Friday, March 06, 2009

Watchmen: I Approve

no spoilers

Last night, in the middle of the night, I watched The Watchmen.
This is NOT a superhero movie. Despite the commercials and marketing and it coming from a comic book, this is not X-Men 2. I think we already knew that. This film is a mix of mystery, dark sci fi, action, and drama. It could most closely be compared to The Matrix films (more heavily on 2 and 3 but far better than both).

I wonder what the average non-comic book fan will think. There is plenty of action but it is a VERY dense film. It deals with as much or more of the human condition(s) as it does with ass-kicking. 2 of the 6 friends I saw the film with had not read the book. Both felt it all made perfect sense and was, if anything, overly explanatory (which could have just been due to the narration of Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach).

The story and visuals really pulled me in. The dense-ness didn't work against it and I didn't feel like it was a truncated version of a book. The character complexity came across well too. I won't get too specific about my 'likes' as to not post any spoilers.

What about the ending? The one thing that deviates strongly from the book. I will be honest- I was not happy with it upon first hearing about it. In the film, it does flow seamlessly though. After the film, I talked to someone who had not read the book and could not conceive of a giant space squid in place of the film's ending. We got out the book and examined that last segment. Guess what? We discussed it and this more-objective-than-I person pointed out holes in the original which were just as big as the holes I found in the film version. So... I now support the film's version as legit.

I approve.

(comments could contain spoilers)


Blogger frank as fuck said...

I promise I'm not nitpicking, but what were the perceived holes in the original ending?

9:12 AM  
Blogger shanedanger said...

While it is a perceived alien threat to unite humanity, it only attacks one (US) city.
So what is stopping the USSR from saying, "Cool! Our enemy is wounded. Let's take advantage of that!"?

9:20 AM  
Blogger frank as fuck said...

The civilian populace is wounded. The attack doesn't do anything to lessen the military might of the US. Ozy's general idea is that an alien threat transcends national borders - just because it happened to the US doesn't mean it can't happen to Russia next.

Another thing to note is that Ozymandias does nothing but study the possible outcomes of the situation - he's the world's smartest man, after all. I'm not saying it's perfect, but given who he is and how he approaches the thing, it's pretty easy to believe that his desired outcome is the most likely. The same could be said about the movie ending, of course, but I haven't seen it yet to really know.

I liked this write-up, by the way. One of the problems going in to Watchmen that I have is the visuals - I despise Snyder's love of slow motion - and it's good to hear they worked for you.

10:14 AM  
Blogger mel said...

It's kind of a cop out to say the squid works well just because Ozy came up with it and we should just assume that the smart dude knows how to do things.

I like the new ending because it relies on pseudo-science that already exists in the film's storyline. There's no need for Ozy to go off on some long winded exposition about teleportation, creating the monster, and brain waves in an already long and awkward scene. And honestly, giant squids with psychic fear-mongering abilities are pretty absurd. Moore intentionally tried to ground his story in a more realistic world. "Crazy nuclear physics" is a real world fear. The Flying Spaghetti Monster works as a parody because it is completely ridiculous, but tell people the Hadron collider is going to destroy the universe and the average person would buy it.

Shane thought that the USSR might assume a US weapon going out of control was a trick or strategy, but the reason the war was escalating was because Dr. Manhattan had abandoned humanity. He had literally made himself a martian. He was not regarded as human and in the end, Ozy still orchestrated an "alien attack." It also makes sense that Ozy would use Manhattan because he knows that Manhattan, with his infinite Spock-like logic, would understand and accept his role as the looming threat that can unify the world.

Plus, the attack was on several US and global cities. It's more plausible that the nations would unite over a material fear and not paranoid delusions, especially in such a short span of time. Between the squid and the news reports, it's what, 45 minutes? If a giant squid landed on NY, I think the world would just be in shock not suddenly banding together in that time. But they world already knew Dr. Manhattan and they feared his power, and nuclear power in general.

It really does just flow seamlessly with the rest of the movie. Had a giant squid appeared, it would have been a total WHAT THE FUCK moment, and not in a "whoa, crazy twist ending!" but a "this is a ridiculous gimmick" sort of way.

10:40 PM  
Blogger shanedanger said...

Wow Mel.
Does this make you a fangirl???

7:15 AM  
Blogger Pranjal said...


9:11 AM  
Blogger xDustinx said...

in the movie, the squid would have been out of the blue, but in the book, the squid is not out of the blue. The book has the ability to incorporate the missing intellectuals as a major plot piece.

The only thing that really bugs me about the change is that I don't buy for a second that the Comedian would lose his mind over a plan to blow up major cities.

In the movie, Bubastis is out of the blue.

1:28 PM  

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