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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Watchmen. Oh, Watchmen

Well, I finally saw Watchmen a couple days ago.

It was very entertaining. Fun to watch. But... I didn't feel anything. The thing that, for me, made the book so great was the realism of the characters. The emotion of it. But what Zach Snyder has done is to repeatedly neglect drama in favor of spectacle.

A few of examples...

The prision riot scene. Rorschache in the cell, Big Figure and his goons trying to get him out. Rorchache ties one of the goons to the bars, and the other goon has to kill him so they can get into the cell. In both the book and the movie, this scene is very bloody. In the book they slit the goons throat. You can see the fear in his face as his friend reluctantly comes at him with a box cutter. It's a short moment, but a dramatic one. In the movie they cut his arms off. Close up of blood splattering against the wall. The goon screams as we look at the bones sticking out of his stump. This is not dramatic. It's a cheap shock. And it would have taken the same ammount of time to do it the dramatic way. Our loss.

The sky fuck scene. Dan and Laurie do it in Archie. In the book this scene represents the moment when the characters finally feel like themselves. After years of living impotent lives they finally feel vital again. There is nothing wrong with the movie version of this scene, but rather it is the set up that falls short, making the scene gratuitus. The scene where Dan can't get it up is in there, but it doesn't connect. It's far too brief. It felt like a light moment. A little joke. Because of that scene's inabilaty to perform, we wind up with a scene that serves no other purpose other than showing off whatsherface's tits. Tits that, in the book, were hidden in shadow because they weren't the fucking point of the scene!

And then there were several scenes that added carnage, seemingly for no other purpose than to add carnage. In the book, when Dan and Laurie get cornered by the gang in the alley way and fight their way out, it is really just punching at kicking. For some reason the movie decides to add bullet wounds and compound fractures. Not really sure why. Same goes for the scene where Adrian fights off the assassin in his building. I don't recall the assassin opening fire into a crowd a splattering brains everywhere in the book. I don't see how that helps the movie's narrative.

And I know that Dr. M blows people up in the book, but here we get blood and guts flying everywhere. Cut to a woman covered in it, looking stunned. Everyone laughs.

I am not saying that Watchmen is a bad movie, but it's not a great one. Hell, I know I'll see it again when they come out with the longer DVD. But my point is that Zach Snyder has a ten year old kid in him that loves to see blood and guts. In his other movies it worked to listen to this kid, but for Watchmen it is in bad taste.

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