Follow us:

Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

March 2, 2009 at 10:19 AM

Watching the “Watchmen”

No, I haven’t seen “Watchmen” yet — it screens tonight. But I’ve been busy reading the 12-part graphic novel / comic book it’s based on (not my usual reading material, but pretty interesting, layered stuff), and wondering again about the nature of adaptation. I’m always fascinated yet reluctant to watch the screen version of a book I’ve loved — fascinated because I’m curious what a filmmaker’s imagination will bring to the pictures already in my head, reluctant because I just know something won’t survive the translation. I was very happily surprised by “Atonement,” a beautiful adaptation of a book I would have thought unfilmable; by “Mrs. Dalloway” and “The Hours,” ditto; by the quiet perfection of “The Dead,” and more recently “Revolutionary Road.” All managed to find a visual equivalent for the books’ intricate explorations of language; all kept the books’ essence while translating it into something entirely new.
A graphic novel, though, is something else again: It’s already visual; its pictures already fully engraved on its readers’ consciousness. Word is that “Watchmen,” unlike many comic-book movies, closely follows the 1986 Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons comic, revered as one of the great graphic novels of all time. Will the movie feel fresh, or merely like a careful reshoot of something already there (like the weird Gus Van Sant “Psycho” a few years ago)? Does there need to be a “Watchmen” film at all? Or will filmmaker Zach Snyder find a way to stay faithful to the source and yet bring a unique vision to it, as did the filmmakers of “American Splendor”? Below, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures, is a frame from the film side-by-side with its corresponding frame from the book (featuring Patrick Wilson as Dan Dreiberg, a.k.a. Nite Owl II). Similar, but not identical. Stay tuned.

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►