Naomi Watts Watch: Tank Girl

You’ve probably forgotten Tank Girl, buried it beneath the subsequent deluge of increasingly tiresome and tired comic book adaptations that followed. It was an early attempt to incorporate a “cartoony” style (inserts of colourful artwork, hyperbolic dialogue, big gestures) into an adaptation – i.e. to adapt with minimum loss of medium specificity – but it illustrates some of the enduring problems Hollywood has in this area, acquiring a hot property and then ironing out the outrageousness (not to mention the Britishness) that made Jamie Hewlett and ALan Martin’s comic books special in the first place. I wish I could say that, now that some time has passed, Tank Girl deserves reappraisal, but I’m afraid it’s still a damp mess of half-measures, compromises, its tiresome ebullience made even more slovenly by the traces of studio interference at every level. The best I can say is that, because it’s shot by Gale Tattersall, who worked with Bill Douglas on the supreme Comrades, it looks great, perhaps better, more polished, than it needs to, or that it represents the look of a big budget blockbuster before the effects of CGI had really taken hold in Hollywood, meaning that it relies almost entirely on vehicular stunts, miniatures and pyrotechnics (the Mad Max echoes can’t be coincidental) that must already have given it a pleasingly old-fashioned feel.

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