Watching The Watchmen
Just a warning to those who have not read or seen the movie, I do disclose information that may very well spoil the movie for you.
I saw the Watchmen at the first minute of March 6, 2009. Yes, by no plan of mine did I agree to join the movie zealots who could not wait for an actual sun to introduce friday as the opening day. I don't want to fully dress the description of the event only to sharply nake its conclusion, so I'll just tell you I was not impressed.
Maybe I mayn't find the exact qualifications to call myself a fan of The Watchmen but beside the fact that I've only read the graphic novel one and a half times (rather recently may I add); I do read and I do watch films. I immediately loved Alan Moore's creation of an alternate world where costumed heroes exist and the realistic consequences of that factual circumstance. After reading the graphic novel I had to look through it once again, since I was so immersed in the writing that I at times forgot to take in Dave Gibbons' wonderful and classic images and direction. And I knew the movie adaptation would not be able to completely replicate the graphic novel, a medium fully made use of by Moore and Gibbons who stocked their world with history and depth through supplementary material between chapters and further fermented the richness of the plot and theme with The Tales of The Black Freighter, a comic book within the graphic novel that interwove with the events occurring in the story. And while its true that adaptions of written works onto films usually stumble short and shy of its source, there is still something to be said of a well executed screenplay and director who can translate the emotions and atmospheres of the written work and re-establish their counter-part onto film. Zack Snyder did not succeed in accomplishing this.
It is my opinion that sequence leads to consequence, that consequence is made up only of all sequences prior. Everything in the present is the ultimate result of everything that came before it, becoming in itself another sequence for a later consequence. To build the world and story of The Watchmen, which tenses and leads to a sweltering climax, one must carefully plant the sequences. The handling of the subtle information that should collect and cancer itself into the tension of a climax and the release of a resolution must be essentially considered. If executed properly, from the bright glow of the climax, like a mushroom cloud shall the consequence bloom a full, fertile tree. One easily felt bored by the characters and their conflicts, leaving one a bit apathetic and misunderstanding to their reactions. For instance, when Laurie breaks down and cries when John discloses to her that she is infact the daughter of Eddie Blake, The Comedian, her reaction is just as out of place as Dan's when Rorshach is burst apart by Dr. Manhattan. Laurie's hatred for Edward Blake was not emphasized enough for such a reaction nor was the bond between Rorschach and Niteowl (Dan). There was not enough emotional depth to the characters in the movie to validate these passionate outbursts. Rorschach and John were the gems of the movie but even Rorschach's set-up capture at Moloch's apartment and John's interview trailed steam where fire should've blazed. Yet, we were not deprived anything during Dan and Laurie's sex scene aboard Archie. A scene too long and slow for comfort. Immediately recalling Snyder's slow-motion sex scene between King Leonidas and Queen Gorgo in 300. And even though, I could have done without it in 300 it wasn't as crude and awkward as Niteowl and Silk Spectre II piping aboard poor Archimedes in slow motion as if we the audience should savor the visual sensation, which consists of no more than Niteowl and Silk Spectre II's facial and bodily writhing through a cool-blue camera filter.
Regardless of what may've been said of 300 I did enjoy it and still do watch the DVD from time to time. Zack Snyder's style does work depending on what the movie calls for. The slow-motion accents of actions, the color, and the camera direction; these were areas that annoyed me about The Watchmen movie yet coincidently, they were also the points I found interesting in 300. You can't cook a steak the same way you fry an egg, even if you use the same pan.
As I sat there watching the movie I felt stationed somewhere between restless and listless because, having read the graphic novel, I knew what was going to happen and the compensation of an interesting transposition from literature to film did not acquaint. The ending was slightly altered, this I didn't mind; but by failure of the story and direction to carefully present everything that leads us forward to the end in a compelling fashion, did its impact suffer. The Watchmen is a great graphic novel, I don't see why it shouldn't have been a great film. As far as the story, of course its good, could anything else be expected since it follows the graphic novel, only omitting minor details that may be more important than realized. The film definitely wasn't butchered and I believe its only those who, wished for an equivalent department of reverence for the film to board adjacent to the reverence residing on the written work itself, that will be disppointed. And why shouldn't they? No compromise. Unfortunately, this leaves a huge blood stain, like a crimson ink blot on the clear white snow of your impression.