Friday, March 6, 2009

Watchmen : A Movie as Awkward and Loveable as its Target Audience

The midnight premiere of Watchmen brought out the town's finest assortment of proud comic-geeks and elitist critics all of whom had some expectation for the film which has been long in the works. Some thought it would be the best movie they've ever seen; some were just waiting for it to fail, and others simply curious about the hype given to it by die-hard fans of the graphic novel.




So the what were their verdicts?


The die-hard fans had enough to be happy about to outweigh the many flaws. The movie stayed true to the book we so love (sans the "space squid" and plus a new twist) and moved at a pace that emulated reading the novel for the first time. Because of the immense amount of back-story and character development in the graphic novel, I had lowered my expectations for its film adaptation, but was not disappointed in the end. Director Zack Snyder was able to pull it all off well, giving close to the complete story before moving to the imminent situation faced in 1980s the "present" in which the movie was based. There were little gifts for Watchmen readers scattered all over the movie that non-readers surely wouldn't understand. In then end, I wonder how much a non-reader would understand?

I tried to go into this movie wiping my mind clear of the graphic novel in attempt to see it through the eyes of someone who had not read it. I kept piecing elements of the story together, but I'm wondering if I could only do that because of my readership? I have been told by one who hadn't read the novel that it "moved slowly," which makes perfect sense since they weren't among those holding their breath with knowledge of what was to happen next.
If one can make it through the back-story without losing attention, the story that unfolds is just as thrilling, mysterious, and shocking as ever even for those who have read the novel multiple times, especially so since there is a new element added in place of a piece of the original story. I don't want to spoil it, but all I can say to hint is that there is no island in the movie.

For the relentless critics, Watchmen held plenty of fodder for their reviews. For instance, Watchmen had some of the most awkward music-to-scene placement in any movie I have ever seen. Uptempo songs were played at grave moments or simply cheesy songs were played at serious moments, making it all seem a bit cheesy. This could be flawed judgment or a nod to The Comedian who would have so valued such irony. The most awkward instance of music placement had to be Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" over an over-dramatic sex scene. If you're going to fake it, don't take Silk Spectre II's methods to heart, ladies. That's all I can say about that. The entire audience burst into full-on laughter for the duration of the sex scene.

Speaking of awkward and sex-- how about that giant, blue penis (peni in some cases)? Dr. Manhattan's penis played quite a major (and awkward) role. I distracted my eyes from it (or tried) by focusing on his eyes and trying to find the traces of his pupils, but I was still quite distracted.

In other "awkwardities," there was an abundance of slow motion. It made for an interesting aesthetic, but does time really have to slow down every time Laurie's hair blows? Time is a major theme of both the novel and movie, watches being a main symbol, so messing with time is only natural for Watchmen. Except, of course when it starts making audiences screen-sick.

My grandmother called me this morning and asked of the movie, "Isn't that scary? That's what they said on TV." No, it was not scary for me, because I knew what was going to happen, but there are parts that are tough to see in illustration, let alone executed realistically on a huge screen. For the squeemish, the Rorschach scenes are going to be difficult to take, especially when he is going through psychiatric analysis. It's no "pretty flower" nor "cloud," to say the very least.

My personal thoughts on the movie?
I loved it! I love the graphic novel, so I would naturally love any film adaptation that doesn't ruin it, and the film did not ruin it for me. The awkward music placement and moments of pure-cheese may have made me take it less seriously, but it was still great. I loved the coloring and set-up of the scenes which made everything seem to be in 3D though it wasn't. After leaving the theatre, I found myself still seeing yellow brighter than all other colors because of the film's use of color and its bringing out the yellow elements.

It started with yellow and a last laugh and ended with My Chemical Romance. What is not to love?


Hurm.
XoXo
c.

2 comments:

A.G.B said...

I just saw it and I have to say your assessment is pretty right-on. I enjoyed the hell out of it, but then again: it was nearly impossible for me not to because I enjoyed the book so dearly.

Cassie The Venomous said...

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the movie!

XoXo
c.