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"The spaceman says everybody look down..."

Painfully not awake. Thank you, Monsieur Insomnia.

We saw Watchmen yesterday, and I loved it, almost without reservation. My only notable reservation was My Chemical Romance's (gag) horrid cover of Dylan's "Desolation Row" blaring during the first half of the end credits. But then Zack Snyder redeemed himself, by using Leonard Cohen's "First We Take Manhattan" over the last half of the credits. And speaking of credits, as with his superb remake of Dawn of the Dead, Snyder used the opening credits to establish the mood of the entire film to follow. Really, I'd pay to see this in theatres again, just to see the opening credits (which used Dylan's "The Times They Are a'Changin'"). I'm not much better with film reviews than I am with book reviews, so I'm not going to go on and on about Watchmen. I didn't think it could be done, but Snyder did it, and did it very, very well. It was just splendid. Gritty, angry, wry, raw, visually stunning, sexy as fuck, smart, horrifying, sardonic, and sincere. Were I the author of the source material, I would be a very happy writer. I was especially pleased with Billy Crudup's Dr. Manhattan, Jackie Earle Haley's Rorschach (awesome), Edgar Jacobi as Moloch, and Edward Blake's performance as the Comedian. And damn, if only there had been an excuse to have more of Apollonia Vanova's Silhouette. The narrative structure was superb, the flashbacks handled very well, and I loved the use of the '80s music-video format as a storytelling technique. In the end, I think Watchmen is a better film than The Dark Knight, making it, probably, my favorite superhero film ever. The Dark Knight was a good film with one utterlly brilliant performance, Keith Ledger's, that made the whole film shine. On the other hand, Watchmen is a very fine film overall, even if no single performance matches the caliber of Ledger's Joker. Sorry, guys. I hope no one expected me to hate this one. I adored it. No, it wasn't precisely the graphic novel, but no film ever could be. It was a damn good facsimile.

After the movie, we stopped at Newbury Comics, because Spooky wanted to get the newest Killer's album. Last night, we watched Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla (2008). We've been on a Guy Ritchie kick, having watched Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) again on Thursday night. This is what happens when I take time off. I watch movies. I am very excited about Ritche's upcoming Sherlock Holmes film.

Okay. I got some work-related email, and then I'm gonna try to, you know, rest.

Comments

( 25 comments — Have your say! )
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Mar. 7th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)

Yep, I've read of two different director's cuts to be released.
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Mar. 7th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)

I'm holding out for the one with all the Black Freighter Material.

Same here.
lossrockhart
Mar. 7th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
Here's a link to the Watchmen opening credits (via Lucius Shepard, so you'll have to endure a minute or so of cage-match-fighting before you get to the main event). And glad to see a positive review.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 7th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)

And glad to see a positive review.

Well, Ebert loved it, and it currently has an 8.5 at Imdb.
robyn_ma
Mar. 7th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
'My only notable reservation was My Chemical Romance's (gag) horrid cover of Dylan's "Desolation Row" blaring during the first half of the end credits.'

Should've been Iggy's 'Neighborhood Threat.' (It's used in the graphic novel: Look down your backstairs, buddy/Somebody's living there and/He don't really feel the weather...)
greygirlbeast
Mar. 7th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
Should've been Iggy's 'Neighborhood Threat.'

Yep. Agreed. Really, the crappy MCR cover was the one sour note in an otherwise spot on soundtrack.

Edited at 2009-03-07 08:16 pm (UTC)
robyn_ma
Mar. 7th, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
My guess is that Snyder had to make some commercial concessions: 'Zack, babe, can we at least put a band the kids like on the soundtrack? Not that anyone buys soundtrack CDs any more, but...'

Incidentally, I quite enjoyed the film, much more than any other Alan Moore adaptation. I was amazed that they got as much as they did into the film.

Also, I think you would agree with some commenter somewhere (I forget where) who opined that someone should really make a poster of the Silhouette-kisses-nurse shot...
greygirlbeast
Mar. 7th, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)

My guess is that Snyder had to make some commercial concessions: 'Zack, babe, can we at least put a band the kids like on the soundtrack? Not that anyone buys soundtrack CDs any more, but...'

I said almost the exact thing to Spooky.

Also, I think you would agree with some commenter somewhere (I forget where) who opined that someone should really make a poster of the Silhouette-kisses-nurse shot...

I would sooooooo buy it.
robyn_ma
Mar. 7th, 2009 09:47 pm (UTC)
Also, Ozymandias seems to shake hands with Bowie outside Studio 54 during the opening credits.

Also, here, have this. If it's not already your wallpaper.

Edited at 2009-03-07 09:55 pm (UTC)
greygirlbeast
Mar. 8th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC)
Also, Ozymandias seems to shake hands with Bowie outside Studio 54 during the opening credits.

I saw that.


Also, here, have this. If it's not already your wallpaper.


Sweeeeeeeet.

Edited at 2009-03-08 02:08 am (UTC)
happyspector
Mar. 10th, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC)
So would I.
grandmofhelsing
Mar. 8th, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
I thought the soundtrack choices were a bit hit-and-miss. And "Ride of the Valkyries" over the Vietnam sequence pushed the film, for one brief moment, over into camp.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 8th, 2009 02:07 am (UTC)
And "Ride of the Valkyries" over the Vietnam sequence pushed the film, for one brief moment, over into camp.

Okay. You have a point (I'd forgotten it, frankly). But I wouldn't call the soundtrack "hit and miss," by a long shot.

Edited at 2009-03-08 02:08 am (UTC)
activistgirl
Mar. 7th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
I loved it too. Absolutely no complaints. You can tell Snyder put a lot of love and care into the film. There are scenes that, imho, are told better through film. One example: the Dan/Laurie stuff came off as a bit corny in the graphic novel but was hawt in film. And I might be biased because I <3 Rorschach, but I think JEH should win some manner of award for his portrayal.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 7th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)

One example: the Dan/Laurie stuff came off as a bit corny in the graphic novel but was hawt in film.

Agreed. Sexy in a dopey, clumsy, oddly realistic way. But very sexy, all the same.
activistgirl
Mar. 7th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
Synder did a good job, in that way, of showing them to be less than glamorous. Some of the faces Dan was making made me snicker!
It just makes me angry when people criticize things (not just movies) to make themselves look smarter, so I'm trying to stay away from the reviews. Which is not to say criticism can't be useful, but it's clear when it is just petty and mean.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 7th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)

It just makes me angry when people criticize things (not just movies) to make themselves look smarter, so I'm trying to stay away from the reviews. Which is not to say criticism can't be useful, but it's clear when it is just petty and mean.

I think this is definitely a case where the "geek critics" made up their minds to hate the film far in advance of its release. I've been avoiding the reviews, too. Spooky pointed out to me that Ebert liked it a lot.
happyspector
Mar. 10th, 2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
OK, good, someone else willing to voice this particular blasphemy. The tweaked ending, for me, made actually nicer sense within virtually everything about the story. And it even enhanced the "new look at classic superhero content" feel; the sombre yet slightly retro-50's gee-wizz "We have been attacked... by Dr. Manhattan!" had a lovely "(ghasp!) Superman Framed By Lex Luthor as the Villain!" storyline opener vibe. Except this time it's the resolution of the story, and this Supes and Luthor, well...

But the biggest improvement by far was Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian. For perhaps the most intentionally over-the-top character in the story, his was the most subtly nuanced acting job in there... He made the character more than the sum of his parts in a way that the book tried, came close, but never quite managed for me. Practically the entire first half of the film could have been titled Citizen Comedian.
activistgirl
Mar. 11th, 2009 12:51 am (UTC)
Exactly! MTV had an interesting interview with Snyder about why he changed the ending on Spoilers"(it's catalogued on their website somewhere) and I agree with him as well. Also, I think I am much more sympathetic to the Comedian than I was before.
I am glad they are going to be releasing "Tales of the Black Freighter" because, while I understand the time constraints a movie presents, I think I really missed that parallel story, now that I've had a few days to reflect on it.
chris_walsh
Mar. 22nd, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
I'm still figuring out how I feel about the tweaked ending. Alexandra DuPont pointed out (in her mixed Watchmen review) that there's still one potential huge flaw: the book's ending involved creating the appearance of an external, alien threat, while the alleged "it's Dr. Manhattan!" threat in the film involves a threat that the U.S. created. So the U.S. could get blamed, and at that point, Hello Nukes! (MUCH worse than "Hello nurse!" (Okay, that was bad.)) But I also also hadn't thought of your Supes/Lex comparison, either. So I don't have my own thoughts yet.

(But I'm so glad the film used both lines "(The) Superman exists, and he's American" and "I was misquoted: I said God exists, and he's American.")

Practically the entire first half of the film could have been titled Citizen Comedian.

And that film could potentially be even more fucked up than the parts of the film from Rorshach's perspective. It was hard to be in either Eddie Blake's or Rorshach's mind.
happyspector
Mar. 25th, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
Maybe this is just one more drop in the ocean of evidence of how fucked up I am, but I've always found Rorshach's mindset rather easy to grasp. I obviously don't agree with many of his alluded socio-political views, and there's obviously that painfully tragic inability to see shades of gray... but much of the time he was the character who made the most sense to me, whose pain and longing were the most easily relatable.

The Comedian's a more complicated matter... I don't think the film or book would've particularly benefited from giving him a back-story, but Morgan's performance made me sense there's one there, sort of encourages the audiance to fill in the blanks according to what they individually bring to the table, thereby deepening the experience. I imagine Morgan's Comedian starting out as a genuinely good guy... He was always a hellraiser, but once had genuinely heroic intentions. I imagine him growing up as a street-tough kid in maybe Hell's Kitchen or something, became a cop or a boxer to get out, went from there to being a costumed hero... I don't see him having any single "SNAP!" moment like Rorshack or "He turned to the Dark Side!" sob story... More like he underwent a series of disillusioning experiences but remained a good guy, then gradually started making all the wrong choices, got deeper and deeper into bad behavioral patterns, 'til he simply didn't know anymore how to make any other choices. The "it's all a joke" philosophy set in, partially because there's a disturbing grain of truth to it ("Humans are savage in nature, no matter how you try to dress it up...*") and as a rationalization for what he could see himself becoming.

* - Say Chris, sorta brings to mind another classic fantasy-adventure quote, don't it? Which brings to mind a great casting idea for Jeffry Dean Morgan. You get where I'm going with this? ;-)
happyspector
Mar. 10th, 2009 11:57 pm (UTC)
"It just makes me angry when people criticize things (not just movies) to make themselves look smarter, so I'm trying to stay away from the reviews. Which is not to say criticism can't be useful, but it's clear when it is just petty and mean."

...Or when it's just that something offended their personal delicate hangups associated with whatever bandwagon they feel it makes them better, more right-thinking humans to be riding, so they try to make their bleeding-heart whining sound like valid intelectual deconstruction.

(anytime the camera lingers nicely on a hot woman and someone goes "*ghasp* It's the evil male gaze! Fear the penis! Feeeeeeaaaaar!!!" comes to mind)
blu_muse
Mar. 7th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
>Gritty, angry, wry, raw, visually stunning, sexy as fuck, smart, horrifying, sardonic, and sincere.

I think that's a perfect review. I just got back from seeing it. I'm all in love...more more more! Lovely and flawed and human and extraordinary... gorgeous. I expected to snicker at at least a couple cheeseball scenes but I bought it all and yes, the beginning credits were perfect to submerge you into that world. The music was wonderful. I kept thinking, at last! Someone who's not pandering to the teenagers. Opening with Dylan was freaking brilliant. I knew it was going to be good.
chris_walsh
Mar. 7th, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC)
"...it's all in your mind..."
Glad you're getting a kick out of that song. Odd lyrics, as Brandon Flowers sometimes writes, but I like the wide-eyed matter-of-fact delivery he sings it in, kind of like a kid talking about something s/he doesn't completely understand. And that, to me, makes it funnier.
iteari
Mar. 11th, 2009 01:32 am (UTC)
I didn't realize it was MCR till a friend pointed that out to me when I said I enjoyed it...oops *shrugs* Hey, I'd buy the whole soundtrack (usually songs in a movie is hit or miss for me, but I liked all the songs, especially the beginning.)

Rorschach was done amazingly, I think he should be up there with Ledger's Joker. I nearly teared up what happened to him at the end, just by his expression when he yelled at Manhattan.

I actually hate the way some people are so stick up the ass over it even after seeing the movie. It's so well done.

I'm getting the DVD. I may get judged by the frigid comic 'experts' but whatever.

It was spectacular.
( 25 comments — Have your say! )