Thursday, April 23, 2009

AtoB Back and Forth Review: Watchmen, Part II

Yesterday, Kozy and I started with our analysis of Watchmen, posting Part I of our back and forth conversation. Today we conclude with Part II.


Greetings Kozy,

I'm not about to rip you for watching Harry Potter. I watched the first one, too, but I actually willfully brought it into my home. I don't remember any backstory, primarily because ever since then I've tried to forget that I watched the abomination. Thanks for dredging up bad memories, though. You're a pal. And while you're at it, to mention 27 Dresses, probably the second worst RomCom I've ever seen, I just think you must be angry at me for some reason. But I didn't need name actors, just competent ones. Malin Akerman, while quite suited for the nude scenes, isn't up to the task of acting in a comic book film, let alone Shakespeare. In fact, that was pretty much the summation of Michael Wilmington's review. I'm guessing that when casting they simply matched faces to the original comic book and hoped for the best, only to get lucky with Rorschach.

As you said, the movie went to great lengths. They pulled no punches. There was never a chance that this would get a PG-13 rating, and really, there would be no reason for it anyway. I don't think your average 15 year old would understand the complex ideas and revised history put forward. For all the acclaim heaped upon the Dark Knight for its hyperrealism, it was often just reduced to Batman's tough posturing and the Joker's maniacal antics. Watchmen pushed the limits, something I always appreciate even if it doesn't always work. And hey, it's a comic book taking place in an alternate history, so it doesn't necessarily need to. However, I should note that about four rows behind me, there was a guy who was laughing at some rather strange times. First, at The Comedian's violent advances on Sally Jupiter, and then letting out a tremendous chortle during the spaceship love scene. I was of course intrigued to find out exactly what type of Argentine was reacting this way, and delighted to discover upon the movie's end that it was a stooped, elderly man on a date with his wife. Harharhar.
Just trying to maintain the cheesecake factor around here. Thanks, Malin.

The pop music was often front and center, turned up to 11. At times this worked well (Times They Are a Changin' Montage, Sound of Silence, Hallelujah), while at others, (99 Luftballoons, KC and the Sunshine Band), not at all. At least putting on all those 80s tunes reminded us when this was supposed to be taking place. And I'm glad to see that Nixon having a fifth term didn't eliminate the world's yearning for Tears for Fears.

I didn't expect much coming in to this film, and yeah, the acting left a lot to be desired. But I can't help coming away thinking that this was a great experience, one that I would undertake again. There was just enough intellectualism to make a point, even if it's a simplistic one. I'm not going to claim that the film is as groundbreaking as Lord of the Rings, or Terminator 2, but I'd put it right along side Dark Knight, albeit with different strengths. The near three hours passed so quickly, I feel like there must have been a ton I didn't pick up, and I am looking forward to giving it another go. Of the three films we've covered so far, it's easily a solid #2 for me. So I'll leave you with that wide open opportunity for a disgusting pun and the following question that nagged me throughout the picture: If Dr. Manhattan became so incredibly powerful through his accident, why on earth didn't someone else try to do the same thing? And if they did, what happened to them?

Care to take us on home?


Hey Reed-O,

That is hilarious about that old guy on the date. Must have been his turn to pick, right? What I liked most about Watchmen was that the characters were truly dark and the movie allowed them to travel to strange, real places, especially for a graphic novel. True, Batman is supposedly a dark presence. But is he really? I don’t remember the horned one trying to rape Cat Woman, do you? But these Watchmen? Abso-frickin-lutely!! Not only are they into the rough stuff, but they get naked and fuck. Sex aside (if that is possible), these men and women certainly walk a very fine line of protecting the people, while sometimes also assaulting, robbing, or even killing them. This is what makes the Watchmen kick-ass and fun to watch.

I don’t think you will be surprised to hear that my favorite character was also Horshack, er, I mean Rorschach. You are with me right? When they were pulling off his mask I was praying for a trademark “ooooohhhhh, ooooohhhh, ohhhhhhh, Mr. Kootttt-aire,” and/or maybe a Scooby-Doo-esque, “I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you darn kids!” Rorshach was a Noir throwback, and that was awesome. The private agent on the prowl. At the beginning of the film they used his voiceover and vantage point to great effect. In fact it was so effective my expectation of the film considerably moved up. Unfortunately, Rorschach was not the continuous narrator and I think the film was weaker for that.
You're in here with me, Barbarino!

Would I see Watchmen again? Probably not. It was just too long with too many boring, drawn out back stories. Would I recommend it to one of our friends? Probably. There is a lot to like about this movie and I think some people will really appreciate it. I also think it may be better suited to video. That would eliminate your first question, the bathroom issue.

I am looking forward to our next review, whatever it may be. I have not been to the cinema for a few weeks now and am looking forward to catching some of the movies studio’s have dumped on us in the March/April dead zone.


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