Apparently my diminished sense of being impressed by character stills pissed a couple people off. Because I’m a particularly opinionated nerd, I thought I’d just respond to some of my anonymous detractors (‘u fag, you dont know shit about good movies‘ being a particular favorite nugget of e-mail love received in response) on the front page.
I’ve been reading comics for a long, long time. It’s a wonderful medium for storytelling, and one that has left an indelible mark on my life. And yes… I’ll admit that I wasted many a conversation playing the ‘who should play Wolverine’ game with many a pal in geekery. But the truth of the matter is I learned a long time ago that what works on a 4 color page of cheap newsprint doesn’t always work on the big screen.
Batman, Spider-Man, Superman and the like lend themselves to interpretation because no one author really owns them (Both literally and figuratively). They’ve undergone so many changes over the years, had so many hands and minds dictating their actions that a director can play with the little details and tell their own story, and we’re okay with that. In some cases (Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Batman Begins) we’re treated to a new take on much beloved characters that actually works, but mostly (X-Men 1-3, Fantastic Four, Punisher) we’re given un-sugar’d Kool-Aid and then told it’s Pinot Noir that comes with its own action figure.
Watchmen, on the other hand, is a work that is wholly defined by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. No other author or artist has ever laid their hands on that cast of characters (at least not officially), so Watchmen exists as a complete and finished work. Can anyone really say that seeing the characters moving on the big screen will somehow be better than what we already have? I don’t believe for a second that you can leave out the Tales of the Black Freighter (already confirmed by Snyder as not being part of the film), the excerpts from ‘Under the Hood’, etc. and still be calling an adaptation ‘Watchmen’.
Most importantly, how can you make a film that can capture the same ground-breaking spirit of the original when so much of Watchmen’s power was based in how it turned comic convention on its ear? Movie going audiences don’t have the familiarity of the Charleston Comics characters that inspired each of Watchmen’s central cast, so that sense of the familiar being turned inside out that made Watchmen so amazing will be completely lost in translation.
I certainly don’t wish Zach Snyder any ill will (though if I think about ‘300’ too long I may have to amend that statement), nor do I want the film to fail per se, but I just can’t call it Watchmen.
Update: Or to put it another way… anything other than the original will leave us nothing but this:
Thanks to Mr. Langosta for the image.