Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reflect and Review: Watchmen (Part I)

So, Watchmen released last week, and after my previous rant (that was posted in three separate parts!) talking about my excitement and openness for the film, I thought I’d post some of my thoughts on the film.

First off, Let me just say that I really liked it. Was it the book? No. But, as I stated in the aforementioned rant, I was and still am alright with that. All of the Tales of the Black Freighter pirate comic was removed, and that was ok since the squid attack at the end was changed (though, when Jon transports the device to Antarctica, the scientist collective there is called S.Q.U.I.D., as can be seen on a sign quickly before the device arrives). A lot of people I know who read the book did not like the new ending because it was too vague and ambiguous. I had to point out that that makes it just like the original ending! Basically, Snyder (Zack, the director) and company just managed to find a different means to the same end.

What was important to me was if the backgrounds to the characters came across well. Some were, of course, lighter than I wanted. The film tells us that Dan is the second Owl, but never gets into us why he got into it. Rorschach calls him flabby at one point, but to be honest he’s not nearly as out of shape as his counterpart in the book – it would have been nice to see how much he had to go through to get back into the game, instead of just waking up after almost having sex and deciding it was time. I feel they did a pretty good job with both Laurie and Jon – I truly felt for Laurie, almost directly from the beginning. And, by the time Jon is narrating his linear history in what us mere mortals perceive as non linear storytelling, I felt his alienation comparably to how I did while reading the book. Time spent on Sally Jupiter was perfect, and Carla Gugino was just as hot, if not hotter, than Malin Akerman in any time period.

And then, there was Rorschach. Everyone’s favorite gruff, rough and tough bad ass vigilante – and Jackie Earle Haley played him the exact way I envisioned him. Most of my friends who had not read the book but have seen the movie flat out loved him. So, Snyder and Haley had obviously nailed the feel of his character, but I felt it a bit lacking in certain areas – almost no connection is made between the unmasked Kovacs who carries the “The End Is Nigh” sign around New York and the masked Rorschach. In fact, most people I know who didn’t read the book didn’t realize the early shots of him with the sign were actually of Rorschach. Also, why not explain his mask and how it changes its appearance?

While Rorschach was lacking just a bit from what I’d hoped for, the only real disappointment was Veidt, or Ozymandias. Almost no time was spent on him, and what little was was only shown to show his detachment from those around him, and to vilify him. Before he is “attacked” in his lobby, it’s almost as if he’s about to tell the world leaders he is going to take them all on himself. Thankfully, respite from this was found in Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s take on The Comedian. He was excellent in the role, and in many scenes just stole the show.

(to be continued)

Lengthy Litigation: Fan Boys, Shut Up (Part I)
Lengthy Litigation: Fan Boys, Shut Up (Part II)
Lengthy Litigation: Fan Boys, Shut Up (Part III)

- Goodchild

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