This is me weighing in on Watchmen. Feel free to skip this and feel disappointed if you’re only here for WoW stuff.
So Big Bear posted his thoughts on the Watchmen movie. Check out his perspective as somebody who grew up with the comics in the ’80s.
My perspective is totally different. I wasn’t even alive when the comics came out, and didn’t even read them until last year.
No, I was not one of the people dragged into it by the movie hype, I was dragged into it by a friend who loaned me some of Alan Moore’s work, so I decided to read what else he had written. The guy is a bloody genius.
Bear has already gone into great detail of how Moore works with his characters. The way Moore set up Watchmen was simple. He created a world, created characters, put those characters in the world, and observed what happened.
There was no plot imposed on characters. No story with archetypes and plot devices. Merely his characters existing.
I, for one, really enjoyed the movie, and was pleasantly surprised at how well they managed to keep the ending non-retarded.
I didn’t find the violence or sex or whatever else gratuitous; to me, all that violence was just the natural course of action. It happened because it happened.
A large man had both of his arms cut off not because the script called for it, but because there was another, vengeful man who was just too damn impatient.
A murderer took a cleaver to the head, over and over again, not because someone said “we need some gore here”, but because Rorschach committed himself fully to the path of retribution.
Dan and Laurie made love in Archimedes not because a Producer demanded titties, but because Laurie kinda sorta had the hots for Dan, and vice versa. Obviously a vast understatement.
The point is, nothing in this movie happened because somebody felt it would be awesome if it happened, but because that’s simply what would occur if those characters were in those situations. That’s how they would react.
Look at it this way. A guy get’s his arm broken by a vicious punch not because it contributes to the story in any way, but because the story was passing by and his arm got in the way.
(Random note with Rorschach’s cleaver thing, rather than the hacksaw thing. I understand, and appreciate, this change. To the uneducated masses, the hacksaw thing would probably look like Watchmen was ripping off Saw.)
I must disagree with Bear on the dialogue part. At no time did I ever feel the dialogue was dragging on. I could understand that opinion from younger people with short attention spans (the type who, say, enjoyed Eagle Eye, or feel that most episodes of 24 are too slow) but I’m at a loss of how to account for that opinion coming from someone who’s probably twice my age.
Even Adrian’s random pro-environment diatribe didn’t feel out of place to me. Bear calls it a “crock of shit”; I agree fully. I found it a perfect reflection of both Adrian’s naive idealism and the facade he’s putting up to deflect suspicion from his true plans.
I don’t think the scene portrays Adrian as the good guy and the other suits as bad guys. The capitalist suits are realists, well aware that it is completely impossible to change the way the world works immediately, especially considering there are still many nations that have yet to experience the industrial revolution.
By contrast, Adrian is portrayed as a hopeless idealist, far more interested in his lofty, peace-loving goals, completely ignorant of the chaos and suffering they would wrought if actually carried out. Whether this is what Adrian actually thinks or if it’s just an act is moot.
This is only reinforced when Adrian’s final argument is nothing more than a petty, childish threat.
I suppose how this scene comes across depends a great deal on personal perception.
As to the ending…
I don’t disagree with any of Bear’s points, but I still think the ending is a very good one.
Take a look at this little storyboard. It’s very likely you’ve already seen it (it’s been passed around the internet quite a bit). All of us who’ve seen the movie/read the comics will have a good chuckle, but be honest… how many of you feared that the ending of Watchmen would be exactly that?
I’ve seen far, far, far too many movies completely destroyed by making incredibly retarded changes to the ending. (The Number 23 and I Am Legend are the first two that come to mind.)
Let’s face it. The ending to Watchmen could have been a LOT worse than it was.
And honestly? If the movie stuck with the ending the comic used, it would have been ridiculed.
The audiences of 2009 are much different than the audiences of the ’80s. Creating a huge, fake alien bomb would have come off as a laughably bad ending to everyone who hadn’t read the comic. That isn’t Moore’s fault, or Snyder’s fault, or even the audience’s fault.
The fault rests with everyone else who’s made movies recently. Using aliens, even if they’re fake, is a terrible cliche in Hollywood. Aliens are used for laughs now, not for any sense of drama. Movies that try to take the whole “beings from other worlds” seriously are also, conveniently, terrible movies (The fourth Indiana Jones, the remake of the Day the Earth Stood Bored).
These days, when writers run out of ideas, they just say “it’s ALIENS!” and break for lunch.
To be blunt, if Snyder and co kept the alien ‘splosion ending, the uninitiated masses would have spat on it. Most still are anyways; imagine their hate if they thought the ending was terrible, too.
Consider this: the original director hired to make this version of Watchmen wanted to update the story entirely from Soviet-era Cold War fearmongering to modern day War on Terrorism in the middle east shenanigans.
I’m content with the ending. I can console myself with the fact that it came dangerously close to being far worse. All of you complaining about the ending either need to lower your expectations, or watch more movies so Hollywood can lower them for you.
One last thing.
Watchmen is a comic. Not a graphic novel. Stop calling it a graphic novel!