So now most of us nerds have had the chance to see and digest the Watchmen movie. And, if the rumors about the film's word-of-mouth are true, not many more people will be off to see it in the upcoming weeks. So I think it's safe to give a spoiler-free opinion, because I can really sympathize with what the filmmakers were trying to do.
First, geek-cred. The Watchmen comic is part of my DNA. I had a brain tumor removed when I was 19. To help the hospital time pass, a friend loaned me two graphic novels. The Cowboy Wally Show by Kyle Baker (a classic in its own right) and Watchmen by Alan Moore. They were the first of many, many comics I read as a sort of grown-up. Let's just say I have an emotional attachment.
And I really, really enjoyed the movie. As many little nitpicks and disappointments as I had, it was still fifty times better than I had any right to expect the movie to turn out. The director, Zack Snyder, really wanted to be faithful to the work.
And, if it turns out to be a flop in the long run, that is why.
Watchmen is insanely dense and complicated. It takes several readings to really grasp everything that's going on. To be in any way faithful to the work, you have to make something far more complex and challenging than what I think most people expect. Or want. Instead of making a more profitable movie, they tried to keep me happy. For what it's worth, I appreciate it. And I can really sympathize.
When I write a game, I am always imagining two voices in my head, shouting at me. On one side is the gamer. The RPG lover. The sort of person I am. On the other side is the normal person. The casual gamer. The person who isn't hugely familiar with gaming but is giving me a shot. I want to please both. I want to make everyone happy. But frequently it's a zero-sum game. The pleasure for one sometimes comes at the expense of the other. What can I give to each side to make them want to play?
So, movie review. Watchmen. Worth seeing. One and a half thumbs up. If you haven't read the book, approach it like a really good noir mystery. It'll be a little confusing the first time through, but it does all make sense.
And read the book. It's not just nerd-good. It's good-good.
Oh, and no. I didn't miss the squid. Fans of the comic know what I'm talking about.