I originally wrote most of this as a response to [link]
- Liam's entry about Watchmen.
If you haven't seen it yet, you might not want to read this, I have not been mindful about tip toeing gently around *SPOILERS* and all that. No, no... I'm more like stomping around like a bull on PCP in some kind of shop full of fragile stuff (which contain aforementioned spoilers).
Now... if you've read the books? Well, I suppose there isn't TOO much I can spoil for you. Anyways...
You'll have to forgive me in advanced if this review/ entry seems rambling and disjointed, I have lots to talk about, but keep having to come back and edit this and add to it amidst interruptions and what not. So it's going to seem like a garbled mess of laggy flow of consciousness. HAH!
I know that there have been mixed feelings about the movie so far... But, I think many of the people that left the cinemas disappointed were the folks who went in expecting a slam bam action saturated flick, which perhaps let lots of the subtext and perspectives the movie delivered get lost in translation.
You know, I think the movie was very smartly
First thing I noticed... The movie was crafted, truely crafted, in a respectful and you could tell that great care & thought was put into it's execution. I also liked that things didn't look too dorky, even the 'old school golden age' costumes looked pretty damn cool. The intro montage was fantastic.
The Comedian's death was an ongoing undercurrent of the movie, and there seemed to be more of an impact that could be felt throughout the whole story. I think, sometimes in the book the Comedian's death, and the comedian himself was used as 'PLOTPOINT', and I think he was fleshed out quite nicely in the movie. It almost seems as though, the Comedian's demise, as well as the Comedian himself, was felt throughout the whole movie, both in the real impact it was having, the mystery, etc, but also in that fucked up 'geez he's a fucking sleezeball' kinda way at the same time. Which, given the Comedian's character in and of itself, makes lots of sense. Cause he was a freaking dirty SOB, but at the same time, there was some things to like about him, and he did have some interesting and valid points in his views of the world and humanity. Blah blah, moving on.
The music was chosen really well, too. Which surprised me, cause I was expecting to be mostly annoyed with the idea that they were going to include, you know... actual songs.
For example, when they used 'The Sound of Silence' for the Ed Blake's funeral, that was really really well done, and presented, timed, etc... What with the presence of Dr. Manhattan, and the impending nuclear war, Armageddon, etc... And it actually confused me for a bit, I could not remember if the song had been quoted in the book during those scenes or any point within them. Again, the intro montage with the 'the times they are a'changin'... very well put together.
Rorschach's & his exit: I think it was handled brilliantly in the movie, and in fact I felt it was a scene treated with more heart, as opposed to how it was in the book (I always thought it seemed a bit abrupt and throwaway in the book, which always pissed me off). Rorschach was AWESOME. The 'without his face on' Rorschach was superb as well. He was well cast, and excellently acted. In fact, I think I liked his maskless version more in the movie than I did in the book. And yeah, I always thought Rorschach was 'the batman' of the watchmen, not Night Owl. At least at the heart of the character, the damaged child, the pathos, the cynicism, etc.etc. His intensity was greatly portrayed, and is one I could definitely relate to, especially when it comes to the kinds of infuriating injustice that one sees in the world. I don't think Rorschach is entirely insane, either... I just think he's so passionate about what he believes, and so fucked up by cynicism that it's molded him into the rorschach we see. But at the same time, his eyes are open to the injustices of the world, and it's really pissed him off and broken him in many ways (his intro monologue alone illustrates this very well). Rorschach & his practicality are just awesome, and some of the biggest things I always have loved and enjoyed about the character.
And you know, Dr. Manhattan was done really well, too (that flashback scene depicting his origin was absolutely brilliant).
Also, I don't quite get what's the big deal about him being naked and all that. I didn't think the movie was waving his neon blue member in your face or anything, It was just kinda like 'oh he's naked, whatever'. And that was that. I don't get what the uproar/ offense people are taking at blue penis. It wasn't framed in any way that made it 'oh fer fuck's sake, he's naked, we get it!' or anything like that. It was very matter of fact and not at all important. Though, he COULD wear clothes, I suppose he doesn't bother to do so, because you know... to him, what's the point of wearing all that extra material? Kinda like Einstein and the no-socks story thing, I suppose. And I did appreciate his melancholy and his sadness, as well as his loneliness. It all made sense within the context of the character.
In retrospect, Mia brought up a bunch of great points about how the book's ending was rather stupid and irritating, and how the movie actually improved on it. For example, at the end of the book, Night Owl and Silk just go and screw after all the trauma. Doc Manhattan looks in on them with a 'aaaw, isn't that sweet? Good for her!' type of vibe. WTF? Also, in the book, Rorschach's demise was completely unecessary, and made no sense - considering Ozman had already said that Rorschach could go and disclose everything that had happened, but nobody would believe him anyways since he was just a throwaway kook to begin with, therefore it'd be a waste. But in the movie... well, I think if Rorschach was forced to live 'that lie'... it would've really sent him teetering over the edge and truly wrecked him. In a way, it was more of a mercy killing I suppose (on behalf of Dr. Manhattan). I also like that they gave Manhattan a consciousness about 'popping' Rorschach. In the book, again, it just seemed to not matter at all whatsoever. I also like that they changed it so that Night Owl was there, to witness his 'friends' death - instead of another 'Dan & Laurie go screw' scene. And also his reaction, and mad rush at Ozymandias.
Though I still think it sucks that Rorschach got took out, I'd rather he not. I guess in the end, he had his contingency plan, too (the journal). And if I had it my way, there would be some reason for him not to.
I think the movie was very smartly done, and also the minor tweaks and adjustments were chosen very smartly, as well. I also found it really great how some things (both changed and not) resonated in so many deep and interesting ways, given todays political/ social/ fear-based climate. For example, The whole thing about stupid politics deciding the fate of millions. Like when Nixon and the advisors are talking about nuclear fallout, collateral damage, how it wasn't "too bad"... that really resonated, too - especially, again, given what could be read into it in today's world.
I also think they pulled off a great balancing act, with all of the main characters. Feeding us their various perspectives (which were all 'right' so to speak, albeit perhaps skewed or damaged). From John's totally objective & er... omnipotent (for lack of a better word) detachment - where 'truth' and what 'real' is dictated by atoms and molecules, etc, to the ways the Comedian was right about human nature and derision at it all, to Rorschach's views about just & injust, retribution, truth, etc. Ozymandias's detached 'intelligence and numbers' almost scientific megalomaniacal coldness, down to his approach of 'the ends justify the means'... or 'you can't make an omelette without nuking a few cities'. I think it's really interesting how all these varied ways of seeing the world, despite being conflicting (or not), played off of eachother, yet complemented eachother in the way that they were all, actually quite correct in their observations.
I also liked how Ozymandias's ending was handled better, too. His catatonic trauma at the reality of what he'd brought about (for example when Dan is beating the shit out of him with frustration and rage, but he won't fight back). He ended up broken, and the commentary of 'looking into the faces of all the innocents that he had killed' helped further flesh this out. Him being left there with his conscious was quite appropriate in many ways - though I would not have complained if Dan had sent his head through one of the TV screens and taken him out
Some people are complaining that 'super heroes aren't supposed to kill people' - in regards to the movie. Well I think that's the whole point of this 'ends justify the means' plot that Veidt carried out. It's very much a what if? And a why not? And seriously? Why not? Ideally... no of course not... but realistically, would they really stick to this 'rule'? And why should they bother?
The other side of the coin to this goes back to that scene with the politicians playing with the fates of millions of lives & innocent people. Politicians who are supposedly put into power to serve the people's best interest. Yet another reflection of a very broken system fueled by bullshit in which people's lives are meaningless in the grand scheme of things (here's looking at you, 9/11 conspiracy theorists!).
It might be blasphemous for me to say - but I do think some, if not most, of the treatments done on the material for the movie were improvements over the 'Well, good show! Everyone smiled and that's a wrap, boys and girls!' rushed end feel of the book.
Don't get me wrong, I did & always have liked & appreciated the ideas, thoughts, observations, and concepts that were presented in the book - but especially now that Mia has pointed lots of this stuff out - I don't know if there were lapses in it's creation, or if deadlines got in the way of fleshing it's weaker points out further (like the ending and other things that did not seem to make sense and seemed very much thrown to the wind like 'whatever').
I'll cut myself off the soapbox now, cause I could go on and on and on.
In short, I liked it and the more I think about it, the more I appreciate it and feel satisfied with it.
What did you guys think? Please, do discuss!
*tosses the soap box out on the floor for whomever would like to claim it next*Shout Out's!
in no particular order
& quite random!
On to the groups!