Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yeah, but who will RE-watch the Watchmen?

Boy, was that not what I expected. Who gave this a rave review? I want their thumbs! Well, enough blood's been shed already. Fortunately I'm able to stand by my earlier assessment in my February Short Reviews segment. I'm too tired to look it up right now. And now I know why the box office returns are dropping off so sharply, and why it's not sticking around in the IMDb Top 250 anymore. But I for one am taking a stand against all these people, all these comic book fans who protest that the movie's not getting it right. Not doing the graphic novel justice. All the great comic books have already been adapted and butchered anyway. If Watchmen is all we have left, we're in big trouble.
Judging the film on its own merits, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth. I knew we were in trouble when one of the main characters is shown participating in the assassination of JFK. I was reminded of Fatherland, except in this case it's Nixon instead of Hitler. Close enough. And I was further reminded of Back to the Future 2 which ALSO features an alternate 1985, in which Biff is married to Marty's mother and lords over a new economically vanquished Hill Valley that has drive-by shootings and tanks roaming through the streets. In Watchmen, however, it seems to be some kind of Right-Wing fantasy where we're winning the Vietnam War. Kinda like We Were Soldiers.
I went with my close friend whose opinion I trust to see this in IMAX. Kinduva mistake, but it was neat to see the giant screen. Awfully loud, though. I am wondering if I should buy the soundtrack album? We got Dylan, Hendrix, Simon and Garfunkel... I assume they didn't get the artists' permission. Thank God for corporate conglomeration! Anyway, I guess I better get into the plot a little bit, like all respectable film reviewers do at some point. It's an alternate 1985, and the McLaughlin Group has an audience. We see The Comedian, a former member of the Watchmen / Minutemen... something. They had a different name in their 1940s heyday. The Comedian's living a life in retirement, similar to the one Charlton Heston lived in The Omega Man, but with Hustler magazine prominently placed on his coffee table. And then, someone breaks in and tosses him through the superhero-strength plate glass! Somehow I just knew the director of 300 wasn't a good choice for this movie, and alas, my feelings were reinforced as the afternoon wore on.
We find out later in flashback that The Comedian is a real son-of-a-bitch, but the ladies love him anyway. Except maybe for the Vietnamese woman he shoots because he knocked her up. Oh, sorry, forgot to say SPOILERS. To be fair, she did verbally remind him of that fact, so I guess that means she had it coming. We see some of the Watchmen breaking up anti-war protesters using a space age vehicle that looks like it was designed in the 1950s, with the rust to prove it. My friend was wondering if some of these superheroes were the next generation. I already knew about Silk Spectre II, but didn't realize there was a Nite Owl 1 and 2. That's what I get for not doing my homework. Silk Spectre II looked like Lucy Lawless to me. Oh, but Xena's already past her prime, huh? She's far too old to be in something like this.
As for Rorschach, well, it looks like the Benjamin Button people are already getting more work. His moving mask looked pretty expensive. I haven't seen all of Sin City yet, but he's got that Sin City attitude. Likes to blame liberals for all the ills of the world. He kinda reminded me of Travis Bickle, but with surprisingly cleaner language. And he never did anything cool like hold his fist over a stove flame. Cold blooded, baby. I will say the part did make me smile on the inside where he's taking the eponymously named test in prison and giving, uh, slightly different answers than what was flashing through his head. But thanks to No Country for Old Men and the new Batman, everyone's going to talk in a deep voice from now on, aren't they? Good grief!
What else? Oh yeah. I tell ya, if Maxim magazine doesn't think this is the coolest movie ever, then they should resign their jobs right here and now. How could they not like the way superheroes spice up their love life? And when Silk Spectre 2 pushes the flame-thrower button at that one precise moment... priceless. Good place for a MasterCard commercial.
As for Dr. Manhattan, well, I hear Peter Greenaway wants to put him in a movie. I wanted to like him, I really did. The way I liked Pai Mei in Kill Bill part 2... was that his name? Alas, he was far too alienated from this world. Ends up going to Mars, much like Superman, to build either a Fortress of Solitude, or a giant crystal watch of Solitude. It's big and impressive, but kinda fragile. Manhattan wasn't enough like that big turtle thingie in the first Never Ending Story movie. Now THAT was a creature bored with life! Now, I don't think I'm giving away any of the plot with the following question, but here goes anyway: there were witnesses to Dr. Manhattan's origins. Couldn't someone else do the same thing and become another Dr. Manhattan? Or is that the sequel? Does that happen in Spider Man eventually? Doesn't someone else get bitten by that same radioactive spider? Or did I just ruin the quartet? (fingers crossed...)
I didn't even get to the whole 'Mankind is too sick to survive' stuff! Oh well. Save that for the sequel.
In summation, I probably wasn't in the mood for Watchmen. Maybe when it's on cable for free I can look back wistfully and say maybe I was wrong. I didn't even get to the over-the-top violence. It's violent and dark and a lot of blood gets sprayed, spilled, what have you. As my friend wryly observed, it makes The Dark Knight look like a comedy. As for the continually raging battle of the sexes, you're going to have to up the ante, ladies. No still means yes, but a swift kick in the nuts will send the proper message.

-so sayeth the Movie Hooligan

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