Watchmen

1. Watchmen is a masterpiece of a graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. The author has as much of a cult following as the novel itself; Moore is quite the character, a recluse and anarchist with a flowing beard and mane of hair. He hates Hollywood and has traditionally condemned film adaptations of his works. The novel itself also earned it’s following; the dark, political take on the superhero genre has won countless awards, including one that was invented just for it. Moore purposely gave it a unique structure (featuring a nonlinear timeline and multiple written interludes from other books and journals) just to make sure that no one would try to adapt it to film.

2. Zach Snyder, director of Watchmen, was not deterred by Moore’s structure. He’s made a name for himself as an adapter of graphic novels and video games, including Moore’s 300, and he’s been consistently praised for preserving the visual elements of the originals very well. In his adaptation of Watchmen, Snyder made some large changes, but stayed very true to the visuals, replicating the characters almost exactly (especially Dr. Manhattan). The film received mixed reviews, however, and many believe that the adaptation should not have been attempted at all.

3. While Snyder did stay true to the visuals of the comic, it proved to be impossible to replicate Moore’s structure, and it stunted the movie, according to critics. Much of each character’s backstory had to be cut, and Snyder ended up changing some major plot points. In the original story, Ozymandias is not a power-hungry narcissist; he is entirely well-meaning, if deranged, and he’s tortured by his decision to kill people. Also, in the book, the end crisis created by Ozymandias is blamed on an alien life form, while in the movie, it is blamed on Dr. Manhattan. As much as it has been criticized, the general consensus is that no one else could have done a better job; a great adaptation of Watchmen may truly be impossible.

4. http://brightlightsfilm.com/dead-lesbian-society-watchmens-dark-silhouette/#.VMb69S5RK3N This source addresses the opening montage, specifically the murder of Silhouette, and talks about it as a hate crime.

http://reverseshot.org/reviews/entry/426/watchmen This source specifically talks about the use of violence, in both the original text and the movie. Violence is present in both, of course, but the author points out a key difference. In the book, the characters are not excited by violence, while in the movie it’s practically orgasmic (Dan can’t perform in bed until after he and Laurie kill a bunch of muggers). The movie adds in violence and gore and celebrates them, and the author adds that the movie “doesn’t inspire any reflection” upon violence, where the book does.

http://brightlightsfilm.com/reagan-watchmen-and-the-architects-of-fear/#.VMb6pC5RK3N This source expands upon the original idea for the ending–an episode of the TV show The Outer Limits–and the way Moore gave them subtle credit in Watchmen.

5. How does Watchmen, directed by Zack Snyder, deconstruct or criticize other super-hero comic book films and series? How and which ones?

Watchmen deconstructs the superhero genre by creating a different kind of hero. In direct contrast to heroes like Superman and Captain America, who are the quintessential “ideal” hero (patriotic, moral), the heroes we’re presented with in Watchmen are much darker. They are often shown doing awful things (Rorschach), or as being awful people (The Comedian), making it so the only thing that’s “super” about them is their powers/skills. This, however, makes them so much more human. They’re shown making mistakes, they are not morally absolute, they indulge in their vices–they are so much more real. By comparison, heroes like Captain America now seem unrealistic, and not just in the sense that they have fantastical powers. Their personalities are unrealistic; they’re too perfect. Snyder deconstructs the superhero genre by giving us the most disquieting and dysfunctional bunch of heroes we’ve ever seen, but also allowing us to see them succeed.

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