Thing is, you can't take Neuromancer out of the '80s. The newness of computer networks, the ascendancy of Japan, the aesthetics of computer hardware -- boxy, whirring things with stark, green CRTs spewing masses of indecipherable alphanumeric incantations, big clunky cables, heavy briefcase-size mobile units; it's all there. And the mash-up of digital and analog technologies is no less integral than Gibson's opening lines to the book, comparing a halogen-hazed night sky to the analog noise of TV transmission.
Neuromancer didn't arrive into a world comfortable with computer technology like ours today. The book stands as a fantastic trip back into a time when technology could be dark, dangerous, and foreign, a zeitgeist Gibson leverages to dazzling effect. "Updating" Neuromancer would bring its entire shadowy world out into the unthreatening, mid-day sun.
In an earlier interview he mentioned the scene with Case walking down the length of a row of pay phones, each ringing exactly once as he passes, as one of the first things he wanted to write for the book. I don't remember the last time I saw a row of phones in the U.S.
When I first read Neuromancer it (obviously) didn't feel dated. I think going back and correcting things would make it bland. At the time the bit with the payphones was eerie, but now if you did that with cellphones and GPS it feels like less of a deus ex machina is messing with me and more the gov't is overstepping again. sigh. Which is really not the right vibe. I don't expect a youth to pick up Neuromancer today and comprehend it, no matter what you do to it.
More than anything Gibson writes culture. He once said he writes descriptions, but he's focusing on describing people and subcultures. I think the cultural era which he wrote his first trilogy for has past. The cultural era he wrote the second trilogy for is waving goodbye, but I think it's still very accessible to youth. His following books practically document the very era they were written for, which is a fun consequence of writing science fiction set in the plausible present.
I would try to avoid the phone-in-an-envelope scene in Matrix, but someone perplexed could hand him a phone and say "it's for you".
I'm hoping for Rez!
It is better than your average bland sci-fi actioner for 90s and 00s. Sure, the action is about the same as in other movies of the genre, but the biting satire brings it above the fold.
However, I would LOVE to see a film adaptation of one particular more recent cyberpunk-style novel, River of Gods by Ian McDonald. It's staggeringly brilliant, and recent enough that it wouldn't be dated in the same way.
There have been 3 or 4 sequels and they were so bad that I'm glad nobody ever tried to make a sequel of say, Matrix.
(of course, it'll be all flat screens and iPods ... and Keanu Reeves. and all the good bits will fit in the trailer so once you have seen that there will be no real reason to see the movie. sigh)
Places like Singapore, specifically, and tokyo are where cyberpunk is, was and will be. The location will retain value as density increases over time.
People make the assumption that the density of population and tech is evenly distributed. It has never been - never will be.
You will have ultra-dense areas in singapore and tokyo that truly resemble cyberpunk (I think you do already).
For me, years of playing cyberpunk as a kid after reading the books in the 80s... it was more about the geo-corpolitic dynamic... Apple is Ono Sendai, for example - but not under threat yet that it needs its own security.
I predict; Facebook, Google, Monsanto, Goldman Sachs -- will be the companies that require the services of a security force like XE.
Google's datacenters are already built like prisons, complete with local - low-IQ security bio-robots already looking for a reason to exert their 'authority' over an intruder.
One can only expect that a company like GS and Monsanto are about 5 years away from the first incursions against them.
Edit: Guess the point is, even if it is really good, I'm not sure it could live up to expectations.
Oh, it's almost guaranteed not to. But who cares? Even if it's only half as good as the book, it'll be a great movie, particularly when you compare it to the bilge that permeates cinemas these days.
This hack does not deserve to make Neuromancer.
And it was the guys first movie, on a tiny budget.
I haven't seen Splice yet, but have heard mostly good things about it. So don't write off the guy just because of Cube.
Gibson's writing is good because he develops incredibly complex social systems and structures for the reader to navigate. He does this mainly by leaving gaps in the world that the reader has to imagine or guess at. Some of them are filled in, as the plot progresses some of them are filled in and explained. This is incredibly difficult to do well in film. Directors are always tempted to show everything and producers demand it if there is the budget for it. The world becomes simpler, flatter, maybe a little silly.
Stylistically, I think it was dead on.
EDIT: goes over the differences between the international version and the Japanese version: http://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=1523&In=Qu... basically, they removed nearly every supporting scene for the main Japanese character, and the explanation of the ending.
When I read it (in one evening, quite a rush) I remember thinking that Molly was kind of cool, as I imagined her. A few years later I saw a Neuromancer comic book, and her glasses made her look freaky and insectoid. Maybe a different artist would have done a better job . . . but some things just don't translate to the screen.
>She hooked thumbs in the beltloops of her leather jeans and rocked backward on the lacquered heels of cherry red cowboy boots. The narrow toes were sheathed in bright Mexican silver. The lenses were empty quicksilver, regarding him with an insect calm.
Some books should just remain books, and both Snow Crash and Neuromancer are in that bucket. If Gibson wants to be a screenwriter, then he should write a story for the screen.
Ridiculously weak ending, though.
Neal Stephenson develops excellent worlds, creates characters that draw emotion out of readers, and then the endings fizzle. Every single time.
One of the few directors that could take a masterpiece of a book, and make an even better film from it.
What I remember about Neuromancer was that after my first reading I thought "wow, that was cool". But it took a few more re-readings to work out, with any confidence, what in blazes was actually going on.
That said, with careful pruning and a big budget for effects, I think it could work on the big screen. I just hope they stay true to the 80s cyberpunk vibe.
On the subject of adaptations, many years ago I bought a Neuromancer graphic novel which was entitled part 1. I have never seen the others, did I miss them?, do I have a rarity?
Tiptree is pure genius!
Don't mean to be pedantic, but it implies art direction has commenced prior to the director actually starting, which surely must be inaccurate. (Enjoyed Natali's Cube.)
Jan 1989. "Soon to be a major motion picture".
no, wait, that movie really sucked