Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dissenting Opinion

Ok, I know there's been a lot of Watchmen posts lately, but this should be the last one.

MOVIE AND COMIC SPOILERS ABOUND HERE

Last week, I posted my review of Watchmen.

Big Bear Butt, one of my favorite bloggers, put up his review of Watchmen the other day. Well, he didn't enjoy it as much as I did. BBB is a bit more of a fan of the graphic novel than I am, and felt a little more strongly about some of the changes than I did.

Instead of jacking up his comment area, I decided to share my thoughts here.

Allow me to preface this discussion by saying that I have nothing but respect for the big guy. His opinions are totally valid and I am in no way saying he is incorrect. His thoughts are just as allowable as mine or any others. I am merely offering another opinion for those that have not seen the film to formulate their own.

BBB:
The action scenes are very well done, but short. There are more of them in the movie than in the comic, but the amount of dialogue in the movie is brutal. They did a good job of trying to be faithful to the dialogue of the source material… but it is just is too long, and too dry. What worked on the written page doesn’t work here.


I'll agree here. I feel those extra action sequences actually help the movie, by breaking up the plot segments. It's a lot of story to take in if you're not familiar with the source material.

BBB:
... they really screwed the viewers by leaving in some scenes of graphic, nasty violence... those scenes were the epitomy of gratuitous violence, because they added nothing to the story but gore and violence.


I'll slightly disagree here. Yes, those scenes are much more graphic in the movie than the comic. I'll also concede that the "elbow breaking" was completely unnecessary. However, I feel it was necessary for the fighting to be more violent than what we perceive as "normal." Our heroes, for the most part, don't have powers. Outside of Dr. Manhattan, they can't stop bullets or see the future. When outnumbered and outgunned, our heroes must be sure to disable an enemy. When Batman punches a foe, he goes down unconscious, but that's not how things work in the real world. For a movie that tries to portray "super" heroes as real-life characters, making the action sequences believable helps.

Now, the cleaver scene wasn't even in the comic. In the comic, Rorschach notches his first kill by chaining the childkiller to a furnace and burning the place down, leaving him with the option of cutting his leg off. One big problem: that same scenario was in Saw. While viewers who read the comic will know which came first, most moviegoers will not. So, they changed it. Zack Snyder didn't just add the head-chopping for the sake of violence. Here's Dave Gibbons' take on the scene, from an interview he did with Snyder on Comic Book Resources:

Gibbons:
It made me wince. I think that was about as violent as it gets, and interestingly enough, it kind of fits with the symmetry thing. You know, chopping somebody down the middle of the head, I can see it had a resonance like that. And I think it had to be something that had a real kick to it, because it is what turns Kovacs into Rorschach. So it’s got to have a huge charge, and it has.


Of course, BBB's biggest issue is the changed ending. Here's the thing, if you didn't pay attention to all the little details in the comic, the original ending didn't make a whole lot of sense. After leaving the theater my girlfriend asked me about the original ending.
"Ozymandias teleports a giant squid that he created using the cloned brain of a psychic to Times Square, killing it and causing a psychic backlash that murders millions in order to make the world believe aliens are invading."
"............. What?"
At the end of the day, the movie has to make its viewers satisfied. Keep in mind that the majority of viewers have never read the graphic novel. Throwing a giant squid at them MIGHT have been a bit too much. The new ending, while less logical to BBB and other hardcore fans, is just more acceptable to a mass audience.

Honestly, I would have preferred if the movie had never been made at all. However, after 20 years of trying, it was going to get done sooner or later. I'm just happy they got a good director, willing to stand his ground and make the best movie possible. It may not be perfect, but it could have been much, MUCH worse.

Once again, everyone is welcome to their opinions. Don't listen to me. Don't listen to Big Bear Butt. Get out there, read the comic, watch the movie and make your own.

I apologize for the rambling, but the only thing worse than a geek is a geek with an audience.

4 comments:

MomentEye said...

I agree about the ending... making it about Dr Manhatten is more symmetrical without the subplots.

But I disagree about the violence.
By amping up everybody's violence it reduced the contrast (and therefore impact) of Rorschach's.

Samodean said...

You know, that's actually a very good point. I had never thought of it that way.

See? You CAN have intelligent discourse over the internet!

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