Friday, March 13, 2009

WizzleMizzle [Watchmen Review]

That is to say, Watchmen.

A lot of people have asked me what I thought of the film, and I respond with a vigor and passion for which they are unprepared. I've taken in all these mixed reviews, and to be frank with people, I tell them there's a good chance they may not like it.

I really fucking liked it, but I really fucking liked the graphic novel. The film is not X-Men. It's not The Dark Knight. It's not a movie about superheroes. It's a movie about masked vigilantes in an alternate history approaching doomsday. It's about human nature, social decay, and moral relativism. It is not a movie about saving the day.

There are six principle characters that make up the cast of Watchmen, but please do not misinterpret (what I find to be) the ill-advised dialogue of Ozymandias referring to the Watchmen as a team that never got off the ground. (The name Watchmen was never spoken in the original. Though, of course, vigilante is derived from the Latin for watchman.) These six characters are expertly cast and portrayed, and, beyond any other variance to the source material in the film, they are dead on.

Jackie Earle Haley's Rorshach is the high point; pitch perfect. I found every single scene featuring the Comedian felt as if ripped from the book. Ozymandias was sharp and aloof. Silk Specter, hot and reactionary. Nite Owl, dull and unremarkable. Doctor Manhattan, the only super superhero of the bunch, was portrayed true to form by Billy Crudup, a fitting foil to Haley's Rorshach.

The thematic elements of the original book I missed most were the recounting of the decline of Crimebusters, that mirrored the changes in society through the 60's and 70's, and also the frenzied, hysterical societal collapse that presaged "the end", characterized by the psychologist, exchanges at the newsstand, and the comic-within-a-comic Tales of the Black Freighter.

The appeal of a superhero movie, like Iron Man, is the explosive action and traditional comic book storyline. I personally feel that while Watchmen certainly contains explosive action, especially as seen in the trailer, it may be somewhat diluted by a lengthy, cerebral tale about people, and not their powers.

In conclusion, brain up. This a must Watch. Can't wait for any extended version they may offer down the line, hopefully with deleted scenes, Tales of the Black Freighter interspersed, and (please, please, please) the original ending.

Fine like this.

5 comments:

CFG said...

I think it is highly unlikely that they filmed the original ending. When you get alternate scenes on DVD, they are usually not mastered because going back and mastering them costs money. Imagine the sfx they would have had to pay for to create the original ending, not to mention the $$$ they would have had to fork out to shoot all the island sequences. Moreover, they couldn't just shoot the ending sequence and be done. They'd have to reshoot everything from the time Night Owl and Rorschach take off for Antarctica. . . .

Killa said...

Yeah. In regards to expense, I know there were talks of filming Tales of the Black Freighter in chroma key ala 300 but it was determined to cost way, way too much for a DVD bonus feature. I believe the addition will be animated.

SPOILER ALERT

Too bad about the original ending. Maybe I'll just splice in parts of Cloverfield.

Aww, fuck, I did it. Sorry. Added the Alert.

CFG said...

Tales of the Black Freighter is animated . . . it's out right now on DVD. The DVD and Blu Ray editions of the movie will have it added back into the movie.

Anonymous said...

Big blue man meat swinging in the wind.

the faux virtuoso said...

beautifully written! i couldn't have said it better myself. i also have been asked what i thought of the movie and i couldn't give a proper in depth review because i never read the graphic novel...