Ayo! Scott: Should You Watch Watchmen?

Ayo! Scott: Should You Watch Watchmen?

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Nobody gets to see Dr. Manhattan's big blue balls for free.

Ayo! Scott is not a fanboy (or a fan of boys, for that matter). Genius does recognize genius, though, which is why 12 single issues of Alan Moore's 1986-87 comic classic Watchmen sit on Ayo!'s bookshelf, right next to the Hustler mag that pioneered labial close-ups. As a collection, the story of a disbanded team of flawed, masked vigilantes trying to solve the murder of one of their own and prevent nuclear holocaust in an alternate 1985 has gone on to become one of the best-selling books of all time and led to generations of fawning fanboys.

While the graphic novel was raking in cake for the suits at DC Comics, the movie adaptation sat in development hell, with good reason. Computer graphics weren't advanced enough to properly render Dr. Manhattan, a giant naked blue master of all matter, or the shifting ink blots on the mask of the unhinged hero and narrator Rorschach. Numerous writers and directors couldn't figure out how to turn the dense, dialogue-heavy epic about the nature of mankind and higher powers into a compelling movie that wouldn't cut out key pieces and piss off longtime Stans. Improved CGI and Zach Snyder, director of 300 and the Dawn of the Dead remake, were supposed to fix all that.

They do and they don't. As it turns out, Snyder's slavish devotion to source material is not necessarily a good thing. His original version of Watchmen, which included damn near every one of the painstakingly detailed panels Moore described for his artist Dave Gibbons, would have run close to four ass-aching hours in a theater seat. Cut down to an Ayo! quickie (two hours and forty minutes), the movie will still feel interminable for anyone who was expecting a rock 'em, sock 'em, cock 'em popcorn flick. Watchmen is a book and film for the pensive, not a full-speed ball-buster. The change in artistic mediums is worth noting, too. A reader can put down and revisit an epic graphic novel and flip back and forth to make sense of its complex narrative structure. A moviegoer overwhelmed by an epic, complicated comic movie is just stuck. But then Snyder wasn't trying to simplify things; he wanted his Watchmen adaptation to do for comic movies what the original book did for comics'completely buck the system. For non-devotees, though, it's more likely to make them want to buck'and blow their shit loose.

As someone who loved the original comics, Ayo! enjoyed the film's arresting visuals, its deliberate, slow pace, the quality of performances set against green screens and Snyder's insistence on not sacrificing deeper themes to make Watchmen the next Wanted. And yes, when the complete, unedited DVD comes out, Ayo! will spend four ass-aching hours watching it. Not like a fanboy, of course. Ayo! will be in his socks and drawers in your mom's basement.

Check out the trailer here to decide if you'll be watching Watchmen.

Tags: alan-moore, ayo-scott, comic, comic-book, dave-gibbons, graphic-novel, watchmen, zack-snyder
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