“I shan’t be going to see [the Watchmen movie]. My book is a comic book. Not a movie, not a novel. A comic book. It’s been made in a certain way and designed to be read a certain way: in an armchair, nice and cozy next to a fire, with a steaming cup of coffee.”
These words were uttered by Alan Moore, co-creator and writer of the original Watchmen graphic novel as well as other renowned comics-turned-movies such as V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the lesser-known From Hell. While his works have enjoyed some decent success in theatres, he has consistently distanced himself from the production process and has yet to see any of the film adaptations. Why? Because he simply doesn’t want the movies to ruin what he had created.
That’s a fair statement. He created those pieces the way he wanted them, using the medium he wanted. To have someone else come in, alter, and rework it for a wider audience, while flattering, can be a little invasive and irritating. However, diehard fans who refuse to watch these kinds of films on the basis that all will be ruined are fools.
Enthusiasts of any book will have a hard time appreciating a film adaptation. The same goes for video games, comics, and any other form of popular media that can be somehow presented on the silver screen. Quite often, these fans will complain that Hollywood is ruining the reputation of the original, when it’s really beyond their control as to how those series are developed.
Although every vote counts, not every opinion regarding films does. As sad as it may be, choosing to not watch a certain flick because it will potentially ruin the series won’t prevent it from doing so. If the Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie was catastrophic to the reputable Star Wars franchise, it doesn’t matter whether or not I watch it—it still sucks. Even if I try and disregard it completely, it’s still out there, raining hell on many Star Wars aficionados. Denial isn’t a solution.
The same goes for sequels. While some consider the second and third movies to have ruined the Matrix franchise, truthfully nothing was spoiled. The first movie is still as awesome as it was before, despite the following installments being disasters. And movies aren’t made to be shitty, so obviously the Wachowski brothers thought that they were doing a good job with Reloaded and Revolutions. It’s their series, and it was their creative license to do what they wanted with it, regardless of what fans thought.
More often than not, the authors and creators of the original work give their permission to such projects, and often even offer their time and support. In Watchmen’s case, artist Dave Gibbons was on board with the film adaptation and Alan Moore signed the rights over to him. The creators have control of the rights of their works, not the lowly comic book geek. There’s no point in condemning movies because they “distastefully alter” the original contents.
Regardless of whether you watch it or not, a movie will leave its mark, be it good or bad. Simply trying to ignore its existence won’t change anything. Being in denial is pointless and purposeless, so you might as well watch the film and appreciate the fact that they’re separate entities, neither of which has to be affected by the other’s reputation. And who knows? It could end up as a success and you could end up liking it.