Paul's Journal... Watchmen

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Paul's Journal... Watchmen

Postby Paul_Campbell on Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:11 pm


Paul's Journal... March 6th, 2009. Scotland.

Saw Watchmen today. Read Clive Barker's Galilee some years back: stunned and amazed... and strangely gutted: would never have joy of reading that book again for the first time.

Feel same way about Watchmen movie.

Movie in UK getting 4 out of 5 in most starred reviews. Yes. Agree. Movie flawed (was Nixon's nose really that big and fat?! 'Love scene' in Nite Owl airship made me cringe, choice of song didn't help) and yet - flaws add to it somehow: holds up a spotlight to its own absurdity of grown men and women dressing up in Hallowe'en costumes.

Wife working tonight. Went to movie alone. She liked 300, but I was not sure she would like Watchmen. I'll check it out first, I said; parts look good but whole might fall apart. "Is it like X-Men?" she asks. "That has lots of superheroes in it too." Laughed, because I love her and that just cracked me up. Oh, honey, you've no idea what you're in for. "No. It isn't like X-Men." Helps if already familiar with story. In interview director said, "Should Watchmen comes to the people, or should the people come to Watchmen?" This the movie does. You have to pay attention. Don't drink soda before or during: you have to take a piss break, you're screwed. Have no idea what is going on when you come back. Every snippet of dialogue. Every instance of a newsreader talking in the background. You have to read every poster, every newspaper headline. You have to pay attention.

Came out of cinema hall, and felt something never felt before: wanted to walk over to box office and buy another ticket right there and then. Wanted to hit a bar and knock back a drink. Did neither. Dazed, headed to train station, came home.

STATISTIC: In US Watchmen graphic novel sells average of 100,000 copies a year. Not bad for 20 year old comic. When movie is based on a book, sales of book go up - AFTER movie comes out. Watchmen graphic novel in US sold 1.5 million copies in 2008. Same number as previous 15 YEARS put together. All this BEFORE movie comes out. This very unusual. This NEVER happens. Who's Watching the Watchmen? Seems everyone is.

Is not like any other superhero movie. Not like any other movie. Amazed they got away with it. How did they get away with it?! 20 years they try to make it. After so many false starts (remember when Arnie - the now Governor of California - was going to be Dr. Manhattan?!) all anyone had right to expect was a movie that had nothing much to do with the comic. That's why I'm stunned: so faithful I cannot help thinking, How did they get away with it?

Even if you don't like movie, will still think to yourself, Well I definitely ain't never seen a movie like that before...

Visual style of movie feels like a comic book, whilst the brutality of its violence honours the irony of The Comedian's name: this is all a bad joke - me, you, this world's politicians, this petty thug whose face I'm smashing in, and yet ain't a one of us getting punished by the law for beating someone up cos we're wearing stupid costumes and that makes it all right.

Finished work at 2pm. Went to 3:30 showing. Movie has 18 years-of-age certificate restriction. Expected such an early showing to be fairly quiet. Cinema hall packed, mostly with college and uni students. There is cinema closer to me than one I went to. Next town over. Didn't go there. Bad. Seen TVs in electrical store with bigger screens. Took 30 minute train journey to city of Glasgow. Cineworld, Renfrew Street branch: screens spread over five very tall floors - officially world's tallest cinema. 18 screens. Screen 3 biggest. Went there. Seats 1000 people. 2 dozen speakers around the room. Screen almost as big as 6 eighteen wheeler semis parked 3 wide and 2 deep.

Did this add to experience? Yes. Will flaws of movie be more apparent on DVD with far smaller TV screen? Probably. People must see at cinema.

Nevertheless, movie makes The Dark Knight look like Iron Man with blue-black lighting.

Journal entry ends here.
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Re: Paul's Journal... Watchmen

Postby demorganakamark on Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:24 pm

Damn, so In a nutshell; you really like the movie?
"That which exists without my knowledge exists without my consent."
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Re: Paul's Journal... Watchmen

Postby prncsspwr on Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:18 am

wow Paul-I was already going to ignore mixed reviews and check this movie out for myself but now I'm excited about it again. Thanks!
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Re: Paul's Journal... Watchmen

Postby Paul_Campbell on Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:43 am

Got to thinking how the movie's flaws work in its favour, and laughed: all the short-comings reviewers singled out perversely enrich the experience -

- none of which, of course, were intentional on the director's part! But, then, Jack Snyder didn't direct this movie.

The Comedian character did:

One purpose of the movie's frequent slow-motion motif that I immediately noticed is that is gives the character Rorschach's voice-over room to breathe, whilst at the same time lending the movie its comic book look; and yet deliberately confounds your expectations by not being a comic superhero movie.

The violence is not meant to be realistic - the slo-mo effect makes sure of that, whilst simultaneously glorying in it because, hey, that's what you want, right? The Good Guys and The Bad Guys duelling it out? Sure you do, that's what Superhero™ Movies are all about. You like to hear the crack of bones breaking? Okay. We'll show you it too. We'll show you it in such a way that you feel it, with slo-mo effect to rub your nose in it. After all, that's what you want.

Hell, yeah, you better believe The Comedian (a thinly disguised 'Captain America') directed this movie -

A female protestor gets punched in the face without hesitation... by one of the 'Good Guys'. A pregnant woman gets shot at point-blank range... by one of the 'Good Guys'.

It you were to take The Dark Knight's premise of a 'gritty' superhero-movie-for-adults to its logical next level then Watchmen would be the result. Be careful what you ask for because you just got it.

And you thought The Phantom Menace 'raped your childhood'. You'll never look at Iron Man and Spiderman the same way again.

The Nite Owl character (a thinly disguised 'Batman') is so hung up he can't get it up with Silk Spectre (a thinly disguised 'Wonder Woman'). And yet later - after cracking some heads - ? No problem. That's what, now, makes the 'love scene' in the Nite Owl's airship so freakin' hilarious and appropriate for me: these people get off on beating up some poor schmucks in order that they might get it up and get it on. Even this is made blatant by the way the characters grin and mug at each other after fighting the Bad Guys: they're turned on by the violence they're dishing out and they're not ashamed to admit it. The song choice for that love scene? "Hallelujah" right enough! LOL!!! That's some serious screwed up Freudian shit right there...

The Comedian is definitely behind the lens of this movie, chomping on his cigar.

Critics point to the lack of experience in the unknown actress who plays Silk Spectre. Yet, unintentionally, that works in the character's favour: she has an out-of-her-depth naivety, only 'coming alive' when kicking ass. Dr Manhattan (a thinly disguised 'Superman') is so powerful that his intelligence has caused him to lose his ability to relate to his fellow man.

"God help us all," right enough as The Comedian says upon noticing this.

And the coup de grace of unintentional flaws which work in the movie's favour? The Osymandias superhero character who ultimately 'saves the world' is flat, bland and totally uninteresting.

Just like they say: bad guys are so much more interesting to play. And this movie makes its 'Good Guys' so flawed that you can't tell them from the 'Bad Guys'.

Watchmen doesn't 'update' the Superhero™ Movie so much as crush it beneath its boot.

Welcome to the world of post-Dark Knight.
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