Some time ago, actually. Ive been meaning to blog about Watchmen, but I was waiting until I also had a chance to review the two supplemental DVDs Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic and Tales of the Black Freighter / Under the Hood and discuss them all at once. But although Ive watched the Motion Comic and Freighter, I still havent had a chance to see Under the Hood and Im not sure when I will, so I might as well not wait any longer.
Short version: a) I greatly enjoyed it; b) its one of the most accurate comics adaptations Ive ever seen and certainly the most accurate non-Frank-Miller-related comics adaptation Ive seen; c) Jackie Earl Haley rules; d) some of the departures from the original made sense; e) some didnt.
As for a longer version well, Im mostly in agreement with this review, so that shortens my task considerably. Just a few additional gripes:
- Rorschachs last few words were changed. Its not an improvement.
- The way Rorschach kills the kidnapper is changed from the book; where the original is chilling, the new version is merely bloody. The common explanation is that the original version (which of course predates Saw) was too much like Saw; but so what? Who cares about Saw? Whos going to remember Saw in twenty years?
- Snyder tends to amp up Watchmen in the same way that Jackson amped up LOTR, making everything bigger and more gruesome. (Sometimes its an improvement, sometimes not.) Yet Snyder actually, inexplicably tones down the apocalyptic climax; that seems like an odd choice. The originals sea of dead bodies is far more effective especially since the bodies are of people weve gotten to know.
- Snyder likewise makes the main characters more like conventional superheroes than they are in the book e.g., better fighting skills and less dorky costumes. This makes the movie better eye candy, but sacrifices some of the meaning of the original, by turning Watchmen (to some extent) into precisely what it was trying to deconstruct.
Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic:
This is really good but let me get the biggest gripe out of the way up front.
Despite what the subtitle The Complete Motion Comic, along with the tag line The Entire Watchmen Graphic Novel Comes to Life, might lead one to believe, this is not complete; its radically abridged. Which is a shame, because Id love to see the entire comic done this way.
Okay, so that deficiency aside: what this is, essentially, is a reading of the comic (one guy, Tom Stechschulte, does all the voices and excellently too, though its a bit distracting when hes voicing the female characters) accompanied by minimally animated versions of the original panels. The way the panels are presented led me to notice certain features of the originals that Id never picked up on before (such as the moment when Laurie takes the dead cops gun).
But whats done especially well in this version is the whole squidocalypse the very bit that the movie shortchanges us on. Anyone who thinks the squidocalypse would have been unfilmable should see this scene; its so much better than the movies version, alas. (For one thing, it has the courage to slow down, a rare trait in action movies.)
Tales of the Black Freighter / Under the Hood:
As I mentioned, I havent seen Under the Hood, so Ill confine myself to Black Freighter. I have to say I was somewhat disappointed by this.
One doesnt realise how much the growing horror of the protagonists situation depends on little details (such as his having first to bury his crewmates and then dig them up again, or his remark that strangling the woman on the beach took considerably longer than [he] had anticipated) until theyre removed.
Also, it seemed to me to be a big mistake to follow the protagonist onto the deck of the freighter at the end; we should never see that it should be left to the imagination. Worse yet, when he gets on board it looks as though the crew are about to attack him which kinda misses the point.
That is all.