Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Watched the Watchmen

I went to see the movie Watchmen this weekend. For fans of the Alan Moore work, it's a must see and though I've long preferred Neil Gaiman over Moore in the dark and disturbing graphic novel genre, it was a pretty cool movie. It has a good mix of dynamic characters, political intrigue, superhero special effects and some kick-butt martial arts fight scenes. It also very much earns its R rating so I have to recommend it with reservations. Much of what was implied in the book version is shown in graphic detail on the large screen and if I were the editor there are certainly scenes I could have done without - but knowing the target audience it's not surprising how much was gratuitously included. Nevertheless, it was a really well done film.

One of the most interesting parts for me was that although the film followed the graphic novel practically scene-by-scene, it brought much more depth to Moore's work by the inclusion of music. On watching the opening credits - a montage of partially still scenes lifted directly from the original pen and inks - a smile crept across my face at the brilliance of the music choice. I became acutely aware just then of how silent a process reading actually is. Even in a graphic novel, presented with perfect visuals of what each character looked like, I never fully thought about what each one would sound like - let alone what the soundtrack of their adventures would be. I'm not always a fan of book-to-movie translations (yes, I'm the one who typically whines "the book was soooo much better!") but in this case the media of film added a new dimension and enhancement to the book that can allow enjoyment of the story for long time fans and newcomers to the franchise alike.

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