Monday, August 24, 2009

Who Bothered to Watch Watchmen? Monday!

So, I was chatting with Friend Kyle, now that I finally saw the Watchmen movie. He saw it opening weekend on IMAX, I saw it at home when the library got the DVD. To me, there just aren't many movies worth leaving my reclining chair over, and this certainly didn't promise to be one of them. For those of you who haven't seen it, this was my favorite part:

Oh, I'm sorry. That was Spider-Man fighting a dinosaur and professing his love for bananas. I'll edit that out later, I'm sure.

I'm with most reviewers in that Watchmen wasn't a bad movie so much as it was a movie with very limited potential and very limited appeal. When Watchmen came out in the 80's, it was very cutting edge. But it's like Beatles music: Sure, it was groundbreaking, and worthy of being revered, but how many Beatles songs do you have on your I-Pod right now? Exactly. Though it isn't nearly as relevant, you are much more likely to have some Nickelback or Katy Perry crap on there that you'll delete in six months. Beatles songs have been imitated or built-upon (depending on where you think music has gone in the past 50 years), but the source material has been left behind; remembered fondly, but not really anything you're dying to revisit in any detail. Except those people. You know who they are.

Watchmen provided a valuable service in that it brought a maturity level to mainstream comics previously unseen. Before it, you were considered an even bigger geek than you would be today if you admitted to reading those "funny books." Now, you may be regarded as someone with a guilty pleasure, but not someone with arrested development.

And, in that vein, let's take a look at Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson under tanning lights:

Seriously? They worry about their tans?

Anyway, as to Watchmen, (and I apologize to those of you who actually wrote a college term paper on it) while it has a duly-deserved place in comic history, it's simply not the best thing I've ever read. Far from it. I had the graphic novel, read it twice, then off to Ebay. It's an interesting piece of history as to the development of the comic medium, but it's nothing I'm going to shove into the hands of a non-comic reader thinking this will convert them. Heck, Avengers: Under Siege is a much better read than Watchmen is (thanks for telling me those Avengers issues are in TPB!).

So, I didn't really have high hopes for the movie. I thought it was an okay translation, but that's about it. The opening credits were fantastic, and I say that in all seriousness. Friend Kyle thought the movie was doing okay for the first half before it got out of hand. It was certainly long, but it touched on all the highlights of the story that I remembered.

I, for one, don't see why anyone would watch a movie adaptation of any book or graphic novel they've read, and this only confirmed that. You can't really lose yourself in the story because you're constantly checking the movie against the source material, and a movie can't compete with the freedom of the written word. So, Watchmen would have been a decent movie to me if I hadn't actually read it first. As it is, it was an over-hyped adaptation of an over-rated book, trying to force something into mainstream culture that really doesn't belong there.

And it didn't have any Fun with Out of Context Dialogue! (tm!):

Thanks to Robert Giles for today's scans!

See you tomorrow!


That Face! said...

I agree about your opinion of watchmen, but I am one of 'THOSE PEOPLE' who still have Beatles on my Ipod. I wouldn't dare deturp it with Katy Perry.
I just don't really see what's wrong with that. Their music was new then and to me, it feels as if it is still new now. Am I weird because of this?

I just think your simile wasn't all that appropriate.
Though I too don't understand why anyone would want to see the movie version of their favourite book.

Joe S. Walker said...

The Beatles' records have never stopped selling. There's plenty of new listeners out there.

Last film I saw of a book I've read was THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, and I bailed out after 40 minutes' marvelling at the number of things they'd managed to get wrong.

Murfyn said...

I have not read the original graphic novel, and I found the movie consistently annoying. Thanks for reminding me; I just put it on my "Movies to Never Watch Again" list.

Anonymous said...

Time reader here. Only been here about a month, but I blew through your archives for the first part.

I mean no offense, but I think your message came off kinda poorly here. It sorta sounded like, ultimately, we stop revisiting innovation when it becomes adapted into the rest of the market. Music in particular is a bad example of this, I know my iPod ranges from the 50's to just last week, although both are unsurprisingly small due to being extremes. But I've got about 200 Beatles songs on my iPod, and yes, I'm someone who likes music.

Honestly, the more convenient technology becomes, the less valid this argument becomes, why not have it on there? What's the harm? I'm entirely capable of listening to Beatles on the way to class, and if I suddenly get struck by some terrible mental illness, I can listen to Kate Perry on the way back (not Nickelback, though, never). There's absolutely nothing to stop me.

I'm not a huge comic book fan, but Watchmen is one I enjoyed, and I did not enjoy the movie. I felt it lost introspection and subtlety that is admittedly a lot harder to pull off in a movie, so it focused more on the sex and violence to make it more movie-ish?

I've maybe read three other comic series (Great Lake Avengers miniseries, part of eXiles, part of Cable and Deadpool) outside of it, so maybe I wouldn't regard it so fondly if I read more, but I personally enjoyed it, and it doesn't matter how over-rated it is (which it is, even in my eyes).

Honestly, who the hell cares what someone else thinks about something I enjoy? And if someone tries to push their opinion of it on you, you can just kindly tell them to shove off, not to hold it against the work.

Ultimately, I think the problem came when you were trying to generalize, and that kinda falls apart when you compare two matters of taste because pretty much everyone has unique taste.

Regardless, I'd rather have a banana than watch the movie again.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't notice how ramble-y that was until after I posted it. I blame my concussion yesterday?

Zocktastic said...

I sort of wanted to add something meaningful to this discussion here, but Anonymous pretty much expressed everything I'd want to, and has probably done so much more eloquently than I could have.

So, I'll just leave it be and say that "Frankly, I'd rather have... a banana." may well be one of the most awesome things anyone has ever said, let alone Spidey.

Adam Barnett said...

I wasn't trying to push an opinon.... I can see why some people really enjoy Watchmen and Alan Moore's other works. While I respect the skill Moore has as a writer and what he has contributed to the medium as a whole, the bottom line is that comics are for enjoyment, and I don't happen to enjoy his stuff. From a technical perspective, he's very talented and good at what he does. But I enjoy his ideas more than actually sitting down and experiencing them in print. I was one of the few who really enjoyed LXG, but when I tried to read it, I was very disappointed that it just didn't connect. I'm more of a Gail Simone and Chuck Dixon kind of guy.

It's fine to agree to disagree, but I think the Beatles were a fair comparison. It's not that their contributions aren't important, but it's difficult to separate it from the era in which it came on the scene. I enjoy many Beatles songs, but they are still Beatles songs, and the Beatles were gone right about the time I came into the world. So, they are classics, but I can think of many rock musicians that speak to me more. Same with Watchmen.

It's like Beloved said when she watched the movie: "This looks and sounds like a comic I would have expected in the 80's." She's not a comic geek like I am, so she enjoys the modern take on X-Men, Spider-Man, Batman, etc. The movie was just okay, but in fairness, I think the book upon which it's based is just okay as well.

Nataniel Costard said...

Funny, I was bein blown off by "Hetler Skelter" really out loud, exactly at the same time I was reading your post. Such an un-happy comparision. Anyway, Anonymous (great nick by the way!) said it all.