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Watchmen movie

Posted at 21:38 on March 17th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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After the Spirit movie, you'd think I would have learned... but I simply refuse to become a pessimist. I'll always believe in the good in mankind. So I went to see the movie 'Watchmen'.

As a disclaimer: Although I do find the comic 'The Spirit' entertaining, I don't think it's a masterpiece - unlike Watchmen. So obviously, my expectations regarding this movie were very much higher.

However, I must say I didn't regret watching this one! I think I'll even buy it if it ever comes out on DVD (and not just this DRM ridden Blu-Ray crap). Few movies manage to keep me interested for over two hours, but in this one, I hardly noticed the time passing. That's a great sign!

While many people might say there was so much missing, this or that has been changed etc.... I say: The spirit (great pun, eh?) was there. The key points were there. They even took the time for most of the scenes on Mars (which I had feared would have been cut completely). I'll wait for Wandrell (or whoever else - I just only read that Wandrell disliked the movie, so bring it on) to voice his criticism first before I write a huge article about what I liked in the movie. Instead, I'll start it off with a few points I disliked. Mind you none of these spoilt the movie for me.

- The way Veidt / Ozymandias looked. No chin, unhealthy skin colour, very thin, strange haircut. A far cry from the heroic figure in the comic. And don't tell me it was a coincidence that they made him look like that. All the other characters looked very close to their counterparts - just he didn't.
- 'The Silk Spectre' wore a latex costume (right, nitpicking, but it really doesn't make any sense, sorry).
- Although I like each of these songs, the movie went overboard at least twice with its use of 80s pop ballads. First: Nena's 99 Red Balloons in a scene which is supposed to be basically awckward and maybe even disturbing. Second: Tears for Fears' Everybody Wants to Rule the World in the scene with the evil energy magnates. We get it. Really. No need for that song to play in the background.
- Richard Nixon's nose. No explanation necessary.

Only the first one I found really disturbing. The rest... oh well, doesn't really matter.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 21:57 on March 17th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I must say that when I went to see Watchmen I had too low expectations. But never thought I would get bored so quickly. Some of the changes, like the opening they did, help to create the background, but it all feels badly done, I don't think I would have found much sense if I hadn't read the comic.

Also, but that is usual nowadays, the gratoutious sex (that hallelujah made people laugh) and violence (they even break walls). The worse of these two is the added violence, they are supposed to be normal people, most of them. I don't see the comedian breaking walls and chimneys, makes people confused about if they are real superheroes or not.

Veidt looks weird, true. Lacks the übermensch look (maybe not übermensch, as I think he is based on Ayn Rand's characters, but didn't read her books), and lacks that sad tone, that 'I must do a great sacrifice for humanity's sake'.

In general, the film is slow when it should be fast, and fast when it should be slow. Rorschach monologue gets too long on the film for example. Also sometimes the order they used gets a big confusing, like how he breaks Moloch's fingers (Rorschach has to break fingers) and moments after it he seems all right, unlike an old man with two broken fingers and a psychopath in front.

Also, the dub is awful, but that is for Spain.

But basically the problem is they tried to put too much in the film, and couldn't. To do a good adaptation they would need to make a series.
Posted at 22:22 on March 17th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Yes, I forgot about the violence, though now that you mention it, I have to agree. The comic itself is very violent, though in a much more disturbing way. An example: The way Rorschach kills the guy who kidnapped the girl. The scene in the movie is just cheap and trashy in its attempt to be oh-so-shocking. Telling a guy to saw off his own hand while setting the room on fire, on the other hand - deeply disturbing. Also true about the initial fight scene as well as the fight between Daniel / Laurie and that gang.

As for the sex, I didn't think it was all that gratuitous. Ok, I already touched the music in my own previous post - that was overdone. But apart from that, I thought it was appropriate. How else would you show the difference between the awckward and clumsy (and failed - I was surprised they actually showed that!) attempt at sex a few scenes earlier and this one?

I thought the one good thing about Veidt's portrayal in the movie was actually his inherent sadness. They even had the scene at the very end when he's there in his 'palace' - all alone. Though, as I said earlier, the character was obviously the weakest link. Rorschach, for example, worked just great. I think his thinking it absolute moral terms and his obsessed and sociopathic personality became very clear.

As for the cuts and it making sense: I saw it with a friend of mine who had never read the comic. I asked him about exactly that question afterwards, because I had the same feeling that it would have been completely non-understandable. However, he had understood it all. Ok, not how 'Dollar Bill' had died exactly. But that's simply not important! It's always hard to tell whether people can make sense of it without your own background, but it obviously worked in this case.

Obviously, this isn't the Watchmen comic. I think it would be wrong to judge it by that standard. It's a different medium. Some things translate, some don't. How would you do something like the 'Fearful Symmetry' chapter in a movie, even with unlimited time? That's right, you can't. Yes, obviously you could get closer on the whole if you'd have it run as a series of twelve hour-long episodes. However, the question is whether that would be necessary. Sure, I'd like to see that, too, but this movie showed me it's not required to make the story work. I think the selection of scenes they included as well as their relative weight / length was quite adequate. And what I liked especially was that many of these scenes were exactly like the comic, just with 'moving pictures'. Do you have examples of where you think they rushed it?

Another point I found very good was that they had the guts to actually set the movie in 1986. No cheap attempt to get it into 'modern' times. This hardly ever works out.

I saw the movie in German by the way (I usually try to catch 'important' movies in their original language, and so I saw The Spirit in English, for example, but Watchmen wasn't shown in English here), and the dub was quite good. Certainly better than the German version of the comic in that respect.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 22:47 on March 17th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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If I start thinking about these things I end against adaptations. Maybe I'll have to take a look at the extended edition when it appears (and see if I can survive to a four hours long film), which by the way has the pirate comic scenes for some reason (I suppose they could help to add to the mood, but would take half an hour of the film).

Here on the translation they gave Silk Specter a child's voice, that changes as the film advances. Manhattan sounds too monotonous, and a bit wimpy I would say. And Rorschach lacks the differences of entonation I saw on the american trailer, like how it's clearly diferent when he thinks and when he talks.
Posted at 23:15 on March 17th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Well, I can tell you I only really missed one single scene in the movie, and that was Veidt pushing a button for no apparant reason. Should have been there half an hour before the ending or so.

As for the pirate scenes, I would have scrapped those, too. Of course it works very well in the comic to reflect the main storyline and give a different meaning to the rants of the newsstand guy. Yet another level of storytelling. However, it's a level which basically just supports what we already know, and doesn't add new things. So yes, it would have been one of the first things I would have cut, too.

Sure you can be against adaptions in general, fine. But frankly I think that's a fairly stupid position. Although I don't like most movie adaptions of books of comics I've seen, I'm perfectly aware of the difference between the media and I even appreciate them. Going to see a movie with the expectance that it should be exactly the same as the source material is simply the wrong approach. That's why it's called adaption.

On a related note, I can understand Moore's general opinion about movies based on his comics. Most of them are complete and utter crap (I still get nightmares when I think about that 'From Hell' movie - and not because of that movie was so thrilling and intense). However, saying that they should never be made? Seriously, what did he do when he wrote the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? He took other people's characters and adapted them into the comics medium. And that was ok? Yes, it was!
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 23:22 on March 17th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I have confusing memories of the "From Hell" film. Don't get what they where thinking with that.

Adaptations are good to make a story reach a broader audience. But if the story is created for a medium to change it to another you would need a film based on a book, not a film adapting a book.

At the end, adaptations get so close to the original that you feel they are just repeating or fail because they try to put on a medium things that work just on another. And it makes you think, why didn't they expend all those millions creating something new instead of trying to copy?

I preffer reading the original, but I understand there is people who wouldn't read a comic or a book. Anyway, from my perspective, adaptations end being a waste of what could be used on a creation.
Posted at 23:41 on March 17th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Well, those are all rather general thoughts which only make me wonder why you went to see the movie at all.

On the specific topic, I think I can safely say that this Watchmen version was the best movie I've seen in the cinemas since Vertigo. No, not as good as Vertigo, but what is? Between those two, just stuff ranging from forgettable to crap.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 23:43 on March 17th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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According to friends, I went just so I could criticize it... But I say these are just ill thoughts.
Posted at 04:12 on March 18th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Sorry you have to put up with the dubs. I thought Dr. Manhattan, Rorschach, and Veidt's voices were excellent. Laurie I thought was maybe the weakest link.

I haven't read the comic (yet), and I understood what was going on mostly. The ending was much more straightforward than I thought (When Veidt zapped all the scientists with his machine I thought he was trying to create a bunch of Dr. Manhattans). I'm glad the movie was not longer, at 2:43 in length its encroaching into epic length territory, which I think is undesirable for a movie unless its an all time classic. It could probably be cut down by 15 more minutes in my mind.
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Posted at 10:14 on March 18th, 2009 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Yes, I know I'm going to be beaten up at the next comic book convention for this (or maybe I'll just piss off these people so much that they write bad things about me in their blogs - I can live with that), but I'll just say it: After all, the comic isn't perfect as it's often said out to be.

Take the 'verbal' parts at the end of each issue / chapter. Many of them are clumsy at best. In the 'excerpts from Under the Hood', I never got the impression that this could be actually excerpts from anything and and if they were, certainly not from a book. Or those 'interviews': Sorry, but those people wouldn't say those things that bluntly (Silk Spectre talking about that rape, Veidt calling the Comedian a fascist mercenary). Sure, it gets the point across, but it's just too direct. Same with Dan and Laurie talking about 'the reason being the costume' after having sex. Another case of 'we got it already'.

Quote:
at 2:43 in length its encroaching into epic length territory, which I think is undesirable for a movie unless its an all time classic

Very true. In fact, I detest that pretty much all new movies are over two hours long. Only few movies are able to hold my attention for that long. I keep thinking 'that was ok, but it would have been better if it were half an hour shorter' more and more often.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 10:17 on March 18th, 2009
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