I re-read the Absolute Watchmen HC graphic novel on Wednesday evening in two sittings; wanted to make sure I remembered even the most minute detail before actually catching the Watchmen movie on the big screen, which was released in cinemas Australia-wide on Thursday.
There's a reason why Watchmen has been called, and is by and large recognised as the greatest and most acclaimed graphic novel in the history of comics: it is just absolutely brilliant. It was a tale certainly way ahead of its time...every single time I read it, I keep discovering something new!
To be honest, the first time I read Watchmen, probably some time in the early 00s, I wasn't that impressed. Sure, it was a good read and it had some fascinating characters and character interactions and a wonderful twist ending (which was already spoiled for me since I'm an avid reader of Wizard magazine and they've referenced Watchmen so many times in the past), but I didn't think it was THAT special.
It took a second read for me to grasp how special and truly brilliant it was. And then a third read. And a fourth...this graphic novel wasn't just exceptional, it wasn't just brilliant; it was simple out of this world and nothing could come close to a story of this magnitude, nothing was even COMPARABLE to this!
All the little nuances and the stuff that Alan Moore crammed into the story...it all somehow added extra layers to the overall story but at the same time contributed to the overall story. You could read each individual chapter and it would mean something. You could take different parts of the story like Max Shea's pirate tale and read it on its own as well and still get something out of it.
And Dave Gibbons' wonderful art. Each panel, so meticulously and beautifully constructed. And all those little hidden Easter eggs in the background, just teasing readers to see if they can catch everything that's happening in the scene, things that would add up to a larger Easter egg that's part of the overall story!
Most stories are straightforward and you get everything in the one read. Not Watchmen. Watchmen was special; it takes multiple reads to grasp and understand the majority of the concepts that Moore has included in this 12 issue maxi-series. The political commentary, the black humour, the sexual innuendos, the environmental commentary; it was all there in those pages, one just needed to see if one could, to coin a Pokemon phrase, "catch 'em all"!
Alas, many have also called Watchmen as the comic that is inherently unfilmable. I certainly can understand that; how can one possibly reproduce a chapter like "Fearful Symmetry" on the big screen? How do you do that without losing the story's essence? A chapter like "Fearful Symmetry" just can't be reproduced on the big screen! Other scenes transferred from the comic medium to the big screen would also lose its meaning...so what would the movie look like then?
From the few trailers I've watched on TV so far, the Watchmen movie looks like it's "glamourising" the action parts of the graphic novel. The characters are larger than life and they all look fantastic on the big screen; I couldn't imagine how stupid the Minutemen would look on screen with their campy costumes, but they don't look half bad at all from the movie stills!
I definitely cannot wait to watch the movie. Expectations are unbelievably high, as one might expect, which could lead to a lot of disappointment if Zack Snyder hasn't done the right thing by the graphic novel. But hey, then again, I guess he could be forgiven; fans expectations are unreasonably high for the movie adaption of the greatest and most acclaimed graphic novel of all-time, the one that they've all said is unfilmable.