The Winter comic book movie slate: Scanty - but interesting.

Well, the comic book movie Summer of 2008 is truly behind us now and I suppose it is time to start contemplating the crop of movies awaiting us over the Fall and through to the Winter months of early 2009.

There is not a plethora of comic book based films scheduled for over the Winter months but we won't be totally devoid of comic-based celluloid entertainment.

The first of these films to come oue way will be the new Punisher movie, The Punisher: War Zone (December 5th). This film has been haunted by problems from the beginning; Thomas Jane, star of the previous Punisher movie, turned down the gig for the sequel after reading the script. You know it can't be a good sign when someone who was content to be in the last Punisher movie thinks that this next one suffers from a bad script! To be fair though, it is possible that the script was cleaned up somewhat by the time shooting started.

Speaking of shooting (no - I'm not going for the obvious pun here), the film supposedly suffered from some delays during shooting due to the harsher than expected weather conditions at some of the Canadian locations. Must have been anywhere East of British columbia, lol.

The most recent controversy surrounded the clash between the studio behind the film (Lionsgate) and director Lexi Alexander. According to various sources, Lionsgate recently started to reconsider the more graphic nature of the film and had considered having the film edited down to a possible PG-13 rating after seeing how successful Batman:The Dark Knight had been with a similar rating. In other words they wanted to take some of the more graphic punishment out of the upcoming Punisher movie. A PG-13 Punisher? Not what you would expect, and apparently neither did Alexander. After refusing to edit the film to get the tamer rating, Alexander supposedly disassociated herself from the project and refused to take part in any promotion of it this past Summer. Whether fences have now been mended is not entirely clear. I think it is safe to say that a PG-13 rating is likely all that the Batman and Punisher films would have in common.

The next slated release with a comic-booky theme would be The Spirit movie(December 25th), directed by Frank Miller. This film, at least from the early trailers, looks to be strongly influenced by Sin City which is no surprise considering Miller was involved as a producer on the former project. I'm sure that visually it will be at least interesting considering it boasts some fetching Hollywood eye candy, however the trailers so far have not done much for me(it doesn't help that the early trailers even reused the theme from the movie The Untouchables). I guess that so far the movie doesn't have me thinking much about the classic Will Eisner comic book character of the Spirit as much as it does Sin City. We shall see with this one, I guess.

The last of the scheduled Winter comic book movie releases would be the highly anticipated (well at least in comic fandom circles) Watchmen movie (March 6th). This film is directed by Zack Snyder. Aat various times going back a few years, this project had different names associated with it, including Brazil director Terry Gilliam. Sometimes many of us thought that this was just a film that was never supposed to get made. The interesting thing about this film right now is the recently green lighted lawsuit by Fox studios against the makers of the film, Warner Bros. The suit basically claims that Fox never totally surrendered the rights to the Watchmen movie which they had from back in the eighties through the nineties. I expect the suit to pretty much turn into a cash grab. In addition, there is supposed to be a release of an animated DVD about a week before the Watchmen movie which will tell the pirate side story from the original comic series.

There you go, it doesn't look to be as crazy a season for comic book movies this Winter as it did this past Summer, but we will still have a couple of films to watch out for over the coming months.

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