This is a tough one to review for me because of a few reasons:
1) Haven't read the graphic novel/watched the motion comic yet.
2) My girlfriend kept making stupid, mocking comments through out the movie
3) I had a few questions at the end that I don't think were meant to be asked
4) I got in a car accident after the movie(nothing big)
Ok so having not read nor seen any of the original material, I wasn't sure who these people were, what time period the movie takes place in, etc. For example when I would see illustrations of the Comedian being beaten up and his smiley button flying off, for some reason I thought it was taking place in the 40's. Maybe WWII era. I guess it was the pin-up in the background that made me think that. Also, I thought the story would involve more aliens, can't really explain why other than perhaps briefly seeing Moloch and his weird ears? I dunno.
What I did know was that this group of people were some kind of superheros but didn't know or think that they're actually a loosely connected group of nutty vigilantes. After seeing a lot of the trailers, commercials and clips I began to slowly put it together, along of course with what was provided here.
When I would watch clips of this movie I was left kinda cold. Is this supposed to be cool? Corny? Fun? Serious? All of the above? After watching about an hour and a half of it, I was like 'cool, let me watch the rest with my gal at the theater because I think it deserves that much'.
Fast forward to last Saturday, saw the movie. Hmmm.. damn I wish my girlfriend would shut the fuck up with all the laughing, snide comments, mocking exclamations("OMG!"), etc.
But you know what? I think there was something she was experiencing that I actually needed to be more in tune with, as far as how I was perceiving the movie.
Because it's a tricky fucking movie, no doubt. There hasn't been such a big split with audiences over a movie [this big] in a long time- and I can understand why. You can either look at it as a serious, important piece of work- which it is. Or you can look at it as some cinematic fluff that was basically influenced by every other movie before it- which it also is. I think it’s ironic that Watchmen grossed something like $50 plus million dollars the first weekend out. It tells me that it would have grossed another $50 million if it had been a known franchise/characters and if the movie was bit more clear in its storytelling.
And I think that's where the great divide comes for many people. Simply put, they may not know how to react to something like Watchmen. As human beings it's often too easy to casually disregard confusion over something by labeling it 'crap' or saying it sucks and so on. Which is why I respect those that want to see it multiple times so they can take it in and perhaps process it a different way. At least with a second viewing there's a familiarity with the characters, story and chain of events that make a movie. There's more of a comfort level with the material, and as a result, could make the movie better for those people. It's worked in the past, at least for me. I left the Dark Knight thinking, hmm... overrated, but there's something there. With that open end of an opinion a second viewing was in order, and I enjoyed the movie more the second time and I could see what others were saying about it. It's huge, sprawling storytelling. Not easily digestible, but that's part of the excitement with The Dark Knight. It may not always taste good going down, but the important thing is to taste it because there's more to this genre of movies than X-Men, or Fantastic Four, Superman, Spider-man, etc. In the end it's always a delight and perhaps a shockingly new experience to watch how a particular writer or moviemaker takes a genre that you think you know so terribly well- and then surprises the hell out of you by exposing facets or more accurately their vision of the genre in question.
That's what happened with Dark Knight and in so many ways, happens with Watchmen. If you think about it, it's really amazing that two movies released within a year of each other(no small coincidence I'm sure)could twist and turn what you know of movies in general. Let alone the 'comic book' or graphic novel genre. But where Dark Knight presented more clearly its villains and heros, Watchmen draws that line in the mud and makes you look for it while getting your hands dirty in the process. In other words it makes you think or work for the experience you're having while watching it. Is The Comedian a good ol' boy American hero? Or some cocksucking son of a bitch bastard that should have been thrown out of a window back in the [movie timeline] 70's? When does cool=dork? Is Rorshach the way to be or the thing to avoid?
So I’m sitting there with my gal watching the movie, which she seems to revel in mocking. At some points I’m annoyed by it but during others I actually see her point of view. Who did write this stuff? Some of the dialogue is laughable, and not in a Star Wars ‘you can write this shit but you can’t say it’ kinda way. Some of it is like primary school(Aussie reference) dialogue, delivered achingly bad(“Things change”- oh really?). During certain parts, such as when Dr. Manhattan and Silk Spectre are on Mars, the drama is hammy and feels forced, as if the necessary ingredient to make this movie a story must be included at this point or it will feel empty.
I don’t know if that’s the fault of Moore’s original material, Snyder’s filmmaking or both.
And in that lies my problem and confusion with Watchmen: should I be faulting the original material or the movie? Something tells me it’s more of the former than the latter.
Another example; we see the beautiful opening titles to the movie that delves into the rise/history of superheros in America, their fall and how some, such as Manhattan and Comedien, were utilized in other areas of working for the U.S. This part I realize wasn’t in the graphic novel? or at least the title montage wasn’t.
So then a bit later when Rorshach is breaking into the facility where Manhattan is and he explains the exact same thing we saw in the opening titles, it’s redundant. “This person died because of his cape, so and so was killed because of her lurid lifestyle, that one guy was locked up in an insane asylum..” Yeah I know, we saw it all in the opening titles and it was very well done. I wish the whole movie was done in the exact same way as the opening titles. Sure it would have been categorized as a music video but it would have been really enthralling too. Since this is a movie version and stuff would invariably be eliminated any way, I think they should have ditched Ror’s dialogue going over the same stuff the title sequence did. Not a big thing, just a minor nitpick.
Let’s get to the first sex scene between Silk Laurie and Manhattan. Oh my god he’s everywhere at once! Driving his girl mad with passion! And yet a bit later in the movie, during the conversation with Veidt and Dan about nuclear holocaust and that 1%- Veidt tells Dan that even Dr. Manhattan can’t be everywhere at once. Really? Didn’t we just see that in the sex scene with Laurie? He was literally every where at once.
Basically I feel the movie, or perhaps more precisely the original material cheated, cheated me. Sure Veidt has probably never had sex with Dr. Manhattan, although I’m sure his wonderfully rich homosexual self would want to, so he may not be aware that Manhattan can split himself up into multiple beings and still perform tricks. But obviously the writers and filmmakers know. THEY WENT TO TROUBLE OF SHOWING US. So in the story, why couldn’t Manhattan split himself up and put a stop to Veidt’s wacky plan or any kind of nuclear strike for that matter? It’s like in the first Superman movie at the end when they opened up that huge can of worms in which Superman flies really fast, makes the world spin backwards and thus reverses time saving the people he loves. Well, why can’t he just do that ALL the time then? Yeah, that’s the dilemma.
You can’t tell the audience something and forget you told them later in the movie.
At some point Veidt was too sure of himself and Manhattan should have proved him wrong. It would have provided an infinitely more satisfying ending- squid or not. And I’ve heard a lot about how the original squid ending goes down despite not having read the graphic novel.
Speaking of the ending; so let me get this straight, Veidt wants to avoid a nuclear holocaust by blowing up a series of large cities around the world and blaming Manhattan for it?
Is that the gist of it? Someone fill me in if I’m wrong or missed something.
Because Manhattan should have straight pulverized Veidt for that shit in the end, NOT Rorshach. Sure Rorshach was going to expose the truth to the world, or maybe he was just saying that because he was such a tortured, twisted individual that he finally saw a way out- by having Manhattan do him.
But what does happen? Again some correct me if I’m wrong. Manhattan says something like, ‘hmm wise plan, I was sick of you bastards anyway. I’m outta here and you can blame the deaths of millions of people on me, I don’t give a shit. Cya! Oh yeah Rorshach you’re gonna tattle so you have to die.’ SPLAT
Oh and somebody answer me this: Nite Owl with Rorshach go to Antarctica for Veidt. Owly sports his cold gear, but when they get inside he’s back in his normal costume. When did he change?
Here’s the thing; I love the concept of this movie. I love what they were reaching for but I don’t think they reached it. And in that sense, it’s basically one of those movies that I’ll probably respect more than I like, although that may change in time and subsequent viewings. I’m hoping the longer DVD version will fill in some stuff I should care about.
One of the conclusions I came to recently about the Watchmen movie is this: although I loved Zack Snyder’s vision for it, I wish it were directed by a proper English director. I think it needed some of the less serious and more zany point of view of say, Monty Python or Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, Guy Ritchie, Matthew Vaughn, or Terry Gilliam for that matter. I think it should have been directed by an outsider, not an American. Would it have been made by a Brit, its comedic sensibilities of the ridiculous would have been more fitting. As it is, it’s taken too seriously here, even though I can appreciate Snyder’s treatment as well.
As for the music, I mostly liked it, although I think some of the choices like Jimi Hendrix was a bit too popular. The major complaint about the music was the last song at the credits. I understand it’s a remake, but it betrays the music by the original artists throughout the entire movie. Why not just have the original Dylan version? I would have put in another song by the original artist altogether, but that’s just me.
Oh and as for the car accident I had after seeing this movie, well it certainly deterred me from getting into it with my girlfriend as to why she was making so much noise during the movie!