Friday, March 06, 2009

I Watched the Watchmen

I liked it. As a fan-boy I don't think it could ever match the original, but as a stand alone movie I enjoyed it. Overall it captures the graphic novel very well and I look forward to the extras and deleted scenes of the DVD.

There was a big line to get in and another big line for the next show when we got out at 10:00. Hopefully it will pull in some big opening night numbers. Of course I happened to pick the same theater and showing that all the Petroglyph guys went to which was kinda cool.

I didn't see anybody else wearing their original watchmen pin from 1986.

Some off the top of my head, non-spoiler, some-what critical comments:
I think the discussion between Jon and Laurie on Mars could have been done better. Her big realization was done much better in the book with the layered flashbacks.

Also Jon's thing with the thermodynamic miracles wasn't set up and explained that well. In the book he talks about the thermodynamic miracles when he is first showing her around and that's when he says he wanted to see one, which him realizing that we have been witnessing them everyday have more impact.

Missed the odd time things with Jon. Him telling Laurie that she is about to revel something to him and then being surprised when she does in her reply. Also his distorted state when the tachyons are messing with him, "excuse me Rorschach, I'm explaining this to Laurie 2 minutes ago."

I think they should have had more narration, like in the book. It would have helped people who hadn't read the graphic novel as well as given them more to work with.

Not enough smiley face references. Or maybe I missed them?

No, embracing Hiroshima lovers silhouette graffiti either even though the one shot from the dinner where you see it getting painted through the window, across the street was spot on in the movie.

Blue penis was 4 times the size it was in the comic. Seriously, it has always been referenced as the little blue dinkle, not the swinging blue pipe!!! Dave Gibbons had said they were worried that DC wouldn't let them show full frontal nudity in the comic so he was very careful to casually conceal it most of the time in the framing and draw it understated like in Roman statues so it was something you would only notice in passing.
Several added things were really good like the beginning credit sequence that lays some foundation and drives home that this is not our 1985. The fight scenes had a lot of impact as well, getting hit hurts.

I've already planned to go see it again at the matinee showing tomorrow.


brad said...

Nat and I went to watch this last night, and we both really liked it. There were a couple of rough edges that we noticed just as you did, but overall we thought it was great. A very faithful movie adaptation, with excellent casting and some brilliant cinematography.

I found myself not being able to notice all the details in frames and knowing that I would have to take note when I watched the movie 'next time' (e.g. Dan is eating noodles when Laurie knocks on the door - were the noodles from Gunga Diner? I missed it...). There has to be something good about a movie that you make plans to watch again before you finish watching it the first time.

Also: it's tachyons, and psychic. Kaaammmooooowwwwwnn.

Tim said...

Dammit Brad, I was going to pick him up on tachyons.

Anyway, yep. I pretty much agree with both your thoughts. The only problem I had was with Veidt - I thought the actor they picked for him was completely off. He was delightfully, almost painfully evil looking, and he looked nothing like the pained humanitarian of the comics.

When you read the comic, you can see the guilt and sorrow etched into Veidt's face at what he's had to do. In the movie, he looks positively smug about it, and he looks like he's reveling in the destruction he's caused. It really bothered me but I couldn't put my finger on it at the time. I think he basically ruined the ending for me. Because of him, the last scenes left me hollow, and not in the good punch-to-the-guts way that the Watchmen ending should.

All the other casting was excellent though, especially Drieberg and Kovacs. Fantastic.

I think overall I really enjoyed seeing it on screen. I'd like to see what an actual adaptation would be like as opposed to this slavish recreation, but I guess we'll never know. I don't think I'd see it again though, I'm not really too interested in seeing how many minute details they were able to pull in from the comics. I'll watch the DVD I think, I'm interested in the extended edition (apparently there's one with Black Freighter interspersed like it should be. Delicious!)

brad said...

Yep - what you said about Veidt is *exactly* what my wife Nat said about him. Seemed different to the original, less subtle, more slimy. I agreed with her, but it didn't bother me, because I considered it part of the adaptation. Remember what they did to Faramir's character in The Two Towers ('I am Boromir II, the ring goes to Gondor!'). I was outraged, but later I realised it was a movie thing. I think the Veidt difference was also 'a movie thing' and I didn't mind it, *although* it changed the feel of it a bit - the original had the feel of a good guy who was absolutely *desperate* to save the world, whereas the movie conveyed more of a villain feel. I guess that does suck a bit.

I laughed when Night Owl brought up the directory icons on Veidt's machine. It was like 'Secret Plans', 'Profit and Loss Statements', and 'Boys'.

Gross, but funny.

Joseph B. Hewitt IV said...

Brad Powers ladies and gentlemen... Brad Powers... and Tim and the Power's orchestra!

You know I remember when I was about to press the post button. I had this nagging sensation that I had forgotten something. I was about to re-read it, which is when I would have noticed I didn't do my spell check pass, when I said, "screw it" and pressed the button. It is part of my writing exercises to keep typing and not do small corrections until I'm done.

They say it helps you write, otherwise you keep breaking your flow. But I distinctly remember going tackywhatchamacallems and soldiering on.

I updated and corrected the post.


Did you notice how Veidt's accent changed. When talking to regular people, he talks normally. But in his lair he has a slight German accent? This is because all evil people, even those attempting to turn the world into a left-wing, socialist paradise, must be represented by some radical right-wing personality. This is the same thing we see in the media where Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Federal building bomber, is labeled a right-wing extremist opposed to Dr. Theodore John Kaczynski, the Unabomber, being merely a misunderstood genius gone bad. I would have much rather seen Veidt depicted as he was in the book, as a humanitarian and a left-wing extremist doing evil in attempt to do good. The best way to have any villian is to show his modivations. Nobody is truly evil for evil's sake, they all thing they are doing what is best. Hitler thought he was saving Europe.

The missing allegory of the Tales from the Black Freighter, also hurt Veidt's story arc. "I keep having this dream I'm swimming up to this big black... oh, never mind it is not important..."

"Battle not with monsters, lest you become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." -Fredrich Nietzsche.

Also the line that "nothing ever ends" given to Dan in the movie instead of Jon was watered down as well. Especially since you had the Dan and Laurie ending before you see the New Frontiersman scene with the journal.

Okay, that's enough. See what happens when you get me started? You should hear me ranting when I see a movie I didn't like! I'm looking at you, "League of Extroidanary Gentlemen!" Shudder.

heidi said...

hey joseph, thought of you yesterday. a group from interzone peeps went to see the watchmen, in part to celebrate dan's birthday. after, we went to an upmarket burger bar in leederville. i got a veggie burger. i was a little surprised, to say the least, when the burger arrived, sans burger. that's right, it was a salad sandwich. *sigh*

- heidi

Liza said...

I'm glad you liked it, I want to get Chris to *cough* buy *cough* it.

But I have to say, I watched a movie that has to be totally better than Watchmen last night. Twilight!!! Edward was just dreamy and Bella couldn't stop batting her eyelashes at him. My heart fluttered through the entire film and then I had to go and have a shower to cool off. *sigh* Edward.

xD (In all seriousness, Twilight was so bad it was good!)

Joseph B. Hewitt IV said...

My God Liza you scared the hell out of me! Don't tease me like that! I started to read that and this gurgling scream started to come out of my mouth.

I remember when I first heard about those books and went and read some reviews on Amazon. The ones not written by 12 year old girls scared me far away, though I will watch the movie eventually just to have done it.

The funny thing about all that and Watchmen is the number of people on the internets who are complaining about the extended sex scene and what got cut from the story in its place. They are COMPLAINING about it. Seriously, wtf?! Something was fluttering alright.

Oh, and the first time we saw the movie I swear some woman behind us moaned when you first saw Jon swinging in the breeze.

There was a kid right in front of us when we saw it yesterday. He must have been about five. I'm happy to say that he would have appeared have survived unscarred. He was completely uninterested in the sex scene and his mother distracted him from the meat cleaver scene. However, at the end when Dan is punching Viedt, he did shout out (and I'm not making this up) "Finish him!"

I wanted to ask them after the movie if they knew what they were about to watch or if they thought it was going to be some kid friendly superhero movie. It is rated 'R'.

What did you think of it Heidi? Or did the salad sandwich just ruin your whole evening? Personally, before the movie yesterday we went to "LBS" an upscale, build your own burger place in the Red Rock Casino. There was a soy burger option down at the bottom but it looked scared, written down there on the bottom, under all that meat.

I have only eaten fast food twice since getting back and I'm dying for a Carl's Jr. Double Western Bacon Cheese Burger. The problem I'm having is I can't handle these large American portions!

Liza said...

Yeah, I considered reading the Twilight books a few times but all of the negative reviews by actual people my age scare me off!

Ohh is it rated R? I thought it was going to be PG-13 at the most or something. Is there really nudity? Definitely want to watch it now.

Rowanage said...

So I'm sitting down in the cinema thinking "I've gotta see this movie so I can post on Joseph's blog" and who should I sit down next to but Mr Wittber. He looks over and goes, "man, I gotta see this so I can say something on Joseph's blog." Ladies and Gentlemen, if you've only just arrived, welcome to the party that is, Joseph's blog. ^_-

So I took along my g/f who has never read the book, partly to see her reaction to the movie and if she could follow it without all the contextual knowledge that the book provides to each scene/setting. She had trouble following some of the dream sequences and said it felt "disjointed" in places. Her most memorable part was John being in 3 places at once and.. ahem..

**********SPOILER ALERT***********
She had nfi what the 'cat thing' at Veidt's side was at the end of the movie. She found it difficult to feel any attachment to it when Veidt electrocutes it, seeing as she was only introduced to it scenes earlier.

I see they forwent the inclusion of the artists and poets, etc being kidnapped and crafting the alien. I like a good random alien attack at the end of my movies. Was kinda looking forward to how they were gonna do it in CG.. :(

*********SPOILERS OVER**********

As someone who's read the book I could apparently enjoy it more than others at the cinema (Mr Wittber :P) Rorschach was gold. :D But then again, I liked him in the book too.

Anthony said...

Rorschach was, indeed, gold. Jackie Earle Haley sure knows how to commit to a line; I thought he was going to personally jump through the screen and punch me in the face at the end of the prison cafeteria scene.

I'm also going to put my hand up and say I'm kinda glad they cut the Black Freighter out of the movie. It works perfectly fine on paper, but there was already enough flashbacking and intertwining scenes that Moore's "story within a story" would have interrupted the somewhat delicate timing the movie already had.

Some things best left to movieland, other things best left to paperland.

Lastly, (I guess?) I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I completely missed the Doc's exposed thermometer? Either it wasn't as prominent as people have been saying, or I don't have a tendency to watch bright blue crotches when they appear. Hooray for me?

Joseph B. Hewitt IV said...

The more I think about it the more I notice single lines that were omitted that would have helped. For example, somebody at one point says something about Jon losing touch with humanity to somebody else and mentions that he doesn't even wear cloths anymore. I don't remember anybody mentioning that specifically in the movie. It probably also would have helped if they had shown the first stage of his costume, before he went to just wearing the shorts and then nothing.

Also the line when he kills the gangsters in the club. Jon's narration of the scene says something like, "everybody was screaming, the morality of the situation escaped me."

And yes Liza plenty of nudity including a large glowing blue penis that seems to have effected Anthony in some special way so that his subconscious is now blocking out.