The upcoming film version of the graphic novel Watchmen is remarkable for several reasons.
- That despite many people, including directors such as Terry Gilliam, claiming that it is unfilmable, that there is even a film version coming to the big screen at all;
- Despite these said people claiming for nearly 20 years that it was unfilmable, once it appears that it is and that it might be PROFITABLE, two of the big Hollywood studios are now fighting over who gets the lionshare of the profits (20th Century Fox who claim to still own the rights to the novel despite never optioning a film version or Warner Bros., who now technically do and have funded the project from start to finish.) And that even more ironically, said lawsuit could HOLD back the release of the unfilmable novel;
- And perhaps most importantly, any film version could possibly satisfy the endless stream of fan(boy)s who view the book with the same religious fervour that a religious fanatic would view The Bible or The Qur’an.
*Quickly checks spelling of Qur’an on Wikipedia in case he ends up being hunted down like a Dutch MP before moving on*
And it’s that third one that I think is so relevant. Even though I have read Watchmen and thoroughly enjoyed every last page of it, I am also aware that the novel means so much more to so many, each one having there own interpretation of the text. While this is always a sign of good writing in any medium (several possible meanings, each one valid, yet the reader/audience never being told or lectured to as to whether they are right or wrong) it does lead to everyone picturing things in different ways. For example, even as a fairly “entry level” fan, I still don’t think Rorshach sounds nearly gravelly or sadistic enough, at least if this trailer is anything to go by.
And I wont even get started on the news that the ending might not be as described in the book, which personally speaking always seem a bit weird and never properly explained, but that is for someone with a better knowledge of the book than me to get into. But going back to that first point, maybe that it was why so many people have claimed that it is unfilmable; not that it’s impossible to film, more that it SHOULDN’T be as so many people have their personal interpretations and visions as to how the project should look and sound. Frankly, as long as they get the Dr. Manhattan sections (arguably the best written and most moving pieces of the book) right then everything is fine by me but I’m sure the AICN crowd wont be so easily swayed.
It would seem that the new version of Ghost In The Shell has a similar problem too, recently reviewed at Tim Maughan Books and getting alot of traffic as a result; so many people have come to love and admire what the original version has to offer, that any update (however good it clearly does look) is always going to upset or annoy those fan(boy)s. Although there is an argument that no matter what they do, they are always going to be upset but then that is the very nature of the fanboy/zealot.
It’s interesting to see how everything pans out with regards Watchmen. While there is news today that the lawsuit is close to being resolved (ie Fox will be paid a large sum of money) it still remains to be seen just how well Zack Snyder has brought the project to the big screen. His previous two films, the remake of George Romero’s Dawn of The Dead and the homo-erotic masterpiece that was 300, had a style and look about them that would clearly work extremely well within the Watchmen “universe” but can Snyder nail enough of the minor details to sate the fanboys? Keep watching to find out.