Avril Brown Presents:
READING THE WATCHMEN
WARNING: The following column contains very vague spoilers for the ‘Watchmen’ graphic novel, and thereby the movie (hopefully). I am not so crass as to reveal the ending (I hate it when people do that; I’m still pissed at my sister for telling me Ophelia died before I finished reading ‘Hamlet’ back in the day when I was still innocent and unaware of the fact everyone dies in a Shakespeare tragedy), but I will be hinting at it and other major themes of the book. If you want to be wholly surprised, please check back later when you have read the book and/or seen the movie, ideally both and in that order.
When I finished reading ‘Watchmen,’ I placed the book down next to me and proceeded to stare off into space for the next ten minutes, thinking carefully on what I had just read. ‘Huh’ was the best initial verbal response I could come up with. My secondary response: ‘They made a movie out of this?!’
Please don’t misunderstand me, I absolutely LOVED the book. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons wove a masterful tale of intrigue, science fiction and moral ambiguity which burrows into your soul and plants a festering feeling of darkness, leaving one both awed and shaken. This is not a superhero story. At least, not in the way most people think when they hear the word ‘superhero.’ This is a story about people, some with powers, some without, and the consequences of the choices they make with the capabilities they possess. At the end it is not a question of who is good and who is evil, but who has the best intentions and who is righteous, for the two are not synonymous. In other words, ‘Watchmen’ is one hell of a mind-fuck.
Anyone who knows me is aware of my penchant for happy endings. Given a choice, I will go for the sickly sweet, ooey-gooey-center kind of story over the horribly tragic, make-ya-wanna-hug-a-puppy type. I like seeing lovers reunited, good triumphing over evil and happy, healthy people riding off into the sunset. However, my addiction to the impossibly perfect does not mean I can’t enjoy a good soul-wrenching story. So it is not the questionable ending which has me skeptical of the upcoming film, it is the simple fact that Moore wrote this story in a way which is extremely difficult to translate into a movie format.
There are flashbacks upon flashbacks, side stories and murder mysteries, conspiracies and introspections, yet everything makes sense upon the completion of the book. Everything ends up connected in a way you have to experience in order to truly understand. The film is helmed by “the visionary director of ‘300,’” and while ‘300’ was certainly heavy on the visuals, it was also a pretty straight forward story. Bad-ass king sees his people’s freedom being threatened and so takes on a massive army with his suicidal, ab-a-licious soldiers to make a point. Not terribly complicated. ‘Watchmen’ is an entirely different matter.
Despite my pessimistic musings, I am holding onto hope the Powers That Be behind the ‘Watchmen’ movie found a way to preserve the essence of the story without losing too much of the mystique, but when it comes down to it I am prepared to handle this the way I often do when great books make it to the silver screen: I consider them entirely separate. There is book world and there is movie world, and while there may be similarities between the two, they are not the same thing. Example: the Harry Potter franchise. I am a bit obsessed with the books, so naturally I cannot say I truly love the movies because they are not one hundred percent faithful to the original stories. However, if I step away from the books and consider them just as movies, I can enjoy the great quality of the story telling, the stunning special effects and the supreme hotness that Emma Watson has turned out to be. But I cannot compare them directly to the books, because to me the books will always be superior.
I know, I know, I’m a bit of a freak show, but my way of dealing with such situations has been working out alright for me thus far. So it is with a slightly trepidatious heart and an open mind I set about saving up my dimes and nickels to buy a ticket to ‘Watchmen’ the movie, and unless the ending is completely different or it overall sucks total ass, I have a feeling fun will be had.
Coming next issue: WATCHING THE WATCHMEN. Avril checks out the most highly anticipated comic book movie of the year! Will it end up blowing her proverbial mind, or will it stink like a bloated rat carcass in July? Will it remain true to the ending in the book, or will it foolishly pretend like it can come up with something even more disturbing? Will Avril be snacking on Sno-Caps or heart-stopping buttery popcorn, or BOTH?!? Check back in two weeks to learn the answer to this all-important question, and maybe read a review of some movie!
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