[A guest post by Mitch on the new Watchmen movie pics.]
I'm not thrilled about the Watchmen movie. Right off the bat it feels like someone making a Citizen Kane video game or getting a Mona Lisa tattoo — that is to say, it misses the point to take a work that so perfectly highlights the advantages one medium and adapt it into another. With Alan Moore’s stuff, you can’t get lucky like Spider-Man 2: an iconic character + a popular villain + a popular story from the comics + a love interest sub-plot, shaken and baked = $$. With Moore, the methodical plotting and the juxtaposition of words and pictures — the craft — is more essential than the characters.
With that clear, I have to admit that I have been morbidly curious to see all the development info and photos from the movie. The cast is a little wompy-jawed— the child molester from Little Children is perfect for Rorschach and I’ve always liked Patrick Wilson, but can’t say I would have ever thought of always casual and charming Billy Cruddup as the stoic Dr. Manhattan. The production stills confirm that director Zach Snyder is going for a literal panel by panel adaptation, like he did with 300. Everything certainly looks straight out of the comics, but again... I just don’t know. This sort of thing sort of made sense for 300; first because there was an established audience for “epic classical war movies” and second, because it was a short graphic novel adapted into a 90 minute computer fight sequence/Nine Inch Nails video. There is a lot more material to cover with Watchmen, and how they could even BEGIN to cover it in two hours is beyond me.
In the face of all this negativity, I found myself surprisingly tickled by the recently released promo photos on the movie’s website. Some of the designs are totally faithful and some are black rubber, like all movie super hero costumes. (PS: Is this really Hollywood’s best answer to super hero costumes? Black rubber? They can go fug themselves. ) But right in the middle is Ozymandias’ black rubber costume, with two glorious Bat-Nipples on his chest. Certainly, Snyder is making a reference to the costumes in Batman and Robin, but for what purpose? Is the Watchmen movie attempting to address comic book movies in the same way the Watchmen comic addressed other comics? Or is he just feel that Bat-Nipples never really got a fair shake and deserve a second chance? I’ve yet to decide if I hate them or love them, but their presence amuses me at least.