Saturday, March 07, 2009

WATCHMAN

Okay, so I ran out of time and could only get fifty percent through
the comic, so understand that this opinion is of someone who has not
read and fetishized over every panel of this graphic novel for the
last 25 year.

Is usual, Spider Man was my drug of choice and my Alan Moore worship
comes from his run on Swamp Thing. I caught that in the initial run
and it messed me up for years, I may still maybe recovering from fly
infested demon man.

But in a rush to read Watchman to be able to really immerse in the
geek movie event of the moment (TR2N, you're next), I have been blown
away by how damn good it is and how relevant it is to the world we
live in today(the more something changes...) and how much it has been
imitated and ripped off over the years by less ambitious projects
(though The Incredibles kicks my ass all the way home and makes me
sleep in the gore).

Last night, sitting in the theater with Steph, our first Friday night
opening movie night in what might be three years, and watching the
geeks pile in for the ride, and seeing some fellow geeks I knew from
Starbucks (one was actually wearing an Elf Quest t-shirt) and just the
over all giddiness of the room, people knowing that this movie was
made for them, it was something they had been waiting for for years,
even though I'm not a veteran Watchman cultist, I could appreciate the
all around love that was in the room. The pre movie vibe is really
important and on opening night, that is where it really can be
something rock concert like. Peace love and spandex.

Movie cranks up and after some really cool trailers, (even Observe and
Report, while in no way will be a good movie made for an awesome 2
minute trailer, what's with mall cop movies now, I know a mall cop, he
sits at Starbucks and draws insane diagrams on a notebook and reads
The Art of War).

So immediately it is visually bold and intense and perfect. The colors
and the sets and the design are so damn pretty, and with Zach Snyder,
who you can't even hate because he made the best possible Dawn of the
Dead remake one could hope for, you under stand that you are sitting
with someone who is in love with the material and wants to do it
justice. Whole segments are recreated with love and precision here,
and man, I dug it, and man if you are one of the 25 year patient fans
in waiting, I could hear the love puddles being gushed in the theater.
It's just so reverent and precise and licking all over the comic like
an overzealous puppy.

How could any of that be bad. It's probably not. But the book is
dense. A lot of characters, a lot of thought, a lot of twists and
personal entanglements that in book form you sit and think and ponder
and wonder about and the comic is... well, a comic. Though it seems
like they would be totally interchangeable, comics make every moment,
every panel is iconic. The frozen image gives your eye time to enter
and examine and draw from it. You get weight out of the compositions
and colors and what happens in between panels. You choose the pace.
You absorb it differently. They can get away with that kind of thing.

A movie you are on the clock. Tick tock, tell me a story. And if you
have eight intense personalities of equal importance, and they are
competing with sets, music, costumes, effects, performance, and all
THAT! It can get crowded in the old brain pan.

So the movie is crowded. I can't tell you this is bad when I complain
about many flicks not having enough ideas to fill 15 minutes (thus the
trailer is the whole experience really), but you know, maybe less time
on the love story, may be more Rorshach badassery and Manhattan
disconnect, maybe a big cynical pissing on the planet isn't always
what you are in the mood for. Maybe I just want more from the book
that I responded to, less of what I didn't. Can't blame a guy for
that.

I don't know how you would make a better adaptation of Watchman. I'll
finish the book and weigh in on that. I love a lot of this movie, but
like the book it may take some time to let it soak in. It is big, and
it feels big and looks big and that is nice to see a movie try to be
cinematic, instead of another blown up TV movie.

I think time will be kind, and as a counterpart to the book it is
great, like Lord of the Rings, they make a nice set, but if you are
looking for a "fun" movie where you will walk out in love with the
planet, this wasn't that movie for me. If you want to hang out with
some cynical asshole reminding you of how messed up our world is, of
how our idolatry of public figures is hollow and misguided, of how the
evils of the world emanates from competition for fossil fuels (that
can't be in the book), hey GO CRAZY and you'll sop this up with a
biscuit.

And you know after 9/11, we all only liked each other for a few
minutes before getting on each others nerves again. Business as usual.

sd

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