Who watches the Watchmen?

Watchmen cover art issue 1

Watchmen cover art issue 1

Apparently no one.

I read Watchmen when I was a teen, nearly 20 years ago. It was a defining moment — a mind-bending, deeply complex and philosophical tale of comic book heros and anti-heroes. I loved it. Over the next 20 years, my heart sank with promise after promise of the story becoming a full-scale movie event — each ultimately becoming a longer and longer delay in what was, in my mind, to be the most monumentous and downright awesome comic-book movie to hit the screens.

Flash to today, March 2009, and you see a bitterly disappointed fan who, much like Star Wars, wishes he never saw what he saw in the 21st century because it utterly ruined what he knew of his childhood in the 20th century.

Am I just ‘one of those people’ who complains when a movie isn’t like the book? No, not with any regularity. Besides, the Watchmen movie did follow the book really well. And the actors looked just like the comic characters. All pluses for Zach. Do I care that the actors were just ‘ok’, or that the acting was nothing extraordinary? No, that’s par for the course with a comic book movie.


Cover art for Watchmen issue 6

But somewhere between the coolest issue (#6, The Abyss) and the movie, the mystique just dies. I’m not sure how (although the 5+ shots of Dr. Manhattan’s porno-like genetaila d0 not help carry the audience much) but it just gets, for lack of a better term, lost in translation. After you read issue 6, you can’t get enough. You want to know what happens next, what each character is doing and what they are all about.

After watching issue 6 I just wanted to know when the end would come so I could go get some frozen yogurt.

I wish I could report otherwise, but I can’t. Reviewers don’t like it. Noobs don’t like it.

Mr. Horse from Ren & Stimpy

Mr. Horse from Ren & Stimpy

And I have to say:  ‘No sir, I don’t like it‘.

The movie’s powerful messages and images are still with me, days after seeing the movie. That says something. But to think about watching it again makes me ill, and that’s disappointing. I wanted to watch it over and over. I wanted to watch issue 6 jump to life, and feel what it was like to be Rorshach.

It just ain’t there.


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