I think I’m gonna claim the title fangrrl, cuz, frankly, I don’t fit in so well with the fanboy trope, and I think its a boringly constricting category. Not to mention the, um, social ‘stigmata’ (sic).
So, as the resident fangrrrl (is the use of three “r”s over doing it?), I’ve been anxious about this whole watchmen movie project since the first whispers I’d heard about it several years back. (Note, that if I was a proper fanboy, I would have glibly located my first encounter with watchmen movie rumors somewhere in the 90s). Over the past year, which is to say ever since rumors started gaining some real traction, I’ve been monitoring pretty closely the ambitious, larger-than-life enterprise that
megalomaniac director Zack Snyder so humbly agreed to do on the reasoning that ‘If I don’t make it myself, some other schmoe is gonna do it and they’ll definitely fuck it up’ (um, that a paraphrase, not a quote).
So here is a lesson. Its not a new one, but you may as well start noticing it in all the little places it sticks its nose: Capitalism, in its ceaseless voraciousness will always, always find a way to capture whatever prized morsel of art, aesthetic, experience, politic, artifact, nostalgia, wisdom, rarity, or mundane distraction you might just want to keep for yourself or your people, and spit it out as a consumable which could very well be vivacious or downright dreary.
oh, and if its a mainstream flick it’ll probably charge you ten quid just to witness whether its the former or the latter. Bottom line, capitalism is beginning to expose itself as a brutal natural enemy of fanboys. Or is that frenemy?
There were many failed attempts by less ambitious and even less plausible directors to bring Alan Moore’s graphic novel to the silver screen- but this isnt a fucking historiography! If I had a chance, early enough in the process to sit down to any of the potential directors (Captain Snyder inclusive), I’d pull up my chair, probably flip it around backwards so as not to too harshly disturb any lingering stereotypes they still have based on black people on TV in the 70s and 80s, and I’d say:
Hey, so I just wanna make sure you get one fundamental thing before you royally FUBAR this whole endeavor. You don’t translate a graphic novel into a movie. Don’t
Listen up white boy, cuz i’m only gonna say this once!
fucking try to fool yourself. Its not a goddamn photo essay. The comic book medium is particularly evocative because its depicted in simple iconographic drawings which provide space for we, the readers, to graft our own texture and atmosphere to flesh out the 2-D world. Its not like a novella where we just conjure up whatever. Rather we all depart from the same visual referent, the same props and cues, the same facial expressions, but we add the sweat and the smells, the broader context beyond the four walls of the panel- indeed- the dimensions of time and space and imaginataion that transition us from one panel or page to the next. A book, though most people are familiar with the challenges of adapting it, does not demand that. Even a movie based on a serial comic book, a tad trepidatious in that you never know quite where to position the tenor on the campy-realistic spectrum, is more achievable, in that you just sort of abstract fundamental elements and tell a decent story with it and you can still escape with your life. A graphic novel is the worst most challenging hybrid of both. And thus, you cannot simply pretend that you are translating a “text” nor that you can just “distill” from an essence from a series of pictures. The Watchmen is an epic that is not to be fucked with, cuz you will surely fail.
but thats just me talking. lets hear from our panel of geeky white men:
Brian K Vaughan (genius behind Runaways and Y the Last Man, also a writer of Lost)
“I’ll go see it if it doesn’t feel like a betrayal of what Alan Moore wants. But its like making a stage play of Citizen Kane. I guess it could be OK, but why? The medium is the message.”
John “I’m not a PC but I play one on TV” Hodgman (who, I might add had an amazing cameo on Battlestar Galactica a few weeks back getting Starbuck all riled up!)
“The movie can be good as long as it appreciates that it has no reason to exist. And yet I think Watchmen deserves an homage, and I’m hopeful because Zack Snyder is making it”
how gracious. and our last expert?
Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy, duh?!)
“its a comic book about pop culture as viewd through a comic book, so I didn’t see the point of making a movie. But I saw the trailer, and it looked phenomenal”
And perhaps its only from the nadir of a project doomed to failure that it can aspire to the impossibility of success.
Now I get to be all nicey face and lavish praise on the perspicacious Zack Snyder. Cuz honestly, I think the Watchmen would have really really been a real fuck up if he wasn’t the directrix behind the film. There I said it. I full expect to enjoy the movie, in all its overdone sensational glory, even whilst I mutter intermittently about how such and such pithy element of the graphic novel REALLY ought to have been incorporated into the screenplay, and why the hell would he have overlooked that! …and the like.
Gosh, are you worn out by my drivel yet? Ready for some eye candy? Lets reflect on the ensemble of dystopian anti-heroes:
Probably the most impressive interpretation of the bunch. Thank
christ our ever-present protector Al Gore they didn’t try to pull this off in the 90s. Can you imagine?! Strike that, can you imagine that Joel Silver who produced the Matrix wanted to make this movie (also back in the 90s) and wanted to cast fucking Governor Arnold fucking Schwarzeneger as J’onn John!!! His last name means “black nigger” *(see commentary below)? How did so many of you people vote this turd into office?
ahem, moving on.
meh, did they even bother give her the beauty mark on her cheek? possible botch. we’ll see…
how do you botch casting a prick? they should do okay… I don’t know whats off about him. Maybe he could have been a tad “better looking” in an obnoxious cosmetic surgery kinda way? Hrm… no, thats not it…
ummm BOTCH! Nite Owl is NOT FUCKING BATMAN! Its a bloody spoof on batman. This guy doesn’t look old enough, impotent enough, insecure enough, or fucking have a beer with Norm from Cheers enough for a Watchmen adaptation. Botched! Fail!
Okay, here is something to work with. Tone down the fucking Christian Bale batman-grumble about 3 notches and it might be pretty fucking right on. There’s no way to tell of course cuz these shots are lifted directly from the graphic novel. One thing I will say though, is they’re doing some cool ass shit with his mask! Thats not your mamma’s 90s technology my friends!
Okay, this has been a long post. I hope it makes up for the radio silence that corresponded to my flu.
I guess we’re all left with the question, Who Will Botch the Watchmen? I don’t think it will be the director, or the screenwriters, or even the costume folks. The portrayals by the actors themselves may very well determine the merit of this whole spectacle. IMHO, the movie truly ought to be a success, one that might be slightly perturbed by idiotic choices here or there, but these choices should not be so substantial that they take down the whole opera house. And I’m with the PC guy here, this movie has NO reason to exist.
Who wants to go see it with your favorite fangrrrl? (promise I won’t yammer during the movie)
The World is Yours to Savor Before Inevitable Capitalist Co-optation,