A leaked survey from the Warner Bros. online A-List community announced that a straight to video animated "Watchmen" will arrive in the future. The studio claims the animation will be true to the art of the original book, and that they anticipate an R rating. The studio has had about as much success as one would imagine in the "straight to video R rated cartoon" genre, most likely because they've made the only three that can be purchased somewhere other than a windowless "bookstore" off the highway.
Their previous ventures have given life to the Batman stories of Frank Miller and Alan Moore and Brian Bolland. The Dark Knight films I enjoyed, but "The Killing Joke" was, well, it's another post entirely is what it was. And while both of those stories were iconic in their own rights, 'Watchmen' they ain't. I mean, it's on an honest to goodness list of BOOKS, sandwiched between "Under the Volcano" and "White Noise." Beyond being timeless, entertaining, and smart, 'Watchmen' is important. So why all the tinkering?
I will admit I am on the short list of people who enjoyed Zack Snyder's adaptation. I t hought it was beautiful, but as I sat in the theater I couldn't help but think "I'm digging this, but people who didn't read the comics aren't gonna give a shit." There was something missing. Yes, yes, Black Freighter, Squid, yadda yadda, but that's not what I mean. That movie had style out the wazoo, and its imagery was chillingly accurate. But it missed an ingredient somewhere. There was a series of motion comic episodes, but I never watched them because I think motion comics are stupid. And then the reboots. And now the characters are inching their way back into DC titles. Again, why all the tinkering? These characters never played nice with a Super Hero formula and that was the whole point. When you try and force a big naked blue peg into a round hole, people are gonna walk away feeling either confused or empty.
My point is this: the art can be so faithful that it looks like it was traced and it's not going to matter if the story isn't right. And to do it right, you have to tell the whole thing. All of it. Would I watch a six hour 'Watchmen' cartoon? Well hells yes I would, but I understand that's probably not healthy or, whatever, "normal." Many moons ago there were whispers that HBO was going to do a live action 'Watchmen' series, and I really think that's the only way it could be worthwhile. Many segments, an interconnected plot, lots of time jumping - you know, kind of like a comic book.
I really do think there's a "Make Alan Mad" club, though. For real. It meets in a tree house and there's definitely a piece of notebook paper taped on the hatch that says "No Wizards Allowed."