If you are awake right now and want to see something interesting happening online, though I suspect this will continue all through the weekend – go look at this search for “watchmen” on twitter. The instant reviews coming in from people as they are walking out of the theaters are fascinating, I can’t stop refreshing that page! I just got back from seeing the midnight showing at the Arclight in Hollywood myself. It was actually my 2nd time seeing it and while I couldn’t say anything after the first time I saw it due to sekrit screening and protecting friends and loved ones from spoilers and bias, I loved it and thought it was even better the second time around. That feeling is not universal however but what’s interesting to me is that no one is giving it a ‘meh’ review – people either really loved it or really hated it. No in between feelings on this one which says something. I don’t know what it says exactly but making something that everyone has a reaction to isn’t an easy task so when it happens it’s very interesting to watch.
Walking out of the theater there were discussions about which fans liked it and which fans hated it. My instant tally among a handful of friends shows an interesting split. I had lunch with Mack Reed today who was telling me about his original button set he got while reading it when it was in series format and how he’s been waiting 20 years for this night and according to his tweets he approved. If you are reading this you probably already saw Wil Weaton’s proclamation from a few weeks back that it was “fucking awesome.” Conversely
Tara hated it. [Turns out she was joking blowing this theory all to hell. Ooops!] She’s probably read it the most recently of anyone I know (and thus most familiar with the line by line story) and a few others I knew who read it in preparation for the movie didn’t like it either. I don’t think there’s any value in discussing new fans vs old fans, but there’s probably something to people who just read it and those who remember reading it.
When you read something like this, your imagination works overtime and you build a vivid picture of the world in the story. If you read the book sometime in the past 6 months or so then that picture is probably very fresh in your mind, if you read it many years ago the overall picture probably isn’t as strong and it’s more themes and highlights that you remember. I’m pulling this theory completely out of my ass, but I wonder if the people who read it recently and have the specifics fresh in their minds don’t like it while the ones who have a romanticized memory of the overall thing do. I kind of want to reread it and then go back and watch it again to see how that sits with me. Maybe the changes they made will become more of an issue. Maybe not. The end really pissed off Hiter though:
Another interesting split was the first time I saw it was at an industry screening and the immediate commentary after wards had nothing to do with the story but was either “Amazing! Those fight scenes were beautiful” or “Piece of crap. I can’t believe he went with those effects.” Same kind of thing, people liked it or hated it. I haven’t talked to anyone who hadn’t read the book yet but I want to, and I’m really excited to see and hear the different breakdowns from friends and reviewers over the next few days to see why people loved it or hated it so much. In either case it’s getting massive reactions and for me at least, that’s going to be very interesting to watch.