Embalming the Watchmen


With its array of carefully crafted oddballs and interconnected plot lines, Alan Moore's celebrated 1986–87 graphic novel Watchmen reads like a superhero story filtered through Dickens. And just as Dickens' best work probed the social problems of his day, Watchmen was aimed at flaws in the era's comic books: unchallenging narratives, flat characters, simplistic morality.

Zack Snyder's movie adaptation, which hit theaters in March and is now available in an extended director's cut edition on DVD (the real home these days for any cinematic auteur's vision), is packed with meticulous reproductions of the book's many iconic scenes. Visually, it may be the most faithful movie version of a comic book ever made. But even in its newly expanded form, which reinserts a number of the comic's key scenes, Snyder's fanboy fidelity comes across as pointlessly worshipful literalism with nothing fresh to say. Robbed of its original context, Watchmen is not so much a movie as a cinematic waxwork.

NEXT: Putting the "Non" in Newspaper Non-Profits

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  1. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it’s literally a labyrinth, that’s no joke

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