So I saw the Preacher pilot last night and it inspired me. It inspired me so much that I feel the need to put down a few words which rarely happens with a movie or a show. Sure, I’ll give my opinion on just about anything (I do have a blog after all) and the name of this blog is Cinematic Apocalypse so I do have an affection for movies but I’m not one to tear down any one specific piece. If I think something resembles a tire fire I have my right to that opinion, I just don’t feel the need to write a couple of paragraphs and sharing it with you fine folks. So to clarify, this is not a review. It is a commentary on a trend that has gone on for too long in Hollywood. And this should probably go without saying but this entry will contain massive spoilers.
Preacher the comic book is one of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s masterpieces. It is the story of a preacher (duh) named Jessie Custer who has lost his way. He is possessed by the spawn of an angel and a demon which grants him the power of The Word which means when his eyes glow red, whoever he is speaking to must obey his command. He discovers that upon receiving this power that God, upon learning of the existence of the unholy bastard child existed, left Heaven for parts unknown. Jesse, feeling that if anyone in the universe needs to be responsible it’s God, goes on a trek to find Him and make him explain his actions. Pretty ballsy to be sure. Jesse, along with his hit-woman girlfriend Tulip and his new vampire best friend Cassidy set out to take on the impossible task. Jesse is a holy man who is literally searching for God.
When I first heard that Preacher was going to be made into a television show, I was a bit skeptical due to the graphic nature of the comic but opted to give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps one of the premium channels would pick it up and they could get away with a faithful adaptation but alas it ended at AMC. Nothing wrong with AMC mind you. Breaking Bad is one of my all time favorite shows and The Walking Dead has a good amount of gore so I know they can get away with a good bit of stuff. Weeks passed and I heard about all the changes they were going to make to the source material and I got less and less interested. And then it occurred to me. Why would they go to the trouble of acquiring the rights to the property if they were simply going to change it so drastically? Wouldn’t it be better to create your own story and incorporate some elements that you liked from Preacher into that? You could call it an homage. Sure it’s probably harder to get an original idea sold than to buy an existing property (a future blog for sure) but why take something that someone else created and ‘put your own spin’ on it? That is a sign of lack of creativity imho.
Getting to the pilot, we begin in outer space. Not heaven. A comet comes rushing towards earth possessing various men of the cloth with explosive results. So immediately we’ve taken the religious aspect out of it. It finally reaches Jesse where it spares him for no explainable reason where he is then inspired to…stay in his hometown and become a better preacher, the exact opposite of the direction of the source material. It makes me wonder why attempt to adapt Preacher in the first place if you are simply going to shit all over the point of the series. James O’Barr said in an interview on the supplemental material on The Crow DVD that the producers originally intended to have it star Michael Jackson and be a musical. O’Barr threatened to walk unless they took the material more seriously to which I applaud.
I could go on and on about the many little intricacies that they changed that pissed me off but frankly I don’t have the time to list them all and you’d probably be bored as hell reading it. If I were to give the pilot a rating based on it’s own merit I’d give it about a 6 out of 10. It did capture the violence, gore and hilarity the book was known for and the characterizations were overall spot on, but there were parts that were very slow and detracted from the plot. There I guess I did give it a bit of a review. This of course is just my opinion. You can agree with it, or…