Who Will Botch the Watchmen?

watchmen
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 watchmen-babiesever 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?

watchmen-minutemen

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:


Listen up white boy, cuz i’m only gonna say this once!
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 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)
brian_k_vaughan
“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.”

damn straight right.

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!)

john_hodgman
“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?!)
joss_l
“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”

merh? phernerma-whoo?

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:

Dr. Manhattan

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.

Silk Spectre
meh, did they even bother give her the beauty mark on her cheek? possible botch. we’ll see…

Ozymandias
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…

the Comedian
Nailed it.

Nite Owl
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!

Rorschach
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,
Sunshine Superfüry

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15 Responses to “Who Will Botch the Watchmen?”

  1. After watching a really great, really cheesy (read: amazing) documentary about Moore from the 80’s on MyTubeYourTube, I am really hesitant to take this movie seriously. If anything, the movie has brought some interest to people who don’t read a lot of comics/graphic novels, my friend here being an example. She is a huuuuuge film goer and asked to borrow my copy of Watchmen and can’t put it down. I’m happy I’ll have an expert along with me when we go see it this week!! We will see, we will see. Moore’s work just seems so difficult to translate to another medium. Even Terry Gilliam durned this thing down!

    As for Ozy, it’s the same guy from this movie, which we both strangely equally loved, and who is quite dashing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwUA82BGUdk … does he fit as Ozymadius? Not at all. Physically at least. We’ll see.

    Damn grrrl, I’d so be there with you if I could!! Eh, I’m more excited for the Wolverine movie. Then again, the X-Men have a special place in my heart, deeper than a giant blue naked walking nuclear bomb ever could.

  2. Whatevs, little man. There’s something kinda smug (not on your part!) about the insistence that “Watchmen” needn’t be adapted to film. Every culture in every time period and every geographic location comes packaged with its own inevitabilities. Two of these vis-a-vis our own little milieu here are the reunion concert and the film adaptation. Whether you were too young or unhip to catch them the first time around or too lazy to read (or enjoy reading!) don’t worry–we’ve found a way to get your money and pique your interest on something that for whatever reason wouldn’t be or couldn’t be on your radar in its original manifestation. So yeah, it’s tied to capitalism but my new question to that postulate is (god, strike me down), “and so?…” I mean, where does that leave us as conscientious participants in the various good and nasty in the world? there’s a quote from the baghavad-gita (picked up as an epigram by bret easton ellis): “there was never a time when you nor i nor these kings did not exist.” we should be having these conversations in person, dammit! when is a good time to be in nyc?

    -a

  3. […] thanks to Idea IS the format and Daniel Light for the immense personal story and insight, and Blackmaps for the Simpson’s image. Share and […]

  4. WATCHMEN IS THE FILM I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR SINCE I WAS TEN YEARS OLD.
    THE GRAPHIC NOVEL WAS A GROUND BREAKER OF IT’S TIME.
    ZACK SNYDER WAS THE PERFECT CHOICE TO ADAPT THIS
    EXTRAORDINARY STORY.

  5. […] said this brilliant thing which is that Barack H. Obama is a rorschach test. He IS a fucking rorschach. Give that a second to sink in, and contemplate how right on the money mark said educator was. […]

  6. Andy Shasta Says:

    ‘Watchmen The Movie’ IS superfluous, a point that need not be debated. But with some inspired casting and gorgeous set decoration, I still swooned at moments.

    Another interesting “concession” in the translation-to-film was how the darkest brother in the comic (the young Black comics fan at the newsstand) is cast three shades higher in the movie.

    ps – The Obama/Rorshach analogy was hilarious. On point, yet disturbing…

  7. alright i saw this movie and yes she has a mark on her right cheek
    and night owl is everything in this movie you said he wasn’t.
    ozymandias was a perfect cast.
    rorschach is perfect except for his asshole batman voice but i think in a movie adaptation it sort of exagherates his being insane and basicaly a sociopath.

  8. I agree ian. Though I found Rorschach’s grumble WAY less annoying than Batman’s.

  9. […] a male lead with a Huge Ackman- I mean Hugh Jackman?”), but I want to reach out to the non-fangirrls among you. The late bloomers. I was close to 25 when I first read a mainstream comic, and it took a […]

  10. Best Movie I Have Ever Seen.

  11. after pulp fiction, casablanca and the godfather, I think is the best movie ever

  12. Hey there, I just stumbled into this Blog on a attempt to get information about that movie.
    I spent some time reading your article, and since I don’t want to hurt anyones feelings I won’t criticise anything you’ve written months ago.

    I just have a little correction about the meaning of the name of the “Governator” Schwarzenegger.

    […]wanted to cast fucking Governor Arnold fucking Schwarzeneger as J’onn John!!! His last name means “black nigger”?[…]

    His name is from a time way before ANYONE on this world ever heard the word “nigger”. The word “Egge” simply means the rural tool thats called “harrow” in english, which is used to till a field of course.
    The “Schwarzen” -> “Black” bears, in context with the harrow, to the color of very fertile earth, at least in the german language use.

    So Mr. Governors names “hidden” meaning is just “black harrow”, so I think it’s pretty sure that there must be a lot of farmers in his bloodline.

    So, no offence meant, and don’t think I’m a fan of ol’ Arnold, but I just don’t like it when a harmless name gets a racist meaning just because of a incorrect translation.
    If you still doubt this translation I want to note that I’m speaking german as native tongue and nobody, neither in Germany, nor in Austria, ever thought of this name as some hidden racism.

    Please excuse my english, have a good weekend.
    Best regards, Dragon

  13. Sunshine Superboy Says:

    Umm, yeah, thanks for pointing out the absurdity of the “Swartzenegger” ‘translation’. It was, as I hope most readers realized, entirely tongue in cheek.

    In fact, my parter (that is “life” partner, not like, “business partner” or “lab partner”) is a German teacher, has a B.A. in Germanic studies, lived in Berlin for a bit, and also taught in public schools while living in Austria for a while, and HE says that its actually “swartzen” , yes as in black (obviously not racial) and “egg” as in area or region (much like the Austrian town “rottenegg” is not what is would seem in english, but “rotten” is red-colored and “egg” like i just said is area, thus “red region”), so “swartzenegg” is like a dark part of a woodland or type of region.

    So when we put it all together “swartzenegger” is someone from a black region/area (dark hinterland perhaps?). the “er” being ‘a person from’, just like york-er, in english.

    The Governator we kinda know and may or may not love, is of course from Austria, not Germany, BTW.

    apologies to the Shriver/Kennedy/Swartzenegger family for any misunderstandings or misrepresentations if my facetious banter made anyone actually believe they were or ever were called “niggers”. who knows what fury it might ignite for white people of famous and wealthy stock to be associated with such shame and dispossession as those of us from that other (larger) “dark region”…

    Sunshine Superboy
    😛

  14. Nite Owl is based on Blue Beetle, not Bat Man

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