Reihan’s excited about the upcoming Watchmen movie. Me? I’m still suspicious. I reread the
comic book graphic novel this weekend, and it renewed my belief that while, contra Terry Gilliam, it might be possible to adapt Moore’s 12-part epic into a two-hour film, it’s going to be really, really hard. Doing so will require a very strong screenplay and some equally brilliant performances and direction.
The new Watchmen teaser trailer merely confirmed what we already knew: Zack Snyder is a remarkably talented visualist. But it gave no indication that Snyder’s developed much ability as a storyteller, which, after 300 — a movie with appallingly little concern for narrative, character, or pacing — remains a serious concern. It doesn’t help that Synder’s running around making statements like this:
“I think there’s an IV drip of action that takes you through the movie, because there are superheroes that probably do fight things, and there are action-y things that actually happen to them.”
Indeed, the trailer takes the same form as the preview for 300: a montage of powerful images set to a moody pop song (Smashing Pumpkins, in this case, rather than Nine Inch Nails). I’m not even sure how much a teaser like this will appeal beyond fans of the comic. It’s clear to those of us who’ve read the original that Snyder’s going to recreate a number of its iconic scenes. But, for anyone else, it doesn’t provide much sense of what, exactly, the movie’s about (and, anecdotally, I talked to a number of non-geeks who were confused by it). I’ll admit: the trailer is very, very cool. But I’m also not convinced it’s much more than a fanboy dog whistle.