Geek Girls Rule! #25 – Will the Watchmen make a good movie?

I decided to do this as a quickie before I do the second part of the Unhallowed Metropolis review, as the Girl Game will be playing it this Friday. I’m hoping that the one member of the game is going to show tonight for board game night, and that I can commandeer her to make her character tonight for practice. Which reminds me, I need to print out character sheets. Crap.  

Now, is the Watchmen movie a good idea?

I love Watchmen. I adore it as a graphic novel. I really enjoy Alan Moore’s writing, sometimes, I feel, in spite of his personality. But I have to say that I don’t think Watchmen is going to make a very good movie.  

I am gratified that they haven’t cast any big names for this. And not because I think it’s going to tank. But because since they aren’t blowing all the money on a name, there’s a better chance it’ll get spent on other things, and I’m hoping one of those things is writing. While the first two X-Men movies, the Spider-Man movies and V For Vendetta have given me a new optimism towards Hollywood’s ability to do comic movies, Catwoman and Elektra have destroyed much of that optimism. When you add to the mix the fact that Watchmen really isn’t an action-filled comic, I have very little hope that it will be done right.

Watchmen is mostly dialogue, talking, soul searching and Rorschach’s inner voice/diary. There’s some action, but nowhere near enough to satisfy your average Hollywood director. And certainly not enough action to appease the comic-book movie fan who is not also an actual comic fan, or more particularly, an Alan Moore fan. What I fear most is that the movie is going to become a disjointed, loosely strung together montage of the few action scenes, and my soul is crying just thinking about the myriad of ways they could fuck up the ending. I mean, the giant Lovecraftian squid thing is neat and all, but I can feel from here the urge of Hollywood producers to spend the entire budget on that. Kind of like they did with the special effects in Mortal Kombat II

Another problem lies in the plot of Watchmen. It is a deconstruction of the superhero myth. “Who watches the watchers,” indeed? It is a treatise on how absolute power corrupts absolutely and how, with some mental gymnastics, it is surprisingly easy to convince yourself that decimating an entire population is a beneficial thing. One of two things is going to happen with this deconstruction. Either they are going to be so amazingly heavy-handed with it that all of the subtlety of the plot will be lost to the hammer blows of “Power is EVIL” or they’ll ignore it entirely and just turn Ozymandias into a straight-up villain.

And do not let me get started on what I suspect is going to happen to the Silk Spectre. I mean, it isn’t like she’s a hugely empowered character in the first place. But in the hands of Hollywood…? I think I just gave myself the full body shudders.

So, yeah, I’m dreading this film. I really am. I enjoyed the Wachowski Brothers’ adaptation of V For Vendetta. I love Watchmen, I really do, but unless they buck all comic book movie tropes ever and film it as a costume drama, it just isn’t going to be Watchmen. Let’s hope they prove me wrong.   

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