Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Luols Dong Arts and Entertainment: Watchmen

Ah, the Watchmen film.  I don't even know where to start with this one.  

Anyone going to see this movie will probably fall into one of two groups:  People who loved the original Watchmen comics from 1985, and will be really fucking pissed off if they even slightly mess it up, and then people who just want to see a good movie and be entertained.  I sort of fall into category 1 (hence going to see it opening weekend), but it don't matter: Watchmen falls short of the mark on both counts.  Possible spoilers below, so watch the fuck out.  

Watchmen was helmed by "visionary" director Zack Snyder (300), whose entire career consists of 1) reading comics, and then 2) making films that look exactly like the goddamn comics.  So, not surprisingly, Watchmen sticks pretty closely to the original visually, even mimicking the angles and lighting of Dave Gibbons' artwork from the original series.  Snyder even brought Gibbons out of semi-retirement to storyboard the few parts that weren't already in the comics.  "Visionary" my ass.  

But it's not that easy -- since the Watchmen movie has been in development, many involved have called the project "unfilmable," and that's no bullshit.  Even though the movie is almost 3 hours long, there's still a lot of material from the books that didn't make it onto the screen.  These range from the excusable (the Black Freighter side-story, for instance) to "what the fuck??" (the cooler part of Rorscach's origin is somehow missing).  The plot has been cut down to the point where some things don't even make sense, because the back stories aren't there to fill you in.  Oh, and then there's that whole matter of completely changing the ending. No wonder series writer/creator Alan Moore disassociated himself from the movie.  I feel like there will eventually be an extended "directors cut" DVD that might put some of these parts back.  It'll probably be about 9 hours long.

Thankfully, Dr. Manhattan's gigantic blue penis is on constant display throughout the film.  How often do you get to type the words "gigantic blue penis?"  Also the Night Owl character looks frighteningly like my dad circa 1978 (minus a few pounds).  

Silk Spectre lives out one of Gepetto's sexual fantasies. 

In short, you have a film that will piss off the diehard Watchmen fans/geeks, and probably won't make sense to anyone else.  Some of the visuals are pretty spectacular, and I will admit that the new ending makes slightly more sense than the original.  But be warned that if you are part of the Cult of Watchmen, this film approaches the sacrilegious.  And if you just want a fun night at the theater with the girlfriend, prepare yourselves for an eyeful of blue radioactive schlong.