I have little to no history with comics so it was very unusual for me to read one. It has the reputation for being the Citizen Kane of comics. So I thought it would be better to read it then it would be to watch a bland, simplified and shortened movie version.
So I bought the graphic novel and I really liked it. Well worth reading. I also agreed with Alan Moore, the creator and a noted hater of Hollywood, that a movie adaption was not needed. The book was complete in and of itself. It was not a blueprint for a future adaption in a different media. It was the definitive version. It was not a comic by default, it was a comic because it was meant to be a comic. A movie version was as needed as a musical version on ice - potentially interesting but pointless.
So I had low expectations when I finally watched the movie version. I initially wanted to get up and walk away from it in "disgust" but I sat it out. After the first half hour I relaxed into it and started to enjoy it. I don't think the first half hour is bad, more that it just took me that long to adjust to the acting style and the over-busy camera work, both of which were not what I was expecting.
I'm very surprised that so much of the book got into the film. Very little of note has been chopped. I would go as far as saying that I missed nothing from the comic. What little didn't make it onto the screen was of no great loss (I disliked the comic within a comic Tales of the Black Freighter and I'm glad it was removed). If you've seen the movie then essentially you've read the comic in its near entirety, which I'm very surprised to say.
If you're looking for an action movie then forget it. This is a talk-a-thon. There are only a few scenes of brief violence, none of which will satisfy anyone looking for large scale action thrills.
I liked the film and it's probably about as good an adaption as they could have made. No major mistakes have been made in my opinion (the contentious casting of the Veidt character didn't bother me). Also not one thing appears to have been invented for the movie, no new characters, new dialogue, new scenes etc. Everything seems to have come directly from the comic. The only alteration of note are the specific details of the climax. That major alteration works well and is perhaps more sensible and logical than the events in the comic book.
I don't think it matters what version you experience, the comic or the film, as they're pretty much the same thing. Neither has a significant edge over the other.
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