Watchmen (Comic) Review

Watchmen (Comic)
“One of these people does not belong here.”

Snap: The ONE comic series I’d recommend to anyone who wanted to appreciate comics in a more serious light. Penned by Alan Moore with art by Dave Gibbons, this is a seminal piece of work that deconstructs the superhero genre, gives the characters excellent character motivations, all coupled with an art style that Moore himself has claimed to be “unfilmable.” [5/5]

Love: I absolutely adore the writing. Each character is so distinct, even the bit players, and all of them come together into one very believable alternate history, and you end up being sucked into this imaginary space where vigilantes are celebrated and then martyred. Monologues by Rorschach are intense, psychosis-fueled affairs, yet you are drawn into the diary and mind of this madman. Characters like Dr Manhattan open up your mind to other universes beyond our own and bleak anti-heroes like The Comedian cause you to question your own outlook on the world. Yet, through it all, with careful writing, you have a sense of each character’s motivations, you root for them as you would any other superhero in this endless / inane genre, yet you know what makes them stand apart from you, and you find yourself wanting to be just like them, warts and all. Most comics have never been taken seriously within the literary fraternity, but this series will have you applauding the accomplishment of seamlessly combining text with still images, each panel an infinite window into another world that balances reality and fantasy upon the precipice of fiction.

Hate: Talking about this with people who didn’t enjoy the series.


Watchmen (2009) Film Review

Watchmen (2009) Movie Poster
“Wouldn’t want to be caught in a dark alley with him.”

Snap: This is a review based on the second time I’ve watched the film and having also read the comic books before the film, so yes, there’s baggage. For starters, the original comics were written by Alan Moore, illustrated by Dave Gibbons, and now adapted to film by director, Zack Snyder. I think it’s important to separate the comic book medium and film medium very distinctively, because with the comics, you’re allowed to linger on certain frames, pause and think. But with a movie medium, you just can’t do that, and this affects pacing, which is one of the key differences between the comics and the movie.

Taking that on board, the Watchmen film was a little more enjoyable the second time round, maybe there were bouts of nostalgia, but overall, I’d say that Snyder did a very decent adaptation of the comic books, perhaps a little too faithful that it seemed to embody his own fan service rather than use the film medium to it’s full potential and tell his version of the story that someone else had originally written. [3.5/5]

Love: The visuals are stunning, there’s no fault there. Also, the sets and costume design were pretty faithful, yet updated enough to still be appreciated by current audiences. Most of the mood was kept, the atmosphere was dark, depressing, like having static in the air because you know there’s something foreboding in the background. Character representations were also enjoyable without anyone really trying too hard. I had my own expectations, but I think the cast delivered, some more than others, but still, a commendable effort.

Most of my issue with the film, is pacing. Maybe there’s really too much information to squeeze in, but I think it’s as the original writer intended. Some things just are not meant for a film medium. I guess, I just wasn’t used to being led along the pace of the director, because my expectation with the comics medium was just set at too high a bar. Regardless, while I loved the creative decision to film on sets instead of having over-the-top CGI, it shows a little too glaringly. I thought I would be absorbed into an alternate timeline of 1985, but it sort of stuck out like a make believe world.

Overall, the mis-en-scene just felt very scattered. One moment you’re walking dark grimy alleyways with tightly-focused camera shots, and the next you have clean cityscapes (and even that doesn’t happen so often.) My point is that the city is as much a character (thanks to Rorschach’s journal entries), but that seemed lost and you don’t feel much for the populace that the heroes are trying to save. It’s a tall order, and I graded the film harshly only because I cared.


The Mindscape of Alan Moore Review

The Mindscape of Alan Moore
“At the forefront of snakewear.”

Snap: A documentary that reveals many insights into the creative and thought process of Alan Moore, the writer of some of comics’ most influential stories such as: Watchmen; Swamp Thing; V for Vendetta; The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Batman: The Killing Joke.. etc. [4/5]

Love: If you’re a fan of Alan Moore’s work, this will give you greater insight and depth to what motivates and inspires him. It’s also a very enjoyable trip down the rabbit hole, and seeing how far it goes. Mr Moore is a bit of an eccentric, but his very articulate sharing of the things he’s learned are almost as enjoyable as some of the best tutorials you’ve had discussing existentialism, perceptions on reality and the reasons why art is important to our culture. There’s also a bit about how he compares writers to shamans, and it was a very captivating monologue.

Hate: If you’re looking for intellectual discourse, you might not like this. But if you’re always in the mood for some good discussion, sit back and enjoy all one hour ten minutes of it!