Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Watchmen and the Muse

A couple of quick things this evening. I just came back from seeing Watchmen and I'm still kind of processing that. My initial impression is that it is an excellent adaptation, but I'm not sure that makes it a great movie. I think the main problem would be the flashbacks, which work tremendously well in the comic, but I think kind of kill the momentum of the movie. The story is never really propelled forward because so much time is trying to fill in all the characters' back stories.

Alan Moore works that to amazing effect in the comic. I'm not sure how you do it for a movie. Maybe it's not possible. I can understand it no problem because I've read the comic 100 times. But for the average film viewer....

Other likes and dislikes:
1. The opening credit sequence truly is a work of art.
2. The actors for Dr. Manhattan, the Comedian and Rorschach are truly wonderful. The actors for Silk Spectre, Nite Owl and Ozymandias were really awful.
3. Wow, that was a lot more violent than the comic.
4. Insert giant blue penis joke here.
5. Putting Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" as the music for a sex scene was a bad joke batted around the writers room that never should have made it to the big screen.
6. I didn't mind the change in the ending. It wobbled a bit, but mostly held up. Certainly I think audiences would buy it more than the giant squid (read the comic to understand).

I'm sure I'll have more after I process it all. And I'm curious to see what the director's cut looks like after it comes out on DVD.

On a completely unrelated note, I'll point some of you to this guest column on Geoff Meeker's Newfoundland media blog. A week or so ago I had a note show up on Facebook letting me know that the Muse, the student newspaper I worked for back when I was at MUN, held a referendum to try and get their media levy increased, but it failed.

"Typical," I thought at the time, and grumbled a bit about the apathy and general stupidity of the MUN student body. Then I read the guest column that Kerri Breen wrote and realized just how much it hurt. Not just the paper at a financial level, but also the staff at a personal level. When students can't be bothered to vote to increase a levy from $2 a semester to $4 a semester and in return they get 12 copies of a truly excellent piece of student journalism, then I can see how that hurts a lot.

There have been times I've wanted MUN's student body to have a single head so I could smack some sense into it. This would be one of those times.

I hope the Muse tries the levy again in the next academic year. Hopefully they can pull some new tricks out of their bags to convince students of the necessity. Hopefully students can pull their heads out of their ass. Granted, I knew a lot of people with heads up their asses back in the early 90s and I'm willing to bet that 20 years later, not much has changed.

But you can always hope.

Last Five
1. Everything to me - Liz Phair
2. Line of best fit - Death Cab for Cutie
3. Failsafe - The New Pornographers*
4. Bixby Canyon Bridge - Death Cab for Cutie
5. When anger shows - Editors


Anonymous said...

Saw the Watchman with my brother. We both felt like leaving about one hour in. The feeling did not go away. I thought it was absolutely horrible. Before this movie I cannot tell you the last time I actually wanted to leave a movie. But I did not read the comics so that may be the reason why.

Adam Snider said...

1. Agreed. That opening sequence was absolutely brilliant.

2. While I didn't think that the actors for Nite Owl or Silk Spectre were terrible, they weren't great. I agree that Ozymandias was terribly cast and that it was almost painful every time he was on screen.

3. Yeah, they really ramped up the violence (and the sex, to a lesser extent). I'm not sure why. The most confusing moment of unnecessarily increased violence was when Kovacs truly becomes Rorschach. I was fine with most of the story changes, but that's one moment that continues to bother me. It actually changes Rorschach's character in a subtle yet significant way.

4. Yes, there was a blue penis all over the place, but I didn't notice or focus on it. I'm not sure why so many people are focusing so much attention on such a minor thing.

5. It was a bad joke, but I couldn't help but laugh. You're right, though, it probably shouldn't have made it to the final cut.

6. I didn't mind the change in the ending much, either. Honestly, I always thought that the ending in the comic was the weakest part of Watchmen so changing it to something a bit more plausible didn't bother me in the least.

Jason Hickman said...

My $0.02: I disagree re: the actor for Nite Owl - I actually thought he had a very good handle on the character. I'm interested in why you think he did a bad job and/or was miscast.

towniebastard said...

Adam, I was actually pissed off with the guy playing Ozymandias. he delivered the key line of the entire damn movie "I did it 35 minutes ago" with all the drama of a waiter reading off the specials. Gah. I was slightly annoyed that the scene between him and Dr. Manhattan didn't happen, where Jon says, "In the end? Nothing ever ends", but considering how bad the acting was for Ozymandias, it's probably just as well.

And yeah, the ending in the book was always the shakiest part.

Jason, he wasn't bad, but he had no chemistry, at all with the actress who play Silk Spectre. And it might be just how bad she was that he dragged him down, but watching them together was painful.

I'd put him in the middle. Not the worst, but certainly not the best.

Adam Snider said...

Something just occurred to me; perhaps the guy playing Ozymandias was trying to play him as detached from the world, as a result of his incredible intelligence (and as an interesting counterpoint to Jon). In that case, the lack of intonation in that critical moment would make sense.

That said, it still annoyed the hell out of me, and didn't really jive with the impression of Ozy I've always had from reading the book.