I watched the Watchmen!

Because, hey, the whole point of the movie was to answer that quasi-eternal question, by a technicality.

Lee and I saw the movie a la Consortium, arriving slightly later than we “should” have for the 7 p.m. IMAX showing. We moved directly to front-and-center seats, which was to produce amusing consequences but not neck cramps; the seats were very nice. The others sat in a more reasonable spot, the bastidges.

While awaiting the start of the movie, I overheard the young couple next to me saying:

HER: So what’s this movie about anyway?
HIM: It’s like Twilight for boys.
Yours Truly: You’ve got to be kidding me.
HIM: I mean, it’s an adaptation of a book or something.
YT: Yeah, no.

The Harry Potter trailer, which was the only one we saw, looked better than expected. It’s the same director as from HP and the Order of the Phoenix, but it looks like he leveled while he was out. I want to watch OOTP again; I keep mixing parts of it up with The Goblet of Fire, which disappointed me, so I’m probably think the OOTP was worse than it is.

Watchmen: I liked the movie. Good job, you know? I agree with onereviewer (I forget who) who went off about how Zack Snyder wasn’t visionary (Alan Moore=visionary; someone copying Alan Moore’s vision=not visionary), but good job. I don’t need to really get into details–other people will do it better, see ***Dave’s review, linked above–but every level was handled well, although not necessarily in synch with other people’s expectations.

(For example, when I talked to people at work about the movie today, “It was too slow” came up a lot.*)

So what I have to say is just a few observations, places where I seem to have drifted from the norm. Spoilers follow:

  • I think ZS was making a point about Batman. Now, I don’t think AM intended the Nite Owl II character to be a Batman knockoff (***Dave knew the original knockoffs but I’d never heard of them), but the connection has been posed many times since then. I think ZS took the recent Nolan Batman movies and picked out a few traits from Bale’s portrayal and split them up between Nite Owl (techy goodness) and Rorschach (madness and strategy). The point? Batman is both; he isn’t “crazy”–he’s crazy. I feel the Nolan movies missed that (I liked them; they just weren’t real Batman to me).
  • Dr. Manhattan gets progressively undressed throughout the comic and the movie–but it wasn’t until I saw the movie that I made a connection between wearing clothes and feeling a connection with other humans. Duh.
  • The movie had the most naked level of violence I’ve ever seen in a movie, horror movies and Sin City not excepted. I flinched at the damage people had to have been taking from beginning to end. The violence wasn’t glorified–in fact, the blunt disregard for humanity these characters had (even the “good” Nite Owl II) was never hidden.
  • The ending of the movie diverges from the comic. While there were small divergences during the main part of the movie, the main split came, appropriately, after the point where Dr. Manhattan can no longer see the future (paralleling the fact that neither can those of us who have read the comic). I can’t remember why, but I always thought of that point as the place where Doc and Bubastis get fried. I didn’t like the new ending better, but I loved that it was unexpected.
  • I missed Dr. Manhattan walking off to start a new universe in so many words.
  • Various people have commented on the sex–how graphic it was, how long it took, that they weren’t sure the intercourse was faked. You know what? It was graphic, gratuitous sex that was used by the characters to cover up deeper emotions. –Dr. Manhatten gets multiple-kinky with Silk Spectre II to try to patch up their doomed relationship and complains he doesn’t know what stimulates her any more. Silk Spectre and Nite Owl II get it on because they’re turned on by being superheroes (as real people, they can’t do it) and they don’t know how else to handle it. Comedian tries to rape Silk Spectre I because he’s so addicted to violence he thinks that’s what she wants. Nobody in the Watchmen pretends “this is the way sex is supposed to be.” Also? A movie filled with probably a solid hour’s worth of violence, you can stand five minutes of watching people getting it on. I’m just saying.
  • By the end of the movie, I was done freaking out about Dr. Manhattan’s nudity. Naked guy. Okay. Seeing a naked guy while other people are also looking at a naked guy. Awkward. Another one of life’s ironies, that naked men are more shocking than seeing seeing someone hacksaw someone’s arms off. Although that was pretty shocking.
  • Alan Moore isn’t my favorite comics writer, but I usually like his stuff.** I like his older stuff better; it seems like he achieved enlightenment somewhere along the way and has decided the rest of us need to come with him, willy nilly. I’ve been thinking about this lately and realized a major theme in horror movies is about how enlightenment, in its various forms, is BAD. One example–Freddy Kreuger–is about how Bad Things Happen when Kids Find out about Sex. Heck, Frankenstein is about how Bad Things Happen when Kids Find out about Reanimation. However, AM doesn’t handle enlightenment well as a plot element; transcendence is a beast to pull off, and shouldn’t be brought in as a deus ex machina. See Promethea and The Black Dossier. Lame endings: and then they lived happily ever after. Reminds me of late Heinlein.
  • I finally figured out why Rorschach eats the beans cold during the first part of the movie. Dan offers to warm them up, and he says (I think) “Fine that way.” Then, at the end of the movie, he refuses to put on a heavier coat, because he’s “fine that way.” Cold human beans 🙂

*And “Wow. That was a big blue penis.” But did they see the movie in the front row of an IMAX? No. That was a big blue penis.
**Yes, I liked Lost Girls. I thought it was very sweet. I also liked the art.

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1 Comment

  1. Boulder Dude

    Wow, a nice review and great insights De. 🙂

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