Friday, March 13, 2009

Who Watches The Watchmen? Matt Does.

I go way back with The Watchmen. I had first editions of each comic of the 12 volume series. Weekly circa 1986-7, I would ask my CBG (comic book guy, who was a near exact match for The Simpsons' CBG) "When does the next Watchmen get in?"

So, yeah, unlike the comic book hating douchebags at the New York Times and every other respectable publication that's a safe-haven for comic book hating douchebags, I really liked The Watchmen movie.

Why? Because it's just like the comic book (with a couple of exceptions, of course: no pirate story, no artists' colony, no giant squid). Nostalgia be damned, I liked it as much for its shortcomings as its faithful re-creation of the characters with whom I spent many, many afternoons in the comic book store.

So, yeah, the dialog is thin. (Which led me to believe that that's Alan Moore's main reason for "taking a stand" against films of his comic books. He knows that his dialog works well in comic books, but is clunky as fuck when spoken by actual people, even good actors like Patrick Wilson, let alone pasteboard like the chick and the weiner that plays Veidt.)
And, yeah, the characters lack depth--they're fucking comic book characters, costumed crime fighters--what the fuck do people expect...?
But it is so faithful to the comic book that it's a joy to watch. Which means it's cynical as hell. And violent. And kind of goofy as it's about cape-wearing superheroes. And there is a ton of glowing blue cock.
Veidt is creepier in the movie than in the book, even as he is acted in a manner that makes John Wayne look like Sean Penn in "I Am Sam" (however, the doll-hair he sported was a nice touch). And while Dr. Manhattan, Laurie, and The Owl all seem kind of plastic on screen (like Superman and cape-wearers ALWAYS do), Rorschach and The Comedian both come off as good as they did in the book. (And here's a subject for real discussion... the nature of maintaining one's ethics in a world where there are none makes for easily accessible characters on page and screen. Even as we abhor their violence, we are titillated and we respect their stand... why? Because holding on to one's ethics in a wildly unethical world is comical and befitting only of pure caricature.)
In the final analysis, I liked it because it was faithful to the comic book, which is basically the best comic book ever made (tied with Frank Miller's "Dark Night"). Yes, the Comedian shoots that pregnant Vietnamese woman (couple people left the theater: good--fuck 'em. Let them watch Spiderman 5). Yes, there is no giant squid, but the ending will surprise and please you. And, yes, lots and lots of glowing blue cock.
--Matt Casper

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1 comment:

  1. Matt - I agree completely. I just sat there in the theatre, mouth wide-open (drinking in the big blue cock juice, as it were) not believing how terrific and satisfying it was. The whirlwind opening, the fist-pumpingly exciting scene when Dan and Laurie are going to be mugged in the alley, Rorschach's line in prison, "I'm not locked in here with you, you're locked in here with me!" - It just fucking worked. My one complaint, if any, was Adrian. The guy was not a good actor. He costume was bad. His arctic fortress was cheap looking. I'm picking nits, however. And, I can give it no higher praise than to say that I plan to go see it in the theatre again. I haven't seen a movie in the theatre more than once since, probably, Raiders of the Lost Ark.