A better Watchmen than Watchmen

Being a Watchmen fan since I first read it circa 1990, I think it is but fair to offer my honest opinion about the film version:

  • This is a brilliant film that captures the atmosphere of the graphic novel in one of the best possible ways the audiovisual medium could do.
  • The script has managed to retain those plot elements that best contribute to the story, enhances those that make the story more robust, and has the courage to do away with those elements that served more Alan Moore’s auteur ego than the story.
  • Most remarkably, the superlatively elegant simplification of the story’s ending is so appropriate to the story that it simply makes it better. Honestly, if I was Allan Moore I would have thought: “Oops, why didn’t I think of it myself?”. The new ending is way more solid, it does not strecht suspension of disbelief to the point of fracture like the original ending did, and not only it eliminates an enormously redundant, innecesary element, but it serves to make one of the existing elements more meaningful.

Kudos to the script writers and the director. It is a pity when the flow and consistence of a story are weakened here and there by an excessive presence of the narrator. When I read Watchmen, the thing I disliked most was those unnecessary details that, instead of serving the story, seemed to be there just to remind us of how smart the storyteller was. The guys in charge of the film had the honesty and courage to wipe those away, and man, do I love the result. Yeah, the film does have one or two “aw, come on” moments, but then, ladies and gentlemen, the graphic novel had ten or twelve!

Sorry about the “inverse rant”, but after reading other opinions on the subject, I just felt obliged to make my point. The guys making the film found they had to make the choice to either serve the story, or serve the author. And they chose well. I just feel we are not thanking them enough.

11 thoughts on “A better Watchmen than Watchmen

  1. joako says:

    I’ll just point that those extra details that did not advance the comic plot, were the things I loved the most from the original comic.

    Also I really don’t like the fact that a comic about vigilantes is now superhero stuff…

  2. I agree on the story changes part: they have simplified it nicely enought to make it fit on a movie format and the end’s changes make it very solid.

    On the other hand, I didn’t feel the same atmosphere that I found on the comic-book. Maybe I miss some “normal-people” references like the scene where Hollis Mason gets killed by an urban gang, the kiosk man, the psychiatrist… All of them helped to build a growing social tension, while the movie just show us the big guys’ point of view. I also miss more references to the powerful Ozymandias’ corporation before his conversation with the other corp. guys.

    Anyway these are minor details, I actually liked the script. I’m just curious about how it works with those who haven’t read the comic book.

  3. Raúl, I went to the movies with my father, who didn’t read the comic, and he loved it. He found the movie awesome, although he could not understand everything. Just anecdotal evidence.

  4. I thought that, even with the 2h40m length and a simplified script, the story seems too complicated for people who didn’t read the comic. I’ve seen similar opinions: people get a fuzzy idea about the superheros’ role in the society, the Ozymandias’ character and stuff like that. But they like the visual fireworks and really enjoy with Rorschach, so they like the film in general terms.

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