Zack Snyder, the man behind 300 and the Dawn of the Dead remake has without a doubt wooed audiences with his cinematic prowess, truly a director worth watching.  However, when ambition overrides common sense in the world of film, it can only lead to disaster and humiliation.  The film in mind is none other than Alan Moore’s groundbreaking graphic novel, Watchmen.  First images of Snyder’s ‘vision’ appeared online late last year and captivated Watchmen devotees everywhere – even so, disapproval was not uncommon, and rightfully so.

Then this past month came the trailer of the film, that’s when things started to get interesting…

I’ll admit, initial views of the trailer were orgasmic – at the time, I had only read bits and pieces of the graphic novel, in itself, a bad way to go.  I had reveled over movie scenes mimicking unforgettable splash panels, actors identical to their graphic novel counterparts, and visuals that fail to displease the eyes – the adaptation to end all adaptations.

It would be foolish to dismiss Watchmen as just another comic book.  Frankly, it was unlike any graphic novel of its time, it penetrated the superhero mythos and ethos with a brutality, impermanence and pathos unseen in the medium.  Watchmen was clever in both narrative and layout.  The characters were dense and humanly relevant, while the story tackled weighty topics.  There was so much involved in this graphic novel, that people are still dedicating weeks worth of time writing college essays, hoping to shed some light on the philosophical issues scattered throughout its pages.

Alan Moore has famously disowned any film of his work, with no exceptions for Watchmen either.  His reasons for doing so should be apparent by now – V for Vendetta, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell were in no way atrocities, save for League, but lacked the style that Alan Moore is known for.  The need for some directors to film their defining novel more often than not results in an incomprehensibly expensive mess.

There has been speculation about whether or not a complex character study can ever be done justice in the movie adaptation of Watchmen, a two-hour film.  Another lingering issue comes from Watchmen’s reoccurring flashbacks, making a linear cinematic version likely to be a hollow shell of the original, deprived of density and soul.  The ‘comic-book-within-a-comic-book’ structure will likely be trashed for action packed scenes – not a common focus of the graphic novel.  While these are only speculations, countless graphic novel movie adaptations have faced this fate, becoming tools to today’s society rather than remain the seminal works they once were.

On another note, I recently found out that the only song appearing in the Watchmen film would be Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row” – appropriate considering Chapter I of the graphic novel was based off of this song.  However, the song will be performed by My Chemical Romance – yeah, I know.  Just the thought of it leaves a bad taste in my mouth – whether the singer is a fan of the graphic novel or not.

[flv][/flv]Gerard Way Interview: Bob Dylan cover and Watchmen

And in case you wanted to hear it, Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row” – [added by Mike]

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2 Responses to Watchmen the Movie — Filming the Unfilmable

  1. Jake Cole says:

    Tales of the Black Freighter will be released separately and a director’s cut incorporating it into the actual film will also be released. I’m very on the fence about the version hitting theaters but I think the DVD is gonna kick ass.

  2. Erika Szabo says:

    True, but the film needs the comic, they complete one another!