Films based on comic books are the rage in Hollywood these days, and not just those based on superheroes. Many are discovering that the printed medium is a breeding ground for terrific sci-fi, fantasy, horror and crime stories. One such comic book story is We3, which should be made into a film.
We3 was a comic book mini-series published in 2004 by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint line. Written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely, the three-issue tale was about a trio of lab animals that were enhanced by the military with bionic implants. The animals were a dog, a cat and a rabbit named Bandit, Tinker and Pirate, respectively. They were fitted with high-tech armor that donned deadly weapons like razor claws and machine guns, and the animals were also had rudimentary speech thanks to skull implants.The animal trio escaped and throughout the series they frantically evaded the military, as they encountered the outside world and other people.
It was both very touching and disturbing since we felt for these abused animals, who didn’t quite understand what happened to them or why. Thanks to Morrison’s script and Quitely’s pencils, it was very easy to build a rapport with the trio and empathize with their plight as they stayed one step ahead of the military. Plus, they were deadly and effective war tools, hence why the military wanted them back at all costs. The story wasn’t just an allegory about the ethics of the military’s use of animals for warfare, but the controversy of animals being subjected to lab experiments. Seriously, look at the way these three animals were outfitted in their robotic armor, the process had to be painful for them. Your heart just goes out these critters whenever they spoke. Their fear and confusion pounded the message home that what was done to them was barbaric.
The mini-series was quite graphic, it clearly wasn’t for children. That could be a reason why film studios may be hesitant to adapt We3. New Line Cinema optioned a live-action film back in 2006 and Morrison even wrote a script for it. Also, Kung Fu Panda director John Stevenson was attached to the project in 2008. Unfortunately, the proposed film has been stuck in development hell and New Line Cinema isn’t involved anymore, so who knows when or if We3 will get made.
It could be done as an animated film, but serious, adult-oriented animated films are a rarity from Hollywood. The subject matter may be too controversial and violent for a mainstream Hollywood movie. It’s easy to imagine parents protesting the film since they thought it was fine for their children to watch. This could happen despite the fact that in interviews, Morrison stated that the violence in the script was toned down to make the story more palatable. Still, such misperceptions would probably plagued a live-action version of We3. Even though Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes did well in theaters, studios might be hesitant to greenlight a non-family film about talking animals that is violent and sure to raise animal rights issues.
But the bottom line is that films based on comic books are everywhere these days. The studios are always looking for something new to adapt and have made successful adaptations like 30 Days Of Night and Red. In the right hands, We3 would make an unforgettable film if adapted correctly.