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Mar. 15th, 2009 @ 04:21 pm So, I am the last person on the Internet to have seen Watchmen.
Current Mood: contentcontent
Current Music: Warren Zevon, "Reconsider Me"
Tags: ,
Capsule review: pretty good! Certainly, probably the best adaptation of the material we could get in film form, and I definitely applaud it for not feeling its length at all. It was long, but it felt like it was for a reason, as opposed to so many New Zealand landscape shots!! a lot of other recent long-runners.

My only major problem with the film is that the gore seemed excessive at times. I realize we're talking about a dark story and about Rorschach, who is basically a one-man reaving factory, but there were moments it seemed we were supposed to be getting a kick out of the ultraviolence, and that didn't really seem appropriate. There wasn't anything in totally poor taste, but... maybe it could have been eased off a little.

(I did find it bitterly ironic, though, that the one moment in the story that there should have been goresplosions, we instead get very clean explosions/disintegrations instead. I imagine it fits the plot change, but it struck me as sort of a weird directorial choice.)

As for the plot change: does it make me a bad person that I found it appropriate? It struck me as a reasonable narrative tightening, and arguably the plan makes more sense than the original novel version; after all, there are no real aliens, but there is a real Dr. Manhattan to serve as a deterrent of indefinite duration. Overall, while I was worried the movie would treat Ozymandias poorly, his depiction seems reasonably balanced -- the new suit is atrocious, but at least he's not a goddamn Nazi.

A lot of the Internet discussion of this movie has involved the "Hallelujah" sex scene and Dr. Manhattan's nudity, and to both counts, I find myself wondering what all the fuss was about. The sex scene objections I can basically understand -- it does run a little long (although not as long as I was picturing), and it is a little gratuitously Movie Sexy after a first scene that felt very real and character-appropriate -- but I don't get it as more objectionable or in more dubious taste than, say, any given scene involving Rorschach in prison. As for the Dr. Manhattan junk jokes... seriously, random dudes on the Internet? This is what you were exploding about? Occasional frontal nudity of an idealized male form, generally at a tasteful distance? Way to embody every homophobic Internet-dude stereotype!

... Sorry, but come on, that was nothing.

Closing thoughts: I saw this movie with my dad, who has never read the original Watchmen, and I was worried that some of it might be awkward (particularly after the Internet made me think this movie would contain like fifteen minutes of nonstop blue junk-swingin'), but it ended up being okay. He was surprised by the darkness, though, and also by the fact that Ozymandias didn't die at the end. On the way home, he asked me a question I really had no good answer to: "so, why didn't they kill him? Were they setting up for the sequel?"

Yeah, I had nothing.

I should probably reread the original graphic novel now, honestly. It's been years, and I'd forgotten big chunks of it. So it goes.

... I also may have to buy the soundtrack. Still have no idea what to think of the end-credits cover, but the rest was well-used and very nice.
About this Entry
freaky like me, kuroi ame
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From:swagmonkey
Date:March 15th, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
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No you aren't. I haven't seen it yet. Also, not reading the above while commenting on the subject... La, la, la, la.
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From:kouaidou
Date:March 15th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC)
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In the comic book, I believe, the reason they don't kill Ozy is basically because they can't. They make several attempts (Rorschach in particular) and he basically no-sells them all with his personal l33t. Doc Manhattan probably could of course but I believe he basically is convinced by Ozy's logic and decides there's little point in it. (Also he seems to like the guy as much as he is capable of liking someone.)

I haven't seen the movie but based on what I've heard from others, this does seem like an instance where the directorial choices are subtly hurting the finer balance. Among other things, I heard one person comment basically to the effect that when Ozy catches the bullet, in the comic it's a "wow, this guy is unbeatable" moment, but in the movie it doesn't feel like anything important... because it's the sort of thing that all of the characters have been doing throughout the movie.
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From:eiviiaru
Date:March 16th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
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Yeah, that was basically what I told my dad -- that they weren't actually capable of it, given that he could outfight them and Dr. M was on his side. I think his real question, though, was why the writers didn't kill him off, and that was harder to explain without getting into Deep Thoughts.

I do agree with you on the undermining of theme via gratuitous badassery, though -- it really is a problem, and the bullet-catching scene ends up feeling less like "holy shit, he just did that!" than "okay, Laurie's good, but we know he's better, so how does he get out of this?"
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From:flashneko
Date:March 16th, 2009 04:07 am (UTC)
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Another reason they decided against trying to kill Ozzy in the comic (or at least for Doc. Manhattan) was the realization that if Ozzy just vanished and/or turned up dead somewhere, there would be an investigation into his company to try and turn up a reason and would make it very likely the truth would come out.

And... as for the changed ending, I have to admit I mostly liked it too.
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From:bensanaz
Date:March 16th, 2009 07:31 am (UTC)
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The big reason they don't kill Ozymandias in the book is because even though they don't agree with him, Dan, Jon and Laurie all realize that at this point killing Adrian won't undo the damage he's done and will only prevent him from going forward with the part of his plan where he actually helps people.
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From:eiviiaru
Date:March 16th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, there's also that. I think I may have brought that up, but all in all it was not my finest exegetical moment.

(Is "exegetical" a word?)
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From:paul_stansifer
Date:March 16th, 2009 01:16 am (UTC)
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I'm a big fan of that song, and it seems totally out-of-place for a sex scene. I'm led to believe that it's overused in soundtracks in general as a sort of "Congratulations! You've entered the fifth stage of grief!", but at least it's appropriate for that. If somebody decided to use it because it contained sexual imagery, they really need to listen to the rest of Leonard Cohen's discography... Thinking of which, do you know whose cover they used?
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From:eiviiaru
Date:March 16th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
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They used the actual Leonard Cohen version, shockingly enough -- a pretty good choice, and one that fit given that the rest of the soundtrack was all period-appropriate music for a movie set in 1985.

To their credit, they did use the two verses most suitable for a romantic sex scene (the first one and Cohen's last: "And even though it all went wrong, I'd stand before the Lord of Song..."), but I do think it wasn't a perfect choice, and they could have staged the scene better to capitalize on the natural bittersweetness of the encounter at that moment. Had I been forced to put a Cohen song to that scene, I probably would have used "Suzanne," but that might not have the proper iconic heft they were going for.
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From:imperatorr
Date:March 17th, 2009 04:58 am (UTC)
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I am sort of curious as to what your parents made of the movie.