Why No One Should Watch the Watchmen

13 Jul

The Book

The Watchmen was a comic book series that provided an alternate history of superheroes. Instead of the traditional “Dare The World To Stop Me,” these heroes were for an older crowd. Perhaps, what is most interesting about this comic is that it read much like a novel. There was even “a story within a story” and time was fluid.

The Film

Not unlike some more modern superhero movies, including Disney’s The Incredibles, this film centered around a group of superheroes who are forces out of retirement to counter a global threat. But, unlike a children’s movie, the superheroes face challenges to their self-concept and even their own sense of right and wrong. The lines are continually blurred. This differs from most other comic movies that have a very clear sense of good vs. evil.

The Adaptation

This was a ridiculously long adaptation and still left a great deal out of the original series. What is most lacking are the additional characters that could not possibly have been included as they would have detracted from the character development of the Crimebusters, themselves. The film did do an excellent job of presenting the dichotomy of beliefs surrounding “superheroes”. Sure, they are wonderful, but f they truly existed, their surveillance by government and even their control would be imminent.

The Critics

Adam Nayman enjoyed the Watchmen yet felt somewhat ripped off upon leaving the theater. He argued that inner morality struggles had been shelved in favor of “rabble-stoking bloodlust” (Nayman, 2009). He also argued that the apocalyptic ending of the comic series was shelved in favor of “bad things happening to bad people” thus trivializing the original series (Nayman, 2009). Kutner explored this idea of the architects of fear and if it was right to sacrifice many lives for the sake of peace. Connelly hated the film except for the opening montage arguing that the film “devolves into an ugly, simple-minded, and punishingly long excuse to fetishize the violent acts” (Connelly, 2010).

The Critical Argument

I would argue the Tristram Shandy was the most unfilmable text, yet the most successful movie. The story of Tristram Shandy is true “cock and bull” with little substance and a ridiculous series of events and motivations. Tristram’s inability to truly connect with those around him would make this text a very difficult sell to any screenwrite. And yet, despite being the most unfilmable, director, Michael Winterbottom, was able to capture the spirit of Tristram, if not all of the events of the original text.

Works Cited

Connelly, Matt. Two Cents. Museum of the Moving Image: Reverse Shot, 12 Jan. 2010. Web. 16 May 2015.http://reverseshot.org/features/799/2009-two-cents

Gordon, Lawrence, Lloyd Levin, Deborah Snyder, David Hayter, Alex Tse, Zack Snyder, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie E. Haley, Jeffrey D.  Morgan, Patrick Wilson, Tyler Bates, and Dave Gibbons. Watchmen. Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 2009.

Kutner, David. Reagan, Watchmen, and The Architects of Fear. Bright Lights Film Journal, 1 Apr. 2009. Web. 16 May 2015.http://brightlightsfilm.com/reagan-watchmen-and-the-architects-of-fear/#.VVZ3QPlViko

Moore, Alan, and Dave Gibbons. Watchmen. New York: DC Comics Inc, 1987. Kindle Edition.

Nayman, Adam. Watchmen. Museum of the Moving Image: Reverse Shot, 17 Mar. 2009. Web. 16 May 2015.http://reverseshot.org/reviews/entry/426/watchmen

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One Response to “Why No One Should Watch the Watchmen”

  1. Joseph E. Byrne July 13, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    Natalie, I appreciate all your contributions to the class, particularly the blog response post assignments. 10/10. Joseph Byrne. ENGL329B.

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