I’m watching the Watchmen

Ever since Mike Tanier’s excellent piece using the Watchmen as a motif I’ve been dying to get in on the joke.  I grew up admiring comics, but never had the money to actually read any.  That’s only partly true, I suppose.  I biked to the Comic Carnival in Broad Ripple every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday but my paper route generated funds went entirely to baseball cards.  Little did I know that my heavy investment in the 1988 Topps set would prove futile, as that may well be the single least valuable baseball card set of all time. All that to say, I’m coming to the comics game late in my life.  In recent years, I’ve been trying to pick up the ‘trades’ of classic stories (Batman: Year One, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Crisis on Infinite Earths, stuff like that), and have committed to one ongoing title (Star Wars: Legacy).   I’m not a comic geek, but I would be if I had the time.  Unfortunately, most of my free time is taken up with being a sports geek and a sci-fi geek. I came to the movie Watchmen with little prior knowledge of the characters or story other than some brief movie reviews.

It is easy to run a never ending list of complaints about a movie, so I will try to highlight the positive.  I enjoyed this film.  It was better than I expected, and was clearly based on amazing source material.  My first act upon returning home was to order a copy of the original comic off of Amazon.  The themes were compelling, and the characters interesting in theory at least.  The opening sequence (Death of the Comedian) and the musical montage (Times they are a Changin’) were amazing, and promise the audience an experience that the rest of the film doesn’t quite live up to.  The move is at its best when it leans heavily on the narrative structure of Rorschach’s diary.  His character, a derivative of Batman right down to the growl for a voice, is compelling and draws the audience into the film.  I saw the movie at the IMAX in Buenos Aires and was overcome with the imagery during the movie’s best sequences.  The thematic content of the film was almost too dense to take in, but it provided my wife and I more than enough to talk about all through dinner and the hour and a half drive home.  The movie was at least faithful enough to the comic to make it obvious why it is considered one of the best of all time, and has piqued my interest to read the original.

The negatives, unfortunately, are abundant. 

  • The movie is too long.  I almost never say that, but in this case, there was simply too much material and themes wedged into 162 minutes.  The movie should have been made in two parts to give the material room to breathe. 
  • The acting by all the female characters is almost distractingly awful
  • There is too much use of ‘Matrix-style’ slow mo shots.  Look, there are times where it’s still cool, but over using it just makes everything feel forced.
  • The movie too frequently abandons its main narrative device (the journal) because it has to force in everyone’s back story.  Why create a good frame work and then randomly lose it for 20 minutes at a time?
  • The sex scene in the middle of the movie was both bizarre and awful.  Playing “Hallelujah” over images of super heroes in the throws of ecstasy seems…played and obvious.  My group was laughing out loud through the whole scene, but it was the uncomfortable laughter of people not sure if we were watching a comedy or not.  It ended up being neither sexy or funny…just bad and way too long.
  • The movie is violent, which doesn’t bother me, but the few forays into over the top violence did.  I didn’t object to the cleaver to the head (3xs!) or the hands getting sawed off in principle, but the shots weren’t necessary. They distracted from the story and even from the action; they didn’t add to it.  They were utterly gratuitous and made the movie worse.

I’m glad I saw Watchmen. I’m going to read the comic.  It provided no shortage of stimulating discussion, but ultimately failed to live up to its own best moments.  I would rank it somewhere south of V for Vendetta (another ultimately flawed movie that I enjoyed), while still being more entertaining than The Incredible Hulk.

Links
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My pick in the latest mock draft at Nologoneeded.com is out.  Peria Jerry it is (cue tape of Shake doing a little dance).  There is little chance that he’s still around at 27.  If he lasts though, Indy will take him.  That makes my two picks this ‘mock draft season’ Knowshon Moreno and Peria Jerry.  Neither one has any real chance of falling to Indy at 27, but we can dream…  For a look at all the previous picks, check out the main page at nologoneeded.com

Frank Robinson is back in the Nati.    Check out these stats:
In his 10 seasons here, Robinson averaged a .303 batting average, 32 home runs, 32 doubles, 5 triples, 101 RBI, 104 runs, 16 stolen bases and 150 games.
Yeah, great move trading him at age 30.  That definitely cost the Reds at least one World Title (1970)

USA Today looks at Asomugha.  Read the opening quotes by #18

It’s better to be down at the half?  Ah, the 2008 Colts would certainly agree.

Freeney talks Dr. Phil with 1070

I can’t believe that if I had the money I could actually OWN a 1975 World Series ring.  I don’t have the money, but still…  Hey!  Maybe Fisk can buy one and pretend his home run meant something!  (That’s just for you JC).

Don’t forget to watch the USA versus Japan tonight for the right to play Korea tomorrow!

Clifton Dawson is gone.

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