Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Grant Morrison Talking With Gods

Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods
Directed by: Patrick Meaney
Starring: Grant Morrison, Jason Aaron, Dan Didio, Warren Ellis, Matt Fraction, Frazer Irving, Phil Jimenez, Geoff Johns, J.G. Jones, Frank Quitety, Jill Thompson, Mark Waid

If you know me in any way, you would know that Grant Morrison is one of my favorite writers in comics. Everything he writes has a strange tone to it, but he puts a lot of ideas on the table and makes each title he works on a fascinating read. His epic run on Batman, Doom Patrol, All Star Superman, and a lot more in the past twenty years have been some of the best comics I've read. So when it was announced that a documentary was to be made on the man himself, of course I was excited about it. Seeing the huge list of other creators on the list, I expected a big opus on the life of this Scottish born creator. What it ended up as though is a confusing, downright bizarre look at a man that is very hard to believe.

Now I knew the film was going to have a bizarre tone to it since Morrison is a pretty bizarre man. But this documentary really shows just how strange his life has been. We get him recounting moments of sheer implausibility like being abducted by aliens or meeting a man that looks like Jesus, but isn't Jesus at all. The more these; and many, many more; stories are recounted the more I had a hard time keeping interest. Morrison seems to certainly believe all these things have happened to him and who knows, maybe they did. But it really is hard to keep a straight face when those subjects and other risque moments (like Morrison doing a 'masturbation ritual' for The Invisibles) are discussed. It also doesn't help that Morrison is a confessed (but former) drug user so the stories become even more hard to believe knowing that fact.

Look, this is a film for Morrison fans and comic fans in general. If you know who the man is and follow his work then not all of this will come as a surprise. But for the uninitiated who have no idea who Grant Morrison is and what his life has been like, then this is going to be a tough sell for them. It doesn't help that the director, Patrick Meaney, does a very lazy job at the film. The questions are vague towards anyone in the film and you get the generic responses from people who worked with him. It doesn't help that it feels like the same 4-5 people talk throughout the movie and it would've helped to have even more of his colleagues in the film. Meaney's edit of the film generically as well, sometimes even using Morrison three times for a sound bite in three locations. Maybe it was difficult to get a single response from the man, but it just feels like Meaney had to edit this in a way to get the responses he wanted for the film instead of making it look organic. The film also gets hampered with Morrison crazy life so much, that we learn very little about the man itself. It's one thing to hear about his mythological believes but we get to know little about his personal life and his profession as well. It's fine if Morrison thinks 'The Invisibles' is his best work; but it takes up so much of the film that you don't hear most of his other works.

While I was expecting this documentary to be weird, I didn't think it would be THAT bizarre. Grant Morrison is obviously a complicated man who believes in a lot of New Age and/or magical ideas that the ordinary person might be turned off by. It doesn't help that director Patrick Meaney does a pretty poor effort in the questions asked in the film and also the editing of it as well. At the end of the day I am still going to be a fan of Grant Morrison and his work. But if anything, this film definitely makes me think twice about taking drugs and also believing in anything magical or New Age.

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