Cafe Witness

Monday, March 09, 2009

10 Things People Don't Seem to Get About the Watchmen

As a devoted fan of the graphic novel, I'll admit that I approached Zack Snyder's Watchmen adaptation with some serious doubts. I didn't think anyone could pack the full breadth of the story Time magazine has called one of the 100 Best Novels into a linear theatrical experience.

I was (mostly) wrong. Snyder's film is slavishly reverential to the book -- sometimes debillitatingly so -- but no one can say that Snyder didn't get it right. Of course, in this case, "it" means "translating the comic to the big screen, panel-for-panel," which is part of the reason why it's seeing so many negative reviews from people who've never read the book.

And thus, in the interest of being an apologist for the entire Watchmen experience, I bring you 10 Things People Don't Seem to Get About the Watchmen:

1. This isn't a film, it's an homage. Snyder knew this movie would be violently dissected by legions of rabid fanboys who consider Watchmen to be an untouchable, unadaptable work that legitimizes the entire genre of sequential art. So instead of applying his own vision to the project, Snyder realized that his only recourse was to literally translate the comic book directly to the big screen, panel by panel.

As such, there's very little negative commentary that any fan of the book can level at this film, because what does AND doesn't work on the screen has been lifted almost completely from the comic itself. To criticize the film is, fundamentally, to criticize the book -- or, more awkwardly, to criticize the fanboys themselves, who may now be realizing that the book needed to be given a life of its own if it was expected to stand alone as a film.

Which, of course, it wasn't. The Snyder version will be remembered as a near-literal translation from page to screen. Whatever version comes next, 20 or 30 years from now, will finally be able to depart drastically from the strictures of the book because now everyone knows what the thing would look like on the big screen, and the bigger question will be, "What could it look like?"

2. The film was destined to be a commercial failure. There's no way to adapt Watchmen to the big screen without spending obscene amounts of money. And there's no way to recoup that cost without promoting the film to look like an action-packed blockbuster, so unassuming audiences will flood the multiplex. But the book is really a drama / mystery, so populist audiences are bound to be disappointed, because...

3. Watchmen is not a superhero movie. Nearly every criticism I've heard of the movie is that it was boring. Considering that Watchmen is a story of life, love, death, politics, time, reality, sanity, physics, fantasy, sex, violence and the meaning of life, it's safe to say that the people who bought into the stereotypical rhythm of the trailer a) didn't bother reading the book, and b) were grossly disappointed to not see a 3-hour action sequence.

4. The wooden dialogue was never meant to be spoken aloud. Snyder decided to stick with the actual dialogue from the book at nearly every turn, and that's a mistake. What's written in a word balloon is written for the eyes, not the ears. If the dialogue sounded stilted -- or, worse, if the emotional impact of the statements was blunted by their hitchy delivery -- that's because it only worked on the page.

5. Watchmen is rated R. "R" means Restricted -- in this case, due to violence, nudity, sex, language and adult themes. People who complain that Watchmen isn't a "safe" popcorn movie that they could take their kids to clearly weren't paying attention to the whole ad. (And people who lament that this kind of sex and violence undermines the story miss the point that this is the point.)

6. Watchmen is political. So much so, in fact, that whole political diatribes are being written about it. But it isn't specifically conservative or liberal, because every character operates according to his or her own morality and personally-defined ethics. EVERY aspect of modern society (and politics) is coldly evaluated throughout the course of the film, and the final interpretation is up to each member of the audience.

7. Alan Moore is not God. His fans may say he is, and Moore himself may believe he is, but the truth is, Moore is just a very good writer in a genre without many talented peers, so he towers above the rest. This overinflates his ego to the point of absurdity, and makes him do silly things like condemning any adaptation of his work as an atrocity. Watchmen may the be Sistine Chapel of comic books, but the greater implication here is that there are so few Notre Dames to challenge it, which allows Moore the architect to get away with petulant murder.

8. Watchmen was published in 1986. Since then, a quarter-century has passed, in which time most of what was genre-shattering about Watchmen at the time has now been assimilated into pop culture. The concepts of superheroes as "real people," traitors operating under noble pretenses, hyper-violence as an art form and anti-heroes as protagonists have become the norm in pop culture, rather than the breaths of fresh air they were when Moore first introduced them to the comics world. Even the idea of pop music lyrics riding shotgun within a comic page was revolutionary then; now, using those same songs in a soundtrack gets it labeled obnoxious. In order to fully appreciate Watchmen, it has to be viewed within the context of its own influence.

9. It's not all about the big blue penis. Let the record show that when you hand an American audience a story about philosophy, psychology, politics and personal responsibility, all they'll be able to talk about is the big blue penis. (So maybe the world still isn't ready for a Watchmen movie...)

10. No, there will not be a sequel.

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  • Thank you for posting all the things in my brain about Watchmen.
    Great review!


    By Blogger SWEATTSHOP, at 7:49 PM  

  • I along with the friends who went to see this did not read the book before going. My friends all disliked it, I was taken back. Couldn't believe so much was attempted in this type of manner. It completely impressed me. It wasn't flawless, by any means, but there were moments of such captivating beauty, violence, love and mystery that I could probably watch it several more times and get the same chills that I did the first time.

    Needless to say, after seeing this movie on Saturday, the first thing I did at work today was ask around if anyone would let me borrow the graphic novel.

    By Blogger JR Moreau, at 7:52 PM  

  • Great post! Thanks for helping me understand why I didn't like this movie. While I found the art direction, sound and effects all something to be admired, I missed the point why someone would like this movie for its story.

    After reading your article, I realize I was NOT the person who was supposed to like the movie, but was sold on attending it through the mighty marketing marketing machine. Thanks!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:59 PM  

  • pertty dam good review mate.
    i personaly havnt read the comic, new absolutely nothing about it.

    its probably like u said, they used the trailers to display sum action flick to the public, im a sucker for exactly that, love the cinemas. So i got sucked into that and got sumthing totaly unexpected. i was blown away. Visual effects were mighty of course but there was still significant scenes based from the story alone that i enjoyed.

    im not a comic book person, im a movie buff, i like to think so any way. And that was one hell of a movie.
    I was also told the real ending from the book about the squid. Hearing that, it makes the movie sound much better!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:10 PM  

  • I am not a comic book fanboy (or girl). As far as comic books go, I only like Strangers in Paradise and X-men, and I started reading those by accident. Needless to say, I had never heard of the Watchmen before the movie.

    I saw Watchmen Saturday night in spite of reviews from friends who were distracted by the blue penis.

    I wasn't distracted.

    I felt like I was having a comic book read to me, and I kind of liked that. Also, I got the politics and philosophy that drove the movie/book, and really want to see it again at home and talk about it.

    I thought is was a great dramatic film, but other than the gratuitous blood loss and cracking bones, there's not much action to be had. I actually laughed a lot at the amount of blood shed.

    I did find the music to be a bit over the top, but I find music in my comics to be over the top, anyway.

    I appreciate this review, and the insight to add to the making of the movie. Thanks!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:16 PM  

  • I very much enjoyed this movie and was charmed by its complexities. Sequels, pre-quels, and remakes are crimes against art and should be viciously punished Rorschach style. ;-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:26 PM  

  • "Moore is just a very good writer in a genre without many talented peers."


    Warren Ellis

    Brian K. Vaughan

    Judd Winnick

    Greg Rucka

    Brian Michael Bendis

    Ed Brubaker

    Jason Aaron

    Matt Fraction

    Brian Azzarello

    Kurt Busiek

    Peter David

    Neil Gaiman

    Grant Morrison

    Gail Simone

    I could go on. There are so many great books out there that just happen to be written in illustrated panel form. The fact that they're comics doesn't make them any less viable as works of literature, and there are great minds behind them.

    Also, not all comic readers are male, and the fact that we have criticisms about the movies doesn't make us whiny, Moore-worshipping fanboys (or girls, in my case).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:35 PM  

  • best review ever! this has been retweeted over & over at twitter for its awesomeness! =)

    personally i found Watchmen the best "superhero" film I've watched in a long while. complex, dark, with everything about life & humanity mixed in. just mind-blowing!!

    me thinks the dissatisfaction of most viewers came from the marketing ads showing this is an action movie in the vein of 300, kill bill, etc. Watchmen isn't that at all! its more like an intellectual film (with sex, death and violence) using superheroes to discuss humanity & its future.

    anyway, again, awesome review! I'll link to this (if and when) I decide to write my own Watchmen review. there seems to be a lack of female POVs regarding the film and comicbook..

    By Blogger Unknown, at 8:38 PM  

  • Anyone have any walkouts? I've read a couple of articles about dissatisfied movie goers not giving it a full chance.

    Also knew people would be infatuated with Dr Manhattan's exposed endowments more than anything this week, and was confirmed as that's all they had to say about the movie on the drive in radio.

    Loved it, and watched it with 1.5/3 readers of the book (one didn't finish it because I needed my copy back) and it had mostly a positive review from all. Even if I had to explain some backstory to some that may have been missed.

    By Blogger Sorgatron, at 9:17 PM  

  • Thanks to everyone for all of your comments! I felt compelled to write this post because I didn't think many people were addressing the full complexity of the Watchmen experience; I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who felt that way.

    Christina: Yes, those are all great writers, and there are even more that we could add (Claremont, Sim, Terry Moore, etc.). But Alan Moore has achieved a lofty notoriety even among those peers; none of them have had so many of their creations adapted (or butchered) for the big screen. Gaiman is probably his closest comparison in terms of direct impact on the medium, but too much of Gaimain's mystique is wrapped up in one book (Sandman); Moore has caused ripples with nearly every property he's touched (Swamp Thing, From Hell, Miracleman, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, etc.) that his game-changing work on Watchmen is supported by extensive (ego-stoking) successes elsewhere.

    Also, I do apologize for any latent sexism in the term "fanboys." But, on the bright side, that we can even discuss female fandom in comics means we've come a loooooong way from the dark ages of the medium, in terms of both actual content and expected audiences. (Not long ago, I doubt many women would have fought to be known as comic book fans...)

    By Blogger Justin Kownacki, at 9:42 PM  

  • Yeah i think the same, this society it wasn't ready to see the number 9 on the bigscreen, hahaha, but the topics that the movie talks about are really and extremely important, and the hole thing 'bout the movie i really love it. I didn't read the book, but I absolutly love the movie.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:27 PM  

  • Finally! Somebody writes about the movie who GETS IT! Thank you for this.

    By Blogger jmr, at 10:57 PM  

  • Agree on several layers... My review was posted here on Sunday:

    By Blogger Chris Johnson, at 11:06 PM  

  • If you're convinced the film was a "slavish", "panel-for-panel" translation of the book, then I take issue with your claim to being a "devoted fan" of that work. Sure, Snyder got the look of the film pretty much spot on — so much so that I blinked when I realised Dreiberg's birds of prey calendar wasn't in its customary spot beside his kitchen door — but I think what Snyder did here that he didn't do on 300 was that he knew exactly when a panel-for-panel approach wouldn't work. Some of the most iconic sequences from the comic (and here I am thinking particularly of the "falling photograph" sequence, among others) have been completely reworked for the film, and some of the best sequences in the film (such as the glorious opening titles) appear nowhere in the book.

    I think Snyder's triumph here is that he managed to produce such a beautifully faithful adaptation without relying on the comic as a storyboard, because that was always going to be impossible. Sure, the shots are there if you look for them (the blood on the badge, Rorshach's foot in the puddle, the angel in the cemetery, the ketchup on Seymour's t-shirt), but as easter eggs for the fans.

    I'm kind of wondering if you wrote this before you watched the film.

    By Blogger Matt Powell, at 11:18 PM  

  • I think you need to read through the book again because there are a lot of people who you would call fanboys out there are do not like the film due to the amount of major elements that were deemed 'unimportant' to the story and left out...

    By Blogger Unknown, at 3:02 AM  

  • Well written.

    By Blogger Wayne., at 3:28 AM  

  • Finally someone with intellegents to understand Watchmen..Agreed with every aspect you mentions..Much appreciated for putting these points into words

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:35 AM  

  • Thank you for this article!
    I saw watchman opening night at a midnight showing.

    I didn't know anything about it walking into the theater. I saw little clips of the trailer on tv and wasn't really impressed but agian, not really swayed one way or another.

    BUT! OMG! THAT WAS A FUCKING GREAT MOVIE! My jaw was on the floor 99% of the time. There wasn't a dull moment, and the story line was fucking excellent! The cinematography was amazing!

    I love reading what "true watchman geeks" thought about it so I can see what a different side. So again, thank you for the article and cant wait to buy this movie!

    By Blogger JoblessPunk, at 3:37 AM  

  • Alan Moore is wierd, absolutely, but his distancing from film adaptations of his work arose from his treatment at the hands of hollywood lawyers who were fighting over the rights to the adaptation of "The League of Extraordianry Gentleman". Moore was accused of plagarism and treated with contempt by lawyers and film studios alike. In his own words:

    "The idea that I had taken The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen from a Hollywood screenwriter - who I've not got the highest opinion of, I've got to be honest - that stung my vanity, if you like. Then I had to go down to London to do this videotaped testimony regarding the case, and I was cross-examined for 10 hours. I remember thinking that if I had raped and murdered a busful of retarded schoolchildren after selling them heroin, I probably wouldn't have been cross-examined for that long."

    And if someone had done to your work what the bloody Wachowski brothers did to V you would be pissed too.

    He is not a mediocre writer with limited peers, he is one of many many talented writers in the graphic novel and comic book industry who deserve the same respect as our best authors, not condemnation for not being on the border bestsellers list.

    By Blogger Conall Bullock, at 3:49 AM  

    You have successfully conveyed all the rage I've felt towards those who would criticize a completely faithful adaptation of the graphic novel.

    Everything you said is absolutely correct/

    By Blogger Unknown, at 6:57 AM  

  • You got it exactly point I disagree on is delivery of the dialouge. I personally thought the performances were fantastic. (aside from the girl who played silk specter...whose character in general was scaled back for the purpose of the film) Besides that Spot officially summarized the reason such a film will not be accepted by the unwashed masses...

    By Blogger Unknown, at 7:21 AM  

  • good assessmen of Watchmen

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:32 AM  

  • Well written! Though I have to disagree with this prevailing opinion that the dialog was wooden or hollow. It was my biggest concern going in, since many reviewers said the same thing, but I found the dialog quite compelling, actually. When Rorschach informed the prisoners that they were stuck in prison with him, I got shivers!

    Still, I think many of your points are spot on, and highlight excellent facts of the unusual movie situation. I for one prefer the homage to whatever Hollywood might have cooked up.

    My theater not only had no walkouts, but had applause and laughter at the appropriate moments.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:44 AM  

  • It's still a film that's narratively disjointed, too long and full of ropey acting and emotionally unengaging scenes.

    The book is currently winging it's way to me from Amazon and I'm sure I'll really like it but you've just listed a bunch of excuses here. A homage not a film? That's not only pretentious but also bullshit. Wooden dialogue? Dated? Sure, these are mitigating factors that a director of talent would have anticipated and done something about. The reasons Snyder didn't are irrelevant: afraid of fanboy wrath, lack of imagination? Who cares? The fact is just that he didn't and the film is not very good. I 'get' what you're saying I just disagree.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:45 AM  

  • Agreed. It's all true.

    By Blogger DM, at 9:52 AM  

  • You are about to get the dubious distinction of being my myspace quote...the last part about the big blue penis. Hysterical and SO TRUE.

    By Blogger Alicia, at 10:46 AM  

  • spot on!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:27 AM  

  • You nailed it on every point.

    By Blogger Friarjohn, at 11:34 AM  

  • Watchmen is a work of Art. Love it, hate it, don't give a crap about it; who cares? It is here, it is a masterpiece, your grandchildren will watch it after you are dead, it will be studied in film schools, reviled by established religions and athiests alike, argued over by comic fans, marketed by hucksters until the final scrap of hype has been milked. All sound, fury, noise without meaning, blah blah blah. I say again: masterpiece, work of Art, classic film, timeless. How soon can I get it on BluRay?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:00 PM  

  • Great post, most of my friends also disliked the film. In my opinion, reading the book and understanding context made all the difference.

    By Blogger wendy, at 12:54 PM  

  • Hey, I liked the movie. And apart from it, I loved the big blue penis.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:56 PM  

  • Except the endings of the two were switched around a bit...

    The original ending was perfect, and it was quite a compromise to go with the ending in the film.

    By Blogger ExtremeHobo, at 1:09 PM  

  • ExtremeHobo: I actually agree with Snyder's choice to alter the means to the end(ing), because I don't think the version from the comic would have played anywhere near believably onscreen. However, I do think Snyder could have done a lot more with the ending in terms of visual impact / emotion. The book lingers on a lot of images that the movie ignores, probably to avoid spending more screentime on a downer that would then require a tenuous pick-me-up for a "high" note.

    Personally, I was more aggravated by the "other" change to the ending, involving Laurie, Sally and Dan. I thought their closing scene from the book was one of the best moments in the story, and it's completely renovated (to, in my opinion, a lesser effect) in the film. I wonder why they came to that decision.

    By Blogger Justin Kownacki, at 1:21 PM  

  • God this is such cop out apologizing. It was a mediocre adaptation. Get over it.

    1. Actually it was a film. They adapted a screenplay from a book, got a cast, crew, film stock, had studios and distributors involved. By all definiton, it was a film.

    Homage seems to be this word people throw out there when they want to defend semi-crappy adaptations, thinking it gives the makers license to fuck up. You cant call something a homage when they used the damn novel as a storyboard. That is an adaptation, a filmed version, and when you do that, you either do the entire thing or risk looking stupid, which a bunch of this flick did.

    2. This property had a gigantic, fervent following, along with massive hype damn near everyone. Time magazine even put it on a Best Of list with books like Lolita and Mrs. Dalloway. Destined? The author is generally regarded as a luminary in his field. He attracts massive attention all the time and his last adapted work did HUGE business. Destined Schmestined. Besides, it did fine. Not as good as everyone expected, but the analysts wanted more because there was more people sharing the pot.

    3. Of course it isn't, its a super sorta villain sorta fucked up people movie. Drama does well no matter what, and there was plenty of action and fantasy to rope in the crowds.

    4. Kinda picked apart your homage argument, no? Sounds like a direct adaptation to me, to a fault in some places.

    5. 300 was rated R and cleaned up.

    6. Most movies are. Politics bring in crowds, they don't repel them.

    7. Do you know God? Alan Moore might be God. Who knows.

    8. Batman first appeared in 1938 and it never really hurt his chances at the box office.

    9. Thats because people are fucking nimrods.

    10. Well yeah.

    The flick was mediocre. It was not great by any scale. Anyone who thinks otherwise is probably excited easily by shiny things blowing in the wind.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:50 PM  

  • gotta disagree with you on a couple of points.

    1. I don't see why you need to argue semantics here, it will never be anything but a film. An homage film maybe, but still a film. Trying to change it's definition deflects from the actual flaws of the movie.

    2. Well, yeah. Outside of monetary reasons (which I would argue that costs could be recouped by actually making an engaging film), the biggest reason it was destined to failure was a lack of time. Frankly, the best way to bring the Watchmen to the screen would have been a mini-series on HBO or Showtime. There is so much depth and detail in the Watchmen that it just can't fit into a movie and still do the source material justice.

    3. Yes, and unfotunately, in Hollywood, superhero movies sell, and so that's how their genious marketers promoted the movie.

    4. I see no problem with the dialogue being spoken out loud. However, the film script definitely had some diversions from the orginial, whether it be new lines or cut/pasted lines, and those lines are the ones that felt wooden. Also, poor acting on the part of a couple of the characters didn't help. However, Roschach is proof that the lines can translate well from the novel to spoken dialogue.

    5. Uhm, yup.

    6. This is not a hinderance, but a benefit to the movie, IMO. However, it was not billed as part of the movie, so those who came expecting action got the opposite of what they wanted, thought.

    7. I don't know why this is pertinent to the movie's success/failure since Moore had squat to do with the movie and most of the people who saw the movie don't know who he is.

    8. I agree with you here.

    9. Lolz.

    10. THANK GOD.

    On a side note, peronsally, I found the end of the movie to be frivolous, as I think the original ending could have worked almost as well with better use of time in the movie and better script writers to handle the slightly more complex ending of the novel.

    By Blogger Clinton Bader, at 2:47 PM  

  • you shouldn't have to read the source material to like a movie. (eg Coraline, Sin City, Godfather)
    it was just bad and in need of some huge edits. The length did not assist it.
    While the characters and visual approach was interesting, this didn't distract from the "all over the place" deal with the plot, and seemed confused and using the soundtrack and visuals as a crutch for the unemotional and odd acting.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:54 PM  

  • Well done!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:57 PM  

  • Watchmen was important as a graphic novel not because it was great (it was actually quite mediocre), but because it brought attention to a sea change in super heroes toward the more gritty and real. Alan Moore was far from the first in the mid-eighties to do this, but he was able to tap into the public consciousness to become a centerpiece.

    Much better works of graphic novel artistry like The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller didn't get this attention, but that's okay. The Watchmen was more symbol than anything.

    The trouble is that when you take something that is iconic for what it represents more than for what it IS and turn that into a movie, you shed light on the flaws--the wooden dialog, goofy plot twists, and shallow characters. I am sure that this is a big reason for the negative reactions we see toward the movie.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:07 PM  

  • You're an idiot.

    A friend and I saw it on sunday, both of us have read the book multiple times. We hated it.

    A homage?
    In the sense that they couldn't be arsed to write any original dialogue.
    Not meant for the general audience? That must be why they added 30 minute sex scenes and copious, needles gore. I don't know where it was decided an homage would be better off with a drastically altered ending, removal of every 'character on the street' that played such a huge role in the book, removal of the Black Freighter, ect. Rorschach's scene with the dogs? IT WOULD BE SO MUCH COOLER IF HE HIT THE DUDE WITH A CLEAVER A BUNCH SO WE CAN PORTRAY HIS AS JUST SOME CRAZY DUDE!

    The movie was an utter train wreck whether you read the book or not, and if you can't see that, maybe you should draw your opinions from something other than an interview with the director.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 5:19 PM  

  • spot on indeed!

    By Blogger Bert Heymans, at 5:28 PM  

  • Shezz150

    i am right along the lines of JoblessPunk's comment above a bit. No idea wat i was walking into and BAM some insane fantastic movie.

    and for people like Brendan with his useless comments above, do u just go around hating everything?
    your acting as if the ENTIRE thing has no relation to the film.

    u cant even admire a film that the latest technology has to give in its best quality going round?

    no film is ever going to be identical to a comic. No one does that any way. thats why its a film BASED on a comic, theres always edits. There is a line that shouldnt be crossed but Watchmen only stood on it.

    all the complaints i here wether its a fanboy or not its just another person opinion, theres always unhappy people, i guess thats the nature of it.

    and for Mr Manhattens blue members, if u dont like it THEN DONT LOOK AT IT! cry some more plz.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:00 PM  

  • I understand people loving the book but this movie was just not good at all after the opening credits.

    It's very simple, the book is fantastic and the movie is a disaster. JUST READ THE BOOK!
    Whats the debate?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:13 PM  

  • I don't know what everyone's so uptight about; my wife and I saw the movie and thought it was really great. I'd read the graphic novel ages ago and thought the only real flaws were Manhattan's conveniently sudden familiarity with everyday probability and, well, everything about the squid-thing (dumb!). I was relieved to find one of these two flaws fixed, and my wife, who wasn't at all familiar with the graphic novel, loved it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:49 AM  

  • I think I would have enjoyed the movie if I had read the source material. I just didn't think there was much story present in the movie. It was a movie about ideals and watching ideals on the big screen for almost three hours gets boring. Stunning looking film too! The opening sequence was amazing.

    I find it interesting how a big blue penis gets so much attention and breasts don't. People commented in someway everytime we saw it. This was during a midnight showing in NYC in Chelsea (gay mecca).

    Oh well. Your review is pushing me to read the novel. I think I'd enjoy it.

    By Blogger Kevin, at 9:35 AM  

  • Totally agree with the "Alan Moore is not God" thing.

    People like Frank Miller and Grant Morrison are better than whichever hack is writing X-men this month, but then again, that's not saying much.

    Comics are definitely a legitimate art form, but in Superhero comics, the bar is set too low.

    By Blogger 4rainertunes, at 8:44 PM  

  • Spot on.

    A solid recap on the movie as a whole, as a contrast to its origin and it's general reception.

    Most folks are a part of the flock that won't understand/follow the plot or it's subtexts and/or just not like it because their intellectual plateau is on the shallow end.

    The film wasn't quite Shakespeare, but it was beautiful none the less.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:50 AM  

  • If Snyder wanted to make an homage then he shouldn't have made the FILM; making it into an "homage" is to bastardize it.

    "...To criticize the film is, fundamentally, to criticize the book -- or, more awkwardly, to criticize the fanboys themselves, who may now be realizing that the book needed to be given a life of its own if it was expected to stand alone as a film."

    I disagree entirely. The book isn't just about panels. You seem to think that because Snyder got the visuals right, he got the film right. If that's the case then I question your statement about being a devoted fan of the book because evidently you missed its intent. Or maybe because you HAVE read the book and understand its meaning, you saw it in the movie when really it wasn't effectively delivered.
    You also seem to think that people who didn't like it either didn't read the book or walked into the theater expecting a Superman-like action flick. Those I saw it with are HUGE fans of the book and hated the film because it missed the point of the story; they went on and on about what Snyder got wrong. Like Chris said here, there were many major elements that were left out. I'm not nearly as avid about the book as they are but even I thought it missed the mark.
    Like James said, I get what you're saying, I just disagree (...though I do agree with that the blue penis thing is being blown- hehe- out of proportion).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:44 AM  

  • Great write up! I agree with you on all counts. Loved the movie, love the book, and I understand both for what they are and what they aren't. :)

    By Blogger Brandice, at 10:29 PM  

  • I personally thought Watchmen was a breath of fresh air, amongst all the other comic movies of late, by sticking true to the story and characters. Just wish that a more failthful version of Wanted was released, the message from that movie was totally lost amongst the, admittedly brilliant, action scenes.

    And for all those still hating Watchmen read this:

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:21 AM  

  • Anyone who says this film was a panel-for-panel recreation of the book either didn't pay attention to the book or the movie. Snyder's film includes many deviations from perfectly storyboarded moments in the book like Rorschach's jail break scene, to the pointlessly added gore, and the rape scene which was tastelessly eroticized by prolonged close-ups of Sally's breasts, etc.

    As an adaptation, this film was a failure, and the co-host of my radio program said it best: Snyder's "Watchmen" had brains where its balls were supposed to be and balls where it's brains were supposed to be.

    It was everything Moore said a film based on "Watchmen" would be, and sometimes even less.

    By Blogger Joe Scott, at 11:48 AM  

  • 4. The wooden dialogue was never meant to be spoken aloud.

    I am glad it was kept though. Your average modern film dialog tends to make me wretch anyway. I'd rather hear awesome actors speak my favorite lines then hear new ones crammed in where they don't belong.

    Great list!

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  • Basically the movie was destined to be a POS, because as nearly everyone (but Zack Snyder) knows, the straight transcription of a book to movie be a stilted failure. They're different media. Snyder is a self-indulgent hack.

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