Sunday, March 08, 2009


Friday Movie Review (quite late): Watchmen

Watchmen is supposedly the best comic book (or series of 12 DC comic books) ever written (and drawn). I have no first hand knowledge. Watchmen is certainly a long ass movie but is it a good one? Sadly, no, but that doesn't mean it's unwatchable. Quis custodies spectat? People who had read the comics in the late '80s thought it was pretty faithful to the 'book' until the end where it was different but probably better.

It certainly is chock full of good looking people (except for Rorschach) and even though there is way too much male nudity, there is enough of the main female visible to satisfy one's prurient interest--she is one good looking Swede. Crudup looks pretty much the same blue but his body is enhanced, somehow. The bad guy in Hard Candy is the most likable character, Nite Owl II, who gets the girl, and the incredible Matthew Goode, who was so good in The Lookout, is the not so difficult to figure good guy/bad guy here, Veidt.

The other good thing was the music: All good songs even Leonard Cohen's (although it was the weakest) and you got to hear nearly all of them with no dialogue over them. All good. And I thought the alternative reality caused by the existence of the 'super' heroes was exceptionally well done. Nixon and Kissinger, together to the end. Obviously, the writer of the comic was as convinced as I was in mid-late 80 that a catastrophic nuclear war between us and the USSR was inevitable and nigh. Thank God, or perhaps Ronald Reagan, we were both wrong. However, being absolutely sure that we were mostly all going to die in a nuclear war is essential, I think, to getting the piece. It is nearly impossible to resurrect those thoughts now. The real history of 1989-90 makes the central concept of Watchmen a quaint wrong turn in prediction/retrospection. We almost certainly will see nuclear war between Iran and Israel (or perhaps India and Pakistan first) but it will not be the 'back to the stone age' thing nuclear combat toe to toe with the Russians would have been when we together had about 80,000 nuclear weapons. Now we only have about 10,000 each and a President who would not use them under any circumstances. Il n’y a pas d’enemi à gauche ou à Islam. But I see I am getting too political for this comic book movie, and there has been entirely too much French in this review.

The real problem is that it plays just like a series of cells. There is no real arc of a story, just a series of images on the screen. Nice images usually, but without much emotional heft. You don't really like anyone but Rorschach, testament to Jackie Earle Haley's abilities to be tough as nails. Really, it was all quite pointless and not so cool a journey as to be worthwhile. The ending was incredibly weak even in the 'book' and somehow even lamer here (although without the faux aliens). I'm glad I saw it just for the shared social experience, and don't' get me wrong, I enjoy a traumatic compound fracture of the elbow as much as anyone, but it really is not much of an improvement on 300, director Zack Snyder's earlier comic book to movie effort.


You really should use appropriate hyphenation, Roger. I'm still not sure if "Watchmen" is a long-ass movie, or a long ass-movie.
Either way actually works.
I pretty much agree. Music selection: good. Acting: Mostly bad. Eye Candy: good (except for multiple blue Penii on screen (and I will pluralize Penis however I damn-well please)). Plot: lacking. Opening sequence: Brilliant.

Although the more I thought about it, the more I decided that the comic book ending was better...if only because Ozymandias created an external threat which the Soviets and US could unite against...rather than Dr. Manhattan as in the film; an internal threat in which the end makes little sense at all considering he was an American (which logically would have brought retaliation from the Soviets).

Anyway, having never really lived consciously through the Cold War, I cannot speak to the Nuclear Paranoia. But do remember that the author was British. All they seemed to do during the Cold War was sit back and piss themselves.

As far as who starts the first big Nuclear War...I'll take India and Pakistan at 1.5/1 odds.

--Timmer (from Wednesday night Trivia)
Agree. You are much more cynical about India Pakistan than I am. Perhaps the three real wars they have waged since 1948 is a clue to the future, after all, but I'm not sure Kashmir, as pretty as it is, is worth several hundred million dead. I'll comment on your site as well about the British in the late 80s vis a vis, nuclear war.
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