Images from Zack Snyder’s upcoming Watchmen adaptation found their way online yesterday, and you can immediately see why Alan Moore has pretty much given up on Hollywood. You can check out the rest of the images here, but the Comedian depicted above says it all. Now, before I embark on this geekboy rant, I want to first say that when I saw Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, I was thoroughly impressed. It was a great start for a young director; it was creepy, funny and thrilling in most of the right places.
I was less impressed by his take on Frank Miller’s 300, because it showed exactly how young this guy really was. 300 was a song played with a single note, and the volume cranked all the way up. Visually it was quite engaging, but then again so is pornography, or a UFC match. Neither of them are what you would ordinarily refer to as a "feature film."
Which brings me to Watchmen and the dark, gritty stills that they just released of its main characters. Now again, these stills have a great visual styling to them. Very "Dark Knight" in its retro/modern, desaturated, shiny-leather look. But sadly, they totally miss the point of the story, which is why it depresses me a little to see them.
Alan Moore’s Watchmen, for those of you who haven’t had the good fortune of reading it, is a story about a team of Golden Age superheroes, after their "golden age" has passed. They’re old and retired, but some of them continue to work behind the scenes, quietly maneuvering global politics and economics towards one unbelievable outcome. I’ve always thought that Watchmen was impossible to adapt to another medium because of its complexity. It’s got about a dozen separate plotlines that come together at the perfect moment towards the end, and the epic nature of the story can’t really be felt if you experience the whole thing in a 2-hour movie session.
Likewise, you couldn’t adapt it into a traditional text-only novel either, because a huge part of what makes Watchmen so special is the cornball "Golden Age" look of the superheroes. The story itself was a commentary on the comic-book medium you see, and how "real life" has finally caught up with our aging lead characters. Snyder’s images above are disappointing because he’s traded the feel of "old cowboys on their last ride" for chrome gear and glossy leather straps. Sure to please the general moviegoing audience, but unlikely to satisfy anyone who’s actually read this book.