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DVD Review: The Mindscape of Alan Moore

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Alan Moore is considered one of the best comic book writers of all time, if not the best. In the 1980s, works like V For Vendetta and Watchmen established him as an innovator within the form, reinventing old concepts and ushering in a new age of more challenging, original comic books. In the '90s, he wrote fewer comics and declared himself a magician, worshipping the fictional snake god, Glycon. The documentary film, The Mindscape of Alan Moore, chronicles Moore’s whole life through an extended interview with him that stretches from his childhood to present day musings on the direction of art and culture.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I find Moore’s philosophical beliefs just as interesting as his comic writing, and see the two as inexplicably intertwined. His best recent works, From Hell and Promethea, explicitly deal with questions of magical practice and belief, and its relevance to our world. He sees every piece of art as a magical incantation, and that point of view is conveyed in fascinating ways in the film. With his deep voice and heavy accent, he makes for a perfect narrator on a journey into strange corners of human belief.

But, I’m a huge fan of Moore’s. I’m not sure how someone who isn’t already interested in his philosophical concepts would respond to the documentary. If you’re coming in as someone who enjoyed the Watchmen film, you might be surprised to find its creator such an eccentric. I love Moore, and find his ramblings fascinating, but the movie is basically a feature length lecture from him, and if you have no interest in his ideas, this is going to be a boring film.

But a feature length lecture from Moore was intoxicating for me, and the film has enough interesting visual intrusions to keep it entertaining. The score is great, and by the end, it puts you in a sort of trance, just drifting down the river of the subconscious on Moore’s words.

The DVD presentation is satisfying, offering interviews with some of Moore’s collaborators not seen in the film, including Dave Gibbons and David Lloyd, as well as some other background features on the film and Moore’s work in general. I think this is a well-constructed film, and a great showcase for Alan, but, if you’re just interested in his stories, not in his ideas, it’s probably not for you.

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