07 March 2009

Who watched the Watchmen?


I have to thank Ramon for introducing me to Watchmen some 2 years ago. I've never been a big fan of comic books, and as a kid, I only read some of my brothers' and male cousins' comic books because the obsessed bookworm in me felt compelled to read anything in sight. But I must admit that the comic book genre never really appealed to me, and Ramon knew that.

He insisted I try reading Watchmen anyway and promised that I would like it. And because I trusted my friend--who's the most voracious reader I personally know--I borrowed Ramon's old but carefully preserved copy and started reading. It's actually a big deal for me when fellow booklovers and friends like Ramon and Neva entrust me with their books. I normally don't lend out my books--anyone close to me can attest to that---because I'm really, really, really sensitive and obsessive compulsive about the handling of my books, and I only lend out my books to people I trust. (My officemate Nonoy casually picked up a book from my desk one time and roughly flipped through the pages. I let out a small scream, frightened at the sight of my book being so manhandled. I think I alarmed Nonoy so much that I haven't seen him go near my books again. Sorry about that, Noy. )

I am digressing. Anyway, it turned out the Watchmen edition Ramon lent me is his lending copy--to be used for evangelizing people into becoming Alan Moore fans. Like me, Ramon is OC about books and has his own personal copy of Watchmen, which he doesn't lend out, I'm sure.

Again, I'm not really knowledgeable about this particular genre, but as a comic book layman, I enjoyed Watchmen the novel immensely. The material was dense and gritty, an ambient gloom and world-weariness pervaded the story--and it was unlike any other comic book I've encountered. You couldn't read Watchmen in one sitting; it was just too impossible to digest and savor all that brain candy in one go. Alan Moore was--is-- obviously a writer of the most uncompromising kind. And for someone who was used to seeing dense prose all the time, Dave Gibbons' illustrations were new and strangely beautiful to my text-loving eyes, and I found myself poring over the panels in a slow, leisurely manner.

So as I stood outside the movie theater last Friday with A, waiting for the ticket lady to let us in, I was contemplating on the movie I was about to see. Without a doubt, I knew the movie would never be able to measure up to the book--and this is me not even being an Alan Moore / Watchmen fan, ha. (I'm not even sure if I'm in a position to write a blog entry on Watchmen.)

And I was 100% certain that Ramon and other friends who worshipped Moore could come up with a long list of the film's faults and spend hours discussing these gross blunders post-movie. I almost felt a kind of pity for director Zack Snyder who set himself up with the monumentally daunting task of translating this novel into a medium that would make it accessible to non-Watchmen fans without invoking the rage of the rabid Alan Moore cult.

Obviously, there's nothing as hellish as the geek world's scorn if it involves a less-than-perfect film adaptation of Watchmen--and if negative reviews could inflict physical harm, I'm sure Snyder would be badly scarred by now. In truth, the layman in me found the movie adaptation alright and enjoyable in some parts, but it wasn't spectacular. I think Snyder wanted to please the fans so much that he safely and faithfully stayed close to the source material--to the point of being unimaginatively redundant. His signature slow mo-speed up shots were tiring and relentlessly used, and the soundtrack leaves much to be desired (I'm sick of hearing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and it was jarring to hear it played during the sex scene).

Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach was a joy to watch in this movie (Rorschach's my absolute favorite Watchmen character), and I think I would have enjoyed the movie much less if the portrayal of his character was substandard. The other performances were so-so, although I liked Billy Crudup in all his naked, otherworldly, blue penis-ed glory as Dr. Manhattan. Haha.

They took out the giant squid and the whole pirate comic-within-a-comic subplot (I saw the newsstand though!) but ah well, can't please everybody. Of course, as a reader, I would infinitely prefer Watchmen the graphic novel.

As these are just random thoughts of mine, please go to Rotten Tomatoes for the real, professional movie reviews. =)


  1. i like "the sex scene".

    isa lang? bakit isa lang?! hahaha! just kidding! ;)

  2. thank god it's an entry about something other than running, and health, and all that physical activity.

    haha. hi gina! i miss you!

  3. MCN, kaisa-isang superhero sex scene tapos hindi pa maganda. Hahaha. Well, at least for me, it wasn't good sex. Hahahahaha!

    Miguel! I miss you, damn you!

    Didn't even know you've been reading my entries. When I get my geeky glasses na, let's hang out at Neva's or something. I haven't seen you guys in a while. I've been living vicariously through the poker people's facebook updates and blogs. Hehe.

  4. Sorry just saw your reply now! You linked me, that's how I found your blog, hehe :p

    I've been sick, on and off, for the past weeks. I hate it. Sana poker nights (even without poker) gets reinstated soon. Everyone seems busy!