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Posts Tagged ‘Watchmen’

Keep Searching

April 18th, 2009 No comments

One of the benefits of my new blogging home is that now I get web stat reports. And my favorite feature is the list of search terms that brought folks to my humble page.

The current top term, with 20 hits, is “dave thiel.” “Tina fey” received eight hits. My recent post regarding the trailer for The Bike King and the Ten Commandments snagged another eight hits under different search permutations.

Other notable terms: “the watchmen blue penis” (two hits), “legion of super ticklish” (two more), and “the seven faces of dr lao hulu” (one hit).

But my favorite is the last one on the list, a completely inexplicable entry that reads: “star wars create your own jedi knight trained by obi won made from lego and play it not a video game and you can play it.”

So, to whomever it was who desperately searched the World Wide Web for “star wars create your own jedi knight trained by obi won made from lego and play it not a video game and you can play it” and wound up here, welcome. I hope that you found what you were looking for.

Still Watching

March 8th, 2009 No comments

A few more Watchmen thoughts:

I think Alan Sepinwall’s review pretty much nails it. He correctly identifies  Malin Akerman (Silk Spectre II) and Matthew Goode (Ozymandius) as the weak links. Part of Goode’s problem is an actor’s conceit that ultimately works against his character. Picking up on a reference in the book to Ozy’s German parents, he adoptes the notion that Ozy uses an American accent while in public, but drops back into his native voice when ensconced in his lair. As his heritage is never mentioned in the film, the Germanic accent arrives from nowhere and has the unfortunate side-effect of making Ozy seem exactly the sort of stock villain he claims not to be.

On the graphic violence: I went back to the book last night and found that I was wrong about the difference being simply one of a stationary medium versus one in motion. Snyder definitely ratcheted up the gore. Some of it can be excused; I would argue that the bone-breaking on display in the alley scuffle could be viewed as a deconstruction of movie fight scenes similar to the way that the graphic novel deconstructs superhero tropes. However, the method in which the film dispatches Big Figure’s henchman during the jailbreak strikes me as entirely gratuitous; in the original, the violence occurs mostly off-panel and in a far less gruesome manner.

I’m Watching The Watchmen

March 7th, 2009 No comments

"There is no future. There is no past. There is only my large, blue penis."

So, I’ve seen Watchmen. And really, I don’t think anyone has cause for complaint about the adaptation. Well, except for the ten-year-old a couple of seats down from me whose idiot father took him to see the superhero film. That kid’s gonna have problems. 

I don’t believe anyone could reasonably expect a better Watchmen film. That’s not to say that it’s the best. movie. ever. Just that it’s unlikely that anyone else would ever have made one with more fidelity to the source material. Just imagine what could’ve been. We could’ve had the Joel Silver version with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Manhattan. Consider that for a moment, then give director Zack Snyder his due.

Admittedly, it’s been a few years since I’ve read the book, but aside from some supporting characters and a certain squid, I don’t recall any significant deletions.* And, let’s face it, the squid was never gonna make the cut. Honestly, I think the film’s alternative to the Psychic Calamari of Doom makes more sense, both logically and thematically.

I’ve got a few small criticisms. The acting’s…well, okay. While I’m pleased that for the most part Snyder avoided casting familiar names, I feel that some of the performers were chosen more for their resemblence to the original drawings than for their thespian skills. 

The violence is also a bit much. My friend Tim, who has one of the filthiest minds I know (and I mean that as a good thing), seemed to blanch at some of the “hard R” mayhem on display. I suspect that the translation from comic to motion picture accounts for some of the grue; drawings depict isolated moments in time, but a film sequence by its very nature includes many more such images.

At the end of the day, I think that Watchmen was a very faithful retelling of a story that wasn’t all that much fun to begin with. It’s telling that the nearly all of the humor comes from the darkest of all the Watchmen, the psychopathic Rorschach.

Yet–and yes, I realize that a sequel is entirely beyond the point–I have to admit that I kinda want to see the further adventures of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre. If only to watch Alan Moore spin in his beard.

*The pirate comic that runs in parallel to the novel’s main narrative is also excised, but they’ve made an animated version for DVD that almost certainly will be edited back into some future, five-hour director’s cut.

Categories: Movies Tags: , , ,

My Watchmen Rant

March 5th, 2009 No comments

Yes, I am stoked for the release of the Watchmen feature film. No, it will not be as good as the book. And no, I could not care less about that. I am still going.

Guess what? A book, which allows one to linger over a page or to double back to a previous chapter so as to extrude deeper meaning, is almost always going to be richer, more emotionally resonant, etc., etc. than its film adaptation. It’s a different medium, with its own strengths and weaknesses. Get over it.

Some will make the argument that Watchmen already exists in a visual form, so a movie can only be redundant. Bullshit. It’s not the same experience. I, for one, am glad that filmmaking techniques have reached the point at which we can put a 50-foot-tall, naked, blue man on the big screen and make it look believable. Okay, granted that I’m not necessarily looking forward to have Dr. Manhatten’s giant, blue junk waved in my face.

I find tiresome the argument that creative works should be left to the venue in which they first appeared. Do they work best in their original medium? Arguably. Do they have nothing to say when translated into another form? I don’t buy it. Should we never make a Shakespeare play into a film? A film into a T.V. series? A novel into a radio play? They won’t be the same either. And you know what? That’s okay.

Watchmen the movie won’t hurt Watchmen the book. If the film sucks, its source material will continue to exist. If it turns out well, it may cause some who’d not previously read the graphic novel to seek out that extra level of depth.

As for myself, I really appreciated the book but haven’t opened it in many years. I’m looking forward to rereading Watchmen after seeing it on the big screen in order to see how the two stack up.

Categories: Movies Tags: , ,

You’re Watching The Watchmen

July 18th, 2008 No comments

The trailer for the upcoming Watchmen movie went online today. While I’m sure that rabid fanboys (not to mention Alan Moore) are preparing to stab it with their steely knives, I gotta say that it looks right. Watchmen is a story that I thought could never be filmed, but damned if they aren’t giving it what appears to be a pretty good try.

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Let The Bitching Begin

March 6th, 2008 No comments

Costume photos from the upcoming film adaptation of Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel Watchmen have just surfaced. Some folks are already pissed off because Nite Owl doesn’t look enough like a pudgy Adam West in tights.

Look, I get it: the Nite Owl of the original story is a somewhat pathetic fortysomething who recognizes the absurdity of dressing up in a Halloween costume to fight crime. But if you put a live actor in this outfit:

You get this:

Which is fine if you’re going for comedy. If you put Arthur from The Tick in a trailer for a general audience unfamiliar with Watchmen, they’re going to assume it’s a spoof. Which it’s not. At all.

Besides, the “tubby guy in tights” deconstruction has been done–repeatedly–since Watchmen was published in 1986. It’s not just The Tick, which at least played largely to the fanboy base, but one that pretty much everyone has actually seen: The Incredibles. Hell, even DC Comics’ Blue Beetle–the character that provided the basis for Nite Owl–went through his own portly phase.

There are other ways to express Nite Owl’s character without making him look like a schlub in a leotard.

Me, I like the costumes. But what do I know? I thoroughly enjoyed the film version of V for Vendetta, and even got a kick out of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. So my perspective about Alan Moore adaptations is suspect. (Alan Moore would certainly agree.)

The photos give me hope that the filmmakers are at least trying to do justice to the source material, as does the news that they intend to produce “Tales of the Black Freighter,” the story-within-a-story that parallels the main plot, as a DVD extra. It’s the sort of thing you could never do within the movie proper, but it’s perfect for DVD. Maybe they’ll produce some of the other sidebar material from the original novel as well.