Scouring the reviews of the new Watchmen movie, I get the sense that those who are familiar with Moore and Gibbons source aren’t particularly happy with Zach Snyder’s adaptation, while Watchmen neophytes have a generally positive to glowing opinion of the film.

It reminds me of reviews of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, another iconic property recently (uh, four years ago) adapted to film, which generally split opinion along those who were familiar with the book and not. Of course, HGttG fans could console themselves with the fact that Douglas Adam’s property was famous for evolving and contradicting itself between adaptations. In some sense, that made the changes necessary for a film adaptation to be palpatable.

The Watchmen comic is famous for being a examination of the superhero genre, but in many ways it is also an examination of the comic book medium. Consider its symmetrical, rigid panel layout or the interseecting “Tales of the Black Freighter” story: the first is unknown to film (in the same sense that you can’t film paragraphs) and the later intersecting shots would only serve to confuse and disorient the film viewer. These two elements, essential to the comic, are lost to film before we even begin about talking of what to cut for the adaptation.

In order to enjoy this film, Watchmen veterns have to give Snyder the benefit of the doubt that any changes to the story are essential for the movie medium (I suppose it’s too clever to expect Snyder’s film to critically examine superhero movie conventions and structures in the same way Moore and Gibbons did for the superhero comic book). Expect a lively debate of the movie here next week.

Anyways, the above bullshit really was just an excuse to post this. Enjoy.

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