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.
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.
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.