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Will 'Watchmen' Live Up To The Hype?

Dee Doyle Dee Doyle
March 3rd, 2009 9:01am EST
Watchmen2008 was the year of the comic book movie, but this genre has only grown in popularity over the years thanks to the X-Men and Spider-Man series. In truth, they were enormously popular in the 70s and 80s due to Superman and Batman rocking the big screen, but all of these comic books are well known and ingrained into pop culture. On average most people do know who Bruce Wayne is and what happened to his parents one tragic night, or that Kal-El is the last of his kind.

Yet it is not just mainstream comics getting the attention; 300 and Sin City proved otherwise. The newest entry into the comic book adaptation is a movie 20 years in the making, acclaimed as the best graphic novel of all time and even placed on Time Magazine's pick for one of the best 100 best English-language novels in the last century.

Watchmen comes out March 6, and movie goers everywhere have been inundated with trailers, clips, magazine stories, action figures, posters, and every marketing cry for attention. Yet as it comes closer to release, fans are more skeptical of the movie's worth, and people everywhere have to wonder: will it live up to the hype? The answer to that is no ... and maybe.

WHY NO?

1. The Fans

They could be a publicity team all their own for how strong the fans have tried to push this movie on their unsuspecting friends. Fandom like that can be a double edged sword, however. Snyder has admitted to making several changes in the film, even if he also promised to be as true to the source material as he could. The biggest problem has been the various alters to the ending, which is already considered a very chilling and fascinating conclusion. So you meticulously try to copy everything in the book, yet change the part that everything was building toward? The fans were outraged at the very thought, and although many of them are just excited to see "Watchmen" come to life, the nitpicking will begin as soon as they get over the thrill. Early reviews have already shown that fans are snarling about things as important as general tone or as small and insignificant as Laurie smoking. The movie will probably not live up to the hype of the fans, and it will likely pay for it. But don't worry Warner Bros., They'll probably still see it three or four times anyway.

2. The Ignorant Mainstream

Let's face it, the trailers may seem very attractive and interesting, but how many people who have never read the book actually know what the story is about? The trailers certainly do not explain it. It is a clip show to a cool song with people in costumes and kicking butt. Oh, and a crazy blue guy who makes a cool castle thing on Mars. This ignorance may cause the opening weekend to do well, but there might be a section of the mainstream who come out going, "WTF? They aren't actually super heroes! Did the blue guy have to be naked the whole time? What was up with the inkblot guy being a sociopath? Isn't he a good guy? What's with the smily face pin?" The hype probably will not live up for these people, because they have no idea what they're going into.

3. The Acclaim

Listen, comic book movies are really fun, and you can learn to love the characters for life if you connect with them. And yet they're not exactly considered smart, insightful commentary on the human condition, at least by the elite like, oh, the Academy Awards. "Watchmen" is one of the few graphic novels considered to be actual literature and placed on a level above its other comic-y companions. Set in an alternate 1985, this is a story about the best and worst of humanity and the inevitable drive to destroy ourselves. That being said, the movie only has two to three hours to go through a very convoluted history and wrap it all up with a nice bow at the end. Snyder had a great deal of work ahead of him to pick and choose what parts of the series to keep in, but there will always be something lost because of that. Since a great deal of the original story did have to be cut or mildly altered in some way, the film cannot live up to the acclaim truly because it is not the same. It is a footnotes version. There is nothing wrong with that, since it has worked before in the past, but when you hear someone say "the greatest graphic novel of all time," it better blow your freaking mind.

Watchmen



WHY MAYBE?

For all the reasons above.

The fans may be rabid about the film, and yes they make pick it apart, but they will probably still enjoy watching it and seeing their favorite characters come to life. It will never be the comic they know and love, but by now they are used to seeing comics butchered for the sake of the movies, and it has been embraced. So "Watchmen" may be the same way. The ignorant mainstream do not know what they're getting into, so they may turn out to be pleasantly surprised. Then again, they thought that The Dark Knight was too dark, and "Watchmen" will make you want to reach for the razor blades at the end. If you think about all the Oscar-nominated films, they are all increasingly depressing human stories, so "Watchmen" may fit right in. This story is different from what they are used to, and the mainstream can dig that. Finally the acclaim...even if it is a cut-up version of the beloved story, it should retain the parts of it which gained recognition. Sometimes the little details can be tossed out for clarity, and it may on the whole make the movie more focused and clear. Who knows! In truth, since everyone has different taste, the question is will "Watchmen" live up to your hype?

Well, will it, Starpulse readers? Let us know in the comments!



Dee Doyle
Story by Chelsea 'Dee' Doyle

Starpulse contributing writer