Once in a while a piece of entertainment stands out so clearly in our world of constant and never ending irrigation that it manages to grab me, turn me upside down, shake me until everything falls out of my brain’s deepest cracks and totally changes my view on the happenings in this messed up world. Don’t get me wrong: I love this messed up world, with all its misfortune and seemingly endless chaos. What fascinates me most however is how it has a way of surprising always in the right moments with its sudden perfect symmetry. Entertainment sometimes captures that perfect symmetry best.
After having seen WATCHMEN in a dirty little Frankfurt cinema last night I feel like being on a pill. A fucking weird, thought provoking pill that just makes me feel good all day. What has always intrigued me about the geek world is how we try and look at things from a deeper perspective. People who do not know us or our world mostly think we’re a bunch of superficial idiots with fried brains in our world of violence and false heroism. They are wrong! Plain and simple. WATCHMEN proves them wrong by demanding many questions that need asking. Watchmen is more than simple entertainment. Some are going to be turned off by that, just as much as they would be turned off by the sheer thought of using their brain (I know this sentence is a paradox…). But Watchmen does the impossible: It combines pure and classic entertainment with fantastically deep and thought provoking philosophy. And you know what? It looks damn sexy while it makes you think, and fear and cry and laugh for one hundred and sixty eight minutes.
Believe it or not but the majority of us like to be entertained with something more than just action and romance once in a while (at least that’s what I like to think concluding from my own appetite for something deeper than the clichéd mass of daily media routine). Lucky me, once in a while our wishes and prayers are remunerated with a deep and thought provoking piece that at the same time serves stunning and satisfying entertainment. Some, might be turned off by the sheer size of it (of course I’m not only talking about its length). Zack Snyder’s blockbuster is one of those rare pieces of art that divides opinions and critics. Not even the professional press was able to make up their minds in the end with deranging scores between poor 3.0s and perfect 10s.
All the Watchmen madness and hype that started flooding the Internet and even the mass media long before the movie was even done almost kept me from following the masses into the movie theaters. Finally I cherished my hopes and surrendered myself to the movie. Before I continue let me admit that I am one of those kids that completely missed out on comics — I’m sorry, Graphic Novels – in general, not just WATCHMEN. All the more it struck me when I got my hands on Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, two authors I had never heard of before, shortly before seeing the film. A comic book that’s in the top 100 of Time’s most influential English language books truly deserved my attention prior to seeing its port to another platform.
I read until about one fourth of the book until I realized: I NEED to watch this movie, NOW! As soon as the movie began its way of portraying the American country, its people and the world during the cold war immediately sucked me in: This is the perfect translation of a superb comic onto the big screen! A comic many, including its creators, thought wouldn’t survive a porting. Snyder and his team of filmmakers and actors brought this world of Watchmen to life. I immediately fell in love with everything in it and most of all its sad and broken heroes as well as anti-heroes. Especially commendable is how Snyder didn’t try to copy the book but instead rather enhanced it at those corners where it needed enhancing. And he did this with such subtle care that he never betrayed the source material and its heritage.
After The Dark Knight I thought the peek for comic book movies had been reached. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I am probably going to regret this due to tons of hate-mail but I’ll go so far and say that Nolan’s movie is in many ways inferior to Snyder’s. After 300 I was very skeptical. Against all the odds, Snyder pulled it off. To me he has officially catapulted himself into Hollywood’s small circle of immortal filmmakers. I bow with deep respect. We have to ask ourselves: What is next in the ‘comic book goes movie’ world? For now there is only one thing I can do: Experience that piece of art again….and again…and again…