Sunday, March 8, 2009

Watch, Man!

I saw Watchmen this weekend, and it was a fucking masterpiece. I've also been reading reviews/comments about the film, and I am shocked at how bitchy people are being about it. Some are saying that it followed the book too closely, and that it didn't really "breath" as a film on its own. I say that's a load of horseshit. I've read the damn comic and I thought that the film holds it's own, regardless of how brilliant the comic is. My girlfriend never read the comic and also thought it was great, so it does have appeal outside the comic community. Other people are saying that the sex scene was ridiculous, that Dr. Manhattan's gigantic schlong was too distracting, that it was too this, that it was too that, blah blah blah. I knew that the film wouldn't please everyone, but I can safely say that this film can sit snuggly next to The Dark Knight and Spiderman 2 as one of the best superhero films ever made.

Above is the title sequence (not anymore...the website that hosted it no longer has it up. They were douchebags anyhow), which is probably the best one I have ever seen in a film. It captures the environment that the movie is set in, has a great old-time feel to it, and gives you something of a backstory for the characters involved. As a work of art, I honestly think that the titles succeed more than the film itself. That's not to take away anything from the film, though.

One thing that is interesting about it all, for me at least, is the fact that adaptations are tricky as fuck, and always leave some people pissed off. It's damn hard to get an adaptation right, and some fans refuse to understand that what works in a comic or a book might not translate well into a full-length film. I remember years ago people complaining that in the Spiderman films he can shoot the webs out of his wrists as opposed to creating webshooters with a limited amount of fluid. Is it really that much of an issue? I mean, it's a fucking guy that was bit by a spider and now can walk on walls, but you're gonna bitch about webshooters? If a film is done well, it should be seen as a separate thing, a compliment to the original source. I thought that the first couple of Harry Potter films were atrocious pieces of shit simply because they tried way too fucking hard to remain close to the books. It was only later when they got better directors that the films were able to breath and become good films in their own right.

My favorite book is Ulysses, and I have seen the movie Bloom. I hated it, but not because I thought that they tarnished my precious book. It mainly had to do with poor casting, shitty acting, bad direction, and the fact that the whole damn thing looked like it was filmed on a camcorder. When I was heavy into Stephen King, I knew that Carrie was a much better film than book. I haven't read The Shining, but if the made for TV version is more faithful to the book than Kubrick's "bastardization," then I'd have to say that Kubrick was right to change the story around for his film. I'm sorry, walking plants aren't as scary as a claustrophobic maze with a killer chasing you with an ax.

The best directors have a vision which matches that of the author of the original source. While the creators of Watchmen has pretty much disregarded the film, I think that it's a masterpiece that anyone who is a fan of this kind of thing would like. It's the smartest superhero film ever made, and the director did a great job of adding all kinds of small elements that only fans of the book would get, while not neglecting the vast majority of moviegoers who have never read it. Stop being a douchebag and go see it.

But cover your ears once the final credits roll. That cover of Desolation Row is one of the worst fucking Dylan covers I've heard, and there are A LOT to choose from. Thankfully the schmucks who covered it didn't do all the verses.


Scott Douglas said...

I haven't seen the movie yet, so I can't agree with you there...although I'm not going to be disappointed because the book wasn't that good (it was ahead of it's time, and certainly well conceived, but equally a bit overrated). But I do agree with you about the's horrible. I can't believe how many DJ's I've heard say "It's better then the original!" But I guess they're paid to say that. Really though...Spider-man 2? Dark Knight, yes, but what about the X-Men least they have an intriguing, original plot--Spder-man 2 was just a guy in a spider suit saving people from bad guys...

Roland Saint-Laurent said...

Scott, when simplicity is done right, it blows away poorly-executed complexity. Case in point, the original Halloween film versus the typical big-budget shitfest horror films at the time. Just a masked guy killing people for no reason, but it was done perfectly. Even Ebert gave that shit the highest rating he had.

I only saw the first X-Men movie, and it didn't make me want to watch the other two in the series.