I'm breaking the cardinal rule in my blog for what I'm pretty sure is only the second time in it's three (or four?) year history by using my soapbox to discuss something other than my career. There is a comic book that came out in 1985, a mini series actually, that in the last twenty three years has come to be considered possibly the greatest collected graphic novel of all time, in my view, the "To Kill A Mockingbird" of comics. Yes, folks. It's that important a piece of literature.
I'm talking "Watchmen" here, people. Written by Alan Moore, drawn by Dave Gibbons, and first placed in my anxious mitts at the first Motor City Comic Con in 1989 when I scored a British import copy. Without too much hoo-hah, I'll confess that the book rocked my world and shattered my fragile fourteen-year-old psyche with images so lurid and lavish that I couldn't help but be inspired. One of the comic's key characters, Dr. Manhattan, was the original inspiration for my character Dead Duck, back when I was conceiving a funny animal parody of Watchmen. So it all goes without saying that, after approximately twenty years of switching hands with different directors, writers and movie studios, Hollywood has finally bit the bullet and brought Watchmen to the big screen, and I am record-levels of excited. I'm talking circa 1989 Tim Burton's Batman-level excited, when I couldn't wait to see Michael Keaton swimming inside an oversized rubber suit, and Jack Nicholson portray a pudgy balding Joker. It's too appropriate that my excitement is linked to the same year in which I first discovered Watchmen.
The movie, directed by Zack "300" Snyder, has just completed filming and is now doing all post-production work, prepping for a March 6, 2009 release. And man oh man, Zack has just released the first photos of the bulk of the cast (with Dr. Manhattan yet to be shown). For the few of you who haven't seen these elsewhere, I present them to you now, alongside their comic book predecessors:
Jeffery Dean Morgan as The Comedian…He looks PERFECT. If he can act the role even a little, I'm sold…
Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl…Yes, he looks a tad Batman-ish, but they got the goggles right. And in fairness, this IS the essential design of the body suit, which all Batman films have cribbed from since the beginning. And the "horns" of his cowl will look more familiar to fans when seen from the sides.
Matthew Goode as Ozymandias…This is faithful to the original design while the Julius Caesar wreath on his head brings a great touch that the golden headband he had in the comics lacked in spades. I dig it.
Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach…Jesus, there will NEVER be a more accurate interp of a comic book character on screen than THIS. I sold my 5th grade teacher to the Mafia to get Haley to fill this role, and it looks like my sacrifice has paid off. He's gonna be the best.
And Malin Akerman as Silk Spectre…I love that they cast virtual unknowns in these roles (with the exception of Billy Crudup in the as yet unseen Dr. Manhattan, and most people had forgotten who Earley was for the past twenty five years), and even without the wig, Akerman looks PERFECT as the Silk Spectre. She has Laurie's square jaw line and slight facial features upon that broad palette of a face, and just looks incredible. The wig, albeit slightly longer than in the book, still looks so great, and the costume is reflective of the comic while streamlining it and making it look better, which wasn't hard to do.
Now, comic book purists (and with Watchmen, I count myself among that group) will immediately note the decided differences in the movie costumes and the comic book costumes, with the exception of Comedian and Rorschach. But for my part, I have to say, I have totally no problem with it. This doesn't make me less of a fan, and it doesn't mean I have a lousy eye for detail (which purists would believe, y'see). I just accept that this is an INTERPRETATION. You cannot re-create a comic book verbatim on the movie screen, no matter how close Sin City came, especially with Watchmen. There is so much crammed into that graphic novel that it'd take one movie with the scope of all three Lord of The Rings films plus three more to pull off even remotely accurately. As such, this is one director's take on a great comic. And Snyder's a fan, so this is probably as close as Hollywood could come to doing it right. Obviously the proof is in the viewing, but I'm just looking forward to seeing the movie I've been promised for twenty years now. Good, bad, misguided, or totally perfect, I'm geeked to view this flick, and will be there with my graphic novel in hand like the loyal little dork fanboy that I am, cheering on the efforts of Snyder and his awesome cast.
Now, when Synder and the powers that be finally sit down with the estate of Jay Ward and begin negotiations for the Saturday morning cartoon show spin-off featuring the cast of the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon, I hope they save a place for me at the bargaining table…
I'll be saving you guys a seat on March 6th, 2009! Just keep your damn hands outta my popcorn….