Sunday, March 08, 2009

"You're Locked In Here With ME."

2009, Zack Snyder

A few years ago, I picked up a certain graphic novel. People had been telling me for ages that I had to read it, and after finding out that it was by the same guy who wrote V For Vendetta, I finally dove in. What I read was disturbing, beautiful, thought-provoking, fearless, and unlike anything I'd ever read regarding the idea of the 'Superhero'. So, naturally, any and all film attempts were going to gravely disappoint me, right?

Happily, wrong. Very very very wrong.

Watchmen is the story of two generations of masked heroes, set in an alternate 1985 in which said heroes are now thought obsolete and the world is on the brink of nuclear war. Someone is (seemingly) killing off the retired heroes one by one, but upon delving into the murders, a much deeper plot is discovered, a plot to create world peace via an act of unprecedented violence. If you've read the graphic novel, then you already know the story and that it is a grim, raw and unforgiving setting, something I was convinced would be lost under the sheen of Hollywood marketing. It wasn't.

This is not what I would consider a mainstream film in the slightest, as I said in my lj, if you're looking for your run-of-the-mill, mass-produced epic Superhero film, this 'aint it. It's violent and serious and requires thought. And that is exactly why the story is so great. It asks hard questions of the viewers/readers, questions regarding human nature, why we do what we do, and if peace really is a concept that humanity at large can grasp and maintain. I'm noticing critics (usually the ones that already hold themselves on a high horse of intellectual authority...exactly the sort one can imagine Alan Moore was sticking his tongue out at while writing) are rolling their eyes at the film's attempts at social commentary, but they're missing the point. It's not Zack Snyder who's making these points, the dialogue was all written over 20 years ago. One of my friends put it best when she said that this film felt like Snyder's love letter to the graphic novel. As if he said, "Look guys!!! I made this pretty thing based on this other pretty thing we all really really love! LOOK! IT'S THE MOST AWESOME COMIC BOOK EVER!"

That said! Overall, I loved the styling of the film. I'll be honest, as much as I love the graphic novel, I hated the art, truly. I get the point of it though, instead of dazzling you with beautiful graphics, you were supposed to be mentally translating a very raw story, thus the art was raw and minimalist (and the women all look like men, only with boobs). Thankfully, on film, it's much different. The costumes are beautiful, the sets are moody and perfect.

As for things I liked less, mainly it would be how that same stylized look spilled over into the violence and sex. Then again, this IS the same guy who directed 300, with all of it's exhaustingly over-done slo-mo. The stylized fight scenes worked for that film though, they are less effective in Watchmen, especially if you're familiar with the comic. Such a raw, straight-forward story doesn't need it's fight scenes all glossed up MTV-style, but this IS the movie business. The same with the sex scenes...I'm not a prude, but it's the same thought: Glossy porny scenes don't serve this story at ALL, other than to throw breasts at all the fanboys. But again, this just reminds us that awesome as the director is, he's still 300-guy. Also, and this less affected me as it affected the theater at large, but keeping Dr. Manhattan nude for much of the film was, I feel, a mistake. Yes it was true to the comic, but the difference is that the art, as I said, is very minimalist in the comic. After your initial "Oh, he's naked" moment, you just don't notice it! It's like seeing a statue while you're reading, there's nothing explicit about it at ALL. On film, however, it takes you right out of the scene, because people are snickering while serious conversations are happening. I'm a mature viewer. Humanity as a whole is not.

As for the so-called 'Big Change' to the ending, I liked it. I thought it worked, was prudent, and was probably much easier to translate onto film than the original twist would have been. Seeing as the rest of the film was almost a frame for frame copy of the original material, I couldn't be happier. This is not a film for everyone, certainly. But it is an important film.

Now, clothes!
I won't throw all of my recent
Thrifty finds at you all at once,
I wouldn't want to run out of material :D

Blegh, the light is terrible.
But that's okay, as all I really
want to show off is that Candie's top!
It is very shiny, and in great condition.
Kind of outside of my usual
aesthetic, but very va-va-voom.
I figured a certain fellow would appreciate.

Also, not my usual.
But only 3 dollars for Candie's heels,
and they are PURPLE!
They kill my feet brutally...
And I love them :D

Not thrifted, but no less madly in love with.
Oh so wedgey and white!

Thrifted dress.
I am madly in love with it!
Especially the print, which I find terribly whimsical.
Also, I did not feel like showing my face today.

The tights are new also.
I think I have more tights now
than I have skirts to wear over them...

And then Just Me, yesterday,
In my Doctor Who chucks
and my Owliest outfit, right before Watchmen :D

Have a lovely weekend, my loves!

~ Amy


Anonymous Dylan Demasi said...

Am glad you liked it! But now I must comment, haha.
-First on the Doc nude thing, first time yes, you notice it, but have to say on second viewing my eyes didn't notice it and I give Zack some credit for keeping him nude.
-I Disagree Zack isn't making any points. And there were a good share of dialogue changes. And that leads me into my next one.
-The sex scene on Archie. Although it could of been a few seconds shorter, I think it actually was well done and drove home Dan's character, as does the little lustful/sexual smiles him and Laurie do before and after each fight. If fact, I think it made me get the guy, better then the graphic novel did.
-I think the fight at the beginning makes sense, The Comedian would take a while to beat. And was rather brutal. I think the fights in the alley and prison scene(which was ripped from OLDBOY yes) again fit the characters personally I think. And the ending fight made sense to me. In the comic Rorschach tried once and thought about twice attacking Adrian and then just sat around listening to the monologue. I don't buy that, I think him and Night Owl repeatedly attacking fits and works better.
-I hope your as excited as I am for the directors cut thats 25 mins longer and the the ultimate cut that puts the Tales of the Black Freighter back in.

-"I'm not locked in here with you." Possibly my favorite adapted scene from any comic ever.


4:27 AM  
Anonymous Dylan Demasi said...

Also (sorry I could talk about this for a long time haha) I think its funny both our reviews start the same way.

4:29 AM  
Blogger losile said...

I think it was the over-use of slow-mo that really annoyed me, (maybe because I was already ready to hate it?), I liked that the violence was characteristically brutal, but I think the slo-mo only made sense with Adrian.

You have made me give a little more leeway with the Archie scene though, you're right about Dan and the scene in his house just made me smile XD Still, gah, over-dramatic and way too long.

...I think we may possibly maybe be nerds. :D

4:50 AM  
Blogger LNA said...

Hey Amy that last picture of you in jeans is one of your best. All the pics are nice of course. You just seem very comfortable with the camera in this pic.

5:12 AM  
Blogger losile said...

Thanks, mommy :D Prolly because I took it for the husband ;)

5:21 AM  
Blogger Adam Cecil said...

I'm glad that you, as a fan of the comic, liked it. Those the reviews that I want to read. But it's funny, because all of the fans' reviews all have different bones to pick with the director. So I still have no idea whether or not I will enjoy this film.

5:53 AM  

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