Monday, March 09, 2009

Watchmen Thoughts

***There are probably

So, Watchmen...

I've spent a large portion of the day, at least larger than I should have, poking around and reading the thoughts other comic fans have about the movie. The opinions range from those who thought it was a (near) perfect movie to those who thought it was one of the most awful movies ever made.

I talked to one of my co-workers about the movie, too. He'd never read the book, but went and saw the movie this weekend and he isn't sure what to think about it. He liked it in the beginning, but about halfway though he thinks the movie went crazy. And he hated the end. (He also hated Dr. Manhattan's penis all over the place.) He told me he wants to like it, but he just can't.

Me? Well... it lived up to my expectations, but didn't exceed them.

That is to say, the movie looked really good. Zack Snyder makes films that are fun to look at. To me, his movies are spectacles more than they're anything else. Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes it's bad. For Watchmen, it's sort of a mixed blessing.

Things look like they do in the comic, for the most part. The colors are bright and slick. The world is grimy. Watching (some of the) scene come to life directly out of the comic was fun. Rorschach's mask was amazing. (Although I found it distracting that the rate at which the "ink" flowed got faster when things were tense.)

The story, though, seemed shallow.

Let me put it this way, if I had seen this movie after the first time I read the book, I would have loved it. The movie nailed everything I liked about the book back then. It was dark and dirty. The heroes weren't perfect. Rorschach was a bad-ass. It was violent. When I first read the book, that's what I thought reading an adult comic meant.

I don't think quite that way anymore.

(I'm having a very hard time articulating. Sorry.)

The book was very much about the dark times it was written in, 1986-87. There's a sense of losing innocence to the book. A loss of wonder. A question of lies being (or becoming) truth. Being hurt by truth. Finding humanity that's been lost and losing humanity because of humanity.

That's just a few I can think of here at work. The book is dense. And the movie isn't. (Or at least it isn't as dense.) The movie softly touches a lot of the themes of the book, but it doesn't delve (because of time constraints or other reasons) into the themes like the comic does.

Comics can let readers linger over panels and pages. Comics allow time to reread the thoughts and spoken words of characters. Comics give readers the ability to control time. Watchmen comic thrives on readers being able to do what only comics allow. Watchmen movie just barrels through from one scene to the next forcing views to linger on the absurd slow motion moments in fight scenes (or when Silk Spectre's hair is flowing around her); forcing people to see the moments of Watchmen in set amount of time hurts the plot.

There's so much more to say, but I just don't have the ability to write it.

One thing, though, I really wish they'd had Captain Metropolis found the Crimebusters in the movie and not Ozymandias. Losing Captain Metropolis made the team lose its link to the past. There was no direct juxtaposition of the old and new, which only makes the failure of the team to come together even sadder and gives Ozymandias a huge step toward his ultimate end.


Alliya said...

That is a great point about Captain Metropolis and Ozymandias. I felt like there were a lot of moments like that in the movie. Overall, I was satisfied, but not blown away by it

geewits said...

I've been waiting for this post. I knew you'd have some good insight into this movie. Thanks!

Jazz said...

Funny, I just mentioned Watchmen on my blog yesterday. I haven't seen read the book yet (though I've wanted to for the longest time) and I haven't seen the movie. No doubt, I'll get to the book first.

Nevertheless, since Billy Crudup is playing Dr. Manhattan, I have no problem with seeing his penis. Besides, it's about time we get naked men in movies! 'Cause I'm just shallow that way.

ticknart said...

Alliya -- Your right, there were lots of moments that were close but not quite right. And I don't even think most of those moments would have been better if they were closer to the book because movies don't work like comics. I'm glad you were satisfied, but we all wanted to be blown away, didn't we?

Geewit -- Your welcome. When I left the movie I thought that, for people who haven't read it, people would fall into three categories: 1. Those who LOVE it. 2. Those who wanted to love it, but really only liked it. And 3. Those who hated it because of the super bloody bits.

Jazz -- Billy Crudup is spectacular in the film, but it's not his penis. It's a glowing, computer generated penis.

I highly recommend the book and I'm still not sure I can recommend the movie for anything except the spectacle.

Jazz said...

Aw shit! Oh well, it'll have to be the book after all.

Ok, ok, it was gonna be the book regardless.

heels said...

It didn't even have Real Wang Movement (TM)! Still, it was nice to see the wang present rather than Dr. Manhattan being neutered or dressed the whole time.

(If RWM (Tm) is not trademarked already, it should be. I call DIBS!)

AE said...

Kay, I saw it last night and you know I have the book. I enjoyed the book. I was largely blown away by the book; moreso I was blown away with the book's impact.

I'm okay with the changes; I bloody enjoyed the movie.

Well cast for the most part, true to the book for many-many scenes and so on. Dave Gibbons drew the panels all of equal size to allow the story, rather than the art, to carry out the drama. This director did the opposite; you're right that it lingers too much on the fights-- slowing to watch the fist as it connects. ...Yawn... I'm not there to watch the fights; I'm there to watch humanity cut off its legs and struggle to survive.

Though I must admit I sympathized more with Rorshack and Dr Manhattan in the movie and am happy I did. I disliked 'Owl and 'Spectre more for being quitters, in it for the thrill, and I'm happy I did.

This was one of the better (or more true-to-the-fans) comic-to-movie movies I've seen. It had the subtleties I wanted. Although it lacked a giant mechanical squid, I felt the change was probably good considering there are a lot of people out there who aren't real fans and won't see it again to try to understand what they missed.

I'll see it again. It's long (I might say not long enough), DARK, violent, reasonably intelligent and actually does have a glowing blue penis in many scenes. I wasn't bored but at ten bucks a ticket, did I need to first and will I see it again on the BIG SCREEN or wait for DVD?


DVD. Hoping for an 'extended' version.

ticknart said...

AE -- Glad you enjoyed it. I'm sure that when I see it again I'll enjoy it more now that I know what to expect.

I also think they should have kept the squid, but for a different reason.

And Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, in the movie, didn't quit.