Saturday, March 7, 2009

This city is afraid of me,

I have seen its true face.
That's right, I just watched the Watchmen.

And I'm pretty damn pleased.

Yes, I have read the graphic novel, only one time all the way through and then bits and pieces over and over (like the ending) before handing it off to a friend I was eager to show it to.

I went with my mom, sister, Jose, Andrea, Gwen, and Luis. A rather mixed group I know, but nobody seemed to mind. They all loved it! None of them have read the comic either, so I couldn't gush over the differences and stuff.

That's exactly what I'm going to do right now, actually.
I love using this "cut" feature. I do realize that you have to click twice to actually get to it, but I hope that doesn't turn ya'll off.

I'm going to post my thoughts on the movie AND its comparison to the novel, so if you haven't watched it or read it and want to, DO NOT CLICK UNDER THE CUT! However if you want to see my thoughts on it and know all about it, then yes, please. And leave comments. Or hell, if we want to avoid spoilers you can just talk to me personally.

And now...


First of all, the beginning. Of course.
It was a nice beginning, it did well to set up the movie with the 80's setting, Nixon as President on the TV shows you what's going on in their time, and it starts off right with The Comedian's death, which is the catalyst for the whole movie. In the novel you kind of see details of it over time and piece it together by yourself, but that technique is better appreciated in the novel. It's okay in movies if it's truly the main focus, but Watchmen had so much more going for it, so setting it up at the beginning was a smooth move.

The action in that whole scene was INTENSE, almost ridiculously so.
The only thing I can think about was, "Yup, this is a Zack Snyder film." Granted, I'd only seen one other (300), but his style is so distinct with the crisp action scenes, the slow-downs and speed-ups, and the CG'd blood. Not only did that scene set up the movie well, but it was as though Zach Snyder just stamped himself there: "This is my movie as I direct it, my interpretation is what you are watching."

Then came the montage of the past heroes or Minutemen, as they were known. Wasn't too sure about that, but I suppose it was all right, it kind of "got it out of the way" and again set the tone for the movie: we're dealing with masked avengers, they've been around before, and they were around again. From one generation to another.

Man, this movie was long. 2 hours and 43 minutes? Cripes. I loved it.

Remember when I said I didn't know how to write reviews? Yea, that still applies. I can't be arsed into trying to critique it chronologically, I think in terms of scenes and characters and crap, so I'm going to go down the list of characters and what I thought of them.

Rorschach / Walter Kovacs
My favorite. High expectations. Well met.
Jackie Earle Haley played a great Rorschach. He was small, compact, and his face! He wasn't as ugly as the graphic novel's Rorschach, but um... I'm glad for that, hahaha. His voice was Batman-esque (a la Christian Bale, you silly man), but understandable. He was great, so great. I loved him, he made an excellent Rorschach.

Silk Spectre II / Laurie Jupiter
I can't be arsed to spell her real last name, so don't bug me about it, kay? :P
At first I thought she looked a bit too young, at least compared to the comic. She still does, but she plays the woman quite well. I think I grew into her. I don't like how straight her hair was XD Laurie's hair should have more volume! Oh well. And her costume! It was supposed to have this cute little skirt thing that I loved. Again, these are just the characters, and I'm pretty much nitpicking. I loved her face though, it's quite Laurie. Overall a pretty good job by Malin Akerman.

Dr. Manhattan / Jon Osterman
One thing that really bothered me was that he glowed SO MUCH. I was like, did he really glow that much in the graphic novel? Was he such a huge source of light? I don't have my Watchmen with me (whenever you're done Dre, I'll take it back :P), but I can't recall him emitting THAT MUCH LIGHT. Again, nitpicking. I like it when he's smoother. I expected his voice to be deeper, but he had a nice voice. Nice and soothing and I-can-see-neutrinos-but-I'm-so-detached-from-humans-y. Oh yea, and his nakedness did not phase me. Life drawing has desensitized me! Jose wondered if they modeled his junk after anyone. Could it be Billy Crudup himself? I shudder at the thought...

Nite Owl II / Dan Dreiberg
Oh my goodness, I loved him in the movie, I loved seeing his dorkiness come to life. He could've used a bit more pudge, and I wish they'd kept his dorkier costume, the one here was a little too badass. Does that make sense? He seemed pudgy enough in civilian clothes. Heeeee. Man, I was trying not to go all fangirly in this "review," but see what happened? Whatever. Patrick Wilson portrayed nerdy little Nite Owl pretty well.

Ozymandias / Adrian Veidt
I wasn't too satisfied with his performance, actually. Not only did I feel like he could've been buffer (as Adrian in the comic), but he could've been more of an arrogant little bastard. He does have this holier-than-thou air about him, but it's so femme in the movie, he could've played it up more. Matthew Goode played him.

The Comedian / Edward Blake
Man, he was intense. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was the perfect Comedian.

Okay I got tired of that, let's "cut to scene(s)," as they say.

I was only really disappointed with two scenes: Rorschach's flashback of the murderer with the dogs, and the end. The first one is just a sort of personal preference, and the last is just... well, it's the end, guys, c'mon.

Rorschach's Flashback
In the movie he kills the man by butchering his head with a huge-ass knife. The comic he sets the whole house afire and watches it burn for an hour. I liked the comic version better. I'm not sure why Snyder changed it. Budget? Artistic license? Excuse for more blood and gore? Simpler to get the point across? I hope not the last one, because the point got across fine when he burned the house down. I was also searching for that line about the "violent continent" of blood on his coat, but there wasn't any! I loved that line. Oh well.

I think I'll save the ending for later, and instead talk about some other changes to the film.

I can tell a lot was cut out, like all the interactions with the Bernies, Rorschach's psychologist's life, more on Hollis Mason, stuff like that. I'm a little glad they cut the bit where Hollis Mason dies, because that part depressed me in the book.

I also noticed they cut the entire part where they go back to Rorschach's place after springing him from jail. They skipped a lot of media coverage of Rorschach, like that lady (his neighbor) who falsely accused him of propositioning her for sex. That would've tied into the trip to his place later, where he confronts her but does nothing about it and at that point I thought he went "soft" a little. It's a little character point I loved in the novel, but I can understand why it was taken out of the movie: it wasn't central to the main plot. I loved the scene they replaced it with though: Rorschach retrieves his gear from another room, and the line he delivers to the psychologist is just EPIC! "Your turn doctor... what do YOU see?" As he pulls on his mask once again.

OH! Another Rorschach line I love: "I'm not stuck in here with you... YOU'RE ALL STUCK IN HERE WITH ME!" Faithful to the comic, too! Bonus!

And the part where he offs the midget in the bathroom. The swinging door was pretty ingenious, I loved the effect, although it would've been more comical if they stuck to how it was in the novel, where Laurie and Dan are kind of idly discussing how Rorschach was ingrateful and Dan understands having to take a leak and what's that banging, and oh he flushed, let's go. That was one long sentence, hope ya'll got that.

I also think Snyder took a bit of "artistic license" with some scenes, like maybe by changing Rorschach's murder from fire-to-butcher, and definitely with the sawing-off of fat Lawrence's arms because he was in the way. That was REALLY DAMN BLOODY. But it makes sense, I mean, that way he's not in the way at all! By slitting his throat (as in the novel) he was still there, a dead weight.

Man, Ozy was so femme.

The film did a good job with the flashbacks, they were very clear-cut. Focusing on a character for a bit, then moving on without cheesy effects? Nice :)

Also, I sort of didn't notice how incredibly violent things were until I saw them in action. When Comedian shot the pregnant woman, it hit me harder than it did in the novel. Right through the stomach! That's his child! My mom actually thought the child would live and then grow up to be The Comedian's killer. That's a pretty good idea, but it's too small for Watchmen. My mom's pretty sharp when it comes to movies otherwise, like she was quick to pick up on "THE END IS NIGH" dude being Rorschach, and Veidt being behind it all, but I suppose it's more obvious in the movie.

Okay, let me discuss
The Ending
You all know how it ends in the novel: He teleports this weird-ass octopus-like creature to New York, thereby killing thousands of people. The media says it's from another dimension. Adrian had kidnapped novelists, artists, scientists, and engineers the world over to be a part of his team to build that thing and then get it there. When I read it in the novel, it was the weirdest thing ever. I mean, really? I guess even Watchmen couldn't escape some classic wtf?-comic-moments. Still, by itself it was a thing to be appreciated.
In the movie he uses Dr. Manhattan-technology to create explosions in cities all over the world, not just New York, although it explodes there too. It appeared to be an attack on the world by Dr. Manhattan himself. I guess that would make sense, like he would retreat from Eart and plan his attack, etc. I like how he went from this god-on-Earth being that all the public feared and loved at the same time, to a "common enemy." The U.S. had used him as their trump card, and suddenly he had his own agenda, at least that was the assumption afterward. One thing is, why didn't the rest of the world just assume that the U.S. did it since Dr. Manhattan was on their side? I suppose blowing up New York too would negate that, but still.
There also wasn't enough Adrian-remorse going around at the end. I wanted that the most.
I wanted Dr. Manhattan to stay behind and tell Adrian that he was right, only to patronize him by saying "nothing ends. Nothing ever ends." In the book, that was my golden moment. Having Adrian be right took me by shock, and I guess I sided with Rorschach for a bit there, but knowing that Adrian wasn't all that right thanks to Dr. Manhattan was nice, and I wish so badly that they'd kept that. Instead Dan accuses him of deforming humanity after attacking him. It wasn't as impactful, it would've been moreso with Dr. Manhattan because he's Dr. Manhattan, he can see all of time at the same time and crap! And Laurie said he "would" say the whole "nothing ever ends" at the end. Aaaww. Boo.

One thing I really loved was the soundtrack. I was so surprised with how good the songs were! I guess I expected a lot of Dark Knight-esque doom-and-gloom instrumentals, but some songs really made the scenes they were in. Having "Unforgettable" playing for the whole opening Comedian scene was great, I love that sort of juxtaposition. And hey, he really was unforgettable.
And "99 Luftballons"!
And "Hallelujah" playing during the sex scene! Which was, by the way, a bit too long for my tastes, it's like, "We get it, he can get it up now because he's more confident and they make love!" They didn't even show the sex inthe book, just the aftermath! XD But yea, the "Hallelujah" made it a little funny, actually.
I'm getting the soundtrack ;)

That's the end of the spoilers, I think.
I feel like I "reviewed" it as a total fangirl. But I know what I liked and what I didn't, so there you have it.

As the movie went on I started to understand why certain parts were taken out, and these were mostly parts that weren't essential to the main plot. Watchmen has many plots in the novel, but the main one by itself is already this big sprawling creature that needed 2 hours and 43 minutes just to get across on film. I agree with all the critics that say it didn't live up to the novel. Honestly, what could? They're completely different formats, but I think they can both be appreciated, just on different levels. That's a point I really want to emphasize. The motion picture is linear and you can't control the sense of time you can instill upon it like you can in a graphic novel where you can flip back and forth through time, picking up things and remembering again. Things had to be compromised for the medium.

In my head I equated it to remixing any song into, say, a dance song: some parts are changed, amplified, added, subtracted, but if it's good it'll keep its essence. It just has to be fit to dance to.

They took the book and changed it, amplified it, added to it, subracted from it... I felt like it kept its essence though, and it was fit to watch. It was good. It was very good.

After the movie I went to Luis' house with Jose and Gwen. We discussed Watchmen and I loved explaining things to them. I wanted so badly to tell them how some parts were different from the novel, or what was missing, but they hadn't read it. THEY HAD BETTER! At Luis' house we did what people always do at Luis' house, play video games. Left4Dead ftw!

Now I'm home, I've probably been writing this for the past hour.
I really did just have to get this out, y'know?
Because I just watched the Watchmen,
and I was pretty damn satisfied.


Lauren Ashley said...

That was my favorite line, too. :) Everyone else had a squee fest over "Men go to Prison, dogs get put down." But seriously, "You're all locked in here with me!" is the best damn line of the whole damn thing!!! Rorschach is such a bamf... and I agree with you. "Nothing ends... nothing ever ends" would have been great, because we all know Viedt is getting outed... we all KNOW... it would have been nice.

I am sad about the scene were they go back to Rorschach's apartment, but I guess I'll live without it. I agree with you, though - him not killing the mother in front of the kids showed a face of Rorschach that we hadn't seen, really... like Walter was still alive in there somewhere... it would have been nice to see.

As for Viedt being a little feminine, I just figured that was there way of making Rorschach's assumptions true without having him say them. At some point in the novel, he comments on how he thinks Viedt is gay, but he didn't say it in the movie... but he did seem a little "heeeeeeeeey" didn't he? I didn't like him... but that's just cuz he's a little prick who thinks global holocaust is the way to world peace. TEAM RORSCHACH FTW!

Lauren Ashley said...

their* not there

Captcha: Ralitio

I shall name my child this.

Chelsea said...

Lol. Veidt being all "heeeeeey". Love that line, Lauren.

The movie was awesome! Awesome for me, who had never read the novel either. I was also explained to afterwards.

Very bloody, gorey, awesome action with YES, that STAMP! Great movie, I think the sex scene was a bit long too. There were plenty of giggles in the theater, some from me.

I loved the movie and I really like your review! It explained so much more than I was told after the movie.

Chelsea said...


Oh yeah, remember that scene where Adrian was almost "killed"?

They were playing "Everybody Wants to Rule The World" by Tears for Fears in the conversation before the attack. I thought that was PERFECT for that scene.