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There are a lot of polarizing opinions regarding adaptations,
specifically comic book adaptations, and even more specifically Watchmen -
a story that, for over two decades, was said to be "unfilmable."
Published in September 1986, Watchmen ran for 2 years as a 12-issue mini-series
created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
And they designed Watchmen from its foundation to highlight everything that the comics medium is capable of
and what film, television, and literature couldn't do.
Alan Moore said in the past that, "If we only see comics in relation to movies, then the best they'll ever be
are films that don't move."
Alan Moore's goal in the mid-80s was to focus on elements that made comics a distinctly unique art form.
Things like structuring the entire book around a 9-panel layout,
3 rows of 3.
It gave the pages a center, which allowed more precision in its narrative flow
And the few times that structure is interrupted or broken, it's done for a very specific reason.
It gave Moore and Gibbons a level of control that wouldn't have been possible with a more fluid layout --
and you can see that use of control with Issue #5, "Fateful Symmetry," where each page is mirrored
front to back, converging in the centerfold with Adrian foiling is attempted assassination.
And with the film, Snyder tried emulating that control through his use of slow motion.
But the design of those panels is part and parcel to the storytelling in that book
Even the lettering is used as a storytelling device.
Rorschach's word balloons before his psychiatric break are solid and fixed,
while after the incident with the little girl, the dialogue is jagged and uneasy,
much like his mental state.
It's an easily unnoticed detail, but it adds so much weight to that character.
Another easily unnoticed detail is Watchmen's use of color,
done by John Higgins.
Where traditionally in comics a primary color palette would be used - reds, blues, and yellows
Higgins proposed using a secondary palette - purples, greens, and oranges.
And when they did use the primaries, they would use them boldly to punctuate a moment -
something that's lost in the film.
Watchmen's less about the story being told, and more about the way it's being told.
It's a comic about comics. No matter how visually faithful an adaptation
film can't articulate that intent.
But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be adapted.
Alan Moore himself has dabbled in adapted material with his own work:
characters in "Lost Girls" and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" -
and to a degree, the characters of Watchmen are a loose adaptations of the classic "Charlton" characters.
Rorschach, Nite Owl, Dr. Manhattan, the Comedian, Ozymandias, and Silk Spectre
were all based on The Question, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, The Peacemaker, Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, and Nightshade, respectively.
Watchmen was originally going to be a team book comprised of those pre-existing characters,
but Moore didn't want to be encumbered by continuity and all the baggage
that comes with writing in an established universe.
He wanted his characters to be damaged and degenerate,
a complete 180 subversion of the known superhero mold.
In these days, everything's a grim re-imagining or a gritty deconstruction,
but before 1986 that didn't really exist outside of "The Dark Knight Returns."
It took the realism that Marvel introduced with characters like Spiderman
and made it actually real - not just money troubles or alcoholism.
Watchmen dealt with paranoia, insanity, rape, war, nuclear holocaust -
what would happen if these characters were real.
But not just real within the context of the comic -
real characters in the real world dealing with real issues, using the tropes of comic book storytelling.
But it did it in a way that wasn't exploitative.
However, the film almost glorifies violence.
Nite Owl and Silk Spectre snapping bones in half, murdering thugs, arms sawed off.
Every one of Dr. Manhattan's victim's explodes into a bloody pulp.
So a single panel like this in the comic escalates to this:
Yet the destruction of New York is completely bloodless, seemingly inconsequential,
which is the exact opposite approach of the comic.
There's no real graphic violence in that sequence with Dan and Laurie, Rorschach doesn't butcher a man with a meat cleaver.
That one moment of unimaginable, horrific violence is in those 6 splash pages surveying the destruction of Manhattan.
The entire book builds to that single moment, and it's incredibly powerful.
But by the time that moment happens in the film, you've almost become desensitized to the violence
and there isn't really much to see other than a flash of light.
It doesn't elicit the same emotional reaction as those brutally detailed pages.
And there are quite a few moments like that throughout the film.
It strips away the context, but retains the payoff, so there's that emotional disconnect.
I'm not saying there isn't a great deal of respect given to the source material - because there is.
Dr. Manhattan: "I am looking at the stars."
"There are so far away"
"and their light takes so long to reach us."
"All we ever see of stars are their old photographs."
But it's selective, and it's seen in minor things, like Ozymandias' wardrobe.
His purple robe and gold accents in the comic are meant to allude to his infatuation with Egyptian myths
while also giving him a regal, authoritative silhouette. But in the film,
Zach Snyder wanted his costume to be a parody of the rubber Batsuit from Joel Schumacher's 1992 film "Batman and Robin"
Bat-nipples and all.
So there's a sacrifice of authenticity for an inside joke.
It's frustrating
because when a property is adapted it's typically the adaptation that people are most familiar with
like with Watchmen and the Charlton characters.
It doesn't affect the source material, but it does remove a potential portion of an audience that could have been introduced to it through its original form.
Although you could say there's another portion of an audience that would've never explored the material had it not been adapted.
Good or bad, faithful or not, an adaptation should only be seen as supplementary material,
never a substitute for the original. And that's what I think people are forgetting.
Zack Snyder: "What I've said is that I'm not trying to replace the graphic novel with the movie.
"As a matter-of-fact, I think at every opportunity I have I say, 'You need to read the graphic novel."
Interviewer: "Yeah."
Zack Snyder: "If this gets people interested in reading the graphic novel then I've done my job as a filmmaker."
A film, a motion comic, a video game - they all exist to complement the original work.
If you want a voice to read Rorschach's dialogue in. . .
Rorschach: DO IT!
or a sound effect for Jon's teleportation,
it isn't necessarily needed, but it's there to draw from.
This scene from the movie is more emotionally impactful for me than those 5 panels in the book,
but only because I've read those 5 panels.
I've had that experience with the book, and it's been visually enhanced through the film.
Those two moments exist independently of one another, but ultimately they work together to shape a more vivid image of the overall story.
Tyler, The Creator - Hey You (Prod. Toro Y Moi)


守護者 (Watchmen - Adapting The Unadaptable)

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Alec Tsai 發佈於 2017 年 7 月 17 日


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