Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Our book club book for March was "Watchmen" by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. It's a graphic novel (actually originally released as a set of individual comic books), but now hailed as one of the top 100 novels (by

I did really enjoy the book - all of the heroes (except one), are just normal people that for varying reasons decided to dress up in a costume and fight crime. Some are insecure, or crazy, or have other issues, and most seem aware of how weird it is to, for example, dress up like an owl and fight bad-guys. I thought this aspect of the book was really interesting to think about - the nature of a hero and what makes people do what they do.

It also presents a very interesting basic ethical dilema - what's more important - principles, or accomplishing the best end result. In Spiderman, when he has to choose between saving his girlfriend or saving a speeding train, in the end he's able to save both. In this story, the characters don't get to skirt around the difficult issues. I think this makes you think about what makes a hero (or a person) seem 'good' - is it because they actually make the right choice, or just because of the situation they were in.

Of course, the movie "Watchmen" has now been released, and having read the book, I had to go see it. I did enjoy the movie, and there were some aspects in the beginning that were remarkably similar to the book - including the way the scenes were set up and shown. The characters, particularly Rorschach, were very well cast. There are some changes from the book that seem major on the surface, but the spirit of the book is definitely still there.

However, the fighting in the movie was a big 'larger than life', which took away from one of the aspects of the book I really enjoyed - that they were all real people with no special ability, just an odd urge to dress up and fight crime, all for very different reasons.

It's hard to judge the movie, having read the book, because it's hard to imagine how it's perceived by a first-time watcher, without all the background included in the book. I'd be interested to hear how other people like it.

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