Friday, October 24, 2008
Who Watches the Watchmen?
Me on March 6th of 2009; no doubt.
“The Watchmen. Another comic book movie?” you may ask.
No… well yes and no. If you read Alan Moore’s opus (and I highly recommend that you do) you will notice immediately that it is a “comic book”. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. There is enough complexity contained within the "Watchmen" that Time magazine placed it onto their list of the “100 All-Time Greatest Novels” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-Time_100_Greatest_Novels); minus the stigma of the word, “comic”. The synopsis, according to my favorite second brain, states; “The story is set in an alternate 1985 where superheroes exist, Richard Nixon is still president, and tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union are at an all-time high. The vigilante Rorschach is investigating the murder of a former hero, the Comedian, and uncovers a plot to discredit and murder various heroes. Rorschach discovers a far wider-ranging conspiracy involving his colleagues' past which could completely change the course of history.”
That’s about the size of it.
Back in the eighties this book literally changed the face of the comic book industry. The “Watchmen” and “The Dark Knight Returns” (by Frank Miller) were primarily responsible for the dark turn that the entire comic book industry took in the eighties. Grim and gritty was the standard. The rest of the industry did not rise to the standards of storytelling set by both Moore and Miller at the time. They set the bar that high. Really.
Chances are you’re not going to pick up the book. I wish you would but, realistically speaking, you won’t. Now you might go see the movie; which I believe, is in good hands. Mr. Zack Snyder is at the helm and he’s got a pretty impressive track record including the remake of “Dawn of the Dead” (which I really enjoyed although there were fast moving zombies) and “300” (which was also a “comic” written by Frank Miller). Moore knows how to tell a story and what a story the Watchmen is.
Alan Moore has gone to great pains to remove himself from the film versions of his work including, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” (an amazing graphic novel but an abomination of a movie) and “V for Vendetta” (a good film but one that Moor was lied to concerning some key elements and as a result he had his name removed from the project.). Once more from Wikipedia; ““…Moore has also stated that he wishes his name to be removed from all comic work that he does not own, including Watchmen and V for Vendetta, much as unhappy film directors often choose to be credited as "Alan Smithee." Too bad, really; I have a lot of faith in Snyder.
I, for one, can’t wait to watch the “Watchmen”. Perhaps I’ll see you there.