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Published March 07, 2009
Okay. I'll keep this short.

The Watchmen is one of the greatest graphic novel series of all time. Intense, visceral, bloody, prescient, funny and insanely terrifying are just a few of the words that describe the doomsday tome created by Allan Moore and Dave Gibbons back in the mid-80s.

And I was pleasantly surprised (having not read the books since high school, when I sold my comic book collection to get a boomin' system for my cherry-red Opel Manta) at how many of the concepts, images and ideas in the novels are still totally relevant now, and even stunningly predictive of events that have happened since the books were written (apparently Alan "Crystal Ball of Fury" Moore predicted the election and subsequent crap-the-bed administration of one George W. Bush).

Finally, Zack Snyder is one of my favorite directors, and in my opinion one of the best modern visualists working in film today. He was a perfect choice to helm the movie and was faithful (maybe to a fault) to the books. The film was beautiful, ballsy, intense and totally freaking cool. He is a master of slow-motion, out Woo-ing even John Woo (without all the slow-mo sequences this 162 minute film would have been like 36 minutes. Seriously. I'm not complaining. I freaking LOVE slow motion. I could eat bullet time for breakfast.) And the fighting is bone-crunching and killer (I even smelled a little Chan-Wook Park homage in the jail-fighting sequence, which was smokin' freaking hot and made me not hate Malin Akermann anymore after she broke some dude's leg, literally, in half.)

That being said, I think that maybe some great works of written (and illustrated) fiction just don't lend themselves to adaptation for the screen. Dark and angry doomsday rock-n-rolla (and thrashcore band refugee) Alan Moore himself called his series "inherently unfilmable," and just recently said "I will be spitting venom all over it [The Watchmen] for months to come."

I hate to reward a pissy attitude, but I think he may be right. The books are just too weird, complex, confusing, intricate, furious and bloody to make the leap to the screen for the average viewer. I went with someone who knew nothing about The Watchmen series, and after over two and a half hours in a darkened theater staring at lustrous and bloody images of death and destruction (not to mention at least thirty full-frontal shots of a jack-diesel digitized and totally naked Billy Crudup -- whoo, thass' a whole lotta CGI schlong up there) they didn't know any more about at the end than at the beginning. That shit is just inscrutable. That's all there is to it. And I'm quite sure that's how Alan Moore intended it.

So, Alan, we give up. You win. Zack Snyder's The Watchmen is, in my opinion, the best possible filmed version of your novels that ever could have been created. It is unflinching, gory, sexy, crazy, gorgeous, funny, and totally badass. Zack was slavishly devoted to the authenticity of your books, and he Bonds-ed it out of the park (and yes, I did intend the steroid allusion -- when you see Crudup's crazy blue body you'll see what I mean). And yet, if Snyder had tweaked things a bit, taken a few more liberties, it might have been a bit more fun to watch, and not so frustratingly confusing. As it was, I needed mental Cliff notes just to keep up with a story that I totally committed to memory when I was still wearing a retainer.

Is it worth seeing? Everything that Zack Snyder does is worth seeing. I'd pay to see a traffic camera's shot of him running a stop light in his Hummer while sucking on a Frappuccino. But was it satisfying? Like a really expensive French meal with all kinds of ingredients and preparations you've never seen or heard of -- you're impressed, but at the end of the meal, you're not quite sure what the hell it is you just ate.

Wow. That wasn't short at all. And neither was The Watchmen.

P.S. Jackie Earl Haley is OUT OF F*#$ING CONTROL in this thing. Wow.
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