Blogging from a small part of the Internet linked to NYC.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I've Watched the Watchmen

WARNING: There may be spoilers. I'll try to limit them but I make no promises. Read at your own risk.

Let me start off by saying a little about the story.

"The Watchmen" was first published in 1986, and it was the book that changed the way comic book stories were/are written. This was the first "serious" comic story. In essence, this was the point where comics hit puberty. Until then, comic books were still something innocent, and mainly "for the kids". This book is special. It's carried in high regards by comic book fans. When comic books hit puberty, a lot of comic book fans also hit puberty. You had twenty-somethings looking at the world with new eyes. They started to see all the F!ed up stuff in the world. (Don't laugh. Some people see the world through things they love.)

Also, remember this... Alan Moore, wrote this. And one thing you need to know about Alan Moore, is that the man is insane. Oh, he's "The dark god of comics"... but he's an insane, dark, comic book god. The man has rejected Hollywood and it's money. Who he hell rejects MILLIONS of dollars? For work he's already done! AND, he doesn't even want his name on the films! He did it with "Watchmen", he did it with "V for Vendetta", "From Hell" and he did it with "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" And you can be sure, he'll do it with any other of his works that someone tries to adapt to film. Dave Gibbons described him as "bat-shiat crazy", which seems to fit perfectly.

Okay, let's move on to the Watchmen film. And let me start off with what I didn't like about the movie.

First, this isn't a "fun" story. It's serious. Yes, it's comic book heroes, but it's more "mature" in subject than say Batman fighting the Joker. And it doesn't ends with the villain being defeated, so don't expect a happy ending. There are scenes where there is a lot of action, excitement and drama, but it ends almost with a whimper.

The ending.... the ending is different from the book! And that's a no-no for the comic fans. "YOU'RE MESSING WITH MY GOSPEL, SNYDER!!!" Imagine going out to see the Superman movie. Except now, his rocket lands on Paradise Island, he's raised by the Amazons... Wonder Woman is like his sister... and they form the Justice League as a family of "New Gods"! BLASPHEMY!! I understand why Snyder changed the ending, no one wants to see a giant vaginal alien squid.... but it's different! This project was doomed once the first person thought "Hey! This could be a movie."

These aren't well-known characters like Superman, The Hulk or Spiderman, so there's no "instant connection" to the character mythologies for those who haven't read the comic book. Also, it's very hard to transition the spandex (costumes) to the big screen. But I have to say, that Zack Snyder's wardrobe people did a pretty good job in making modern day, big screen versions of the costumes. It's hard to transition a work created for one medium into another. Each fan already has their own mental picture of what the characters look like, so presenting them with something else is... "wrong".

Also, the blood... didn't like it. The bar scene with Dr. Manhattan... you didn't need to have all that gore. It didn't even feel right. Like Snyder was trying to hard to make us "get" that scene. Dude... we got it. Take it down a notch or twenty.

Now what did I like about the movie...

Many times during the movie, I felt like scenes were ripped right out of the comic book and plastered on the big screen. Visually, the cinematography was O-MAZING! Wow. It was simply beautiful. (stands and applauds) WOOT! WOOT!

Rorschach (easily my favorite character, since the book) is SPOT on. Jackie Earl Haley has RUINED anything and everything else for me. When I read Rorschach... it's his voice I hear. I bought the motion comic DVD and the voice was just "off"... because it wasn't Haley's Rorschach. The costume, the voice, the mannerisms and nuances... He just did an amazing job. (stands and applauds) KUDOS, SIR! KUDOS!!

The video intro with Bob Dylan's "Times They Are a'Changin'"... WOW! Amazing. (stands and applauds) FANTASTIC! There was so much of the backstory in there that Snyder was able to cut out about 20-30 minutes from the film. That was a lot of stuf he would have had to cut out due to time constraints.

The prison scene, the ones with Rorschach, NOT Nite Owl and Silk Spectre... was awesome. Rorschach is a crazy, violent bastard. He actions have to be violent, bloody, gory and just plain scary (not Dr. Manhattan). "Don't you get it? I'm not trapped in here with you...YOU'RE TRAPPED IN HERE WITH ME!"

I think this movie is great. The comic book fans will have problems with it, but they should still love it. The average non-comic viewer should like it. They might think it's too dark, and kinda weird, but they should like it. Overall, I'd give it an A-/B+

I can't wait until the DVD comes out! I'm going to wear it out looking at each and every single scene.