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April 8th, 2009

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07:00 am - For I have watched the Watchmen

I went to see the Watchmen movie a few weeks ago, shortly after it came out, mostly to see what all the fuss was about. After watching the movie, I went and bought a copy of the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and read that. Last week, I went to see the movie again, to experience it after having read the source.

I have to say, I really don't understand why fans of the book are bashing the movie as much as I've seen on the net and my f-list. I thought it was very well done, keeping in all the important bits, especially in the opening credit sequence, which did a spectacular job of filling in the backstory in an incredibly short time. I really liked the detailed world-building of the film and how it was completely nailed, down to the clothing palette and hairstyle of Dan Dreiberg, something I don't think younger viewers will get, since they didn't live through that time period, when Times Square was a cesspit of humanity, prior to its Disneyfication. The music worked well with the images, although some fans have complained about the choices, but I thought them effective. The changes that were made I consider to be an improvement on the graphic novel generally, especially with the ending, since the original plot device was laughable in the extreme, to my mind. Didn't care for the implication that Adrian Veidt was a pedophile, though, since I didn't see that anywhere in the original and I couldn't figure out why that was added, since it made no sense to me. I'm glad that the film had full-frontal male nudity, although the first time around I only really noticed it in Dr. Manhattan's cafeteria appearance -- it's about time women get a bit of eyecandy at the movies, and what's sauce(y) for the goose is sauce(y) for the gander.

I also thought that the graphic novel doesn't deserve all the hype it gets.

Maybe it's because my background in comics is different from most American comic book fans, who were raised almost exclusively on superhero comics, with the occasional foray into Archie ones for the younger set. I, on the other hand, have been reading other types since I was able to read. My first comics were Spanish ones from the Canary Islands in 1972, followed by the classic DC Witching Hour (#38 is still a favorite!) and British comics sent over by my relatives, such as 2000 AD and Judge Dredd, among other titles, and independent comics like Cerebus the Aardvark. So as you can see, by the time Watchmen came out, all Moore was doing was stuff that had been done years before, although not as much on this side of the puddle. Since most American comic book fans aren't that familiar with these older and European comics styles, they tend to think Moore's work is better than it actually is, and ground-breaking, when it's not. Complex characterizations and dystopian settings are not new with the Watchmen, by any means.

After reading the ludicrous original ending, which completely threw me out of the work, I felt really rather disappointed. I'm happy for those who think his graphic novel is the neatest thing since sliced bread, but sad that they feel that way at the same time, since they don't really know any better. It's well done, it shows considerable craftmanship on a technical level, it tells an interesting story with interesting characters -- but to my mind it's not the comics equivalent of the Second Coming, by any means. (Although I admit to being rather fond of the character Rorschach, due in no small part to his personal integrity and unwillingness to compromise morally. And I admit I liked the graphic novel's version of what he did to the little girl's murderer better than the movie's version -- it was far more chilling, to my mind.)

So I feel the graphic novel is ripe for parody. So in addition to Rorschach’s Journal (On a Boring Night), I bring you this superhero action figure video, gakked from matitablu:

Current Mood: blahblah
Current Music: "Glassworks" by Philip Glass

(Eat a pomegranate)

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