Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Watchmen, because I said I would.

By now you've all heard everything there is to hear about the movie, and the book, and you've all formed your own opinion on it. All that's left is what I think about it, especially since I built up to it all last month. Basically it was good, but I was pretty distracted by the fact that I was compelled to use the movie to remind me of what was in the book. It was hard for me to separate the two, so my suggestion - if you haven't done so already - is for you to read the book first, and watch the movie later as a kind of fun supplemental material. I'm excited to see what they do with the Black Freighter bit, though - I heard they're coming out with an animated DVD or something.

One comment I have to make is about the gratuitousness of the violence and the sex in this movie. This is especially apparent to me in context of reports that they changed the ending in part as a reaction to 9/11 and their reluctance to show what the book did (I can't really say anything more about that here without going all Spoilery).
I feel like not enough attention was paid to the fact that Rorschach was a complete lunatic - okay, this is getting hard for me to articulate. I'll give you an example of what I mean: when he was filming Jaws, Stephen Spielberg made the decision to not include the colour red in any context other than when the shark made an appearance and killed someone: it made (and still makes) the red blood seem more shocking, and creates an obvious, elemental association between blood and the shark. I would have preferred to see Snyder indulge his little-boy tendencies only when Rorschach was responsible for the actions they depicted, since Rorschach had a deserved reputation for being savagely brutal. The way Snyder did it made the violence feel spotty and pointless.

The sex scenes (I'm counting the non-starter) were awkwardly long and strangely graphic. They were explicit not in terms of the actors' physical exposure - there wasn't anything visible that I haven't seen in a million other movies - but in terms of the actual processes of sex. I wish they hadn't done that...it made it seem pornographic, when, in the graphic novel, it was a significant event that revealed a lot about Dan's character, and about his relationship with Laurie. The character development in the novel was one of the things that made it as artistically competent as it was (besides the social and political commentaries), and to diminish that at all for the sake of a "One Night at McCool's" style wank-fest rubbed me the wrong way.

The best thing about the movie BY FAR was the fact that we went to the Alamo Drafthouse and I got to have a $5 milkshake and chocolate chip cookies for dinner. Because I'm seven.

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