Superman never made any money for saving the world from Solomon Grundy

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I watches the Watchmen

Johnbai wouldn't leave me be: he loved it and really wanted to talk about it. So even though I was in no hurry and could easily have waited for the second-run showing at the Crest discount house, a few of us met up at the Neptune so I could watch Watchmen and Johnbai could take in his third showing. After more than twenty years of wishing and two years of waiting, the comics community had finally gotten its masterpiece brought to the screen, and I was going to see it.

Three hours later, we strolled out into the damp, cool Seattle air, my life unchanged.

It would have been nice if it had been a singular experience, either gut-wrenchingly awful or exceptionally good, but it was neither. In the same way that I liked Dark Knight even though it was only nominally a Batman movie, I didn't much care for Watchmen even though it was faithful to the book and in some ways an effective adaptation.

Movies ain't comics; their language is different, more so than many fans (and practitioners) think. In many ways, the film lost my interest when it followed the novel too slavishly; the essential structures and forms didn't carry over. And when the film deviated from the comic, it was to move into the territory of tired tropes: slow-motion hair-tosses and quick-cut fight scenes. Regardless of its source material, I just didn't think it was that engaging a movie. And as with any "literary" novel being turned into a movie, I think a lot of the internal development got lost, as did the meta-reflection on the superhero genre (and certainly on the comics form).

Watchmen in the end was just something like Quantum of Solace with costumes. Which makes me wonder if there is a Daniel Craig action figure...


lowcoolant said...

Oh man. I'll be seeing it a second time tomorrow night. And probably a third time this weekend. :)

I wasn't really that eager to see it, just curious. John's prodding helped, but what really pushed me was the no-parking situation at The Varsity on Saturday. I went off by myself last night for some Oak Tree Cinema revenge.

I've never read the comic. I get the impression that people who've read the comic are having a much harder time enjoying it and a really easy time arguing about it. I actually don't want to read the comic now.

Walaka said...

I'm really glad you had a good time - I can't remember ever seeing a movie three times in the theater.

Just to be clear, though - my issues with the movie have nothing to do with the source material. I just think it's a pretty generic, mediocre action movie, and I probably would have thought so had I never never read the novel. (Although in the end, your impression has weight: it's hard to make that claim with any certainty and impossible to test it.)

John said...

Glad you loved it Low Coolant... now I have someone to talk about it with.

Yojimbo_5 said...

In answer to your query about the Daniel Craig action

Sideshow Collectibles has put out a nice collection of James Bond "action figures" and was in the "approval" stage of a Daniel Craig version of one.

He nixed it. Saying the face-sculpt made him look too mean. No plans at this time, and Sideshow says nothing's coming down the pike anytime soon.