Saturday, March 14, 2009

I watched the Watchmen

Last night Andrew and I went to see Watchmen. Since leaving the movie last night I've been thinking about what I would write about it today. And I'm still not too sure. I guess it might be good to start out by saying that I liked it. Quite a lot, actually. In general, I like super hero movies (I can glance over at our DVD collection and see all 3 Spidermans, X-men 1 and 2, The Hulk [the version with Edward Norton], The Incredibles, the first 5 season of BTVS, etc), although they tend to leave me feeling a little wistful. It's not so much that I want a super power, but I want the clear-cut purpose that superheros tend to have. There tends to be an obvious bad person, bent on doing harm to the human race and the hero has to stop them. Wouldn't it be nice to have such a straight forward purpose in life? Fight crime, stop the bad guy, save the day and possibly win the girl (or boy).

The movie. It's definitely not everyone's cup of tea. It's rated R. There's violence, sex and...lots of rain. It actually ends pretty happily despite all things, which is perhaps needed so that viewers can cope with everything they witnessed during the two hour and forty-five minute movie. As I think back, the violence, although at times extremely brutal was mostly tolerable. There were only two occasions (both involving the character Rorschach) where the action made me cringe. For the purposes of comparison, I would say that Sin City was a more difficult movie to watch. The hand-to-hand combat sequences were well done. And I'm always happy to see female characters (no matter how suggestively dressed) who can take on their fair share of the fighting, which the Silk Specter did. If you can cope with the movie's violence, the last issue is the graphic sex scene in the middle of the movie, set to Lenard Cohen's Alleluia. After that you just have to deal with the movie's main theme: the dark side of human nature. A piece of cake (to go with your tea), really.

I won't go into much detail on the plot, I wouldn't want to ruin anyone's viewing experience, but I would like to briefly touch on the story's setting: 1985, although an alternate reality to what we know. Richard Nixon is in his forth (or was if fifth?) term, America won the Vietnam war and the Dooms Day clock is at four minutes to midnight. Definitely not a happy place to be. For some reason the fact that it's set in 1985 amuses me, I think it's something about the fashions. The characters are dressed in hideous corduroy sports coats and wear enormous-rimmed glasses it's great and terrible at the same time. There are also all kinds of other interesting 1980s references such as computers equipped with the original MAC OS, clips of movies playing on television (such as Mad Max) and some of the music choices. Actually, the sound track was pretty awesome, it included: Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkle, the afore mentioned Lenard Cohen, Wagner and I think some Mozart as well.

According to Andrew the plot line was kept close to the comics (he just finished reading them). Many of the scenes and dialogue come directly out of the original material, although some of the side-stories have been cut to keep the movie manageable. Apparently the ending has been changed slightly as well, although the changes don't seemed to have affected Andrew's enjoyment of the movie. According to what I've read, the author Alan Moore, has totally disavowed all connection to the movie and in his opinion it's an unfilmable story. Maybe a true retelling isn't possible, I don't know, I haven't read the comics yet, but I'd say the movie was a fine adaption.

All in all, as long as you can tolerate the things I mentioned above (the violence and sex) and you don't mind dwelling on human darkness for while, you'll probably like the movie. We'll definitely be purchasing a copy when it comes out on DVD.



1 comment:

Lisa said...

I'm glad you liked it, now I can't wait to see it!