I had a weekend to myself and I did what any other person might have done—I went to the movies.

Yeah, whoopity-dee-doo. But the last movie I saw in the theaters was “Notorious” so with that knowledge, maybe now you can understand why it was kind of a big deal; I hardly ever go to the movies.

Despite the complaints that there was no reason to make a movie out of a perfectly good graphic novel, I sat through the nearly 3 hours of Watchmen. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a movie review. I won’t tell you what I thought. I did read the reviews beforehand. Rottentomatoes generally serves as my filter when I’m trying to decide whether I want to see a movie or not. If it’s deemed “fresh” I will check out the bad reviews to see if the negatives are worth overlooking. If it’s “rotten” I generally don’t bother. If it’s right before the movie is released and there are no early reviews, it means the film has not been screened, and that’s generally not the sign of a good movie (Tyler Perry, I’m looking at YOU)

Lately movies have been made for the following reasons: Artistic expression (okay, just kidding), because everybody loves a sequel (or trilogy--or fourth, fifth, sixth or however many follow ups are deemed absolutely necessary to complete a story), there’s an ‘80’s era childhood cartoon/action figure legend that has not been capitalized upon told yet, we need a remake because the special effects from the original aren’t scary or cool enough to be convincing anymore, and finally, there’s a novel that would translate into a super-fantastic movie (what you don't hear is the the super-fantastic sarcasm when I say this).

Well, you know what happens when you’ve read the book and then see the movie adaptation. It starts with a D and ends with an "isappointment." If it was a recent reading, you can pick out the parts of the story that got cut or changed immediately. If they make major changes, and you liked the book better, the experience is pretty much ruined. Sometimes it works. People love The Shawshank Redemption—it’s not really based on a book though, it was originally a short story that ended up providing enough material for a two hour film. Sometimes the director and screenwriter tweak the story and make the film a compliment to the book. (The Shining and Children of Men). Sometimes it's just not meant to be. If you take the Cider House Rules and cram 598 pages (paperback) into to a movie, you wind up with something that barely resembles the original. I only discovered this upon reading the book after seeing the movie. I went in thinking I knew the story, and what happened on the pages was entirely different. A whole subplot had been cannibalized to make the movie into a neat little package. The book was so much richer. In this case, a trilogy would have worked, but people only come back to see Tobey MaGuire play Spiderman every two years, not Homer Wells. The trilogy format doesn't work for every story, even if there's enough material to fill 6-8 hours of film time.

Watchmen itself was entertaining, even though I know the man who wrote the story did so knowing that the movie was going to be a bastardized version of his book. He wanted nothing to do with it; even the allure of money wasn’t enough to get him to sign off. The movie was just okay. It was eye candy. I see they went the other direction with the “to pants-or not-to pants” dilemma that occurred when the Incredible Hulk hit the big screen. I went into Watchmen knowing the original work was so much better, which means I won’t be disappointed when I finally read it.

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