Jump to content
Overstreet

Watchmen (2009)

Recommended Posts

Did anyone make anything of the framing of several shots with the World Trade Center towers in the background? It happened several times in Ozymandias' office and outside on the street as well.

Usually, in post 9/11 movies, shots like this are there to make some sort of Statement (the final shot of "Munich," for example).

But in this case we're dealing with an alternate reality in which the Vietnam war was "won," Nixon serves five terms, and there's no reason to believe that Al Qaeda even exists. So I doubt there was any sort of Statement being made. But I did find it distracting in a couple of places.

It also takes place in 1985, slightly before 9/11. ;)

Ha! Right. My point was that it took a bit of planning and intentionality to frame the Towers so prominently in a few shots. I was just wondering if there was anything behind that other than to say "This is NYC in 1985." I mean, they could have just as easily focused on the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty to remind us we're in NY. The prominent placement of the towers, for better or worse, will evoke a certain emotional response, and Snyder could have avoided that if he wanted to. I just thought it was a curious choice.

Edited by morgan1098

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Did anyone make anything of the framing of several shots with the World Trade Center towers in the background? It happened several times in Ozymandias' office and outside on the street as well.

Usually, in post 9/11 movies, shots like this are there to make some sort of Statement (the final shot of "Munich," for example).

But in this case we're dealing with an alternate reality in which the Vietnam war was "won," Nixon serves five terms, and there's no reason to believe that Al Qaeda even exists. So I doubt there was any sort of Statement being made. But I did find it distracting in a couple of places.

I noticed the towers but I didn't think it was distracting or exploitative. They were always in the background behind cloud cover. Noticeable but not distracting. They didn't add anything for me. It takes place in a pre-9/11 New York and that's it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From the outtakes, trailers, etc., I don't see that devotion as extreme other than in the framing of pieces. Ozymandius' suit is a near complete departure from his sky-blue and gold attire in the book. Cars run on fossil fuels, etc. IIRC, DM's structure on Mars is different. It's like going to EPCOT--it may effectively mimick and evoke the real thing, but only for our entertainment.

Touch


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nezpop wrote:

: To do a pure adaption, I would think a better route would have been to do a single season on HBO or something similar. That would allow them to do it in 12-13 hours and tackle everything.

Well, I'm not interested in "purity" so much as I am interested in a story that doesn't feel overly rushed, that allows the characters to breathe and grow on you as people, etc., etc. It just seemed especially goofy to me how the burning-building sequence was squeezed in there for no better reason than to sexually arouse two of the superheroes. Maybe the novel doesn't devote a whole lot of space to the people being rescued, either, I can't remember, but movies have their own requirements when it comes to pacing and timing, etc. In a way, it was reminiscent of how The Golden Compass galloped from one plot point to another without savouring the storyline the way it could (and arguably should) have.

morgan1098 wrote:

: Did anyone make anything of the framing of several shots with the World Trade Center towers in the background? It happened several times in Ozymandias' office and outside on the street as well.

Well, the movie does have political overtones, and it does take place over 20 years ago (and in an alternate-reality version of 20-years-ago, at that). But it could also just be a reflection of the film's commitment to replicating the comic-book panels as closely as possible (the towers DO appear in the book, do they not?).


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't think Ozymandius and Night Owl's super-lack-of-powers felt much different in the movie than in the novel. I don't recall any augmentation experiments on Veidt from the novel... could have happened though. It was very clear that he was a gymnast and one of the most physically fit people in the world in the book, so it wasn't as much of a stretch to think of him catching bullets. Unrealistic, but no more so than a large blue man who can teleport people around at will.

Likewise Night Owl's advantage was that he was a techie nerd, which the film got across.

I did want to mention the rooftop rescue scene... it was significantly truncated in the film, but they left in an easter egg that made me smile. In the novel, Night Owl is kind of a dork. As they herd people into the owl ship, he fires up the built-in coffee maker and serves them all coffee. In the film, once they've rescued the people... the film shows Silk Spectre stacking coffee cups. I was amused. :)

Also, for people who read the novel... it's worth noting that wikipedia points out the name of the project Veidt and Osterman are working on in the film.

And its initials are S.Q.U.I.D.

Very good easter eggs for fans of the novel!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nezpop wrote:

: To do a pure adaption, I would think a better route would have been to do a single season on HBO or something similar. That would allow them to do it in 12-13 hours and tackle everything.

Well, I'm not interested in "purity" so much as I am interested in a story that doesn't feel overly rushed, that allows the characters to breathe and grow on you as people, etc., etc. It just seemed especially goofy to me how the burning-building sequence was squeezed in there for no better reason than to sexually arouse two of the superheroes. Maybe the novel doesn't devote a whole lot of space to the people being rescued, either, I can't remember, but movies have their own requirements when it comes to pacing and timing, etc. In a way, it was reminiscent of how The Golden Compass galloped from one plot point to another without savouring the storyline the way it could (and arguably should) have.

Honestly, the pacing never felt rushed to me. Interestingly (to me), the friend I saw the movie with (who really studied the book when it seemed pretty clear it was really going to hit the screen) was worried that based on the previews the burning building sequence was being built into something bigger than it was in the book.


"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
: To do a pure adaption, I would think a better route would have been to do a single season on HBO or something similar. That would allow them to do it in 12-13 hours and tackle everything.

Well, I'm not interested in "purity" so much as I am interested in a story that doesn't feel overly rushed, that allows the characters to breathe and grow on you as people, etc., etc. It just seemed especially goofy to me how the burning-building sequence was squeezed in there for no better reason than to sexually arouse two of the superheroes. Maybe the novel doesn't devote a whole lot of space to the people being rescued, either, I can't remember, but movies have their own requirements when it comes to pacing and timing, etc. In a way, it was reminiscent of how The Golden Compass galloped from one plot point to another without savouring the storyline the way it could (and arguably should) have.

Honestly, the pacing never felt rushed to me. Interestingly (to me), the friend I saw the movie with (who really studied the book when it seemed pretty clear it was really going to hit the screen) was worried that based on the previews the burning building sequence was being built into something bigger than it was in the book.

I'm with Peter. The fire rescue scene felt obligatory and a wasted opportunity, along with the prison break, which amounted to a generic, stylized martial-arts sequence and an anticlimactic showdown in Rorschach's cell. The dramatic build-up to the latter has a different weight in the film, and needed a satisfying payoff that it didn't get.

The fight choreography, especially Nite Owl and Silk Spectre against large crowds, also seemed problematic to me. In a story about real people wearing costumes in the real world, their complete indomitability felt like it belonged in another movie. I know they fought off similar crowds in the graphic novel, but there, where you only get individual freeze-frames of the fight, it's possible to imagine that they're really hard pressed, really in danger, and the fight could go either way. In the movie where it's all explicit the outcome of such fights (once they got underway) never seemed up in the air.

Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the first movie I've seen in a while in which the blood and gore really churned my stomach. I guess I should've expected it, but still. :huh: Is it just me, or were Dr. Manhattan's kills less bloody in the graphic novel? Obviously there's a big difference between the two mediums, but still.

The fight choreography, especially Nite Owl and Silk Spectre against large crowds, also seemed problematic to me. In a story about real people wearing costumes in the real world, their complete indomitability felt like it belonged in another movie. I know they fought off similar crowds in the graphic novel, but there, where you only get individual freeze-frames of the fight, it's possible to imagine that they're really hard pressed, really in danger, and the fight could go either way. In the movie where it's all explicit the outcome of such fights (once they got underway) never seemed up in the air.

Halfway through the movie, my brother leaned over to me asked in a very confused tone, "What superpowers do these heroes have?" I told him they had none- or at least, that they weren't supposed to!

Zach Snyder is just too fond of people flying through the air in slow-mo, I guess. :)


-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ted Slater is at it again, praising Focus on the Family's Watchmen review and slamming Christianity Today's. At least he doesn't outright say that CT "relishes sexual perversion" this time. But he clearly implies it.

I have no real desire to see this film, based on my disinterest in graphic novels in general and negative reviews like Anthony Lane's. But I do note that the Focus on the Family review and Slater's recapitulation/reproduction of it are actually far more graphic, salacious, and potentially titillating and enticing than any secular review I have seen, with their dutifully detailed catalogues of every bare cheek and risqu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is the first movie I've seen in a while in which the blood and gore really churned my stomach. I guess I should've expected it, but still. :huh: Is it just me, or were Dr. Manhattan's kills less bloody in the graphic novel? Obviously there's a big difference between the two mediums, but still.

That bothered me as well, and struck me as a perfect example of Snyder's misguided approach... apparently, he thinks that blood and gore equals gritty and realistic, when it quickly becomes merely tedious and boring.


"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pundits are predicting that this film will drop over 70% this weekend, so on a whim, I figured I'd check and see how other films that opened to over $50 million have fared.

81 other films have opened with $50 million or more, and of those, the lowest-grossing movie was The Village (2004; $114.2 million); the second-lowest was 8 Mile (2002; $116.8 million). But both of those movies had slightly smaller opening weekends than Watchmen.

61 films have opened with $55.4 million or more (i.e. they have had bigger opening weekends than Watchmen did), and of those, the lowest-grossing movie was Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007; $131.9 million); the second-lowest was Hulk (2003; $132.2 million).

If you look at all five movies, you will find that Watchmen has earned an estimated $73.4 million so far, and only one of the other films had earned less (i.e., 8 Mile had earned $71.7 million), while the others had all done better (including The Village, which was at $74.8 million; FF4 was at $83.7 million and Hulk was at $87.4 million).

So. Watchmen could turn out to have the lowest cume of any movie that has opened over $50 million. But it will probably avoid the ignominious fate of becoming the first movie to open so big yet fail to gross $100 million.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Benjamin Kerstein at The New Ledger offers an interesting take in The Lost World of Watchmen:

The greatest failure of Watchmen, however, may be simply a matter of timing. Love it or hate it, Snyder

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just trying to absorb those endings and codas --

if the Antarctica ending is supposed to be a Platonic Noble Lie (a la DARK KNIGHT), don't the other two seem rather small-proportioned. Are we supposed to believe that the two lovers are now together with mother-in-law, happily ever after (um, uh)? Is the implication that this little scandal sheet will run Rohrshach's diaries (and that'll bring the Noble Lie all crashing down? -- hardly).

Of course, while this is one political story that has NOT aged well, this can't be blamed simply on events since the comic's publication. The very concept that blaming Dr. Manhattan will end political conflict was just as laughable from the perspective of 1985. We already knew then that WW1 didn't end war and that even the Cold War itself was leftover business from "humanity" "uniting" against the closest thing to a universally-hated demon politics has ever spat up.

As for the movie itself -- I had exactly zippo knowledge of this material in any form prior to tonight -- it's a mess, but a lot of fun in a lot of ways. The credits was brilliant -- in conception, in execution, and in setting up the alternate history. But there was all sorts of non-germane stuff (nongermane to the main thread of THIS story as presented HERE) just thrown in out of apparent nowhere, both cool stuff like that horned tiger thing and the toast to the roomfull of scientists, and lame stuff like the "origin" stories that, Rohrshach aside, just seemed like reaching for heft.

Can't say I was bothered by the violence, simply because ... well, it was too juvenile to take seriously. I went in expecting excessively graphic gore and while it was there, there's something about the very comic-book style of the direction and framing that robs of it of any "sickening" quality, even when it's at its most juvenile "rub your nose in it," i.e., the inmate with the arms caught in the cell bars (BTW ... was that "Butterbean"?). The only rational reaction is to chuckle and shrug it off like you would a 5-year-old attempting to shock you by mouthing some sounds that he has no idea about.

Edited by vjmorton

Yeah ... well ... I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there on that one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And how could I forget to mention the greatest weakness of the movie -- that I kept thinking of THE INCREDIBLES and THE DARK KNIGHT -- both vastly superior films.


Yeah ... well ... I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there on that one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wasn't able to catch it 'til last night.

Beforehand, I thought I was going to either love it or hate, considering my appreciate of the comic

Edited by Jason Panella

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm probably not going to make it to this film, any time soon. (I saw "Hallelujah" on the soundtrack--did they really use it for the sex scene? ::doh:: )

Yeah, it's pretty hilariously awful. I was alternating between hiding my virgin eyes behind my hat and laughing my arse off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...then I'm definitely NOT going to see this film; I really don't need that song ruined for me.

My friend Russ was sitting next to me, and he turned over and asked, "Did they really make an '80s synth version of this song?"

"Russ," I said, "this is the original. Leonard Cohen." And it really is weird.

The more I think about it, at least on a technical level, I felt like the film was really well-crafted. But I'm still really aghast at some of the gore. Like, yes, the comic was gory and had sex. Which works for the story.

The comic does not zoom in on Rorschach slamming a meat cleaver into a man's head over and over, though, with a dull metal-on-bone sound. Nor does it have a prisoner getting his arms circular-sawed off.

Snyder added this, I guess, for the cool factor. And it really wasn't cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah, it's pretty hilariously awful. I was alternating between hiding my virgin eyes behind my hat and laughing my arse off.

Your comment made me laugh, Jason. I know how it is! What good Christian boy hasn't gone to see the latest action movie or big blockbuster only to find himself hiding from the obligatory nekkid ladies? 8O :huh:

The more I think about it, at least on a technical level, I felt like the film was really well-crafted. But I'm still really aghast at some of the gore. Like, yes, the comic was gory and had sex. Which works for the story. The comic does not zoom in on Rorschach slamming a meat cleaver into a man's head over and over, though, with a dull metal-on-bone sound. Nor does it have a prisoner getting his arms circular-sawed off. Snyder added this, I guess, for the cool factor. And it really wasn't cool.

I couldn't agree more. Watchmen, the novel, was not intended to be slasher fare. The worst of the gore is stuff that Snyder dreamed up on his own. The scene where we briefly see Dr. Manhattan obliterate a couple of (presumable) organized crime figures was just ridiculous. The guts and bones hanging from the ceiling, the blood all over the gangster's (presumable) whores, etc. It was way too much- and totally not a part of the novel.

Yet despite its excesses, I still feel very torn about this movie. Its images have stayed with me for days, and I've been sort of depressed since watching it. It's bleak, hellish, and dark, yet there is some brilliance here as well (artistically). It's one of those films where I cannot merely say, "I liked it" or "I didn't like it". I still don't know how I feel, I guess.


-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yet despite its excesses, I still feel very torn about this movie. Its images have stayed with me for days, and I've been sort of depressed since watching it. It's bleak, hellish, and dark, yet there is some brilliance here as well (artistically). It's one of those films where I cannot merely say, "I liked it" or "I didn't like it". I still don't know how I feel, I guess.

Yup. I don't know about you, but as bleak as Moore's comic was, there was a deep humanism (I mean this in a positive sense) coming through. Like, by the end I really cared about certain characters, and it made me think a lot about man being created in the image of God.

Rorschach especially...as messed up as he was, he had gained some pity by the end of the comic, and he was the only one that wouldn't stand for the lie. Which makes his death hard. In the movie, it's like, "Oh, that masked dude got blowed up. That flamethrower hairspray thing he did earlier was cool, dang."

Edited by Jason Panella

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pundits are predicting that this film will drop over 70% this weekend, so on a whim, I figured I'd check and see how other films that opened to over $50 million have fared.

Patrick Goldstein of L.A. Times looks at the studios spin of those numbers and what they probably really mean.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

vjmorton wrote:

: Of course, while this is one political story that has NOT aged well, this can't be blamed simply on events since the comic's publication. The very concept that

blaming Dr. Manhattan will end political conflict

was just as laughable from the perspective of 1985.

FWIW, this is not in the original graphic novel. In the original graphic novel, the plot mechanism at this point is rather ... different. But it serves the same basic purpose, which is

to scare the nations of the world into uniting against a common enemy

. And it has the same basic weakness, I think, which is that

unless this common enemy attacks again, people are eventually going to move on to other things; think of how 9/11 has now basically receded in people's minds, in the absence of any other attacks on North American soil

.

: We already knew then that

WW1 didn't end war and that even the Cold War itself was leftover business from "humanity" "uniting" against the closest thing to a universally-hated demon politics has ever spat up

.

Heh. Actually, that comment reminds me of something I have always said about Independence Day, which is that I wanted the sequel to focus on how the rest of the planet gangs up on America after the alien invasion has been repelled. I was thinking of how the Persian invasion of Greece united all the Greek nation-states for a spell, but then Athens, which had served as a sort of de facto leader of the coalition, grew cocky and pissed off Sparta and all the other cities, thus leading to the Peloponessian War (sp?) in which the Athenians got their butts more or less kicked by the other Greeks, as I recall.

In that light, I find it interesting that Watchmen director Zack Snyder's last film was ... 300 ... which was all about the Greeks fighting back against the Persians (and, if memory serves, it ended on a Braveheart-style note in which the Spartans' self-sacrifice motivates the Greeks to unite against their common enemy). A sequel to THAT film could potentially unravel the first film's denouement even better than a sequel to THIS film, I think.

Jason Panella wrote:

: (Yes, it's a trade collection of comics, not technically a graphic novel.)

By this reckoning, would the works of Charles Dickens be "novels", then? Ditto Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, etc.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
By this reckoning, would the works of Charles Dickens be "novels", then? Ditto Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, etc.

It's a term comic industry folks use, Peter, so it doesn't necessarily apply to everything else. Please don't try to pick a fight over something this insignificant, because I'm just going to ignore you.

EDIT: Yes, I know it *could* be called a graphic novel, depending on your definition, but I'm also one of those people that don't necessarily like the term, and think it's really misused.

Edited by Jason Panella

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jason Panella wrote:

: It's a term comic industry folks use, Peter, so it doesn't necessarily apply to everything else. Please don't try to pick a fight over something this insignificant, because I'm just going to ignore you.

[ blink ]

Well, addressing the issue at hand, my point is that many novels, graphic or otherwise, have been serialized before they were published in omnibus units. Heck, you could even toss The Lord of the Rings into the mix. Tolkien wrote it as one book in six parts, the publisher published it as three books instead (so now everybody calls it a "trilogy"), and now you can buy it as an all-in-one package anyway if you so choose. So is it one book, or three, or six, or...? My whole point is that that kind of parsing is kind of besides the point. I'm not picking a fight, I'm unpicking it. :)

I have no objection to calling it a "comic", though, since that IS what it is. So your terminology is fine by me.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have no objection to calling it a "comic", though, since that IS what it is. So your terminology is fine by me.

No, I'm well aware the everyone from Dumas to Dickins did this, and they're novels. OK. I'm just saying that some story arcs (lots of the big X-Men stories, for instance) weren't written as a single 'graphic novel,' but as a collection. So I like to use graphic novel to describe a single work that was written as a whole. Sue me. And 'comic' is a fine term, since any negative connotation it may dredge up is the problem of the person doing the dredging. So it goes for genre works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...