Monday, March 9, 2009

Watchmen redux:

I realize that my review of Watchmen was already verbose, but as any true nerd knows, you don't just review something like a movie made from the Bible of comic book geeks -- you furiously dissect and redissect it. And then your girlfriend leaves you.

Recently I shared an email exchange with two friends that I felt touched on a few more areas that I wanted to hit. I guess you could consider this the "DVD commentary" for my previous post.

SPOILERS AHEAD. You've been warned.

Matt writes, after catching the movie in NYC last night:

Way-too serious. Not a whiff of satire. And absolutely no reason to care about any of it.

It felt like the movie achieved the perfect mimicry of the text that Synder was questing for, but at the expense of surrendering any real narrative tension. It only proves the subtlety of moviemaking: you can capture every frame of the comic and recreate every utterance, but still fail to tell the story.

Not to get carried away with the meta-criticism, but I honestly felt like I too was experiencing the world as Dr. Manhattan. As the plot plodded along faithfully (however truncated) with the text, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was just watching the preordained future unfold and going through the motions.

I respond:

I was conflicted because there's some interesting shit there, especially for a "superhero" movie.

Then I remember the hilariously bad sex scene in the sky (wow, completely inappropriate use of "Hallelujah") or the exclusion of the side characters that give the original book any sense of humanity, and I get angry again.

The squid thing is pissing me off waaaay more then I ever thought it would. When I had heard it had been changed, I was relieved because I thought that would be the audience killer. But now that I saw what they did instead, it's a fucking travesty that they cut it. I mean, you curb nuclear destruction by blowing up the 5 or 6 biggest cities in the world and pinning the blame on the very much American Dr. Manhattan? And this will stop war... how?

Besides, anyone who complains about a faked alien invasion after sitting through 2 hours and 30 minutes of THAT movie is just being ridiculous.

Brian, in his reply, knocks it out of the park:

I posit the following query as a representation of my movie going experience.

You're hanging out with a guy you've met on a couple of other occasions (lets call him Kaz). You're not sure how you feel about this dude. He's kind of a wearout, but he was sorta cool at least one other time you hung out. As it turns out, he is a huge Watchmen fan, and in fact won't stop talking about the legend behind the series. You've never read it, but have heard the story and think it sounds like something you might be into.

Upon hearing of your interest, Kaz becomes very serious to a point where you think he's fucking with you. Kaz stands in front of you and proceeds to read the entire book aloud in an austere and flat voice, while paying almost creepy reverence to any scene of violence.

Several hours later, when Kaz reaches the last panel, he closes the book, puts it back in its plastic dust cover and places it back on a stand in his shrine. In the meantime, you are looking for the shoe you kicked off at one point and wondering how a couple of beers with this guy turned into 3am. As you're gathering your things and your head, Kaz turns to you and says, "so now you understand."

What is your response?

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