Sunday, March 8, 2009

Who-o-o Watches the Watchmen?

I watches the Watchmen!

As I've mentioned, I never read The Watchmen--my first thought was that it had something to do with The Avengers (shows how little I know about either). Neither of my kids were interested (in retrospect, a lucky thing for me), so Amy and I did something we never, ever do: we went to a movie alone. It was like an alternate reality.

Anyway, the movie...I thought it was great. Not awesome, not the pinnacle of the genre, but for either a comic-based movie OR a dramatic/action flick, it was pretty damn good in both categories. The characters, for the most part, were well-layered--as much as they can be in such a compressed environment. 

<begin spoilers>

There is very little wrong with this story; I think it has some very interesting things to say about society, and a great depth of emotional storytelling and character development. It's also a very refreshing Socratic thought  experiment on the genre: aren't superheroes really just vigilantes in cheesy costumes? Wouldn't people who do that be total outcasts? Wouldn't they have mental problems, emotional issues, and weird incestuous relationships within their little group of superfriends?

I do think that they could have fleshed out Silk Spectre II a bit more; there were a few points where it seemed like she was just there as a storyline pivot point, yet she was so central to the overall story. Ozymandias was a bit thin, too...he was just kind of out there as the guy who is super-smart, super-rich, and super-strong, but never really explained or justified any of that.

But, those are really my only complaints, and they are minor points at that. The other characters were great--especially Rorschach. Rorschach is the kind of character that I think many writers wish they could have brought to life: singular, intelligent, powerful, vulnerable, and, ultimately, broken beyond repair. The Comedian was also great--he was a grade-A motherfucker, somebody that you have no choice but to absolutely loathe, despite his 40-year spot on the "hero" team, and long relationship with the U.S. government. He is, in a not-so-subtle meditation on the nature of good guy/bad-guy, the worst parts of humanity all in one basket, but that's what made him interesting. He is a reflection of the darker parts of society; in his words: the American Dream come true.

It also featured two things that no other comic movie has had (that I'm aware of): softcore full-nude, pelvic-thrusting sex scenes, and extended full frontal male nudity, albeit the (presumably) CGI-rendered horse-member of Dr. "Papa Smurf" Manhattan, which, in one scene, swings to and fro as he walks across the room. Very brave for American cinema (which is a sad commentary on American cinema, I'm afraid).

I put the Watchmen compilation in my Paperbackswap queue, but I think I'm like 238th in line...which is fine, I wouldn't read it for a while anyway. Also, some things I've learned in researching the Watchmen saga: Alan Moore, the writer, is a pretty eccentric guy. He's so pissed at the studios, apparently he is giving all of his proceeds from Watchmen and V for Vendetta to the guy who penned the comics.

</end spoilers>
Still reading Gilead...there is no way in hell I'm going to hit 50 books this year, but I'm not worried about long as I keep working through my TBR list, I'm happy.
Still pounding away on my full length Aquarium, although I did take a day off and knock out a 2700 word short's kind of a funny story about a sadistic, murdering marriage counselor, and it's in queue with...someone. I can't remember.


Fox Lee said...

I just finished the series, can't wait to see the movie!

Anonymous said...

Rorschach is one of the best characters ever written.

And didn't you know the MPAA changed their stance on over-large CGI penises? As long as the color is neon blue, green, or red, that's okay. But if's pink or yellow or orange ... well, that's an automatic NC-17.

Jameson T. Caine said...

I've read an interview with the director where he stated that the director's cut DVD edition of the film will have even more shots of Dr. Manhattan's blue willie. I can just see the DVD cover blurb: "Now with 20% More Giant Blue Penis."

K.C. Shaw said...

I had to skip most of your post because I'm going to see Watchmen this week and I don't want to spoil it for myself. Then again, after reading the comments, I think it's about to be spoiled after all. I don't think I can wait until Thursday to find out about the giant blue willie.

Katey said...

The book is one of the first I pushed on my husband when we got together-- which I tell you only because it's a good testament to how much I like it. My issues with the movie were similar to yours, in spite of the stuff that necessarily got left out and the ending being a little different. Had a good time with it.

But anyone who doesn't recognize the greatness of Rorschach is just being a jerk, I totally agree.