Read “Watchmen” Before You See “Watchmen”

watchmen

The battle over distribution rights to the highly anticipated movie Watchmen has been settled.  Warner Brothers and 20th Century Fox announced in a joint statement yesterday that an agreement had been reached ….  that means the March 6, 2009 opening is a go.

Read: Studios Reach Deal On ‘Watchmen’ Release

I have one request, though, before you mark the calendar … read Watchmen before you see Watchmen.

So, what’s the deal here?  Well, as the narrator of Pushing Daisies said every episode, “The facts are these…”  Watchmen is a graphic novel first published back in 1986.  It’s an apocalyptic tale of a group of costumed crime fighters who turn the super-hero ethos on its head.  With the exception of Doctor Manhattan, none of them actually have super powers.  They’re just a colorful band of vigilantes with their own methods and motivations.  They’re not particularly upstanding either, Rorschach (who wears a splotched mask), and The Comedian (a ruthless mercenary) are particularly unpleasant.  They’re all too human, and that’s what makes their story so compelling and real.

Writer Alan Moore is a mad genius, his words drip with rage and contempt … and you won’t see his name in the credits for the film, he’s completely divorced himself from it.  So sad, yet so cool.  The original art was drawn by Dave Gibbons, unforgettable … and unlike Moore he’s a major contributor to the movie.  His character creations have a timeless quality, retro and cutting edge at the same time.

So why spend a weekend squinting your eyes at dialog bubbles?  Because the depth of the story demands and deserves it.  The movie is going to be a visual spectacular, but a lot of juicy material is going to be left on the cutting room floor.  If some of those missed elements are already tucked inside your memory bank, you’ll fill in gaps in the screenplay without even knowing it.  Trust me, in this case, knowing the story going in is a big plus, not a minus.

The official movie website of Watchmen is nothing short of spectacular.  You’ll get an excellent feel for the look and feel of the Watchmen universe.

Watchmen Web Site

Still, the graphic novel is required reading … so even if you have to grab a pair of  cheapo reading glasses to make it through, do it.  Watchmen is time well spent.

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