Monday, March 16, 2009
The Watchmen Movie
The good..... Visually it was stunning. they filmed the action scenes very well. Shots were a bit pulled back to show all of the action and slower cuts were used so your eyes did not hurt. Not ADD-MTV style. Great job of mixing CGI and a physical set piece for night owl's airship. I love how dr manhattan expldoes people. I also have to give them a hand in making the action look superhero-ish. I also want to give carla gugino a giant thumbs up for having an outstanding, feminine body that looks like a real woman. if you look at how they "moved" Rorscach around the screen it was very well done. The movie stayed true to the comic book both in storyline and also in small little hints & pieces they put into the background that the comic book did as well. Jackie Earle Haley brought Rorschach to life. He really did a great job with the character's black and whit elook at the world, his sense of justice as perverse as it was, and his inner demons. He's a guy who wrestles with demons and in doing so, becomes a demon himself. Same could be said for Ozymandias on an entirely different level. I enjoyed night owl and dr manhattan as well. I enjoyed the midlife crisis night owl storyline. i enjoyed it in the comic, and it smelled of retired NFL player to me. Dr manhattan is suppose to be an aloof douche who lost touch with humanity. Billy crudup did well with that (maybe he is a douche), and his explanation of miracles comes across well. I consider that short monologue an important piece of the entire Watchmen miniseries. You see miracles every single day so often that they become commonplace. Visually, they also made the actress playing silk spectre 2 look just like the comic representation, but flatter (awww :(). I think the actor playing the Comedian did a great job fleshing him out. He's a jerk but like in the comic, there is nothing vague about him. He gets the horrible joke of life. You can actually like him in some ways, kind of how the Silk Spectre ends up banging him and having Spectre 2. Mickey the midget (Seinfeld reference) was fun to see. I kept waiting for Kramer to show up to play paper rock scissors with him. Max headroom, who always looks alien, as moloch and the dr strangelove rip off nixon war room were great, small touches. Lots of nice small touches, which I appreciated.
Now for the bad... They tweaked some dialogue that made things not as well defined or removed some motivation or explanation of characters. The crammed down our throat green energy message, jeeee-zus, can't i watch anything now without that message? Like how every war film now has to have the message of "is it right"? Casting of Ozymandias was horrible. Horrible. This guy looked waaaay too young and waifish to be Ozymandias. He's suppose to beat up the Comedian? He also looked too young to be playing the 40-something, handsome, rugged playboy figure from the series. He acted like a g@y, '80s, new wave, british singer. My wife did not find him believable at all. Using carla gugino as the first silk spectre is curious, because i think she might have been a better choice for Laurie, the 2nd silk spectre. Maybe they put her as the 1st silk spectre because she has more of a 1940s hot woman look (curvy, not anorexic). The music was terrible, mostly because of the score. The score was so weak that I barely felt it move with the movie & some popular song choices were awful. Ninety-nine luftballons at the dinner scene for laurie and dan dreiberg??????? If you read the comic, there's something futuristic yet retro about the styles. Where are the smokers? In the comic, lots of people smoke. only the comedian smokes in this. Phucking modern hollywood.
Now for my major gripe: the method of "tricking the world" at the ending was horrible. Ozymandias sets up Dr Manhattan as an agressor that frightens the world into acting better by killing millions. Isn't that just scaring people with the fear of god to behave? without any rationale or statement from Dr manhattan to explain why he did it? Wouldnt dr manhattan achieve the same by asking the world, as a truly super being, to act better or else? The comic is soooooo much better with the detail involved of hiring storywriters, artists and scientists to create the fake alien and an alien threat forcing everyone to work together is much much more believable than people worrying about pleasing a god figure... who will leave the galaxy for a new one never to be heard from again. Weak, very weak. What's sad is that it they stuck so true to the comic in that final Antartica scene, yet the background detail of the horrific event by Adrian was changed. Terrible.
In the end, this would have been better served as a miniseries on HBO or split into 2 movies with the split between the movies being rorscach's arrest. Flesh out some smaller storylines and allow for some wandering within the story like the psychiatrist's plot line in the comic. I always loved that. This is the problem with bringing something that takes place frame by frame at whatever pace the reader wants to a moving reel. A director only gets so many minutes to use. I am glad this did come to the silver screen. Hopefully 20 years from now, this leads to Chris Nolan and a middle aged Christian Bale reuniting to bring "The Dark Knight Returns" to the theaters in 2 movies.