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November 23, 2004

The film adaptation of Watchmen appears to be moving ahead. Much as I'd like to see them succeed, I can't make this project work in my head. Of all the thing people love about that book -- the complex, multi-faceted narrative, its deep resonance with the history of the medium, Moore's endlessly inventive storytelling techniques, Gibbons's richly detailed, fully realized alternate universe -- exactly none of them can make the transition to a feature-length film. And once you've stripped those things away, what you're left with simply isn't enough to make great cinema. The selection of Greengrass to direct at least indicates that the studio is taking the project seriously, but this is a big, heavy rock for him to push up that hill.

<=> | November 23, 2004

Comments

Like you, I don't see how they can do it. There's FAR too much to put into a movie that a normal audience would sit through.

But then, that's why they get paid the big bucks - to figure out what to put in and what to drop and what to change.

Nice blog, btw..

J.

Posted by: JLawson | Nov 24, 2004 6:23:20 PM

I've seen it suggested elsewhere that it would be much better to make this a 12-hour miniseries on HBO to really let the story stretch its legs. It would still leave a LOT up in the air. Hollis Mason's biography Under the Hood, Rorschach's psych eval, Laurie's scrap book and the Tales of the Black Freighter Pirate comic book, among many other printed materials from the story are essential to the narrative. As much as I'd love to see Rorschach (Dominic Monaghan?) and Dan (John Cusack?) wreak havoc on the underworld, it seems nearly impossible not to screw this up. Of course, they said LOTR couldn't be done either, I'd love to be proven wrong.

Posted by: Scoo | Nov 24, 2004 7:08:41 PM

My understanding is that Terry Gilliam parted ways with the project because the producers wanted a feature film and he thought the only way to do it right was as a miniseries.

As for the LOTR comparison, the difference is that you can strip away all the detail in Tolkien's book and you still have, at the core, a great, perfectly cinematic story. I just don't think that's the case with Watchmen.

Posted by: jjg | Nov 24, 2004 7:52:02 PM

Watchmen is not just a great story with great art, it's a seminal piece in comic storytelling as a whole. As such, it cannot be paralleled in the motion picture world.

I believe the only way a Watchmen movie can not suck is to not be Watchmen as we know it.

Posted by: Kevin Cheng | Nov 25, 2004 1:14:37 AM

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