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My Watchmen Rant

March 5th, 2009

Yes, I am stoked for the release of the Watchmen feature film. No, it will not be as good as the book. And no, I could not care less about that. I am still going.

Guess what? A book, which allows one to linger over a page or to double back to a previous chapter so as to extrude deeper meaning, is almost always going to be richer, more emotionally resonant, etc., etc. than its film adaptation. It’s a different medium, with its own strengths and weaknesses. Get over it.

Some will make the argument that Watchmen already exists in a visual form, so a movie can only be redundant. Bullshit. It’s not the same experience. I, for one, am glad that filmmaking techniques have reached the point at which we can put a 50-foot-tall, naked, blue man on the big screen and make it look believable. Okay, granted that I’m not necessarily looking forward to have Dr. Manhatten’s giant, blue junk waved in my face.

I find tiresome the argument that creative works should be left to the venue in which they first appeared. Do they work best in their original medium? Arguably. Do they have nothing to say when translated into another form? I don’t buy it. Should we never make a Shakespeare play into a film? A film into a T.V. series? A novel into a radio play? They won’t be the same either. And you know what? That’s okay.

Watchmen the movie won’t hurt Watchmen the book. If the film sucks, its source material will continue to exist. If it turns out well, it may cause some who’d not previously read the graphic novel to seek out that extra level of depth.

As for myself, I really appreciated the book but haven’t opened it in many years. I’m looking forward to rereading Watchmen after seeing it on the big screen in order to see how the two stack up.

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