Eric Lim

Unsolicited commentary and thoughts


The abstract for my review of Watchmen: If you’ve read the graphic novel and enjoyed it, just go read it again and skip the movie. If you haven’t read it, read the graphic novel, but watch the movie first so I can see if you dislike it as much as I imagine you would. It’s hard for me to judge Watchmen solely as a movie, especially considering I reread the graphic novel a couple of weeks ago and immensely enjoyed it. I found myself actually agreeing with Alan Moore in thinking that no justice would come of a screen adaptation, and I honestly saw no reason why it should even be done. Watchmen does stuff that can only be done in the graphic novel format.

The opening credits were pretty sweet with a nice montage of scenes to familiarize the audience with this altered time line. The first half hour of the movie was great, and I could follow along perfectly with some of the shots that were taken directly from the comic. Some people have taken a liking to the changed ending in the film. I don’t like it or hate it, but I guess it works so no real complaints to be had there.

What sucked? The music. A lot of the music choice felt very inappropriate, to the point that the story went from feeling like a serious-this-world-sucks-we-have-no-hope vibe to “Hey, this is based on a comic book. Doesn’t this feel like just like a comic? Kapow!” The movie should have been anything but comic book camp. It is a tragic world the characters inhabit and it felt like all of the tragedy had been sucked out.

Then there’s the gratuitous sex scene, which was basically the same sex scene everyone saw in 300, although this time with the song “Hallelujah” playing in the background. I’m putting this out there now: Zach Snyder is the new Joel Schumacher.

In the end, this is a very faithful adaptation. I won’t argue with anyone on that; this is as faithful a movie adaptation of Watchmen as is possible. Which goes back to why I think it shouldn’t have even been attempted. I realized that the faithfulness to the source material is a lot like the problem of the Uncanny Valley: Because of how close this movie is to the graphic novel, the differences from the real thing become that much more jarring to the observer.

Watching this movie just made me appreciate the graphic novel that much more, and I honestly can’t see how someone who really enjoyed the graphic novel can also say they liked this movie. It’s like saying I have this amazing bike, but I also have this bike that’s an imitation of my amazing bike, except it squeaks a little, pulls to the left, and I have to stop to inflate one of the tires every so often. But they’re both awesome.

I suck at analogies.

Friday, March 6, 2009
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