Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Wire Movie?

The Wire The Movie? That was the gossip earlier in January. Some might say that The Wire's long arcing storylines, subtle character revelations, and novel-like qualities wouldn't fit in a movie's 120-200 minute format. I disagree. Primarily because I got that itch which only more Wire scratches (got that new package! Prequel!).

I also think it would be successful artistically. I think much of why the Wire isn't taken as seriously as it maybe should be is because it is a TV show. There have been film departments and cinema studies programs at many universities for quite some time, while television studies is a more marginalized discipline (often folded into media studies, mass com., pop culture, or sociology departments). Of course, this does not necessarily mean The Wire will get any more play in academic circles, but I do think it might make it available to a wider audience of the public primarily and the academic audience second.

I also think the shorter runtime would force Simon to tighten up considerably. I do love the slow pans, the long dialogue, the multiple storylines,... it basically makes The Wire what it is. But I also think if these elements were tightened and distilled to their best... a greater product would emerge. I also wonder if Simon is a bit afraid of the cinema genre. I mean, its not as difficult to be a giant among the TV gods (Seinfeld, David Chase, Matt Groening) as among the gods of cinema (Bergman, Lynch, Kubrick, Hitchcock) or maybe its difficult in a different way. It's not an easy leap, particularly for someone used to writing in the novel format, or short chapters of a novel. A movie script is a piece of art in many ways, and not a simple case of putting 3 episodes together.

I think it would ultimately end up like another long time TV favorite, The Simpson's Movie, very watchable, entertaining, deep, but not as sublime as maybe some of the best episodes. Likewise, I don't know if a Wire Movie would ever reach the power of episode 11, season 3 ("Middle Ground") or episode 13 of season four ("Final Grades"). Despite that, it would be great to see how all the characters in the first season got to where they got. How can you vote against more Wire?

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