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Posts Tagged ‘adaptations’

I’m Watching The Watchmen

March 7th, 2009 No comments

"There is no future. There is no past. There is only my large, blue penis."

So, I’ve seen Watchmen. And really, I don’t think anyone has cause for complaint about the adaptation. Well, except for the ten-year-old a couple of seats down from me whose idiot father took him to see the superhero film. That kid’s gonna have problems. 

I don’t believe anyone could reasonably expect a better Watchmen film. That’s not to say that it’s the best. movie. ever. Just that it’s unlikely that anyone else would ever have made one with more fidelity to the source material. Just imagine what could’ve been. We could’ve had the Joel Silver version with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Manhattan. Consider that for a moment, then give director Zack Snyder his due.

Admittedly, it’s been a few years since I’ve read the book, but aside from some supporting characters and a certain squid, I don’t recall any significant deletions.* And, let’s face it, the squid was never gonna make the cut. Honestly, I think the film’s alternative to the Psychic Calamari of Doom makes more sense, both logically and thematically.

I’ve got a few small criticisms. The acting’s…well, okay. While I’m pleased that for the most part Snyder avoided casting familiar names, I feel that some of the performers were chosen more for their resemblence to the original drawings than for their thespian skills. 

The violence is also a bit much. My friend Tim, who has one of the filthiest minds I know (and I mean that as a good thing), seemed to blanch at some of the “hard R” mayhem on display. I suspect that the translation from comic to motion picture accounts for some of the grue; drawings depict isolated moments in time, but a film sequence by its very nature includes many more such images.

At the end of the day, I think that Watchmen was a very faithful retelling of a story that wasn’t all that much fun to begin with. It’s telling that the nearly all of the humor comes from the darkest of all the Watchmen, the psychopathic Rorschach.

Yet–and yes, I realize that a sequel is entirely beyond the point–I have to admit that I kinda want to see the further adventures of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre. If only to watch Alan Moore spin in his beard.

*The pirate comic that runs in parallel to the novel’s main narrative is also excised, but they’ve made an animated version for DVD that almost certainly will be edited back into some future, five-hour director’s cut.

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My Watchmen Rant

March 5th, 2009 No comments

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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You’re Watching The Watchmen

July 18th, 2008 No comments

The trailer for the upcoming Watchmen movie went online today. While I’m sure that rabid fanboys (not to mention Alan Moore) are preparing to stab it with their steely knives, I gotta say that it looks right. Watchmen is a story that I thought could never be filmed, but damned if they aren’t giving it what appears to be a pretty good try.

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