Friday, April 17, 2009

Watchmen: Why so late to bother and comment?

When news that “Watchmen” was in production hit, the waters stirred and the classic comic book awakened forgotten worship and grounded cults. Months before the theatre release fans, including me, felt like caged animals, waiting on the prowl for the long waited grilled stake. After the movie was released there was a title wave of comments, reviews and more talk on the matter than ever.

I found it unnecessary to mirror the reviews and opinions of most of those with blogs and the ability to use a keyboard correctly, so I waited until I also had the opportunity to watch the animated straight to video “Tales of the Black Freighter” and the fictitious documentary about the first super hero team the Minutemen called “Under the Hood”. Watching them almost in sequence, all in the period of one or two weeks, I know feel better equipped to voice an opinion on how well Hollywood managed to adapt the comic book series. And for the better part of the three productions I am satisfied.

“Watchmen” worked relatively well with quite big successes such as Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Jackie Earle Haley doing justice their given characters, respectively The Comedian and Rorschach. Dr. Manhattan comes off quite believable and realistic due to the incredible CGI work involved in the production as a whole, bringing spectacular visuals and gruesome massacres into life without feeling like in a cheap video game. Important for me was that the movie carried the spirit, the dry grimness and certain despair the graphic novel was loaded with and in that department almost everything checked out. As much as I am appreciated to the director Zack Snyder for holding tightly to the written word in the comics, there had to be some tweaking, since fully transferring a story from one medium to another is not entirely possible without some sacrifice to approach. Here I am approaching the lengthy flashbacks, which prolonged the movie unnecessary and skewed attention. Adam at the Wertzone says pretty much the same of what I think of the movie as a whole and in longer, though I wish to disagree on the level of violence. Yes, what people will see and have seen was violent, cruel and a bloodbath given the ability to splash from all sides, but as a person, who can’t be easily disturbed and enjoys slaughters I am all for. I am also cheering for the profanity, sex scenes and the fluorescent male nudity Dr. Manhattan exhibits, simply because this is a film for adults and as such pulling it to the end in order to make a point is vital. And trust me there is a point in there for everything, if you read the comic book.

Now that we covered the big time movie event, I will move down to the shorter pieces, which came as sweet surprise bonuses to me, since I knew full well that “Under the Hood” and “Tales of the Black Freighter” and would never be incorporated in the bulging mass “Watchmen” already is. And that would have been a shame, since both stories within a story were integral parts to the world and a way to foreshadow what was about to happen in the main story itself to a degree.

“Tales of the Black Freighter” looked fantastic animated and was adapted easily due to it shortness. The artwork portrayed some of the more gruesome and dark scenes I have yet to see, not necessarily because they dealt with corpses, but because they were ominous and also the attention to details added to that build up. I don’t recall much of the soundtrack, but I can testify that casting Gerard Butler to voice the main character was definitely the right thing to do. I wouldn’t have imagined a mad sailor sounding anything but Gerard Butler. All in all it was a decent extra.

“Under the Hood” comes off as any documentary, a tad boring with the sterile interviews and old vintage photos and testaments, but when you do have superheroes to discuss it becomes more lively. I am not a big fan of documentaries. They act as natural sleeping pills for my brain and nothing can change that, but despite that predicament I am satisfied from the experience as a whole. Carla Gugino, Stephen McHattie, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Matt Frewer do a moderately good job along with the scriptwriters to take the text written in the provided chapters in the comic book along with other known information from the comic book and turn it into an interview based movie.

So these were my own thoughts on the whole parade of releases and if you are interested in some other thoughts then you might head to Adam [“The Wertzone”] or The Book Smugglers and their extra long take on the movie. I also would recommend seeing the movie from its more symbolic side with the review of Tod Newton.


T.D. Newton said...

Hey, thanks for the linkage. Hope it doesn't spark any additional arguments about the nature of humankind, or maybe I do heheheh...

daydream said...

I don't really think there will be much more speculation on the matter. Most people have probably said all they could have though of. After all the brain needs some recharging in the idea department. :)

Carl V. said...

I'm looking forward to a big complete dvd set with all of this coming out someday, as I'm sure it eventually will. Glad to know I'll enjoy the other 2 films.

daydream said...

Compared to the movie they are not as spectacular, but have been given life in an appropriate manner.

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