a movie with a terrorist hero in which the bombing of the British Parliament is treated as a heroic act of liberation. From siding with the Soviet Union to siding with al Qaeda, Moore demonstrates a disgusting but strangely admirable degree of ideological consistency. What the moneymen at Warner Bros. responsible for distributing both V for Vendetta and Watchmen show, by contrast, is an inadvertently hilarious brand of moral idiocy.

They also funded The Dark Knight, which has earned $1 billion at the box office. The Dark Knight is another dark-complected comic-book movie--but this time about what it means to be a hero and the painful sacrifices a true hero is called upon to make to save humanity. The qualities that made The Dark Knight a triumph were precisely the same ones that sealed Watchmen's doom. It's kind of obvious when you think about it, but evidently not so obvious when you run a movie studio.

John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, is THE WEEKLY STANDARD's movie critic.