More on WATCHMEN
Uh oh, it’s yet another WATCHMEN article! The internet has long since been saturated with reviews, analyses and what-not of the WATCHMEN graphic novel and movie adaptation, including a piece by yours-truly. The fact is, however, that I’ve got more to say on the subject. I’ll take this opportunity to post a SPOILER ALERT for those unfamiliar with either incarnation, as I’m going to be discussing the ending of the novel in some depth. Got that? Good.
As promised in my previous commentary, I saw the WATCHMEN movie a second time. Having already catalogued my initial reactions pretty thoroughly, here’s how I felt during that subsequent viewing:
The film is still powerful and ambitious in a way few
others can claim. Will it stand up like the comic has? I’d venture not (see
Zack Snyder has a real talent for erasing any and all
sociopolitical content from his films--think back to his ‘04 DAWN OF THE DEAD
remake, which nixed the original DAWN’S pointed critique of mindless
consumerism, and so, according to George Romero, “lost its reason for being.” I
don’t feel the WATCHMEN movie lost its reason for being, but Alan Moore’s stabs
at media manipulation and the fallacy of superhero worship have been largely
The “acting” of Malin Akerman as Laurie is a serious
drawback--was she really the best actress available?
I find myself wondering what somebody who isn’t
familiar with the comic might make of this film, with its constant viewpoint
shifts and riot of flashbacks (an online post headlined “Just Saw it Didn’t
understand any of it” would appear to offer some clue).
I still think Snyder’s use of music, which has proven
extremely controversial on the fanboy circuit, is spot-on (the silly “Ride of
the Valkyries” ‘Nam montage excepted). I even liked the use of Leonard Cohen’s
“Hallelujah” during the airborne sex scene; I know the tune has been overused in
movie and TV soundtracks over the years, but there’s a damn good reason it’s
become so iconic.
· Goddammit, I’m still sore about the loss of the squid!
That’s essentially how I feel about WATCHMEN the movie. I see it “only” made around $55 million during its opening weekend at the box office, far less than was forecast. If you’ve been holding off seeing WATCHMEN, I’d suggest doing so ASAP. Admonitions aside, it really is one of the most unique and exciting films on the market, and one you should really experience on a big screen.
Now let’s take a look at the graphic novel version. Having read it umpteen times in the years since its mid-eighties inception, I’d say my feelings are set: I think it’s a timeless work that remains among the pinnacles of comic book scripting and illustration. An interesting aspect of the hype surrounding the film version is the assortment of opinions, pro and con, proliferating about this 23-year-old masterwork.
Most of the opinions, of course, have been laudatory. There are evidently quite a few people like me who’ve lived with the comic for years and now treat it like a beloved family member. Not all, though.
According to one online screed, "Moore hates heroes...He hates the heroes who
gave up on heroism (Nite Owls 1 & 2), painting them as impotent losers.
He hates the heroes who kept fighting (The Comedian, Rorschach), making
them into psychopaths and worse. But most of all, he hates the superhero (Dr.
Manhattan), who he insists must be a vaguely-doltish uber-mensch. And more
than anything else, in Moore's mind, heroes mean fascism.”