How can something that gave me such a boner yesterday have left me so confused and ashamed today?
I have to say this, If I haven't been such a huge fan of the graphic novel for the last 5 years of my life I probably would have enjoyed this movie a lot more than I did. My problem lies in the fact that I can't disassociate it from the source material. Since last night everyone I know has been asking me what I thought of it and I only have one response:
"I haven't decided yet."
I really want to like it. Honestly I am looking for reasons to like this movie, but my little nerd radar keeps going off, throwing a huge Ghost Rider sized problem in my face.
I have no problem saying how much dick this movie sucked.But, this is about Watchmen...and I need to make a decision. For some reason that escapes me, people seem to find my opinion relevant. I don't know if its the washboard abs, the movie star grin, or my ability to impregnate women by winking at them, but people respect what I have to say. I feel like I'm cheapening their lives by not having an answer to this simple question.
So in order to make this decision, I'm going to do a pros and cons list of the film. I warn anyone who hasn't seen the movie to stop reading now. Go see it, then come back and read the rest of the blog. In case you're one of those people who just skim my blogs (assholes), I'm going to put it up in huge bold letters.
*IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE WATCHMEN MOVIE, STOP READING NOW*
You have officially been warned, blog skimming dick heads.
Now I want to start of with a con, mostly just to get it out of the way...
CON: They call themselves the Watchmen.
Some people have claimed I'm being too nit picky about this con, but to me its the biggest slap in the face to the graphic novel. In the comic, they are not called the Watchmen, nobody is. The team that was brought together and lasted a whole minute in a half were not called the Watchmen, the were called the Crime Busters (admittedly a stupid name, but I digress). The title Watchmen is a reference to the old Latin phrase Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? from the Roman poet Juvenal, which literally translates to "Who will guard the guards themselves," and is variously translated in colloquial English as "Who watches the watchmen?"
It's fucking symbolism.
I realize this is a very petty thing to be upset about but every time the characters referred to themselves as the Watchmen, I cringed a little. But, on the good side this is the only unforgivable thing I found about the flick.
PRO: I absolutely loved the opening montage. The clips of the rise and fall of the Minutemen, the escalating political conflicts, and the rise of the next generation of heroes, all put to Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin" was just stellar. In fact, the whole movie was shot beautifully, and the soundtrack kicked total ass.
CON: Of all the things the movie changed, its a shame this wasn't one of them. In the comics Dr. Manhattan is just as naked as he is in the movie, but there is something less graphic about a penis when its drawn on paper. But, when its digitalized onto a screen it suddenly become a huge blue Kraken from the sea that will stop at nothing to make you feel uncomfortable.
Thank God this movie wasn't in 3-D.
I'm no prude, I'm fine with seeing dick on the screen. I'm just kinda freaked out by blue demi-god dick. I was afraid if I looked at it for too long my head would melt like in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
I closed my eyes, but the guy behind me wasn't so lucky.
Needless to say I could have done without the Great Gonzo flapping around the screen. It also was a source of laughter for most of the audience. Everytime you saw that big blue meat hog on the screen the audience would erupt in laughter, and that really takes me out of the film. In fact I wish I could have watched a private viewing of the film. The majority of the people in the theatre were casual movie goers that had no connection to the graphic novel, and it pissed me off when they wouldn't take the film seriously.
God I hate people.
PRO: The acting was great. Seriously, the casting was completely top notch. Every single person in the movie did an amazing job. Billy Crudup, in all his blue donged glory, was very convincing as a man detached from reality. He was so convincing I thought he was Keanu Reeves. Jakie Earl Haley wasn't just incredible as Rorschach, he was the closest thing to a comic book character coming to life I've ever seen. And of course, we have the Silk Spectre...
How can this ever be considered a con?
But, for me the real star of the film was Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian. You could tell that dude had a great time playing the part. The part was a complete sociopath with no morals, and still you end up feeling for the guy. That's just good acting.
CON: I felt like Nite Owl was made out to be the star, and I don't particularly care for that. If I had to pick a main character from the graphic novel it would have been Rorschach . The way they portrayed Dan throughout the movie was fine, until the end. Attacking Ozymandias after Rorschach is killed? Not in Dan's character. They tried to make him too self righteous, too balls to the wall. I'll take my Nite Owl impotent and self loathing any day.
PRO: When I'd heard they changed the ending I was sure that my favorite line was going to omitted from the film. When Ozymandias reveals his grand scheme, Rorschach and Nite Owl are convinced they can still stop him. In an escape from every super hero story ever told, they realize that they are too late when Ozymandias says these chilling words:
"'Do it?' Dan, I'm not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago."
No other line in the history of film or fiction has ever made me feel that scared and helpless. He talks about killing millions of innocent people in such a casual way, as if someone asked him if he took the trash out.
"I did it thirty-five minutes ago."
Truly terrifying stuff.
CONCLUSION:Now that I've weighed the options I have to say I really did enjoy my Watchmen experience. Is the movie perfect? No, but how the hell could it live up to the graphic novel? Was it revolutionary in terms of cinematography? No, but it was still visually stunning. This movie was more for the fans than the casual film goer, and I'm fine with that. In a business that compromises artwork all the time for a quick buck, I give Zack Snyder credit for making it as true to the source material as possible.
Also there's some great soft core porn in it.
MY RATING: 7 out of 10.
Next week I'm going to be on vacation, so I have two dudes who are going to be guest blogging for me. Check them out, their stuff is pretty good. I'll be back next week with an article I'm tentatively calling "The JohnsoNation vs. Disney World".