Friday, March 13, 2009

Watchmen Review (Time Being Relative)

Who watches the Watchmen? A lot o' people even if not quite as many as projected

If time is relative, as Einstein and Dr. Manhattan, a fictional blue god and one of the Watchmen, like to tell us, than it’s never too late for a Watchmen review. In our opening-weekend-only film culture that’s usually a sin. But if the filmmakers are asking you to return, fear of second weekend box office drops hanging over them like a mushroom cloud, another round of reviews should also be encouraged. Time being relative...

It is today and you are reading this review. It is March 6th, 2009 and you are sitting in the theater watching the Watchmen. It is 1986 and the first issue of Alan Moore’s Watchmen is in comic book stores. Director Zach Snyder is twenty-years old and studying painting in London. It is eight minutes from now and you have finished reading this review. You are commenting. It is the 1990s and the movie is in development hell. It is March 6th 2009 and you are sitting in the theater watching the Watchmen. It is tomorrow and you are returning to The Film Experience to read more daily updates. You are still annoyed by something you read the day before.

Watchmen is based on a comic book cum graphic novel from the 1980s. It takes place in an alternate version of our earth where costumed vigilantes (i.e. superheroes) have been outlawed unless they’re working for the government. The Cold War still rages with Russian and American leaders ready to destroy the world in a nuclear holocaust should the other side look at them funny.

One of the few active heroes “The Comedian” is murdered and the members of the disbanded superhero group “The Watchmen” realize they’re being targeted. But why? They’re retired.

Plot descriptions leave Watchmen wanting because it’s so many things: a book of ideas, a visually compelling oddity, a product of its time with cold war paranoia encased wittily in spandex, and a meta-deconstruction of the superhero genre: What makes superheroes tick? What kind of a sicko would someone have to be to put on tights and beat criminals up as a hobby? Would man’s inhumanity to man eventually break their spirit? What would happen when they hit middle age?

You’ve seen other films that ask these questions in the service of comedy or spectacle (The Incredibles and Hancock spring to mind as recent variations) and violent heroes are nothing new either (Wolverine, The Dark Knight, etc...) but the influential Watchmen had a hand in all of this. The current psychoanalytical angst-ridden view of superheroes was probably a natural result of Marvel Comics brilliant move in the 1960s to shift the genre away from DC's godlike heroes (Superman, Wonder Woman) to those who were decidedly less super under the mask (Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, etcetera). One could argue that Watchmen was the brilliant apotheosis of that evolution.

Minute Men: Compelling history in graphic novel form. Unwieldy backstory in movie.

It is 2009 and there’s finally a film version of all of this. And I mean all of this. Barely anything save The Black Freighter (a comic within the original comic) has been jettisoned even if it’s only squeezed in with a quick edit here or there. The resulting movie is inevitably cluttered and overlong, making one long for a miniseries to do it justice or more merciless scripting. It’s pleasing and disappointing, exciting and dull. Fans of the comic book will enjoy seeing the characters finally come to life (I know I did) but might not learn anything new through this living. The visual effects and art direction are beautiful but to what end?

The source material wasn’t deemed unfilmable for so many years for its visuals but for the density of its storytelling. Watchmen’s original power was closely tied to its medium: paneled storytelling, the long form storyline and chapter construction, the very language and history of comics. The movie is not tied to its medium: the power of motion, streamlined narrative arcs, the distilled humanity of acting and the language and history of cinema aren't well leveraged.

The actors embodying the anti-heroes are hemmed in in this bookmovie (boovie?). Jeffrey Dean Morgan is appropriately vile as The Comedian, Patrick Wilson is game for the sad sack Nite Owl and Matthew Goode is slightly amusing in his total superiority as Ozymandias the smartest man in the world, but there’s precious little depth. Silk Spectre II has the most to offer the movie, emotionally speaking, but Malin Akerman seems disinterested in her material. She delivers all her lines in the same vaguely negative if not quite whiny fashion. No wonder her super powered lover Dr. Manhattan, embodied by impressively creepy and intimidating CGI and Billy Crudup’s face, is drifting away from his humanity. She’s his tether to Earth? Mars looks better all the time! Jackie Earle Haley tries hard as Rorschach, a fan favorite, but this isn’t an actor’s film.

Maybe it should have been. Watchmen is not an action comic. It thrives on ideas and the psychology (however bluntly defined) of its heroes. The film needed an actor’s director who could also handle the demands of a colossal technical project. Snyder is more than capable with the latter but his heart is with storyboards not actors (see also: 300). Faced with oppressive costumes, one note roles and dialogue insufficiently altered to flow in a different medium the actors choke. Their conversations have the distinct feeling of word balloons: dialogue in cages.

But it’s not just stiff acting and stop and start dialogue that gives Watchmen its weirdly staccato anti-rhythm. The action sequences, usually a highlight of superhero movies are a bigger problem. They actually do start and stop, refusing the potentially exciting momentum that action scenes can build and soar with. Where has the impressive Zach Snyder of Dawn of the Dead gone? His first film was relentless in its forward motion and growing sense of dread. Both were needed here.

At this point I should note a personal prejudice. I dislike slo-mo. It's my least favorite of cinematic action devices. It trips the "pretentious" switch in my head, as if the director thinks his visual choices so portentous that the masses require extra time to properly notice them. This technique can be useful if a director uses it in tiny portions for emotional punch or to convey something so inherently fast that one wouldn’t be able to see it in real time (Ozymandias’s swinging stantion attack is the one truly effective slomo moment in the film –we’ve been told that he can move with inhuman speed. We see it). Even if you don’t share my aversion, you’ll notice that Snyder has a limited arsenal of action tricks. Literally every fight scene in Watchmen uses slo-mo and frequently at that. Any film device constantly employed loses power and meaning.

It’s not appropriate to review a film based on its marketing but I do wish we’d stop hearing Zach Snyder referred to as a “visionary director”. He has made one remake (Dawn of the Dead) and two extremely faithful adaptations of visual work (300, Watchmen). He’s yet to reveal any particular visual ideas of his own. He may well have them but how would we know? Snyder’s latest adaptation prefers to function as a photorealistic recreation of the comic book. Watchmen the movie is ambitious in scope if not quite in cinematic design. To function as superbly as cinema as the comic did as literature, the adaptation would have had to have been a movie first and foremost. In its new hybrid form, all glories (and there are a few) are borrowed.

Movie: C
Comic: A

Movie if you haven't read the comic: I can't even imagine. D ?

44 comments:

James Colon said...

Yeah, my biggest problem with the movie (though I enjoyed it overall) was its incredibly obvious, self-aware soundtrack choices. When I heard "Sounds of Silence" at the funeral, I groaned; when I heard "99 Luftballoons", I chuckled; and when I heard "All Along The Watchtower" I just rolled my eyes. People have said that the music was an attempt to support the period and time, but those are songs from THREE DIFFERENT decades. Maybe it shouldn't have, but it annoyed me.

Wayne B. said...

Nathaniel - Again you hit the nail on the head. As a fan of the graphic novel, I was surprised at how disconnected I felt about the movie after I saw it. i think there were some really strong points/visuals the novel utilized that weren't present in the movie i.e. the relationship between the news vendor and the "Black Freighter" reader.

P.S. LOVE the new pic of you! :) blue's a great colour on you. I laughed so hard i scared my brother.

JA said...

Nat, you know how I feel about the movie (indeed it gets better the more I think over it) and I'm exhausted right now so I'm not going to respond fully to everything you said right now (I need a drink, it's Friday night, after all), but I do have to ask one question: you really read the comic and thought that Silk Spectre II was anything but an annoying and shrill harpie? I laugh every time I read the bit in the book about her being what's keeping Doc M tied to Earth - the poor thing! Run to Mars, quick! I thought the writers and Malin toned down her obnoxiousness considerably, but even then I've always read the character as being inherently too fucked up and too selfish to be able to stand. So in that aspect, I thought Malin did a great job by not making her completely unbearable.

NATHANIEL R said...

i'm not saying that silk spectre ii isn't an annoying character. But you have to have more than one dimension in a movie (especially if it's a negative dimension) even if it means being slightly different than your comic book incarnation.

She was just so flat to me. Hated the performance. Like I said in an earlier post. I just wanted it to be Carla Gugino the whole times since she's so much more believable as a sexual character. And since Laurie gets both sex scenes...

I guess I really just don't like MA since I thought she biffed an easy to have fun with part in 27 Dresses too.

JA said...

I should add I do think they actually toned down her character a little too much, and that read as weak at parts, and it certainly wasn't a Great Performance, but it could've been worse, is what I'm getting at. I thought they made the right choices with the character only a little too much. If that make sense. ;-)

NATHANIEL R said...

actually, yes.

i guess i was just so disappointed that they didn't rethink it. Take Dr Manhattan's trip to Mars. It's pretty faithful but it doesn't work that weird cosmic voodoo that it did in book form... I was just entranced by it on the page and thought it was dull onscreen. You can't always do things the same way to elicit the same effect when you've changed mediums.

Kelsy said...

Is it weird if I compare this to how I felt about the 2005 Pride & Prejudice? Both the film versions of P&P and Watchmen get to the plot points, but skimp on the character development that makes the novels so compelling. They just end up feeling like cheesy, empty shells of what they could have been. Film adaptations of literature are difficult, and I'd rather they revamp a lot of it for the sake of characters than to just get all the story in.

Ben said...

I loved the movie and haven't read the graphic novel. Am I the only one? I found the film to be everything The Dark Knight wanted to be and then some. Were there clunky bits? For sure. Were there extraneous bits? Of course. But for some reason I kind of glossed over the parts that didn't work as well and found what did work to be refreshing for a mainstream film from Zack Snyder. It simply worked for me.

Marshall said...

I'm actually noticing that my friends who have not read it are enjoying the film more. I think not knowing how much they fucked up makes it acceptably striking and fun.

Dom said...

Right on with that review! Although, as a filmmaker, I guess the only thing I'd rephrase is the one about Zach Snyder being too interested in storyboards and not in actors. I'd go further and say he is too interested in storyboards and not interested about story. There was no tension, no progression, and this applied to the characters, their arcs, the plot, basically everything.

But I couldn't agree with you more about slo-mo.

brianmaru said...

Agree pretty much 100% with your review Nathaniel.

I'm also all with you on the slow motion. I hate it in pretty much every film it's used. It's quite rare that it works and this film running at normal speed is probably 20 minutes shorter.

And Kelsey, comparing it to 05's Pride and Prejudice, which I happen to like, is dead on. All plot, little character.

Erin said...

It’s not appropriate to review a film based on its marketing but I do wish we’d stop hearing Zach Snyder referred to as a “visionary director”. He has made one remake (Dawn of the Dead) and two extremely faithful adaptations of visual work (300, Watchmen). He’s yet to reveal any particular visual ideas of his own.

You nailed exactly what has been bothering me most about all of this. Thank you!

And I hate slo-mo too - the only thing I can think of that I like its use in is any Sigur Ros music video.

Michael said...

God, the music was sooooo terrible. It really couldn't get more obvious. I can't believe they really scored a sex scene "Hallelujah," and that she really keep her boots on during it. It's the supergeek's wet dream. This movie was as bad as it was long, and it was so very, very long.

adam k. said...

SWEET JESUS, that blue photoshop of you is frightening.

I will have nightmares now.

rosengje said...

Amazing new photo and banner. When was Cate Blanchett bald?

coffee said...

i just got back from watching Watchmen; in retrospect, the movie leaves me feeling a bit haunted by it's style and storyline, though in a good way

Vez said...

Good review.
I am going to back those who say having not read the book seems to lessen any disappointment and even add to the enjoyment.
Here is another odd thing, around these parts (Sydney Aust), the most enthusiastic reviews I have encountered have been from women who had not read the book. Now I am not going to say this film appeals to women. Obviously women professional film reviewers have wider tastes than most women but I am a woman who has not read the book and I liked it (not loved it).
I suspect women may not be so into to the details of the action scenes and so aren't concerned about some of things that oncerned Nathaniel and some others.

The Know Nothing Know It All said...

I have never read the graphic novel and I saw it with three other people who had never read the graphic novel. But from what I gather, the Republican undertones of the graphic novel were much more tongue-in-cheek and subtle than in the film. I obviously can't judge that aspect, but I have a hard time imagining it NOT to be true. The whole "clever" playing with history thing seemed almost childishly obtuse on one end and frighteningly earnest on the other (if that makes sense).

I agree whole-heartedly with Nathaniel's assessment of Snyder. To call him visionary is kind of ridiculous. I totally understand why he's the go-to director for stuff like this, but I would have liked to see how someone like say Ang Lee, who has actually proven himself a visionary AND is an actor-driven director, would have handled the same material. Of course, that would never happen because the reaction to the first Hulk movie was so ridiculous and unmeasured, so much so that we're forced to pretend it doesn't exist at the behest of the new one, which wasn't even as financially successful.

NATHANIEL R said...

i hadn't reallly thought of ang lee but wow... you're spot on. I imagine a lot of the same people who wanted him strung up for trying to be serious and artful with a comic book movie are the same people who are probably trying to get people to see this again because 'if it doesn't have a big second weekend hollywood will never make another movie like it again'

i've never quite understood where the disconnect is with Hulk. I mean i didn't think that was a great movie but it wasn't the colossal failure people make it out to be ... it just took a really long time to get to the action.

brianmaru said...

Is there anyone out there willing to compare it to Blade Runner like a lot of the raves do?

I know I wouldn't but wanted to hear from someone with that perspective.

NATHANIEL R said...

i can't help you there. I LOVE Blade Runner... but then I loved it way back when people thought it was "weird" and "dull" and all that. Before it kept growing into this 'greatest sci-fi movie ever thing'

i'd be interested to hear why that comparison to because to me BLADE RUNNER is 100% cinematic. Watchmen maybe 20%? It's so tied to the book.

NATHANIEL R said...

Adam K... I'm sorry to have frightened you. Radioactive disasters have unpleasant side effects. Although since both the muscles and penis supersize and you get Billy Crudup's bone structure than it aint really so bad.

Adam M. said...

I completely agree about the slo-mo technique. I can appreciate its use in more dramatic moments to enhance suspense and impart melancholy, but it really has no business being used in action sequences. It's like... let's take this really exciting moment and make it even more exciting by... slowing it down? It's counter-intuitive! If you can't fit everything you want to portray in real-time, then you should pare it down, not resect the space-time continuum. x_x

billybil said...

Nathaniel - I actually think you look wonderful in blue - very fetching.

But, for me, it raises the question whether your wang is real or CGI!

I have not seen Watchman yet BUT I have to write, Nathaniel, that your energy astounds me. I have yet to find any movie blog that even remotely compares to yours in terms of creativity. I am always delighted by your masthead and self portraits and can't believe the range of topics you cover. I mean, we're arguing who is the most overdue person for an Oscar one minute and learning how to make Pan's Labyrinth pancakes the next. And I think it all works so wonderfully because it all stems from your unique, spirited, and delightful PERSONAL reactions to movies. Love ya, Nate!

NATHANIEL R said...

billybil it's hard to keep going sometimes (freelance career -ouch poverty and painful to build) so the positive feedback is appreciated.

anyway. more importantly: my wang is real last I checked but I'd prefer it to be CGI ;)

NicksFlickPicks said...

I can't read any of this because I haven't read the novel or seen the film yet, but... LOVE the new photo and banner.

brianmaru said...

I don't find it to be like Blade Runner in anyway. Just saying I've read in a lot of the positive reviews that comparison.

Usually stemming from, there thoughts not mine, a stylized dystopian world.

I find Watchmen to be a total borefest of a film.

Sally Belle said...

I said this before, but, I don't get Malin Ackerman. Does she really appeal to the masses, or is she another actress being shoved down our throats because the studios need "another" Cameron, or Julia?

Trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Glendon said...

I'm almost taken back by the bad reviews to this movie. I understand most of the complaints about Watchmen the movie, but they don't matter to me in the shadow of the monumental fight Snyder has won against the studio system to get most of the material he has brought to the screen. It originally was going to be set in the present day War On Terror.

The scattershot nature of the plot with its flashbacks and tangents is the same in the book. Moore only cared about the plot when it came time to get a character to Mars or to make a comment on comic plots themselves. Beyond that its focus was on the characters. Compare the almost vignette structure of this movie with the Go! Go! Go! motion of The Dark Knight that left it no room to breath.

Personally, I found nothing wrong with Akerman, who I think is a bad actor, while I couldn't stand Gugino who I think is an alright actor. (Except during her flashback scenes with The Minutemen. Can't express the joy I had watching those, except of course for the rape scene.) Akerman wasn't outstanding, but she did OK with the marginalized role she was given.

The backstory scene of Dr. Manhattan, my favourite chapter in the novel, is my favourite scene in a movie so far this year. Excellent use of the Koyaanisqatsi score. My only complaint is the exclusion of how he knows JFK will be assassinated but has no motivation to stop it. Regardless, it's otherworldly and fantastic.

Where the movie screws up royally:The ending. Not the fact that they change the how it happens, but the removal of the horrific imagery.
I'll try to be as vague as possible to avoid spoilers. Making a body disappear is way less disturbing than seeing a dead body. Anyone who has read the first 6 pages of the last chapter will immediately agree with me. The scene of Manhtattan and Spectre returning to Earth is the biggest dissapointment of adapting the book. In the novel it is disturbing and heartbreaking. In the movie, it's like they arrive at a parking lot.

Also, the removal of the non-vigilante character storylines removes emotional heft from the ending since its their lives on the line in the climax. Their removal also eliminates the paranoia and fear about a soviet invasion and the end of the world. To quote another blog, without them the concept of nuclear war and devastation seems as retro-kitsch as the costumes the super heroes wear, because there's no human weight given to it. Those are the characters who talk about tanks entering Afganistan and becoming terrified. However, these character's storylines are restored in the director's cut, so I'm hopeful.

But still, I sat enthralled, and was not once bored by the imagery and characterization on the screen. Dr. Manhattan's descent from humanity was as painful to witness as it was in the book. The motivation to fight crime not out of altruism but out of some sociopathic, fetishistic, or maternal-related issue was well and clear to me. The slow-mo didn't bother me at all since there was so little of it for me to complain.

I also have no idea how someone who hasn't read the comic book will react. Can't we all agree how sublime the opening credits were?

Daniel Armour said...

It's been more than a week since I saw Watchmen and having NEVER read the graphic novel, I'm still trying to figure out exactly how I feel about it. Nevertheless, the feeling I'm having towards it is a general 'Meh.

While the characters had compelling set-ups, only "The Comedian" and Rosarch truly drew me in; And with the characters coming up short, this made the story move at a extremely sluggish pace.

Visually, the constant use of slow motion stalled my interest in the action sequences - I also hate slow motion with a passion - and all the other visuals just didn't seem that special to me.

I'm sure the graphic novel is great and I'm sure I'll watch this film again on DVD but for the moment, I'd much rather watch the Spider-Man, X-Men - at the the first two, anyway - and Batman's of the world then Watchmen. They maybe considered less "edgy" but at least they made me feel something...

and that's what I go to the movies for.

Elin said...

@ rosengje - Cate Blanchett was bald inHeaven. Well worth seeing, btw.

billybil said...

Hey Nate - is there a way to donate/support a wonderful blog other than doing it over the internet with a credit card?

Anonymous said...

why dude? i loved the movie... take it easy buddy.

NATHANIEL R said...

billybil -- i don't currently have another way to donate. sorry. But the ads pay by traffic so the more people coming here and the more often helps a bit. I hope to have items for sale sometime this year too.

Capt_Poco said...

The movie had way too many "vignette" scenes. Night Owl and Spectre save some people from a fire. Rorschach investigates a kidnapped girl. Were they really necessary? The sequences together take up about 30 min of film. Almost all of the scenes with Night Owl and Silk Spectre were an incredible drag, as both the actors were terrible and their characters whiny. Other than that, I thought the movie was a treat, and I liked Ozzy, the Comedian, Manhattan and Rorschach almost equally (Rorschach for the win). Best line of the movie: "I'm sorry but you're in the way of my revenge!"

NATHANIEL R said...

Captain Poco -welcome!

I agree that Nite Owl and Silk Spectre were a drag. But I actually liked Wilson's performances. (but then I'm partial to him in general)

the one character I don't get the appeal of is The Comedian. JDM was fine in the role but I still don't really get why people like the totally repulsive character. I know the subversive joke is that he's not funny at all. But without the humor or strange 'thinks he's actually a good person' sociopathology of Roshcharch -- what's the appeal?

Kim said...

I had not read the comic, so I thought the movie was boring as hell. I should have known when not even the previews interested me at all, but I liked so many in the cast. Sigh.

Actionman said...

Didn't read the comic.

I'd give the film an A-

Seeing_I said...

I think, in the parlance of Hollywood, "visionary" means "capable of putting cool visuals on the screen."

NATHANIEL R said...

Seeing I... very astute of you. I think you're probably 100% correct.

Messiah Puff said...

The Comedian is a great character not because he is a good person deep down, or because he actually isn't funny.

The Comedian is a great character because he IS humanity. His whole persona is built around being a parody of the entire human race - his character is a despicable sociopathic murdering rapist because well... the human race is a bunch of despicable sociopathic murdering rapists.

Obviously, if you don't share that same view of humanity: you won't like the Comedian so much. But I hope that helps you understand why others enjoy his character.

Two follow-ups on that as well:

1) The character of the Comedian is similar to the Joker in The Dark Knight who was WAY more likeable and intriguing than Batman. (Though it helps with that film that his performance carried the otherwise mediocre story)

2) The comedian's "inner good" is shown in his last week or so of life - when he realizes what Ozymandias plans he is so appalled by that and so unable to fit it within his mental schema that it basically breaks the persona he built for himself - which is why he goes crying to his former enemy.

Gringo said...

Yep, great review Nathaniel.

In my opinion, I think in every review that I have read, is that the opening "historic" sequence was pretty well done, in a cool visual way. But I felt it wasn't a particularly good introduction the the story of the film (comedians assasination is more than enough). the intention of trying to link people to famous occurrences, so they can make sense of the historical context of the movie is an obvious one ( since I read the comic, it was unnecessary for me), but I feel lots of people didn't make sense of it at all eitherway. The comic gave the reader extensive documents and material to dig into for the same reason, and it's hilarious to think that 2-3 minutes of intro is enough for that. In the part were the comedian kills JFK I was like WTF!! In the comic, you discovered that happened in the last half of the story, and not even in main storyline. The intro chews out much of the depth of some characters.. where in the comic we gradually get to know how fucked up the comedian is for normal people, the movie just spits it out from the beginning. This makes the character just "evil", and nothing more. After the good intro, it it all went down from me, towards the unclimatic ending. I mean, in the comic, we only notice that he put his journal at the very end of the film, not before he travels to Ozymandias fortress... which was like... a stupid decision to make... the spectator knows the ending like 20 minutes earlier. All the slo-mo abuse was really getting to my nerves. The prison fight scene was a terrible example of this. Awful. Disgusting. Unnecessary. Using slo-mo to fake fast movements only worked in the Matrix (because of all the breaking the matrix reality rules stuff going on). Rorschach mercilessly pounding that guys skull with the axe was so wrong, and I'm pissed that he didn't include the original scene. It made him look a psycopath, and in the comic, in the end he was like the guy who the readers felt more connected with. As in, he turned out to be the actual hero. He gave the pedophile a choice, here he just hacked his head to shit. I feel that his spiritual essence was removed from the film. The part where he is in prison telling everyone "I'm not in here with you, you're in here with ME" was totally destroyed. In the comic, he was totally calm about it, not shouting the phrase as raving a maniac that had to be subdued by a billion cops, even when he killed the black dude with the oil. In the comic, he didn't even wait for the guy to attack, he just kicked his ass as soon as he felt the threat, it was just like a matter of fact thing for him to do. No second thoughts. That "neutral" attitude he had in the comic isn't there anymore. About the action scenes, i felt all that gore was unnessary (the parts where manhattan kills the gangsters, the fat guy scene in the prison... Overall, i felt underwhelmed and dissapointed about how Snyder treated the source...

your review is pretty much spot on how I think about all of it.

greetings from Ecuador!
Francicso

Haikuyou said...

I saw this movie for the second time tonight, along with my wife.

We are 23 and 22, and have never read a comic book in our life.

This movie completely blew me away.

I rarely enjoy movies. I see a lot, because my wife likes to, but I'm very critical. A single bad line can pretty much ruin a show for me. A weak acting performance can as well.

The characters were complex and consistent, the visuals were great, and the dialogue was just enough to fill me in on enough of the story to convey the most important themes.

It seems like the genre served as a conduit for an examination of complex themes that are not so accessible in another format.

I could talk about what the story says, but I think you all know. I'm just saying that as someone with no previous knowledge of the story the movie was sufficient to carry me along and bring me back for more.

Additionally, I HATE graphic violence, and this was one of the more violent movies I've seen. I loved it in spite of the violence, and can't imagine it being successful without it.

I almost immediately sensed that the writers knew exactly what they were doing, and that I could trust them with every detail. I started paying very close attention as a result, and was rewarded, I felt.


The weakest acting in this show, I thought, was the girl, silk specter II. and the weakest point was the porn-like sex scene. But she was not that bad, and with other characters giving me so much to think about - like the comedian, silk specter I, John, Daniel, adrien, Roshrack -I apologize for butchering names and spellings- I didn't need lauri or whatever her name was to be anything more than she was, essentially a glue holding some of the other characters together and highlighting aspects of their personalities.

I liked it just as much the second time around, and my wife said she liked it 100X more the second time, once she was thinking more about the complex ideas driving it.

I'll definitely be reading the graphic novel now.


- one last thought. I'm about to start a grad program in creative writing, and I think all the forced examination of stories I've experienced as a creative writing undergrad probably served to help me out in appreciating this story. I'll say though, that my experience as a (quite poor) writer generally results in less satisfaction with movies. This was a rare experience in which the writing absolutely never let me down. Not even for a second, not even in the weakest points.

Erik said...

You know what also screams pretentious? Over-analysing movies. Film school ruins your enjoyment of movies. Heck, I went to film school and that's what my lecturer told me straight up.

I have not read the comics and I enjoyed the movie immensely. No doubt this is due to the ideas brought forth in the source material, but it was also quite cleverly put to film. I didn't feel that the movie was overlong, the action sequences poorly done, or performances lacking.

In fact the only thing I felt missing was a clearer characterisation of The Comedian, but his ambiguity was well reflected in the theme of the story as a whole perhaps.

Yeah, you might have to unlearn a bit of that need for analysation if you want to start enjoying movies on a deeper level than the academic one.