Omnicomic watches the Watchmen

Watchmen hit theaters may have noticed. You can read my review here, but I wanted to bring up some points about the movie adaptation before I was actually exposed to it. Long story short: I don't think the movie will be very successful. Now before you blaspheme me and swear off Omnicomic forever at least hear me out. Please note that I wrote this before seeing the film. I've read Watchmen a few times, most recently a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to be sure that I was refreshed on the story and its multiple subplots concerning society and its individuals. With the most recent reading I realized that the concepts in the book are relatively dated. It was set in the mid-80s amidst a Cold War fear that World War III could start at any moment with nuclear fallout ramifications. The story even boasted its own version of nuclear fallout in Dr. Manhattan (the naming convention referencing the A-Bomb project is way too easy). But the book has won critical acclaim because of its supposed poignant telling of a world of fear. Fear of fallout, fear of superheroes and fear of what's inside each of us. And writer Alan Moore capitalized on this fear with one of the greatest "what if" stories ever told. But what if the fears are really unfounded nowadays? The fears in the book are what make me fear (no pun intended) that the movie just won't really work. Sure, the Watchmen diehards will be at the film (most probably saw it at midnight Thursday night), but what about the rest of moviegoers? Do we need to fear nuclear fallout at this moment? I mean, sure Iran and North Korea are two points on a perceived "axis of evil," but are they really that much of a threat? Watchmen doesn't have nearly the universal appeal that Batman or Wolverine has simply because the themes in the book are so visceral. The main reason it has achieved such accolades is because its a graphic novel, which is one of the more non-traditional mediums. You put this story in a novel format and I can pretty much guarantee that it would not be as revered as it is. If you take out the fear aspect of the book, you've probably removed one-third of the book's subplots. What's next? Characters. There's no denying that the characters in the book are truly riveting, and Moore revealed that there is no topic he shies away from. There is murder, rape, deception, adultery and pride, the characters seemingly included only to show the deepest flaws present in humanity. I mean, I know that there are supervillains that plot to take over the world to mold it in their image in comics and the like, but how many of them would go to the lengths that Adrien Veidt goes to to do it? Tedd said it best in his column: when you read Watchmen you can't help but feel dirty. Really dirty. You're left with little faith in humanity and the notion that the only good days for us are those in the past (when things were "better"). The final third of the book would be the superhero piece. The world in the book exists in the shadows of a world where superheros fought alongside police to fight crime. Needless to say, the idea of masked vigilantes fighting crime didn't sit too well with most citizens. People fear crime and the like, but it seems that they fear people in power with no accountability even more. Not to get political on you, but most Americans feared Bush because of the power he wielded with seemingly little consequences. The idea that there are authority figures in society that could ultimately turn on the citizens is one that leads to fear of big government. And if not government, then corporations. Veidt parlayed his crime fighting days into a multinational corporation that he then used to essentially take over the world. The plots in Watchmen revolve around a fear in authority. This is a timeless fear, and one that Moore even chronicled in V for Vendetta. But the encapsulation of that fear just doesn't really seem that it will translate that well on the big screen. Moviegoers will see a bunch of "retired" superheroes investigating the death of one their own against the backdrop of an alternate 1985 where the Vietnam War was "won" and the world is on the brink of nuclear fallout. Possibly the most ironic part about the whole thing is that it was originally created as a means of tying up loose ends with creations that DC wanted nothing to do with. These superheroes were essentially rejects in the DC Universe until Moore asked to do a story featuring them, and thus Watchmen was born. Would updating it make it more successful? I don't know. What I do know is that those that see the film that haven't read the book won't fully comprehend what the hell is going on, and may come away with a disappointment in what they just saw. I'll be seeing the film tonight, and more than likely I'll give it a great review. I think its going to be a fantastic adaptation of the graphic novel. I expect the action to be great. I know that the pirate sub theme won't be present and neither will the giant squid at the end wreaking havoc on the world. From what I've seen the actors look appropriately cast and the special effects look amazing. But there's a reason Moore never wanted this film to be made in the first place and refuses to attach his name to it still: the story should remain literary and not exploited for dollars. Sure, Warner Brothers and DC will make truckloads of cash on the film, but I don't necessarily know if it should've been made in the first place.