Inspired to post this by both a drunken conversation held last night and a brief forum discussion yesterday with the ever entertaining Dan Cross (who has one of the most entertaining and readable blogs out there at the moment), let me briefly touch upon Zack "300 is the most heterosexual film out there" Snyders forthcoming epic Watchmen.
Watchmen was a seminal DC mini series from the 1980s, as guilty as The Dark Knight Returns, Maus and Archie meets the Punisher for completely reinventing the genre and making comics for adults again. By this stage though, gentle reader (I nicked that from Stan Lee) as soon as you've read the word comics you'll already have decided whether you're interested in this or not.
Watchmen is an epic tale, grandiose in tale, regarding retired super heroes in a world that no longer needs them dealing with a conspiracy way larger than any of them can appreciate. It's bold, daring, uses narrative techniques previously unseen in comics and truly is (and its a phrase I'm loathe to use, but will nonetheless) a work of art.
Which is why it should NEVER be made into a film.
I truly am of the frame of mind that some things shouldn't be done because they hurt the thing that made them great in the first place. In drunken conversations I'll often (in fact, probably over predictably so) remark how the matrix sequels ruin the original film. Just because something CAN be done (and in this case, it's special effects boffins realising that some of the visual effects in the film are actually achievable now) it doesn't mean that it should.
For one, the film is too detailed and colourful to fit into a single film (unless it had an eight hour running time, and I don't think Hollywood is quite prepared for that). The comic works because of the length - as a reader, we've invested quite a lot into the history and background of the characters we're reading about. To condense this would make Watchmen appear to be just another superhero movie, which is the LAST thing it should be about. It should be about legacy, heroism and that overwhelming eighties fear of nuclear oblivion and NOT about interesting CGI set pieces that turn it into Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Watchmen is now so far along the Hollywood conveyor belt that the publicity machine has now kicked in proper. The first photographs of the sets and costumes have been revealed (I could link to them, but you could just as easily find them yourself. I'm too depressed by them to do it) and by the time it's out it will blend into the other summer blockbusters.
I really hope I'm wrong, but I fear I'm going to sit down and watch another Judge Dredd. I really hope that I'm wrong on this one. It's been known.