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Watchmen: is there hope for Stranger? 
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:17 pm
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Post Watchmen: is there hope for Stranger?
I am a krazy-mad fan of Alan Moore's Watchmen and have been since shortly after it appeared. In many respects, I view it similarly to Stranger in that it is a landmark work of importance much greater than its nominal genre (sf/graphic novels), and that both are nearly unfilmable - no studio, no director and most importantly no audience would stand for a faithful adaptation with all the subtle bits in place.

But not so fast... after decades of watching the attempts to get a Watchmen film off the ground, with poor choices of script and director and every chance of it being a bungled mess... all of a sudden Zach Snyder has taken up the task.

Snyder most recently made 300, which is also adapted from an Alan Moore graphic novel and was of course a massive success. When it came time for Snyder to spend his coin of success, what did he choose to do? Watchmen. Watchmen done right, damn the studio's way of thinking about it.

If you haven't read the graphic novel, you should - if you only read one GN in your life, this is the one that it should be. Watchmen is the genre's defining volume and masterpiece all in one. For those who haven't (yet), you have to understand that it's a fantastically complex, layered work. There is the main story, told in more or less straightforward dramatic terms... but so much depends on important flashbacks and the complex "filler" material at the end of each of the 12 books. There are memos, letters, parts of a newspaper under composition, and long excerpts from one of the character's autobiography. These are nearly unfilmable if approached directly, but contain important parts and angles to the story.

There is also a very complex story within the story, told in the guise of pages from a pirate comic that a minor character is reading. The story of those pages is completely disconnected from the main story but in effect mirrors an important thread in the main story. It is optional, but only optional in the sense that, oh, Jubal's story is optional in Stranger.

So what's Snyder doing? He's making a helluva Watchmen movie, to start with. When asked about set design and storyboards, he said, "We have that" and waved the novel at the design crew. Anyone who has read the novel will thrill at the set photos - they are instantly recognizable and 100% "right."

But that's not all. I just read today that Snyder got the go-ahead to, and is, filming the entire "Black Freighter" pirate sequence. It will appear on a DVD days after the movie hits theaters. Even better... he is shooting the entire biography/backstory set of material as a pseudo-documentary, also to be released just after the film. Eventually, it will be released altogether, perhaps - as a set and even as a fully edited single film. He did it ALL and he did it RIGHT... paving the ground for a film of, say, Stranger that is good and salable and correct, if perhaps incomplete... but with the compleatist parts packaged separately.

Principal photography is long done on Watchmen and it is being painstakingly assembled now. This is one movie I will go stand in line for at midnight. 03-06-09... see you then.

And in the line for Stranger, maybe, someday.

"Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders." - Luther
In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.

Mon May 26, 2008 4:30 pm
Heinlein Nexus
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Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:10 am
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Post Re: Watchmen: is there hope for Stranger?
So does that mean there should be a graphic novel for Stranger first?

"OH NO... Gillian's in danger from those cops! Time to use my MARTIAN SUPERPOWERS to save her..."

Sorry, no offense to the modern GN meant, I just couldn't resist...

Mon May 26, 2008 7:37 pm
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