Friday, February 20, 2009
Watchmen: A Prediction
Watch any of the clips on the page I've linked to concerning the character of Nite Owl. Then, go find an image of Nite Owl from the comic. No, wait; I'll do it for you. Notice a difference in, say, girth?
Yes, in Alan Moore's groundbreaking series from the mid-80s, Nite Owl wasn't just a retired superhero who was out of practice: He was a retired superhero who was out of practice and who'd really let himself go.
What we see in the trailers for Watchmen confirms two things: 1)Zack Snyder has an impressive visual style and 2) Hollywood will never make a great movie out of an Alan Moore adaptation.
Snyder's MO was set in his previous movies: the Dawn of the Dead remake from 2004 and, of course, 300 from 2007, which was based on a Frank Miller comic.
Both of his previous flicks didn't disappoint his audience, which obviously thirsts for action, but failed on other counts. Dawn couldn't live up to the social commentary of George Romero's original and 300 took an King Leonidas, one of history's most authentic badasses, and placed him in a movie with bottomless pits and guys who had boney swords for arms (though in fairness, it was based on a Miller comic, who is also a good storyteller but prefers style to emotional depth).
The clips and trailers from Watchmen have been eye-catching, no doubt, but I can't help but keep returning to that one little fact: Nite Owl is supposed to be fat. He's supposed to be past his prime, and to look unprepared for his return to action. Moore trusted his story enough that he didn't require all his characters to look like Adonises even though they'd be inactive for years.
Hollywood, though, can't help itself. Even a character like Dan Dreiberg has to be eye candy. Storytelling is not enough, and will not be the emphasis.
I'll probably go see it whenever it comes to Korea, and I may very well be entertained, but I don't expect it to be even a shade of what the book was.
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