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Monday, March 16, 2009


I just received another statement of opinion on the WATCHMEN movie, this time from fellow geek Elizabeth-Amber Delaney, proprietor of the excellent Herofashions blog site :

The Watchmen Movie review
by Elizabeth-Amber Delaney

I'm quite sure that my opinions of the Watchmen movie will not be popular. By and large, it seems the areas that bother me are the elements other fans found acceptable and vice versa. Taking it as a whole, I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. I believe the adaptation proved it was indeed possible to bring the legendary novel to live action life with the dignity and integrity of the original work intact and still make an interesting movie. That being said, I don't think I would have liked it without knowing the story ahead of time. As it was, the Sunday afternoon matinée only produced about ten viewers where I saw it.

When it comes to the most major discrepancy, the ending -- I liked it! I think it made more sense than the squid and I should be allowed to voice that opinion without losing any geek cred or getting anonymous hateful comments. From the first time I read it, I never liked the book's ending. Mind you, this is not a happy story. There is no happy ending. The Dr. Manhattan Lie still does not make me happy as a fan of the character but I'm okay with it as a fan who isn't expecting that elusive fairytale. If I were a character, I would have agreed with Rorschach and felt the truth is more important than peace but alas, I was not. I think the squid would have lost the non-readers even more. Finally, I can't help but wonder where Bubastis is. If the Doc can recreate his body into a superhuman being, where is that mutant cat? She should reconstruct herself as well. Maybe she's living with the Doc in that far off galaxy.

I'd read and listened to a lot of reviews and I don't know what people are bitching about in regards to the soundtrack. The only song that sucked was "99 Red Balloons" which was too light and fluffy for this movie. The rest might have not been from the 1980s, but Snyder used songs that were, in fact, used in the book and he also chose other songs of protest that harness the feelings of when Nixon was really in office. I even enjoyed the instrumentals behind Ozymandias.

From afar, I loved them. I do feel the need to nitpick at some. Having ill-fitting costumes is not acceptable. The Comedian's shoulder pads should have fit Morgan's body. They look like they were bought at Party City and slapped on. I expect more from a movie not made by the SciFi Channel. When it came to Nite Owl's suit, the latex rubber was awesome with better texture than we've seen before. However, Ozy's suit looked like another ill-fitting nightmare; maybe Matthew Goode sweat off 20 pounds being inside all that rubber, something his rail-thin body could not afford. I don't really know what excuse they have for it but, like the Comedian, the suit did not fit the actor.

In a day where special effects are the norm, something as simple as a hairpiece or hair coloring should not be a distraction either. Whoever styled Goode's hair needs to be blacklisted from Hollywood. They had a good-looking actor and he looked like he had bad hair plugs. When it's done on purpose to make fun of bad hair reconstruction or toupees that's one thing; I'm sure they didn't intend on making Ozy look like a doll but that's what they did to him.

The viz-effects for aging Sally Jupiter missed the mark, yet they aced it with the Comedian. They took 35-year-old Carla Gugino and tried to add a few wrinkles while she delivers a line explaining that she's 67. It was unbelievable and laughable. Sally is supposed to be a bloated, drunk has-been. Have you ever seen an alcoholic at that age? She would have lost her looks. She should have looked like she was trying really hard to still be sexy while failing, but Gugino looked like a 40-year-old that hadn't invested in some night cream and maybe went a couple days without sleep; she was still attractive and nothing like the retired Sally Jupiter. I guess that's a real credit to Gugino that no matter how much silicone they put on her, she's still a very pretty woman.

How attached can you be to characters that generally are unlikable and so flawed? Dan/Nite Owl was always my favorite and most becoming as a hero rather than just a vigilante. Fans accept him as the least flawed. Rorschach is always the most interesting, being full of mystery and contempt for humans while he is forced to be one, yet his friend Jon Osterman has evolved. As for Laurie and the Comedian, I actually found them much more likable in these movie versions than their 2-D counterparts. Please don't get me wrong and read into it that I think the Comedian is a "nice guy" because he's still a violent d-bag. It was the scene in front of the restaurant where he wanted to talk to Laurie and Sally whisked her away where the looks on the actors portrayed a different vibe; Jeffrey Dean Morgan didn't look like he wanted to violate his daughter, Laurie. He had a sympathetic expression showing a hint of pride that his lousy behavior amounted to some good in that terrible world. It gave me a moment of not hating him so much.

I thought I would be bothered by Dr. Manhattan's voice, which was not ethereal like his glowing appearance; when I saw the trailers I really wanted his voice to have some reverb or effect that made him even less human, but in reality the voice didn't actually bother me at all. The Manhattan special effects were pretty incredible with minimal glitches; I found Bubastis a bit less acceptable although her graceful design was truthful to the comic - she didn't look like she was really there in the room.

Matthew Goode's diction and slight accent were fine but overall, I simply found him miscast because of his looks. Like everyone else who is a fan and saw this, I'd say Patrick Wilson and Jackie Earle Haley were incredible! Wilson pulled out a performance like Christopher Reeve, proving that nervous nerds with a little paunch can be sexy and hot.

It's such a small thing to point out but the opening production credits done in simple yellow and black, without so much as a fade, scroll or wipe transition, set up the tone and seriousness of the film. Later, panning out and seeing where the Comedian was buried, showing the Twin Towers in the background had made it feel like time had stopped. The matte work/green screen wasn't the best (again, the special effects had great points and some areas that missed). And there's certainly no denying how flawlessly they recreated the Kennedy assassination with a bit of perspective from the Zapruder film.

I have to say that if the first ten minutes with the Comedian's murder doesn't get you hooked for the entire thing, then you are really missing something special in comic-based films. That first murder was spectacular. The slow motion was appropriate and the fights were well choreographed especially when we see the poster of Sally Jupiter in the Comedian's apartment and a butcher knife lands in the middle of it right after a bullet interrupts the Nostalgia commercial on the television. Each fight scene had that slow motion and each time I found it visually appealing, yet many fans have voiced their distain for it.

The graphic violence -- Sure there were areas that were over the top; they could have been left out, but it's not a fluffy story. You have to expect some bloodshed.

The sex -- Considering that the blue penis and buttocks were computer generated, I still feel that there's this barrier where it's perfectly fine to show the exposed Malin Akerman in a soft core porn scene, while a penis still needs to be a special effect or prosthetic. Since all of Manhattan's body is CG, I can't really win that argument but I have every right as a female viewer to continue to be annoyed at this imbalance in film making.

Final thoughts for fun:
I won't compare the movie frame by frame to the book panel by panel; instead I found comparisons that will probably make me a considerable amount of enemies. Watchmen versus TDK Batman:
• Archie owns the Tumbler and Bat-pod (I can't stand even saying Bat-pod. Do baby bats spawn from it? Guh.)
• Nite Owl II's latex rubber is ten times better than the Batsuit in any of its incarnations and the actor/stuntmen seemed to move just fine in it.
• Rorschach's batvoice is better than Batman's batvoice.

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