Friday, July 18, 2008

Who Watches The Watchmen? Apparently I Will

So I'm sure that my last post of the trailer for the Watchmen movie probably didn't make a lot of sense to many of you.
Or rather, the text surrounding it probably didn't make any sense.
So here's a bit of a break down of what it all means, starting with the title of the post.

I'm Sorry, Alan
Who the sweaty hell is Alan, and why are you sorry?
Alan in this case is the oft-mentioned Alan Moore, writer of the comic on which the movie Watchmen is based. Having been burned by Hollywood many times in the past, Alan has eschewed any and all involvement with movie adaptations of his work, asking that his name be removed from any of the movies. Thus, for example, V For Vendetta stated that it was "Based on the graphic novel by David Lloyd." David Lloyd was the artist on V, but Alan actually wrote it. The Watchmen movie will likely similarly be credited as being based on the graphic novel by Dave Gibbons. In addition, Alan accepts no money from the movie adaptations, stipulating that his share be paid out to the artist.
Since the notion of making a Watchmen movie was first floated past him back in the 1980s, Alan has steadfastly maintained that a Watchmen movie should not be made.
Since that time, I've been in complete agreement. Watchmen already exists in its perfect form; there's no need to adapt it. Further, there is just no conceivable way that an adaptation could even hope to do the story justice.
Or that's what I thought, until I saw the trailer for the movie last night.
So I can't help but feel that I've been pulled over to the dark side, and I feel the need to apologize to Alan for this betrayal, even though he would neither notice nor care.

So what's up with the "*Sigh* All right…" thing?
I went into The Dark Knight knowing that there was going to be a trailer for Watchmen during the previews, and I sat through several trailers waiting for it with a combination of excitement and trepidation. As it started, I'd figured out which one it was even before the DC Comics logo came up, and I sat there, breathlessly, prepared to look down on it with all of the righteous fanboy indignation I could muster.
Then I saw the multiple Dr. Manhattans. And heard Rorschach say, "The world will look up and shout 'Save us!' And I'll whisper, 'No.'" And saw the Viet Cong fleeing in terror at the sight of a giant Dr. Manhattan walking towards them, and the joy on the face of the Comedian as he joins in the chaos, and the final scene on Mars, and I felt my entire position change, and, acknowledging defeat, I turned to Scott and said, "*Sigh* All right…"
Scott, who had held the same position on the Watchmen movie that I'd held, said that he may have to make an exception to his "no Rater R movies" rule in this case.

What's the big deal, anyway? It's just a movie based on a comic book.
In response, I would first direct you to this Wikipedia entry that contains the complete list of The All-Time 100 Greatest Novels compiled by Time Magazine.
Now, does Watchmen's inclusion on such a list mean anything? Not really, other than that it indicates that I'm clearly not alone in my appreciation for it, and that said appreciation extends well beyond the boundaries of comic fandom.
So the Watchmen movie isn't just a movie based on a comic book, it's a movie based on a comic book that is often considered the greatest comic book of all time, and a comic book that is widely-regarded as a literary masterpiece, irrespective of its format or genre.
This is why it's a big deal, not only to me, but to legions of fans both inside and outside of comics fandom.
Anyway, I know I’m pretty much wasting my metaphorical breath in going on about Watchmen, as what I laughingly refer to as my readership falls pretty much into three distinct categories:

People who have read Watchmen.
People who have never read Watchmen and will never – under any circumstances – read it.
People fruitlessly looking for nude pictures of any of the random semi-famous women I’ve ever mentioned, even in passing.

Still, I’ll wrap this up by pointing out that DC Comics has unveiled a new line of Motion Comics, adapting classic comics into a multimedia digital format, and one of their first releases is Watchmen, which can be downloaded for free (for the next two weeks) via iTunes here.
So if you’re of a mind to, here’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about.
(Entertainment Weekly, by the way, also has a bunch of coverage on Watchmen, including interviews with the movie’s director and cast, and an interview with Alan Moore himself, if you feel like digging around on the site.)
In all of this, I realize that I haven’t even gotten around to discussing the movie at which I saw the Watchmen trailer.
I’ll probably get into it more tomorrow – I’m actually going to see it again in a few hours – but for now I’ll say one word: amazing.

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