Who will watch the Watchmen?

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Morticai’s Journal, August 4th, 2008. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their wastes and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll look down and whisper, “no.”

Sorry – couldn’t help myself. That’s one of the opening lines from the ‘Watchmen’ and it’s been on my mind. One of the big things being talked about on the web is the new ‘Watchmen’ movie coming from Waner Brothers in 2009. They’ve launched a teaser trailer with all the requisite cool shit such a trailer must have in it. But I can’t help wonder, who will actually watch this movie?

Obviously, the comic book fans will go and see it for a couple of different reasons; some will want to see it so they can bitch about it and everything that ‘they’ got wrong, others will go to see how well it was done and more still will go because, after all, it is ‘Watchmen’ and the very fact that it’s coming to the big screen at all is incredible and must be celebrated with much buttered popcorn and maybe some Reeses Pieces.

If you don’t know ‘Watchmen’, shame on you. Perhaps I’ve gotten a head of myself with this post and should take a step back and explain it to you. I’ll need Wikipedia’s help to do it right:

“Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book limited series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. Originally published by DC Comics as a monthly limited series from 1986 to 1987, it was later republished as a trade paperback, which popularized the “graphic novel” format. To date, Watchmen remains the only graphic novel to win a Hugo Award, and is also the only graphic novel to appear on Time Magazine’s 2005 list of “the 100 best English-language novels” published since the founding of the magazine in 1923.”

So you see, ‘Watchmen’ is important.

It’s been a really long time since I read it, so I had to reread it to refresh my memory. It really is fantastic, but it’s not at all the typical fodder for Hollywood superhero movies. I’m surprised anyone there agreed to make it. It’s dark, but that wouldn’t necessarily turn the Hollywood types off to it. It’s probably rated ‘R’, which might turn the Hollywood types off to it simply because every movie churned out from the cookie-cutter movie machine has to have a ‘PG-13’ rating these days so it has ‘mass appeal’ to the kiddies who will go and see it two or three times or more. I don’t think there’s a clear ‘hero’ to it as we define ‘heroes’ these days – or how Hollywood has ever defined heroes.

So as you can see, it’s difficult for me to believe that someone, somewhere, took it upon themselves to make this movie.

Die-hard fans are going to be upset by the film – they always are. I can’t imagine the folks making the film can do it justice in the requisite 90 minutes relegated to so much crap they call cinema today and if they push it to the 2 hour mark, there’s probably some marketing group, somewhere near La Brea, sitting around smoking and drinking lattes that will tell them John Q Citizen won’t sit through a 2 hour, dark themed movie (having not seen The Dark Night, of course, they’re idiots) with no discernible hero and a plot that jumps around through the perspectives of so many different characters.

Still, they are making the film, so I suppose that’s something.

I would say that the story then and now is very original. I can’t imagine them taking the entire pieces and making it into a single film. To do it real justice would take many films, perhaps a trilogy, perhaps more. But they can’t do that, so they’ll try to condense it down, take the ‘core’ and create something memorable to some with lots of fancy effects and watered down guts. 2 and a half hours long? Maybe.

I’ll go see it, I’ll have to. It’s ‘Watchmen’, after all. And who knows, perhaps I’ll eat these words and it will be a fantastic adaptation, retaining just enough of the grit and grime alongside mind blowing special effects that I’ll forget, for a moment, the words and imagery on the page. Maybe I’ll stare up at the screen (Dual release in digital and IMAX theaters no doubt) and I’ll stare at Rorschach and be overwhelmed with the sense that I can actually catch a whiff of how bad he really smells.

Perhaps I’ll watch the film and feel no regrets whatsoever, that I’ve not compromised a thing by seeing the film, haven’t slighted the original art and words in the slightest. I’ll have no complaints then.

Morticai, August 4th, 2008.