Sunday, April 5, 2009

Jason watches WATCHMEN

Yeah, it's about time. Anyway, based on Zack Snyder's previous effort, 300, I expected this to be a very faithful adaptation, lifting visuals directly from the graphic novel and placing them directly on screen with very little adaptation. I was right, and given the great source material, it makes a pretty good movie (although condensing it to 2.5 minutes probably confuses a lot of people who aren't familiar with the graphic novel).

What did surprise me was how much I liked it. Yeah, I knew just about everything that was going to happen (other than a big change to the ending that seems to have been chosen to avoid wedging in another major subplot about genetic engineering). But seeing stuff like how people move (especially Rorschach) was a nice treat. Mostly, I was impressed with the soundtrack (the only part that really added something beyond the graphic novel).

So yeah, I'm sure all the fanboys have already seen it, and they're probably the only ones who will really love it. A lot of people who haven't read the novel will probably be lost or bored.

I want to end with some thoughts on the ending. As I said, it's the only major element that was changed (yeah, the TALES OF THE BLACK FREIGHTER was removed, but is actually released on a separate DVD extra). I will do my best to avoid spoilers for the remaining 3 people out there who have interest but haven't read the novel or watched the movie yet.

The thing about the ending is that the graphic novel was written in the mid 80's, fully in the midst of the Cold War. It's very much a Cold War ending, to solve a Cold War problem. Reading it for the first time earlier this decade, I couldn't help but think how different the ending reads in a post Cold War world (when the resolution is unnecessary), and especially in a post 9/11 (and mid Iraq War) world (when the resolution isn't necessarily guaranteed to work). As I said before, I think the change Zack Snyder made to the ending is largely immaterial and just used cut out an extra subplot. But given today's world, I kind of wish he either a) kept the original ending (which in a way might've been more brave), or b) completely reworked it to resonate more fully with today's world situation. In fact, there's more than just a streamlining change. There's also a major change that I think is kind of a cop-out. But that's all I can say without spoiling it.


Dadmaniac said...

I'm one of the three folks that hasn't seen it yet. I was going to go this weekend, but it left Anchorage already. I can only hope that it returns to the Bear Tooth theatre pub before coming out on DVD. Anyway, I did read the I know what ensues. And if I have to wait for the DVD, at least I'll watch it in surround sound on an 8-foot screen.

baceman007 said...

Overall this was an excellent adaptation. Having read the novel and just watched the motion comic, I am still impressed with how accurate it was. Still, when you condense something like this less romance might be a good idea so you can do things like, I don't know, tell us more about Veidt, but I'm sure more Silk Spectre on screen attracts more money overall. Anyway, I gave this 4 out of 5.