Who’s watching The Watchmen? Just about everyone…I think.


With the anticipation in the “geek” community reaching a fever pitch and early reviews overwhelmingly positive, the next two weeks couldn’t pass by fast enough. On March 6 “Watchmen” will be released nationwide, ending over twenty years of development hell and fanboy anticipation rivaled only by the build up leading towards the release of Star Wars Episode I and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

All this excitement is surely lost on those who greet the television ads, which are literally everywhere at this point, with a non-committal “huh?”, but there are alot of people who have been waiting years for the holy grail of comics to be adapted into a film.

Widely considered to be the greatest graphic novel of all time, it’s an epic twelve part tale spanning generations, dealing with the deconstruction of the superhero mythos set to the backdrop of an alternate 1985 where nuclear war is becoming an increasingly real scenario.

Writer Alan Moore wrote a complex, multilayered  story around six comic archetypes who come out of retirement when one of their colleagues is murdered. The murder mystery simply serves as a brilliant plot device to introduce us to each of the main characters. As the story gains steam you’ll realise that well into the book the “mystery” has barely found any new ground, yet if feels as if a world of change has occured.

That is because of how well written the characters are, and how detailed a world Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created. Gibbons grouped nearly every page into a nine grid system, eliminating unnecesary splash pages in an attempt to highlight character interaction instead of action, a verb in which the book doesn’t rely on.

So how is this supposed to be turned into a blockbuster movie? Well theres a reason that it took so long to make. The version we are about to see is a perfect product of timing and talent, as director Zack Snyder’s previous film was the overwrought but highly succesful, and not to mention unrelentingly gory, adaption of Frank Miller’s 300. We also live in a time where a very dark Batman movie is one of the highest grossing films of all time; the studio thankfully has faith that audiences are willing for some “grown up” superheros.

And that is exactly what they are, this film will definately not be for children. Wanton violence, death tolls in the hundreds of thousands, rape, sex, impotence, family drama, funerals, and no easy endings. “Watchmen” is uncompromising in every aspect, but thats not to say it’s overly nihilistic or unnecesarily violent. It says what it needs to say, however it needs to say it.

Whether or not mass audiences are ready for a superhero flick not really about superheros at all, but six souls reaching for something that makes sense to them in a truly messed up world, remains to be seen.


~ by rozco on February 25, 2009.

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