Watchmen Adaptation

1992 Words 8 Pages
The Film Adaptation of the “Unfilmable” Watchmen In 2009, Zack Snyder filmed the first and only adaption of what was considered to be an “unfilmable” (Van Ness 172) graphic novel: Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Moore was a firm believer in the fact that it was a story unable to be transferred over from a comic to another medium – the story was meant to stay in the medium it was designed for. The graphic novel allows for a complex, metatextual narrative structure to be employed to tell such the story of Watchmen that is filled with much ambiguity. In comparison, the theatrical cut film adaptation of Watchmen cut much of the storyline out that was present in the graphic novel, thus creating more narrative clarity for film audiences, especially those …show more content…
This is a natural occurrence in almost all literature to film adaptations, such as the Harry Potter films or Pride and Prejudice (“The 300 Controversy: A Case Study in the Politics of Adaptation”). However, in the case of Watchmen, these cut scenes unfortunately took away from the complexity of the story. For example, the character of Dr. Malcom Long, who was assigned to be Rorschach’s psychologist while he was in prison, had an entire story and backstory of his own in the graphic novel. He was brought back in the second-last comic as someone who was trying to stop the fighting on the streets during when Adrian Veidt was explaining himself to Dan and Rorschach. The reader would still have to pay great attention to remember that Malcom from earlier in the series, adding to the complexity of the characters and the narrative of the graphic novel. Malcom was not given such a role in the film, he was only included in one scene, thus taking away from this narrative complexity. Another example is the complete removal of the “Black Freighter” subplot in the theatrical cut of Watchmen, where a boy reads a comic entitled “Tales of the Black Freighter” and the contents of that comic are shared with the reader. There are many parallels between these tales and what is occurring in the main storyline with the main characters, such as the capture of Rorschach. This is once …show more content…
It cannot be considered faithful because of its failure to translate the complex narrative structure from the graphic novel to the film, and instead choosing to create a simpler narrative through the changing of scenes and of the story itself. In the end, this was supposed to make it simpler for moviegoers who had not read the original Watchmen to understand, but instead, it failed to impress due to its deconstruction of superheroes – the original point both Alan Moore and Zack Snyder wanted to make with their art. However, all in all, it was a relatively impressive film when taken by itself. An important thing to note before the conclusion of this paper is that there are two more cuts of the film created by Zack Snyder that more closely follow the graphic novel: the Director’s Cut (186 minutes) and the Ultimate Cut (215 minutes). The Director’s Cut includes scenes cut out from the film and the Ultimate Cut includes these as well, plus more and, most importantly, the “Black Freighter” storyline. These two cuts, especially the latter, were received much better than the theatrical cut, providing more hope for comic book to film adaptations for the future – as long as they could become as faithful as possible in as many ways possible to the original medium (Gardner

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