Saturday, March 28, 2009

Who's Bitching the Watchmen?

In lieu of a legit review, here's Ten Criticisms of Watchmen that annoy me:

It's too long (You knew the running time before you walked in. What exactly was so precious about the time you lost?)

It's not enough like the book!

It's too faithful to the book!

The Cold War Nuclear Scare is outdated.

It's ultraviolent fanboy trash!

It's cynical!

Oh God, Hallelujah again? (I mean, overplayed, yes, but not the Leonard Cohen version so much, certainly not the passages of the song we got, and anyway, get over it)

Bob Dylan? Is that all you could think of?

Boring! (Seriously, what does it take, America? Do you not like movies that much? I invite you to a screening of Tarkovsky's Stalker)

I shouldn't have to read the book to understand the movie (Why not? The movie makes perfect sense, it's not in un-subtitled Farsi).

Some criticisms I agree with:

Malin Akerman could've been a lot better (Though Matthew Goode in and of himself was fine. The filmmakers made character choices that run counter to the book in some ways, and Goode is for some reason being blamed. I thought his insouciance was fun).

The Comedian rape scene was a bit much.

The film could be baffling to the uninitiated. (but bear with it. It comes together, and plays even more lucidly a second time.)

The old person makeup seems right out of this Genesis video.

I don't believe a movie has to be some kind of exact transcription of its source material, but having said that, I agree with the notion that this movie actually deepens our understanding and connection to the book. For a patient, loving, and fan-based breakdown of book vs. movie, look no further than this piece.

It's far from a perfect movie. It is at times close to being a grand folly. Still, it comes together. It brings us images we've never really seen, even if we have read the book. The Dr. Manhattan origin story is flawlessly accomplished, spine tingling and utterly breathtaking. Jackie Earl Haley deserves every acting award there is for his Rorschach.

What do we look for in the movies? This film offers an American god, a right-wing vigilante kicking ass in a prison, a startling, provocative re-imagining of American political and social history, and an ambitious meditation on the path America has taken. It rivals The Dark Knight and JFK, if that's possible.

Also, what is going on with critics everywhere complaining about the film's Cold War era nuclear paranoia? Umm. This wasn't that long ago. We were most of us here during this one. We have nukes. Iran will have nukes soon, and North Korea and Pakistan do to this day, so to me this is still a VERY pertinent issue. If it's not a possibility that we might be teaching kids to hide under their desks again in the near future, why was Iran such a big deal during last year's campaign? (and less dramatically, what the hell is wrong with doing a period piece?)

For those who attempt to deflate the movie by saying it is needlessly violent and presents us with characters who believe that violence is the only answer, I ask you, do you read the news on a daily basis? I don't necessarily agree with these characters, but embracing their attitudes can put us in a reflective mode. I really do like dramas that give us clashing worldviews. These characters' plights inspire pity and terror. Which is what ancient dramas used to do.


Andrew said...

I loved the movie, even if Ozymandias looked a weeeeee bit too much like David Foley.

And I had a hard time dissociating Big Figure from Mickey on Seinfeld.

Plaid Avenger said...

...and now I will also have a hard time with the both of these.