Went and saw Watchmen last night at the Century 25 in Anaheim at the 12:05am screening. I was teaching so Rene and I got there at around 10:45pm. Our friends, Dean and Alex, had gotten there hours earlier to wait in line, but ended up drinking at the Lazy Dog Cafe instead. So when Rene and I got there the line was REALLY LONG!
Fortunately we did not have to wait in that line. Turns out, due to a bit of mass confusion and a “sheeple” mentality no one actually checked which line they should be standing in past a certain point, so all four of us were able to get a great place in line, all without actually cutting in front of anyone. It was cool.
Originally I had intended to add pictures of us in line and at the theater, but we forgot to take pictures. Then I was going to do stick figure drawing of the line portion, but I really don’t have the time for that. Maybe next time.
So we got into the theater and saw the trailers. Of all the one’s we saw my favorite was for The Hangover. Damn that movie looks funny! I felt bad for the Seth Rogan trailer that came after, it had so much to live up to.
Watchmen: I thought that it was a great adaptation of a comic book that I was pretty sure would be near impossible to film. Here’s the short version for people that don’t want spoilers:
Good movie! Really captures the spirit and feel of the book. A little hard to follow for people who don’t know the story – at least that’s what I was told. The movie is long.
Here There Be Spoiler!!!!!!
I’m writing this review assuming you’ve read Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. If you haven’t then you should! Get it here!
The opening fight where The Comedian is murdered set a great bar for the action in the rest of the movie. Being a comic reader for literally decades I take it for granted that heroes are good at what they do. You don’t really need justification as to how they manage to survive year after year fighting people that are determined to kill them. You just expect that the hero is going to survive because they have a book that needs to come out again next month. Even well-known brawlers like Captain America and Batman only need to spend a few panels to convince comic readers that they are good at what they do. One of my favorite parts of the movie as a whole were the fight scenes. I really got a visceral feel for how these people fight to stay alive. During the whole opening fight, even though I knew exactly how it would end, I was on the edge of my seat watching it all go down. I flinched when he went out the window and from that point on I was trembling with excitement!
As I mentioned in the short version, I was really pleased with how well the comic was adapted. The opening credit sequence that covered the whole history of super-heroes was concise and packed with information. I know there are little details I missed because there were several little details that I barely caught when I watched it the first time. Mr. Synder layered this movie just like Alan Moore layered the book. There are so many little things that gave me nerd-gasms, it’s impossible to list it all, but this leads to one of the biggest problems I can see with the movie – there’s an awful lot geek inside jokes. If you haven’t read the comic, like Rene, then there are things you just don’t get. Also, it’s a lot of information to try and keep straight. It is not a casual viewer movie.
Now I cannot put myself in the place of a person who hasn’t read the book. From the other reviews that I have read it seems to be pretty 50/50 good and bad. I think that this is a tell-tale sign of how much this movie was made for us geeks, which makes me nervous. The expectations on this film are HUGE! With both Iron Man and The Dark Knight doing so well last summer this film has the pressure of having to perform. If it doesn’t there will be plenty of people that will line up to talk about how it never should have been made and if it does work then, as much as it is already happening, comic properties – especially the older ones – will be bought until they are all optioned. I will turn all of my scripts into comics so that I can sell a few more movies. Regardless, if it isn’t accessible then people won’t see it and that would be a shame.
There are changes throughout the film where it differs from the book. The biggest of these is the ending. While I understood why the big squid had to be cut, I was also wondering what they would do instead. The solution was so simple and I really liked it – a lot. It tied up a few of the sub-plots that I thought I would miss. I didn’t.
I feel like this is getting a bit long so I’m going to jump into what I liked and what I didn’t.
What I liked:
– The fight scenes. I felt like each one was a fight for life and they were wonderfully graphic. If you had the job of super-hero this is how you would have to fight to survive.
– The attention to detail. I will have to watch this movie many times to catch it all.
– The effects. My disbelief was completely suspended.
– The love scene. Not for obvious reasons. I felt like it was treated with the same kind of passion as the fighting and was equivocally graphic. They fight hard, they play hard. I saw it as a metaphor for Night Owl’s love for his job. How he really came alive as a hero.
– The adaptation.
Now my complaints:
– Pretty geeky. Lots of inside jokes and details that the casual viewer might not catch. I.E. Bubastis – the cat with the horns. Not in much of the movie and then the audience is expected to care when she is killed in the end. That seemed hollow without seeing her more.
– Changing tone. The tone of the film changed sometimes from gritty to tongue in cheek. I am one of the people that felt that “Hallelujah” was not the greatest choice for the love scene.
– The end. After the whole conspiracy is revealed and Rorschach dies I was done. The movie was finished for me so seeing the Dan, Laurie and Sally ending – which was too long in my opinion – was totally anti-climactic.
OK, that’s how I feel about Watchmen. I look forward to your comments and any conversations that may arise.
See you tomorrow!