Submitted by CalamityJon on July 31, 2009 - 14:44
We rented The Watchmen last Friday night (as followers of my Twitter feed and my relentless agog may attest). I'm sort of loathe to actually talk about the movie as much as I'm excited to show off the fact that I made myself a personal-sized Watchmen pizza as an accopanying meal. The blood spot is on the wrong side. This pizza pie is therefore not canon. It is also anchovy and cheese. It is anchovy, cheese, and hold the canon.
Anyway, I'm loathe to talk about the movie itself, because while I thought it was pretty poorly done - I mean, beautiful to look at, though; it had that high-contrast, high-sat, high-def look that's so in vogue in art and fashion photography these days, there's nothing but good things to say about the cinematography - and while I'm confident that (for once, at least), I'll be spared the "Well I liked it because sometimes you just need to turn your brain off..." crowd, I'm afraid I'll encounter another popular crowd I've had to endure since 1985: The "Rorschach is SO BADASS" crowd.
But hey, the movie, in bullets:
- Beautiful cinematography, nice work on the sets
- It's pretty much inarguable that they neglected to address or even nod towards any of the larger themes of the source material and turned it into a - well - a super-hero movie
- The persistent slow-mo was oppressively obnoxious. If they'd added the music of Nico and some sailors passing by, they would have out-Wes Andersoned Wes Anderson.
- The acting was dog balls (favorite trainwreck: Malin Akerman failing to emote across from Carla Gugino in Billy Crystal's makeup from Princess Bride), and even worse the blocking was ridiculous (Say, Comedian, you were just stabbed in the face with a broken bottle, would you care to ... react to that? Walk around a little? Stumble?)
- The dialogue from the comic was stilted and the introduced dialogue sounded like video game cut-scenes, and overall about 90% of the dialogue was expositionary anyway. If 90% of your dialogue is expositionary, then perhaps it's time to cut some content.
- Aaaand a lot of the content that did make it into the movie just ... didn't need to be there, lots of scenes that ate up time but didn't add anything to the (barely, for god's sake) pared down story
- And the most emotionally evocative moment of the entire book? Turned into disaster porn.
It's inevitable that, when someone talked about a Watchmen movie before now, they'd opine that you'd have to do it as a lengthy television miniseries or series of films in order to "get everything in" (and, in fact, talking about the movie with folks, it hasn't been unusual to hear someone suggest that the subsequent and inevitable longer and longer cuts of this film will solve all of its problems, as though more wide swings and near-misses would save a ballgame).
I've expressed this opinion before, but "getting everything in" is not the point of an adaptation. If you want to experience The Watchmen with absolutely every line, panel and bit of source material included, then my suggestion is ... well, they already made a version with all the source material included, and you can buy it at most comic book shops.
The point of an adaptation is to adapt it not word-for-word, but through the lens of another creator. For better or worse, an adaptation is supposed to bring a new perspective to the source material - god love Robert Altman's "The Long Goodbye", you know?
(Personally, if I were outlining a dream Watchmen film, it would have as few actual appearances by the lead characters as possible, it would cast the Watchmen as shadows, and we'd get the story primarily from the perspective of Detectives Borquin and Fine, residing almost exclusively in the lives of the Bernards, of Josephine, Dr.Malcolm Long, Jenny Slater ... human relationships against the backdrop of these superhuman shenangians. The less-is-more approach ... )
ANYWAY, remember where I said I was sort of loathe to actually talk about the movie? Now I am fully loathed, well done me. All I really wanted to add was that one thing above everything else in the film stood out to me, and that was that young Walter Kovacs - the future Rorschach - is never, in the movie, physically abused. This is a WEIRD GODDAMN CHOICE, given how fundamental the violence was to defining Rorschach (and moreso, his emotional arc in the latter haf of the book, which Snyder predictably tossed out), and even moreso particularly given how lovingly Snyder had the assorted violence against the female characters rendered...
Right, so, in conclusion, I made a Watchmen pizza, just as in the source material.