March 6, 2009
"Who watches the Watchmen?" I just did!I've just seen the film version of Watchmen, something I've been looking forward to for quite a while. The graphic novel Watchmen is amazing work of art and literature – Time Magazine lists it as one of the top 100 modern English novels.
If you can find a fault with the movie Watchmen, then you're really finding fault with the original graphic novel upon which it's based because the movie is a spot-on perfect 'representation' of the original work. The acting, the special effects, the settings, every nuance of the film is a repectful homage to the graphic novel. I had read that before Zach Snyder was signed to direct the film, the producers were looking at Darren Arranofsky as a potential director and that Arranofsky wanted to significantly update the settings and circumstances in which the film takes place—that would have been terrible! In my view, the most remarkable aspect of this film, is how accurately it recreates that alternate 1980s world where the main story in the graphic novel takes place.
(Okay beware, spoilers below) Certain elements were shortened (like the encounters between Rorschach and his court appointed therapist), left out (such as the fate of the original Night Owl), or changed (the encounter of Rorschach with the kidnapper which begins his career as a Crime Fighter, and of course the ending), but I can certainly see how these changes make sense for a film version. As for the ending, I actually liked it better than graphic novel's ending. One thing stuck me about the ending of the graphic novel was how bizarre it seemed, and the film version just makes more sense, and accomplishes the same.
This was the director Snyder's third major film. His first two were the remake of Dawn of the Dead, which was followed by 300 (also a graphic novel) – Both were excellent. Watchmen is brilliant. I see an obvious comparison between Watchmen the film and the Lord of the Rings films. Both are excellent representations of the original works upon which they are based. Both have some changes that are justified when you consider transferring their stories from the page to the screen. Both are based on works that represent the very best of their genres (LoTR of fantasy literature, Watchmen of graphic novels). There will probably be a lot of opinions about which aspects should have stayed the same or changed or been left in and so forth, but I think this film is extraordinary companion to the original graphic novel, which itself is an amazing work.