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I almost wonder what it would have been like going into this movie without any knowledge of the source material. I am fairly sure I probably would have thought it was pretty to look at, thought it was an interesting story, but have been very lost through most of it. Seeing how I like alternative history lines, exaggerations on what could have happened, and things like that, I know I wouldn't have hated the movie. However, I can see a lot of people hating the fuck out of it.

However, if I hadn't gone in knowing what I know, it probably would be hard for me not to pass judgement on those manic fans of the graphic novel. I probably would have thought they were all a bunch of idiots who wasted their time grumbling about anarchy. An image is conjured in my mind of the Comic Book Guy. I bet this image is conjured up by many.

So here's the thing: The Watchman movie is a superficial version of The Watchman graphic novel. I'm pretty sure it was designed to have as many recreated scenes from the original graphic novel as possible, at the cost of the plot line. That's the good/bad thing about movies based on graphic novels. On one hand it's all "cool! it's just like reading the graphic novel but LIVE" and on the other hand it's "Oh....I could have just stayed home and read the graphic novel...great..." I hope you can see what I'm getting at. To satisfy the fanboys and girls, they alienate the audience who is coming in for the first time. If it's just superficial stuff then they aren't going to feel very welcomed, and that kind of blows.

Do you want to know what happens when someone who has heard their friends go on and on about how much they love the graphic novel and then go see the movie? You get the response from my sister-in-law:

"Watchmen: THIS was the shit you pol were all swoony over in high school? Was there really nothing else to balm your alienated souls? Who ARE you people? My broody, emo ex-boyfriend? Seriously. I want my last three hours back. And some mental floss."

This is kind of sad. I enjoyed the graphic novel, and I enjoyed the movie. I thought Dr. Manhattan was horrible, though, and should be renamed Dr. Emo Pants or Dr Dangly Dick (also: insert jokes about blue balls). It's sad that a movie can alienate somebody like that and drive them to judge their friends who did enjoy the graphic novel. It's not my sister-in-law's fault that she didn't enjoy the movie, it's the movie's fault for only playing for the glossy scenes and not for the actual substance of the story. The characters were pretty superficial, the plot was contrived and patchy, and you didn't really feel any sympathy for anybody at all.

What bothers me, though, is that people are going to simply think that's what the graphic novel is about. It appears that my sister-in-law already has done that. The movie was SO BAD to her that she's simply going to take it that her friends enjoy reading crap and the book they loved so much is crap and because of them she's wasted three crappy hours. She is going to judge her friends because of this movie. But who knows, maybe she has some really annoying Watchmen friends who just wouldn't SHUT THE FUCK UP about this so yeah, that anger might be justified.

Might. But not quite.

But hey, I enjoyed the movie. It's not the graphic novel, which is sad - I think they could have made a very good movie if they had focused on the story. Now, however, we'll get probably a month or more of Geeks yelling at Geeks.
"You made me go to that stupid movie!"
"It's not stupid! Read the novel!"
"I'm not going to read the novel because the movie is stupid!"
"You're stupid!"
"You're stupid for liking that crap!"
"You're stupid for judging me!"

And on, and on, and on.

Ah well. So goes the internets.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cool. This makes me feel better about not going to see it. I don't like graphic violence, and I heard on a critic show that it was graphic. So, thanks!
I should elaborate that since I didn't read the graphic novel, I wouldn' have the insight, and based on what you're saying, I would probably be lost, or just not as into it. So thanks. Really, I hope I didn't come off rude/snobby at all.
not at all, I know that graphic violence isn't your thing. And, in truth, Watchmen and almost anything written by Alan Moore isn't a lot of anybody things.

I'm a big proponent of "don't do things just because you think you have to" and I think you're making a good choice. I'm not going to bash you for it :)
I'm glad you enjoyed it though!

I thought someone told me once that Marvel tends to be safe, because Stan Lee wants people of all ages to see the films, because kids read his comics. Did I dream this fact, or is it true?
Yeah, it was really, really violent in places. Not for the squeamish.
I hadn't read the book before cause that era of comic art is hard as fuck for me to get into but it might not sit around on my bookshelf for the length that V for Vendetta's trade has before I read it.

That said, I wasn't lost at all in the movie, had a pretty good idea of what was going on at all times and what to expect and found most of the characters fairly decently done.
Oddly enough, someone else on my friend list who saw it commented "Big blue dong for everyone!", or something to that effect. Now I just think it's a movie about discolored genitalia.
I have to agree. I liked the movie. It was beautifully done and a lovely interpretation of the graphic novel. But it's to be viewed in addition to reading the book. In particular, the technique of pairing a story in real time with a thematiclly related flashback was missing. The stories of regular people that lent so much humanity to the graphic novel were missing. But the movie itself was really wonderful.
Like I said - I really wish they focused more on the story. I enjoy dystopias and alternate histories. I don't care if they never come true or if they were written by a paranoid, just as long as they were written well. I like the fact that Watchmen was very much a product of its time and I wish they had incorporated that into the movie.

My favorite part of the movie? THe opening credits. I was completely moved by it and wish that they had carried that emotion through the movie.
There has been, for the last several years, a belief in my local geek community (a node? it's more than just that Watchmen is the progenitor of a lot of modern TV Scifi in many ways. BSG has the same tormented and complicated protagonists and antagonists, TDK reflects a more nihilist view of the Joker, in no small part as response to Rorschach, and a bunch of other parallels too numerous to list here. So, it's crucial to understand the parent work when the child works are so prevalent.

There's no question Watchmen has been influential, there's no question that its tentacles reach far and wide, so its effects on Geek Culture are clear & important, which means you need to see it/read it in order to understand what follows it, what takes influence from it, etc.

Something can be Important without necessarily also being Good.
Also valuable:

"Watchmen's brand of dystopian misanthropy has been specifically refuted by events. It's one thing to worry about the evil U.S. policies of containment and mutually-assured destruction in 1986. It's one thing to paint a particular political party as being unconstitutionally obsessed with the possession of power and recklessly in pursuit of nuclear confrontation with an enemy who probably wasn't so bad.

But as it turns out, that entire worldview was vitiated by events. In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended. Reagan's strategic policy decisions vis-a-vis the Soviet Union were completely vindicated. MAD proved to be an effective deterrent. The conflict between the East and West was settled without a shot being fired. And, perhaps most importantly, the Truman/Kennedy/Reagan view of communism as an insidious ideology which led to violent, repressive authoritarianism was borne out.

So [Alan] Moore was wrong. His fears were wrong. His warnings were wrong. His fundamental view of the world was wrong. And 'Watchmen,' in particular, is left as a bizarre cultural artifact. A pretentious piece of commentary masquerading as philosophy."
I am confused as to why you need validation to your opinion that Watchmen is not good. Nothing you say to me, or what you site, it going to change the fact that I enjoyed the graphic novel as a piece of literature and that I enjoyed the movie as entertainment.

I am not challenging your own opinion. I am not demanding that you enjoy the movie or the graphic novel, either. I am not stating that you "don't get it" or that you "just don't understand" either. I am musing that the movie failed to reach out to those who have not read the novel, though, by playing only to those who have.

Here's an example about what I'm talking about: I HAAAAATED the Twilight books. HATE HATE HATE. I think they send a horrible message about love and relationship and the gender roles are sickening. Do I think my friends who enjoyed them are batshit crazy? Do I make fun of them? Do I demand that they validate my opinion of the novels? Nope. I live and let live. We share enough in common that it doesn't affect my personal views of them.

Bottom line: you are a grown man. You chose to go see the movie right when it opened, instead of simply waiting for it to be on TV or rent it from netflix or even download a bootlegged copy. Unless, that is, you were attacked by a gang of gun wielding geeks who threw you into the back of a van and then taped your eyes open through the whole movie. I don't care that you didn't like the movie or the graphic novel. I do care that you called anybody who did an emo kid who needs to put down the razor and grow up.
Oddly, I thought I was providing counterpoint here, not slapping signs and labels all over a subsegment of the culture

Literary criticism, which you should recognize from your schooling, I would hope, is a time honored criticism, and a part of our culture of discourse and knowledge. It is not helped, surely, by offhanded 140-char tweets about the book being deeply emo and in favor with the self mutilation crowd, but I can still suggest things about the relative value of the book. Or, if you'd prefer to not be challenged, you can filter me out and remain free from a viewpoint that largely differs from your own

I don't seek validation from you, Meg, your opinion on the matter is certainly welcome, but I'm not here for validation, rather to discuss the troubling deification of Moore's dystopian paranoia.
Oddly, I thought I was providing counterpoint here, not slapping signs and labels all over a subsegment of the culture

Even though you brush it off later in your reply, your tweet last night of "Frankly, anyone who loves that book for what it is, who read it after the age of 25? Needs to stop with the emo poems & cutting." makes it hard to take your criticism seriously. Your argument style makes it to be that anybody who disagrees with you is simply a whiney teenager who never grew up. This isn't high school debate team; you're not being award points for being a douchebag.

When you started criticizing Watchmen, you did so not from a literary point of view, but as a personal attack on those who enjoyed the books. Now you come back with "but I'm being INTELLECTUAL here!" and I'm still not buying it. This post wasn't about "people who hate Watchmen are idiots" and it's not about "here's why watchmen is awesome or lame" this post is about the movie's treatment of the novel and how I think they alienated a crowd by playing to the fans.

Now you counter that with the argument that I'm going to be closed minded. Why? I'm letting you talk about it here, aren't I? I'm not telling you to shut up, am I? But you are coming across as someone who needs his argument validated (or perhaps the last word?) because you want to be RIGHT. But right about what? That Watchmen is a product of its time? That oh holy shit, the fictional world he wrote turned out to be (gasp) actually fictional? That Moore wrote about his paranoia that perhaps at the time was justified, he exaggerated that to turn it into a fictional story, blended in the role of super heros in a post WW2 world, and somehow that's BAD? Perhaps he should never have written it if it wasn't going to turn out to be true? People are wasting their time reading it because it didn't actually happen?

LitCrit is a time honored tradition, sure, but isn't reading for enjoyment?
Even though you brush it off later in your reply, your tweet last night of "Frankly, anyone who loves that book for what it is, who read it after the age of 25? Needs to stop with the emo poems & cutting." makes it hard to take your criticism seriously.

The difficulty of Twitter is that it's meant for first impressions. You distill your argument to the fewest words, fewest concepts, and that leads to a bluntness that some would not like. So, it's not unsurprising that what starts as a first impression is best explored through longer treatment.

This post wasn't about "people who hate Watchmen are idiots" and it's not about "here's why watchmen is awesome or lame" this post is about the movie's treatment of the novel and how I think they alienated a crowd by playing to the fans.

"She is going to judge her friends because of this movie" -- that's a pretty large presumption. And, it doesn't even begin to come close. I can't speak for Tiff, but I can suggest that the kind of judging that might be occuring here is the probably just about the least harmful (assuming it's even harmful!) of any kind. I'm not judging on skin color, body shape, interior/external genitalia, hair color, eye color, hand size, shoe size, security clearance, height, sexual proclivities, or any of the other out-of-your-hands things that are commonly judged. I'm not ending any friendships based on whether or not someone likes or dislikes WATCHMEN, the graphic novel or movie, but it means that I might not trust a book recommendation coming from them. And really, if they're my friends, I love them despite their questionable taste in bad 1980s paranoiac graphic novels.

So, now that you can see this horse ain't so high, and that I'm not going around nailing people to copies of the book so I can keep track which of the peons in this world hold it dear, can you back down the hackles and quit assuming I'm coming after you with the literary police?

--

PS - it's totally okay to make fun of someone for liking Twilight. Not for a long time, but sparkly vampires whose LOVE IS SO PURE deserve not just a little bit of mocking.