WATCHING THE WATCHMEN

Posted in No Politics Friday on February 13th, 2009 by Ed

I am not sure I can make it three more weeks until Watchmen is released. I know that I'm supposed to be jaded and getting ready to indignantly complain about all the ways in which the film adaptation insults the novel, but I'm really looking forward to it.

The big red flag, of course, is having Zack "300" Snyder direct it. This is a cause for tremendous skepticism. The trailers, in fact, depict an alarming amount of slow-motion (as did about 97% of the running time for 300). Directors who make a living solely directing action and horror films are rarely able to make good films of any kind. Apparently nothing has been learned from the stark differences between Joel Schumaker Batman vs the Christopher Nolan version. To be fair, Darren Aronofsky was signed to direct this in 2004 and backed out, but I'm not sure why they had to make the leap from him to Mr. 300.

The second obstacle is the fact that, when I first read this story as a younger man and when I re-read it today, it strikes me as essentially unfilmable – especially the Dr. Manhattan sequences and their time-has-no-meaning narration jumping among past, present, and future. I know that the screenplay makes some changes to the ending, to great wailing and gnashing of teeth from fanboys everywhere. Frankly I found (find) the ending neither confusing enough to require clarification nor good enough to get upset about changes. Let's face it, as much as people heap praise on the novel, the idea of three major characters (spoiler) deciding within a span of three panels to keep quiet about the plot is lame. Nobody wanted to think it over? To argue about it? To digest this whole scheme that had just been laid before them? They just say "Yeah, I guess you're right, I'm in!?" Come on. So I think the ending was flawed enough that I don't care that the film intends to make some changes.

Bracing for this to be bad, hoping it's as good as the novel deserves. Basically if they nail Rorschach the movie will be fine. Other characters get more ink in the story and play a bigger role in its climax, but Rorschach is the key. Having confirmed that the "I'm not in here with you, you're in here with me" scene is included I'm not sure how I can be disappointed. It would be unfair to say that there was a time in my early 20s when I wanted to be Rorschach because let's be honest, I kinda still do.