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Almost watching the Watchmen

Despite my lengthy jag as a comics fan I was a latecomer to Watchmen. I was certainly aware of it, and the archetypes that it played out, and I had paged through it a few times in book stores or on friends’ shelves. It took me until seeing the magnificent trailer on The Dark Knight to get truly and viscerally interested in the film.

For a while I insisted I would stay completely spoiler free so as to best enjoy the movie version, but we all know my will is weak when it comes to these things. I bought my own copy of the graphic novel at Newbury Comics during my birthday weekend with Erika, and devoured it promptly (it had been long sold-out within the city limits of Philadelphia, at that point).

I concede the masterwork that is the novel, but remain pretty skeptical that the film will pull a Matrix-level March shocker out of the bag – good action films simply don’t come out in March, unless they’re going to be huge sleepers that play through Memorial Day.

All that said, here’s two ends of the spectrum:

(1) Harry @ Ain’t It Cool goes typically apeshit over a clip of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre breaking into a prison – just about the only present-tense action sequence in the entire book. The problem is the clip sucks – the slow-mo is completely overblown, and the score is awful. Watch:

(2) On the other hand, IGN sneaks a overwhelmingly positive Australian review of the flick past the supposed misdirected US press embargo (usually not a good sign, especially for genre flicks).

While other purported reviews are cobbled together based on inferences from the trailer and knowledge of the book, this one seems to be the real deal – more detail about the performances behind Rorschach and Nite Owl, and even acknowledging that Dr. Manhattan’s penis got enlarged for the screen (an overly astute observation – he’s only truly full-frontal a handful of times in the book).

(I wonder if they’ve also kept in the awkward Ménage à trois from Chapter III; that would definitely be ooky on screen.)

Less specifically, Wil Wheaton heartily endorsed it in a spoiler-free review, stating:

Zack Snyder’s Watchmen is as close to a perfect film adaptation of Alan Moore’s Watchmen as we were ever going to see, and when his super-ultimate-here’s-everything cut comes out in the fall, I think it will be perfect. But what I saw yesterday is truly remarkable: a big studio movie adaptation of one of the most — if not the most — important graphic novels of my lifetime that not only didn’t fuck it up, but brought it to life brilliantly.

And, furthermore, so did my fucking television-as-literature idol Jacob Clifton in his FaceBook status of moments ago:

Jacob Clifton liked the movie even more than the comic, yet again. By a lot.

(Stalking? What? Me? I have no idea what you’re talking about.)

So, will it suck, or not? I’m trying to avoid my typical habit of passing judgment before I make it to the theatre next week with Wes and Gina, but I have my doubts that Zach Snyder has the nuance to get past the construction of comic book panel dioramas with no emotions inside. I’ll be quite cheery to be proven wrong.

[Ed. Note: I wound up absolutely loving it in the theatre, though I found the extended Director’s Cut unnecessary.]

One Comment

  1. Mark wrote:

    Wow, that is awful. The soundtrack sounds so thin. And so much slo-mo makes for an almost non-action sequence. The first couple trailers definitely caught my interest, but this… hmm…

    Monday, February 23, 2009 at 11:43 pm | Permalink