Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I've watched the WATCHMEN...

I really liked the film. Comedian, Nite Owl and especially Rorschach, I thought were especially well played. No slight feat for the actor playing the Comedian, as he's a repulsive character. But creating compelling characters is one of the chief goals of storytelling.

The film itself? Well, I knew there was no way they could cram every minute detail of Alan Moore's brilliant script into a film, so focusing on the basic story narrative (heroes are outlawed, all have issues coping with post-crime fighter life, impact on culture, murder mystery, etc) was a logical way to go. I personally think the fight in the alleyway with Nite Owl and Silk Spectre vs. street gang was needlessly bloody (bones popping through flesh??!!). That type of gratuitous violence, obviously enjoyed by the director Zack Snyder, was much too distracting for my taste. But overall I found the rest of the film to be compelling entertainment.

My favorite character from the book was my favorite character in the film: Rorschach. The masked vigilante with the black & white world view, a lifetime of personality issues and an uncompromising view of justice made the film for me personally. It's often been said by many of the years, but he's the only one in the story who actually stood by his principles. Even though he was powerless to prevent the final grand scheme, he was determined to get the truth out. We may, or may not, disagree with his brand of justice and views on life, but you can't deny the righteousness of his final act.

Like any adaptation to film, there is the inevitable debate: "Why make a film out of this comic book!!!??". The best answer I could say would be for me to look at the Adam West BATMAN TV show, the SPEED RACER and SPIDER-MAN 1960s cartoons, my favorite James Bond films, the classic Universal Monster films, etc., and ask again "Why did they make films and cartoons of these novels and comics? Probably to make money and/or take the ideas to a wider audience, but in the process they made great cartoons and movies." I know I've gotten tremendous joy out of these 'adaptations', and even moreso when one can watch them 'on demand' with DVDs.

Sometimes, often, they make mediocre or even disastrous adaptations of our favorite comics. But 'them' trying doesn't ruin the comic for me. Every attempt at telling a story, in film, comics, music, etc. is, on some level, a crap shoot. You may hit or miss, or you make something you like and others hate. You don't know until you try.

My personal experience in having my own comic book turned into a film resulted in two things: One of the most fantastic experiences of my life as an artist, and a film I love to watch. Of course anyone can be suspect of my impartiality, but it's my experience so I'm the only one who can judge it based on my reaction to it. When it's your comic book movie adaptation, you can have your cake and eat it too. With a big glass of milk!

Anyways, let me share with you a drawing I received of Rorschach:

Who drew it? Why, my good pal, animator extraordinaire, and fellow Cartoonista Jim Lujan! Me and Jim were having lunch over the weekend, and I just point-blank asked him for a sketch of Mr. Walter Kovacs himself. One of the great things about having friends who are artists (and particularly artists you admire) is that I can freely ask them for sketches of characters. It's not like I wouldn't want a Watchmen sketch from co-creator/artist Dave Gibbons, but Mr. Gibbons would most likely have a long line around his table or have an artist fee or maybe he would be too busy. With a friend, you just ask and viola, there you go! At least, that's what I do. Never hesitant to ask a friend for a sketch. I'd gladly do the same, of course, so everybody wins! And really, Rorschach done in Jim's style? How cool is that?!

1 comment:

Jason Martin said...

Look away Jav, SNAP

Oh no, don't look now... OWLSHIPSEXSCENE

Oh my!

Yeah, it's funny, you mention the violence as being jarring, but I found the sex scene awkward

But yeah, that's Snyder
I'm used to copious amounts of grimy cinema, so I didn't mind, and yeah, I saw a bite from him where he said he grew up on Heavy Metal subscriptions so, he's one of those that's lived and breathed mature fantasy... cheers

I liked it, but not too much, just like the book :)
And Rorschack was leagues above the rest the cast (except Comedian, who's just plain nasty though)