Well, the Watchmen Trailer Is Out, Not That I Really Care


OK, the trailer can be seen in pretty high quality right here. I watched the HD version, thank you 15mbps Internet connection!

Watched it? Good. Well I can imagine your adrenaline is pumping pretty high right now. That’s OK, mine was too. It is a very well put together trailer, and the Billy Corgan song was actually a very good choice. Despite his rather whiny voice.

The film looks very visually impressive, but you know, it is hard to go wrong with the visual aspects of a comic based film in this day and age. All you need is the right technology, and enough money to feed a small African nation for 6 months. Did that sound snarky and cynical? Well, it was, who cares!

This trailer did not contain anything to alleviate my fears of aspects of the series that will get lost in translation. There was actually hardly any dialogue heard in the trailer, except for a snippet of Rorschach monologue. I loved the Watchmen comic series for the intricate plot, and its rich characters, with their beautifully crafted histories. I love Dave Gibbons’ art, but making a film of Watchmen has to be about more than just taking that off the page and putting in up on the screen.

There was no real indication of the quality of the plot’s translation to the screen here. I’ll admit that I am somewhat hesitant about this, due to the poor quality of previous Alan Moore adaptations, such as From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and V for Vendetta. I will admit that it is a little unfair to judge this movie on previous director’s adaptations. For all I know Zach Snyder could absolutely nail it. I doubt it though. I hated his remake of Dawn of the Dead, and I thought that 300 could have actually been good if he had cut it down by about an hour, and removed all the bullshit extra plot that he added in. One thing to remember is that Snyder did not write the screenplay for this. It is written by Alex Tse, and David Hayter. These writers have, amongst their other screenwriting credits: the first two X-Men films (good), and… The Scorpion King. Uh-oh!!

A lot of people have been saying that they really like the idea that the Tales of The Black Freight story will be released as a separate, animated, DVD. I do not like this idea. It indicates to me that the people creating the film do not understand the purpose of the meta-comic (please excuse the term) in the book. Firstly, it is there because in a world where superheroes actually exist, people wouldn’t want to read about them, hence the Pirates. Most importantly though, the meta-comic provides multi-layered narrative i.e. when Alan Moore has the “fictional” plot of the Black Freighter comic running along in text boxes, while the “real” world of Watchmen is occurring around the fictional reader: the events that are occurring to the castaway, his thoughts and feelings, could equally well be applied to the “real” world of Watchmen. OK, I’ll stop, because I think I could pretty much write a 20K thesis on Watchmen… don’t encourage me. I would love to do that

Let’s just look at this from a visual angle then. The future city presented within the comics looks like it made the transition rather well, obviously a little updating was needed on Gibbons’ 80s version of the future. Dr. Manhattan actually looks really amazing, but like I said earlier: CGI + cash = can’t go wrong. I do see a few things I don’t like visually though. I would like it if they could have somehow made the ink in Rorschach’s mask shift around, like it does in the comic, surely they could have done it with CGI or something? Oh well, it’s only a minor detail. What I really hate is how everyone is now in skin-tight PVC, it looks they borrowed the costumes off the set of Batman & Robin! But what really throws up a red flag for me is that I spotted some (and I’ll shift to bold Caps here) BULLET TIME!!! Check it out, about half way through you see the defenestration scene with the Comedian, and it is all slow, so you can see all the glass shatter and sparkle. Why?? Uwe Boll has proved that Bullet Time is a very, very, very bad, and cliched trick now. Please stop using it. There was a Bullet Time scene in V for Vendetta, and I almost punched the cinema screen in horror!

I don’t know why comic fans are obsessed with getting these classic stories translated to the big screen. In my mind Watchmen is already in it’s ultimate form, and no movie can ever improve on what Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons have enabled my imagination to see. (Note to self: write an article on comic fans’ constant need for the validation of their medium by the Hollywood thrill-machine)

I leave you with some quotes from Alan Moore himself:

“You get people saying, ‘Oh, yes, Watchmen is very cinematic,’ when actually it’s not. It’s almost the exact opposite of cinematic.”

“I had to tell him (Terry Gilliam) that, frankly, I didn’t think it was filmable. I didn’t design it to show off the similarities between cinema and comics, which are there, but in my opinion are fairly unremarkable. It was designed to show off the things that comics could do that cinema and literature couldn’t.”

“With a comic, you can take as much time as you want in absorbing that background detail, noticing little things that we might have planted there. You can also flip back a few pages relatively easily to see where a certain image connects with a line of dialogue from a few pages ago. But in a film, by the nature of the medium, you’re being dragged through it at 24 frames per second.”

‘Nuff Said!

Related posts:

  1. Attention to Detail: On the Mindscape of a Madman, and Turning a Materpiece into Merchandising
  2. Previewing September


7 Responses to “Well, the Watchmen Trailer Is Out, Not That I Really Care”
  1. Kevin Huxford says:

    I see your trepidation and I raise you unrelenting optimism!

    Seriously, though, I’m not amongst the people who were dying to see this translated to film. If it had to be, I would have preferred HBO mini-series or something of the kind.

    But what we have here? Looks pretty good.

    Few nits: the pirate story? May have served a story purpose, but its real inclusion was due to the need to bulk up the page count to stretch this into a twelve issue maxi-series. As such, it actually isn’t essential to the story. In all honesty, I skipped over it the last time I read it…and the main story lost nary a beat.

    I don’t feel it is all that fair to dismiss the slow-mo moments as bullet time. Slowing something down was used for dramatic effect before. In the case of the finishing blow on the Comedian, I think it goes back to that usage more than the Keanu “whoa” usage. Now, if they use it several times in that fight or when the prison break scene runs, count me in your camp after all.

    Oh…and take it easy on the writers having done Scorpion King. They had to match it up with The Mummy and The Mummy Returns.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier, by the way.

  2. Edward Kaye says:

    Thanks for stopping by mate.

    A mini-series might have been a better approach to adapting it, that is true. I believe that is actually the conclusion Terry Gilliam came to. He worked on a movie adaptation for a long time, then realized it was impossible to achieve what he wanted to, and that it would need to be filmed as a mini-series. The problem with doing a mini series though is that your budget is much lower.

    But, like I said, I’m just getting so sick of all these adaptationss. By the time Watchmen comes out, I am pretty sure another 10-15 disposable comic adaptations will either have been released, or be in development. The general public, having been over-saturated with all this dreck, will then reject this superhero craze we are experiencing, and I don’t believe Watchmen will make the impact that many seem to feel it will.

    I have to disagree about The Tales of the Black Freighter. I doubt Alan Moore would have done that to bulk up the plot. You can say many things about him, but he is quite definitely a man of high integrity, who wouldn’t do something he wasn’t comfortable with. Hence his alienation from almost all major comic publishers.

    The Black Freighter was, in my mind, one of the most intelligent and vital parts of the book. Maybe I just read it differently from many other people, but Alan Moore himself has said that the story of The Black Freighter ends up describing “the story of Adrian Veidt” (who admits, in his final scene, to having a recurring nightmare resembling a prominent image from The Black Freighter). In addition, the comic can also be seen to relate “to Rorschach and his capture; it relates to the self-marooning of Dr. Manhattan on Mars; it can be used as a counterpoint to all these different parts of the story.”

    Oh my God, you are encouraging me to write that thesis on “The importance of the Black Freighter, as serving as a foil to the main plot of Watchmen, and it’s importance as an example of post-modern metafiction and ‘story within a story’ to the comic book medium, and how this later influenced the style of writers like Grant Morrison e.g. Animal Man, etc”

    Oh God, I feel the itch

    RE: Bullet-time. I might indeed been being a little unfair there, but I went to see Wanted last week, and have a Bullet-time hangover from that. Plus, having seen a few Uwe Boll movies really ruins your enjoyment of any type of slow motion effect. You know he films all his movie up in Vancouver, and Victoria B.C. ? I saw then filming “In the Name of the King” a while back. I might very well be the only person that has seen it at all!!

    We do get better movies made here too. The castle about 1km from where I live is the X-Men mansion, it is also Lex Luthor’s mansion in Smallville.

    God damn, I can’t believe that they are releasing another Mummy movie! What the hell!

  3. Ru says:

    Amusingly, that Corgan track was a remix of “The End is the Beginning is the End”, which was written for one of the earlier Batman films.

    You know you don’t have to keep pimping your blog in in your facebook status, BTW? If you click “import” at the top of the mini-feed you can make it import anything you write automagically (Like I do with my flickr pics)

  4. Edward Kaye says:

    Yeah, someone else mentioned that about the track. D’oh!

    I know about the import function, but it tuns them into text only facebook notes. So, all the formatting gets deleted, and pictures and links etc.

    Also, my facebook status is set by my twitter status, and I pick it out on there too

  5. Kevin Huxford says:

    I’m pretty sure it is a historical fact that the Black Freighter story and all the back matter were added because DC decided they wanted it to be a twelve issue maxi-series when Alan Moore had planned on less. I’m not saying Alan didn’t do good with it, but I’ve read that out there on the worldwide web.

  6. Edward Kaye says:

    I’d never come across that information before, but if that was the case, then it wouldn’t surprise me all that much. I mean, DC were very keen on the 12 issue maxis back then. I wonder what it says about today’s readers that we can only consume a 7 issue event comic? God, that is a whole different topic

    I am going to go lay down now, as I am very, very drunk, and just went midnight swimming in the hotel pool.

    P.S. Water slides are very fucking fun whilst drunk, and they are pitch black inside

  7. Kevin Huxford says:

    Ah…to be lucky enough to have water rides near when drunk. My drunks have normally happened at traditional bars, so I’ve not experienced that.

    I don’t know that readers can’t take longer than 7 issues. It just appears that DC doesn’t want to go longer than 7 issues for some reason. Maybe because anything longer would necessitate two TPBs? I don’t know. But I’m fairly certain Infinite Crisis could have gone longer than 7 and been bought, read and understood by the masses.

    It’s just a shame. Then again, sometimes great writers can take an editorial imposition and treat it as a challenge that they have to beat, like Moore obviously did with the back matter and Freighter story.

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