Watchmen was essentially all I could ever ask for in an adaptation...considering the source material and all of the factors at hand, (these being dilligent Hollywood executives and the lack of endorsement from the creator,) I must say that Director Zach Snyder truly pulled something off.
I read that the original concept for a video project was to do a 6 hour mini-series and while something like that would have stayed true to form I ponder if it would have defeated the purpose. Watchmen was a book meant to convey a message, not excite an audience. It merely found common ground within the context of the realm of science fiction whereas the intellectual readers could easily relate. It is satire in it's purest
form... The characters encompass large groups of persona that give the ability to pull in virtually any individual in some form. Meanwhile it maintains the intense depth that a work equatable to the lord of the ring, a story so well researched and contingent that it is easily believed to be a fully functional universe of it's own. Try to cram that into 3 hours.
But I digress: the movie. It was as good as it could have been hands down. I already stack it up to adaptations such as TMNT and for those of you know me that is a pretty big deal. Dark knight was magnificent but it was relying on a multitude of sources...which brings me back to my main point: watchmen stayed true to an almost dangerously degree. It's been proven that certain elements of comics do not translate to the screen all that well. Let's reference the 1960s Batman or Howard the duck or any other number of "cartoonish"comic movies. A director gets their hands on an endearing story ripped literally from the pages and tries to run with it and runs into the inevitable obstacle of production restraints while having zero research to rely on to try and effectively convey the purpose of the schema. Rather, they shrugged and caved in.
Snyder was a true fan boy at heart and after watching the film 3 times as well as Black Freighter and Under the Hood, (don't worry I balanced this by reading the book 3 times also...once many years before, one right after and once immediately prior in the form of the motion comic which p.s I loved the most for combining the book with a radio drama flawlessly in a new media movement trend launched via iTunes,) I must say I'm legitimately impressed with the amount of effort he went to in trying to keep as much material true and whole as possible. I honestly believe that even though Alan Moore had been discouraged by previous adaptations of his work, he should get off his high horse and give Watchmen (and Vendetta) a chance. I say this while openly admitting that Moore is one of 3 authors that have the ability to provoke a raw emotional response out of me as a reader. He should be proud that there is enough outcry and belief in his credibility that there would be positive response to the medium crossover and increased exposure of his work, (not the self righteous withdrawn prick that I saw in his bio-doc).
Watchmen effectively took the elements from the story that admittedly would not work on the big screen in a mainstream audience and re appropriated them. For example, commercials for Nostalgia could be seen in the phony Hollis Mason documentary, which may have been just another reach for our wallets I don't care because they did such a good job of maintaining the universe that it was with it. Some lines were exchanged within characters but for the most part the dialogue was impeccable, (which due to Moore's bluntness had a tendency to illicit some giggles from patrons). Some smaller details were trimmed like Rorschach's admittedly repetitive detective work which works in favor of desperation on the pages, but film is truly a different monster. Some of Nite Owl's gadgets were trimmed but big whoop we all got the idea that he was kinda like Batman (FYI: rumor has it that Watchmen was initially written as a story encompassing pre-existing DC characters and was denied because the editors did not want their franchises sullied by real world and political elements; I DO NOT believe that Nite Owl was meant to represent Batman at essence... That role was satisfied by The Comedian... Think about it and get back to me... I want to hear your reasoning behind this and while your are at it let's compare and contrast the rest of the team(s)).
Of course the big issue at hand is: the ending. Did I like the change; Did I Hate it; did it ruin the effort? The short answer: no. I feel the film makers took the initial concept at hand and *(keyword) re-purposed it. With the rate our society moves at, a story that is only 20 years old is already obsolete. To focus heavily on the red-scare/ cuban missile crisis/ etc... to today's audience would be MOOT. Instead they put all their effort into bringing the characters to life in a situation that is relevant. And that was the goal of the original wasn't it? 'WHAT IF superheroes of sorts existed in a world where this was going on in a realistic fashion?' They used the platform as a vehicle to bring the concept to a larger audience and nudged contemporary ideals (social commentary, martyrdom, environmentalism) into the process. Of course there were things that I missed from the book on the screen version, but that is why I still own the book. And now thanks to the exposure MANY more do as well, and a whole new generation can find the quality story that is Watchmen. In this I conclude: I loved the Watchmen book, and I greatly appreciated the Watchmen film.