Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Adrian Veidt Probably Forwards All His Chain Letters

After taking a lot of time to think deeply about "Watchmen" so that I could write a competent review of the movie, I found another part of the movie that bothered me, and it occurs in the comic book as well.

Adrian Veidt is supposedly the world's smartest man in the "Watchmen" universe. He tricked, more or less, the whole world into not killing themselves. Like his idol, Alexander of Macedonia, Veidt excelled at thinking outside of the box, thus allowing him to "solve" great riddles and problems (like stopping nuclear holocaust). I mean, all the proof is in the comic to back that Veidt could've quite possibly have been the smartest man in the world, or at least he was really REALLY intelligent.

What bothers me the most is that Veidt, for all his intelligence, was not able to stop Nite Owl II and Rorschach from hacking into his computer files, which did not become his downfall, but did lead to a confrontation and the forced revealing of his dasterdly plot. Why was Adrian Veidt not able to stop Nite Owl II and Rorschach? BECAUSE HE MADE A REALLY REALLLY REEAALLLYYY EASY AND OBVIOUS COMPUTER PASSWORD.

Sorry, it might just be me, but seriously? That's it? "Ramses II"? How did he think no one was going to figure out his password? I mean for God's sakes, it's the other name for his superhero name! Did he really sit as his office desk pondering what he should lock his computer, which held all his secret files and plans for world survival despite ethical issues, and then go, "Aha! I have it! How about the alternate name for my superhero identity?! No one will figure that one out!"

Computer security might be difficult if you're dealing with world-reknowned or experienced hackers, etc., but it should never be as easy as that. He didn't even use a number (not a real number). The "II" was achieved by typing 2 upper case 'I's. If had made it "Ramses2", it would've been a better password than the one he choose. Fck man. The password to log into my online home water bills website is harder than that; and I'm not even mentioning UVA's computing account passwords or my Navy NKO password. You'd think Adrian Veidt, world's smartest man, would be a bit more versed in computer security.

In his defense though (as I learned in AP English 11, you have to present counter argument), he probably never thought that someone would make it into his office unnoticed. Or maybe he had already completely retired his business (since the building looked deserted upon Rorschach and Nite Owl II's arrival, as indicated by Dreiberg) and didn't really care about the information in his computer anymore. But then again, that sounds stupid. Even if you're not going to use the information or office anymore, you'd destroy records and files of highly confidential material.

Maybe he was so sure of his success that he just didn't give a damn?

Still, that's stupid.

Adrian Veidt was stupid. I'd probably be able to hack into his facebook account and change his status to "Adrian Veidt is the stupidest man in the world".

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Another point that I saw that MIGHT be attributed to the fast pace of the script was actor's mailing in their lines. There were a few scenes/actors that just seemed... amateur. Like I was watching a high school audition for the spring show. It just seemed as though lines were spoken just to be spoken; because that's what they say in the comic and that's what they need to say to move the story along. It's as if I didn't believe they were acting at all; I didn't believe that they were their character. It's like the director told them, "Here's your line. You're angry. Action!" and so they said the line "angrily". You didn't see an angry character that was part of this story. You saw a person make a statement. "Angrily". The most blatant examples of this were the Jupiters, both Sally and Laurel. Everyone else was good (The Comedian, Rorschach, Nite Owl II, Dr. Manhattan to a degree).

Which now brings me to my one complaint about a casting. MALIN AKERMAN. Smoking hot, but a terrible actress. I was already skeptical when I heard the announcement that she was going to be Silk Spectre II, and she proved it. Seriously though, the only times I was convinced by her "acting" was when she was filming her multiple sex scenes. I believed her then, BOTH times. Her first scene (Rorschach pays a visit to Rockefeller) just cemented it for me. UGH. I hoped that the following scenes would just get better, but every time she "acted" in a scene, one thought kept popping into my head: Jessica Alba, the Invisble Woman. I think it's safe to say that Jessica Alba is a TERRIBLE actress, particularly as the Invisble Woman, and Malin Akerman's portrayl of Silk Spectre II was right in line with Alba. THANK GOD she got naked (though it wasnt the first time she's done it; "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" and "The Heartbreak Kid") because that was her only redeeming part in the movie.

Something stupid was your acting in this movie. Though I don't know who I thought would've fit the bill...

The music. The music, the music, the music. HOLY CRAP. I understand that it's a "period piece" so to speak, and they kept true to that by playing pop songs from the 70s and 80s, but GEEZ was the timing off. It seemed like they played up-beat, up-lifting songs in what I thought would be some of the most gloomy and solemn scenes. It totally ruined the mood of the scenes for me and just had me thinking, "Why the hell would you play this???" Even Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyries" playing during the Vietnam scene where Doc Manhattan is 50 ft. tall and exploes a bunch of VC seemed a bit overdone in a very campy way. Gotta say, not impressed with the score of the movie, in terms of where they used pop songs. But kudos to Peter Bretter or whoever was in charge of creating the "ominous tones"; they at least seemed in line with the mood of the scenes.

This one goes out to Dayday because I remembered commenting on this to Laurie in the theater, but forgot to write it down in my notes. It refers to the scene Dayday mentioned was missing. I'm sure you all caught indications of the scene though, right? The bar scene where Rorschach and Nite Owl II go shakedown to figure out who put out the hit on Veidt? Whilst Rorschach takes care of business, you see Dreiberg turn around and survey the bar, and low and behold, a knot top is sitting at the table in front of him, back turned to the masks, drinking his sorry drink. To me, it seemed as though perhaps the Hollis Mason scene/aspect of the movie was removed due to time constraints or maybe budgetary constraints, but seeing that scene definitely made me think that Snyder originally planned to have the Hollis Mason scene in the movie. Of course, it could've just been Snyder paying the utmost detail to the scenes in the book and translating them as such on the big screen, but I think they had to take Hollis Mason's grand finale out of the final cut.

So I went out and bought Wizard magazine with Rorschach on the cover about 2 weeks before the movie came out, and almost shit myself (well, not really because when I was reading this particular article, I already was taking a shit. With my pants off. On a toilet.) when I read that the ending would be changed. I remember seeing "Wanted" for the first time, and witnessing the major revisions done to the movie that altered the original comic book story. It basically COMPLETELY changed the movie, making it almost nearly no longer synonymous with the comic. It wasn't a bad movie, but it was no longer the comic book story. I feared the same for the "Watchmen", but I actually received the alterations in "Watchmen" much better. It seemed to make some sense (maybe not... wouldn't the rest of the world just blame the U.S. for all of it? Maybe I'm just cynical and pessimistic about human nature and compassion in a fictional 1985) and cleaned up the ending nicely without being an all-out farce of the comic book ending. I can't really say much without spoiling directly, but I ACCEPT the altered ending to the movie.

Another point for Dayday: the "action". When I read what you wrote on Gian's blog about the guys sitting behind you, I thought, "What the fck are those guys talking about???" You're probably correct in your assessment of their "Watchmen" knowledge. I assumed "action" meant "fight scenes", and if I'm correct in my assumptions, there was a WHOLE LOT more action in the movie than in the comic book. And I must say, I was pretty impressed with the fight scenes. They seemed well choreographed and gave you just enough to really enjoy them. Not like watching the fight scenes in the "X-Men" movie trilogy. That might not be fair since all the characters in "Watchmen" sans Dr. Manhattan have no powers and thus must fight solely using punches, kicks, etc. while the X-Men are just about REQUIRED to use their powers in a fight, thus constrained by the movie-making technology of the time to visualize that... but still, I think I make a point. I thought the fight scenes in "Watchmen" the movie were great. The one area the movie can be given a higher grade than the comic, though again, perhaps unfair due to being different story telling mediums.

I was semi-bothered by this. The part where Laurie Jupiter is remembering her childhood growing up and her mom and "father" are fighting, Sally Jupiter goes, "It was one time!" The really struck a chord with me. For one thing, THAT ISN'T HER LINE! For another thing, the delivery of the line seemed to lack... the "correct" emotion... which I think is the way the line was delivered in the comic. Again I say, I'm a slight comic book purist. So sue me.

I was also semi-bothered by the crowd during Rorschach's infamous "None of you get it..." line. I preface that with it's my favorite line in the whole comic book, so to hear it on screen and feel what I felt when I read the comic distracted by the laughter of the rest of the movie-viewing audience, I was a little heartbroken. Stop laughing at the wrong parts, people!

Final note: Holy crap, I couldn't believe how many parents took children that were NOT teenagers to this movie. Simply knowing what this story was, I was gasping when I saw parents leading their elementary school-aged children into the movie theater, probably thinking they were just going to see another "comic book" movie. Then I checked the rating of the movie. IT WAS RATED R. WHO BRINGS AN 8 YEAR OLD CHILD TO AN R-RATED MOVIE. I hope your children grow up with an unusual fear of superhuman blue weiners.

Also, small complaint that I'm too tired to really flesh out: the reveal of the Comedian's lineage by Dr. Manhattan to Silk Spectre II on the moon was COMPLETELY RETARDED. It sucked, plain and simple. It was overly blatant and that whole scene was terrible and devoid of the raw and real emotions the scene contained in the comic book. I know they couldn't and didn't want to (maybe) be as cryptic with that reveal as the comic book was (I mean, people reading the comic for the first time asked me to confirm what was hinted at by the scene in the comic book), but it still could have been done much better. Boo you, Zack Snyder and crew for that scene.

These are the things that Laurie was upset with in the movie. She read the book before she watched it, so she was well-informed (especially with me filling in whatever gaps or questions she might have had, heh heh..) and enjoyed the movie except for the following:

-Rorschach and Nite Owl II had to walk on foot to Karnak after Archie crashed because of a lack of HOVER BIKES. Honestly though, hoverbikes might've been her favorite part of the whole comic. I think the first thing she mentioned to me when she finished the story was that she wanted a hoverbike.

-She was also bothered by the fact that they didn't show Veidt's lush garden in the middle of Antarctica. Laurie really likes tropical places and was upset they didn't have it in the movie.

That's it, that's my review, complete with all the little points I wanted to call attention to. I tried my best not to put in any spoilers for those that haven't seen the movie yet. But if you haven't seen the movie yet and anything I said was a spoiler for you, you probably didn't read the comic book and probably, maybe are confused by or unsure of the points I made in this review. So what's the solution? GO READ THE COMIC BOOK.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Looked Down and Whispered "No..".... Spelled 'Y-E-S'

As predicted, I went and watched "Watchmen" on Saturday morning before my NoVAsion. I'll tell you, that Friday was a tough day to get through. I got home from class at around 1300, 1400 maybe, and it took all my power to not just up and go to the theater then, but I wanted to wait for Laurie to watch it. Why didn't we go on Friday night when she got off work? Because it was too important. I couldn't let the experience of watching this movie be tarnished by rude teenagers et. al. who had nothing better to do on a Friday evening than hang out in the theaters (and by hang out, I mean talk to their friends, make noise, text, talk on cell phones, etc.; basically completely disrupt the movie). It really was that important to go when I knew there'd be the most minimal of distractions. I am a fanboy.

I suppose the movie is as good as it could've been. By that, I mean that I did enjoy the movie (high B, maybe a low A), but with all the advances in technology particularly in movie making, I wouldn't know if this movie could've been better made. Plus, I had a couple issues with casting and the such, which I will get to shortly.

As a fanboy, you're ALWAYS excited to see any comic story you love brought to life on the big screen. It's an unconditional excitement (note: this does not include movies such as "Daredevil", "Elektra", "Catwoman", "Ghost Rider", etc. ). But as a PURIST fanboy (which I find myself leaning more closely to versus "doesn't care what liberties Hollywood takes with the character/story"), you fear what Hollywood might do to make the story more appealing to the mainstream (instead of the original fans) and/or NEED to do to make the story work on the big screen, a much different medium from a comic book. Just ask Alan Moore when he was consulted about drafting a "Watchmen" screenplay back in 1986. In regards to Moore's opinion about "Watchmen" jumping into a different medium than it's original, I tend to agree though that didn't stop me from enjoying the movie.

Ugh. Gag me with a spoon, Nick Cage. You suck.

I skip the overall view (this review isn't for non-fanboys who don't know and perhaps have never read/heard of the comic "Watchmen") in favor of the specific points I wanted to discuss after leaving the theater.

When I first heard the movie was 2 hours and 40-ish minutes long, I thought, "That seems practical, seeing how the original story went into such great depth and detail." My girlfriend didn't seem as "accepting" of the running time as I did. After seeing the movie though, I feel as though the movie was rushed. Essentially, the movie just ran from scene to scene to scene, without a pause or a break for the audience to swallow and fully digest the motives, thoughts, themes, and emotions each scene was meant to invoke. I can't help but think that a person who has no prior experience/knowledge of "Watchmen" before watching the movie would feel lost during the viewing. I think I was able to fully grasp and feel every scene despite it rushing through the scenes because I have a previous relationship with the story. I know how the original is supposed to flow; I know the emotions associated with each scene, and their importance, therefore, I am able to fill in the story gaps and fill in the emotions that the movie seemed to completely rush past. The lack of minor characters and their contributions to the story and it's mood, though a necessity for the movie, contributed to this.

An example would be the impending nuclear holocaust thanks to the tensions of the Cold War. Yes, the movie mentions it over and over again, putting focus on it, but did you really feel the weight of that plot? Did you feel doomed whenever a character asked another, "Do you really think we're going to nuclear war?" Did you experience an escalation of fear every time a newspaper or news channel in the movie gave you a piece of the puzzle, foreshadowing WWIII (ie: Russia invading Afghanistan)? I do every time I read the comic, but I didn't during the movie, and that's coming from a "background" in "Watchmen". What more if I was a non-fan who was just taking in a new movie?

I suppose my major concern with that is because the movie leaves me empty and devoid of these emotions and their weight, I believe the non-fan will feel the same or even more apathetic, and that apathy will diminish the magnitude of "Watchmen". For fanboys, "Watchmen" is the Holy Grail. We all know it; we all know it's significance and treasure it as such because we've felt the immensity of the story. Make a "Watchmen" movie without those feelings, and people who don't know it will leave the theater asking themselves, "That was it? So why is this comic so important again? Why was everyone making such a big deal out of this story/movie?" And that would be a travesty.

Thank YOU, Alan Moore for this comic book Holy Grail.

More to come in the second installment, including: actors mailing in their lines, Malin Akerman IS Jessica Alba, the musical score, Niteowl II and the knot top, change of the ending, action/fight scenes, bringing children to "Watchmen", and crowd laughing at my favorite line.