Why I won’t be watching the Watchmen

One of my favourite books is American Psycho.  The constant bored tone Ellis uses is stunning.  I've never seen fiction handle boredom and disconnection so well.  When the film came out I decided not to watch it.  I couldn't see a movie replicating the things I admired about the book.  The requirements of a Hollywood movie would sensationalise a book I loved for its lack of sensationalism.  I didn't want this  completely different work to alter the way I thought of a novel I liked.

I feel the same way about Watchmen.  I love the book.  I remember arguing for hours with friends about which characters were the most moral, who was 'right'.  Then I watched the first trailer and heard Rorscach's voice.  In my mind Rorscach speaks in a weasely voice, closer to his secret identity than the figure he cuts in costume.  In the clip I saw he sounded more like the trailer-man.

I love the novel Watchmen.  I love the way it's paced, the speed at which it unfold when I read it.  I love the details in the background, the detours the story takes.  Like Alan Moore I can't see these things working in a movie.

A couple of links from LinkMachineGo sum up two other reasons I don't want to see the film: the tacky associated merchandise ("we're society's only protection"?) and that it's not likely to be a good adaptation.

I hope everyone enjoys the film, it's just not for me.

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6 thoughts on “Why I won’t be watching the Watchmen”

  1. James, I think the analogy with American Psycho is a good one, as both novels were at least as much about the medium (or at least the style in the case of American Psycho) as they were about story, character, narrative, etc.
    And I agree with you – Watchmen the movie won’t be a patch on Watchmen the graphic novel.
    However, I ended up quite liking the film of American Psycho, mainly because Christian Bale managed to show Bateman’s desperation to be believed by his banker buddies much more vividly than I remembered it from the novel. I thought the ending of the film actually worked better than the novel did.
    Watchmen’s won’t though. It will turn self-conflicted anti-heroes into cereal packet heroes.

  2. Chris –
    Thanks for commenting. I can’t remember where I first read it, but I think the Watchmen film should have been a deconstruction of the superhero movie. As Alan Moore has said, you have to question a film about good and evil that costs as much money as a major relief project.
    I remember loving the ending of American Psycho, but I think that was more for the incredible writing in the last paragraphs as any particular conclusion. I will have to chat with someone who’s read the book and seen the film about how the ambiguities of the plot are handled in the movie.
    PS – You down in Brighton any time soon?

  3. I was not shocked by this film, which continues along the path of desensitization which is part of Hollywood’s mandate to bring about sympathy for antichrist and his mark. Notice Dr. Manhattan bears the symbol of an atom on his forehead… this fulfills the prophecy that the mark of the beast will be the number of a man (adam = atom = ATM). Also notice he goes to Mars, in line with antichrist’s worship of a ‘god of war’ (Mars). Then the more obvious usurping of the role of creator of life, etc. Some have remarked his character is gentle, but recall his blowing various people to smithereens in the film. The whole bent of the vigilantes is lawlessness. I think the watchmen are representative of the fallen angels mentioned in Genesis and Enoch (‘The Watchers’), who sinned by going into women and teaching humanity about technology and drugs. Note how slick Hollywood makes hand and face scanning seem, to pursue the theme of desensitization, even to the point now that Americans think it part of ‘peace and safety’ (read security) to cause people at borders entering to have a retinal and hand scan… we are like the frog, slowly being boiled…

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