Saturday, February 28, 2009

The world will look up and shout


*Image courtesy of that nifty "Join the Watchmen" app on Facebook

It's official: there is literally less than a week until Watchmen premieres.

I'm excited, I'm so excited. I'm ridiculously excited.

I don't even know how I'm going to watch it.
Will I catch it at midnight?
Who will I see it with?
Will I see it in regular theatres, or IMAX?

So far, Watchmen scored an 81% on RottenTomatoes. I don't care who you are or where you live, but that's pretty impressive for the movie that should've been impossible to make.

Consider this my pre-Watchmen-viewing post, in which I sort out my feelings about the movie before I ever see it.

First of all, yes, I have read Watchmen, and have enjoyed it immensely. I appreciate damn near everything about it: the delicacy with which the characters are molded and shaped throughout the story, the intricacy of the plotline, the inclusion of items (The Black Freighter comic, excerpts from newspapers and books in the Watchmen world) to support the main plot, the climax (although it took me a while to accept), the pacing, oh, just everything.

The first time I saw the preview for the movie, I was like, "Hey, it's that one comic everyone says is the best ever!" And after a few weeks of forgetting about it, I picked it up on a whim at Borders because they had a bunch of them on display. Read, wtf?, reread ending, love, make crappy unfinished fanart — it was love.

I automatically got hyped up for the movie. I demanded that all my friends read Watchmen no matter what, and most importantly, before the movie came out. It was October at the time, so there was time. I had a long waiting list of Watchmen-borrowers by the time it had been a week after I finished the book.

The information on how Watchmen finally got its own film is rather interesting. Long story short, it had been picked up and dropped several times by directors who were too afraid to proceed turning the graphic novel epic into a full-length motion picture. In all honesty, who could blame them? There are so many elements in Watchmen that would simply be too difficult to put into a film. It's laden with flashbacks and inner references and parallel storylines. Alan Moore, the writer of Watchmen, said it himself: Watchmen was made to be a comic. In its entirety, it's something only a comic could accomplish. According to Moore, the best script adaptation of Watchmen he'd ever seen was done by David Hayter — the voice of Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid series!

Anyway, obviously Zack Synder (director of 300) picked it up ("My, Zack, what balls you have!" "All the better to direct Watchmen with."). The script they used is based off of Hayter's I think, with a few adjustments.
*To read the full story on how the Watchmen movie came to be, click here for the Wiki.

Opinions on the upcoming movie all differ, but one thing they all have in common is the apprehension. Some people are waiting for it to fail, and the more hopeful ones are just that: more hopeful. Everybody who's read the book knows that there's no way the movie will fully live up to it. While skimming through some of the reviews on RottenTomatoes, I noticed that most of the negative reviews addressed its inability to represent the book as a whole.

Well, duh.

Frankly, I used to hate book-to-film adaptations because there were always little parts cut out of the movies, and I'm sure many would agree with me on that. Now I believe that when watching a film adaptation of a book, you have to go in knowing it's gonna be different. It's going to be blindingly obvious in Watchmen: there's simply no effective way to squeeze all the intricacies of all the parts that make the Watchmen novel into the linear storytelling present in movies. If you try, it'll just be confusing. In the March 09 issue of WIRED magazine, Zack Snyder said that the original finished product was over 3 hours long, and he only managed to get it down to 2.5 hours after shaving down some scenes. That's the sacrifice you make when you're trying to creative a film fit for mainstream theatrical release.

When I go to see Watchmen, you can bet I'm going to go in expecting to see the film adaptation of the great comic — not an exact replica.

You can also bet your sweet little face that I'll post a "review" after I see it! Be warned, though: I usually want to review things I'm blown away by, and when I'm blown away by something, I'm pretty much rendered incoherent for a long time. I guess I'll do fanart, and express my feelings that way. That's what being an artist is all about, isn't it? ;)


Lauren Ashley said...

I'm bummed... but I'm afraid I'm not going to see it. As much as I really want to, it's one of those movies that I want to see with my Watchmen friends, who are currently all in your area. :( BUT - I look forward to your review!!! I hope you like it! :D

mika said...


Chelsea said...

The few that I have talked to about this movie seem pretty optimistic about it. They're all saying that this is a comic to movie adaptation that may have been done just right. Let's hope so!



Melissa said...

I really meant to read it, and never did. But I'll probably read it/watch it eventually. It looks amazing to me just from the previews, but I know a few people who squealed in the theater next to me when the preview hit XD