Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Watchmen thoughts.

I was very impressed by this film. It managed to stay very faithful to the book while adding it's own spin to the material. First the good:

Jeffery Dean Morgan IS the Comedian. He seemed to step right off the page, every amoral inch of him. My favorite part of the comic (IT'S NOT A FUCKING GRAPHIC NOVEL! IT'S A SERIALIZED COMIC!) was always his funeral, and the flashbacks were done perfectly (though why no Capt. Metropolis at the first meeting of the Crimebusters, though they kept it simple and just called the team Watchmen?)

Same with Jackie Earle Haley. Not to downplay the rest, but these were juggernauts on screen. Every nuance of Rorschach was perfectly captured by Haley, and his gravelly voice matched the character to a tee, making him seem to come off the page even more faithfully than Blake (& was a far sight more believable than Christian Bale and his Nathan Explosion impersonation).

Though downplayed in all of the reviews I've read, I felt that Matthew Goode played Ozymandias superbly. A perfect mix of arrogance and genius, like Tony stark on brain steroids. The addition of the meeting with oil & coal magnates was an example of Snyder adding depth to the character, whom I always felt was very underused and almost seemed tacked on in the original text.

The relationship between Dan and Laurie played out very well, and surpassed my expectations beautifully (How awesome was Patrick Wilson as the socially awkward Drieberg?)
As was the case with the one in 300, the love scene was VERY well done. People are saying that it was awkward, I think, because in movies usually the couple is naked & kissing: not gyrating and enjoying it like those of us in the real world do.

But the biggest kudos go to the execs at Warner Brothers for even green-lighting this project. Think about it:

* a Superhero movie with no recognizable characters
* No big name stars
* full frontal male nudity
* an 'R' rating in a genre that typically is frequented by minors
* GRAPHIC violence, nudity, sex, all of which make this a VERY un-family friendly movie
* AND a run time that most studios would balk at

all of this, PLUS a huge effects heavy budget for what equates to an art house superhero flick, would tell most execs to kill a project, or at least fire the director. But Warner not only supported the movie, but advertised the FUCK out of it! TV ads, viral websites, multiple theatrical trailers! This was a huge gamble on the part of Warner & and they went ahead anyway. Though, it's understandable that the weekend box office didn't meet their standards.

And now a few gripes:
The sound editor should be shot. I felt like I was watching a music video half the time, the music was so loud.

Speaking of Music, some of the song choices were a little weird to me. 'Sound of Silence' seemed like an odd choice for the funeral (I'd have preferred there was no music at ALL at that point), and 'Hallelujah', while a good song, seemed very out of place for the love scene. Maybe if those songs switched places?

Silhouette's murder being a hate crime. I know it's knit picky but in the comic she's kicked out in disgrace and murdered by an old foe wanting revenge (and speaking of gay, where was Capt. Metropolis & Hooded Justice sharing some thickly veiled gay time?).

The lack of Sally changing her name to Jupiter to hide the fact that she's Polish AND Laurie not going by Juspeczyk. I know it's a minor detail but they could have slipped it in with one sentence.

The revelation that Eddie Blake is Laurie's father was very watered down, & her hatred and animosity towards him was not properly portrayed. Again, a simple sentence, taken right from the book when Rorshach visits Dr. M and Laurie, would have helped that. I'm sure that certain scenes were cut for time that will flesh it out better (here's hoping on the DVD), but as is it's a little lacking.

And, despite the fact that the movie is 2hrs and 40mins long, it still seemed fairly rushed. Not nearly enough time was spent with Malcolm analyzing Rorschach (crossing my fingers again for the DVD), and Dr. Manhattan's history was lacking a bit. They never explained why he burned a Hydrogen symbol into his head. Or the reason why he would wear clothes and then not. The way I've always looked at it, Manhattan wears less and less clothes through out the book as he slowly loses his humanity, where basically a thing like shame (as Adam and Eve learned from the tree of knowledge) doesn't exist to him. so him being naked is as like how God created the first humans.


Overall the pros vastly outweigh the cons, most of which are superficial to begin with. By far the most complex, thought provoking comic book movie we've seen thus far, eclipsing even the Dark Knight in terms of sheer brilliance. Bravo to all involved. I think I may need to do a second viewing at some point. Plus, they hinted a lot that Adrian is gay. Hrm.

p.s.- I liked the altered ending, and Hollis getting murdered is going to be on the DVD, as per Snyder.

No comments: