Saturday, March 7, 2009

Blue Balls Are Essential For Homophobia

Watchmen is a mixed bag. What I think bothers me most is not the film, but the mildly to grossly homophobic reactions I hear from the boys going to see the film. It's no wonder we have such inane sexual euphemisms like vajayjay, because these twits can't process anything that is uncomfortable about biology. And, Coyote, despite the title of the post, there's very little ball - its' all unexciting penis, hon. It's not anything to get worked up over - but it does lead me to a small criticism of Dr. Manhattan's CGI body, Doc Manhattan looks like he could wrestle for the WWE when rendered in the movie. (except he's too well endowed to be on the 'roids.)

The book has always struck me as too dense for one movie, but I think this movie is probably the best we'll get. Most of the right notes were there, even though the speed at which they assault you is tremendous. Nothing is perfect, but the tone of the film is certainly in as much step with the original material as the Watchowski's version of V for Vendetta.

V was carried - rightfully - by Natalie Portman. Hugo Weaving is a good actor and voice actor, but acting behind a exaggerated plastic mask against Portman playing her full game? Marcel Marceau would even get his butt kicked.

Oddly enough, the opposite happened in Watchmen -- Jackie Earle Haley owns Rorschach, and consequently the rest of the film, even though he spends the large majority of it behind a mask that constantly shifts patterns. (A bit too much, IMO) Jeffrey Dean Morgan, as the Comedian, is an equally forceful presence. Billy Crudup's voice for Manhattan was good, but I didn't sense the withdrawal from humanity well, perhaps because I expect that withdrawal to be more deadpan in delivery. Patrick Wilson & Malin Akerman would have been serviceable, but the tittering and lack of emotional connection I heard from the audience reinforced my opinion of the film; even with a bunch of geeks with infantile sexual maturity, a better film could have kept them from outright laughing at a bare naked male ass or from laughing at all the wrong points when said ass was getting it on. What grounded the original story was the relationship between Laurie and Dan and their status as flawed human beings - Snyder's need to develop events over charcter really cast the film adrift and choked off any chance of these two actors making a serious connection with the audience and keeping the Beavis under control.

Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias was a mixed bag. Veidt a should be a pretty boy; Goode isn't quite good-looking enough, and he's certainly too thin to be Ozy and supposedly kicking everyone's ass. Goode had an awesome command of accent and dialect - except when he inexplicably didn't. And keeping in mind the director's openness to inflicting obnoxious race or other bias when found in the original work, Snyder really made Ozy an obnoxious characterization of an androgynous overly pretentious European, when Ozy is an androgynous overly pretentious American. :)

All in all - Watchmen is a mediocre film with occasionally great moments in a whirlwind of tepid plot based off of a great piece of fiction writing, which makes it a decent way to spend 150-some minutes of your time. If you haven't read the comic, don't - you may enjoy the film more.


Seven of Six said...

Watched it, loved it... will buy it when it comes out on DVD.

It captured my attention, developed the characters for us unfamiliar with the novel and kept me fully entertained.
My boy loved it... demands that I now get the novel for him.
The wife was like... "This is a famous book?"

Judith said...

I hate to admit this, but I have no idea who or what Watchmen is. Can someone give please give this out-of-touch poster some background, if you can sum it up in a paragraph?

idiosynchronic said...

Judith, "[Writer Alan] Moore used the story as a means to reflect contemporary anxieties and to deconstruct the superhero concept. Watchmen takes place in 1981 in an alternate history United States where superheroes emerged in the 1940s and 1960s, helping the United States to win the Vietnam War. The country is edging closer to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union (over Afghanistan), freelance costumed vigilantes have been outlawed and most costumed superheroes are in retirement or working for the government. The story focuses on the personal development and struggles of the protagonists as an investigation into the murder of a government sponsored superhero pulls them out of retirement."

There's more at Wikipedia, but I wouldn't read it if you don't want the story spoiled. If you don't know the story, that's probably the best way to see the film.

idiosynchronic said...

Not 1981 . . 1978. Nixon is in his 4th term.

Yeah, I know, creeps me out too.

There's a punchline at the end of the film about whether or not washed-up movie actor Ronald Reagan is insane enough to run in 1980.

In the comic, Moore never refers to Reagan throughout, only "RR" testing the waters. The last page has RR named as Robert Redford, and the minor character grumbling about how we don't need a goddamn cowboy as President.

Both V and Watchmen are akin to wading in the river up to your knees, while the books themselves are a full baptism.

Twinky P* said...

Thanks, idio, what a great review. I haven't read the book yet, and figured I'd prolly want to do so afterward. Hopefully, we'll be going this weekend, though it snowed yet again! I expect I'll like the film, it's totally my kind of stuff. I really, really loved V.

idiosynchronic said...

"Based on 221 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Watchmen has an overall 66% approval rating from critics, with an average score of 6.3/10.[123] Among Rotten Tomatoes' Cream of the Crop, which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs,[124] the film holds an overall approval rating of 46%.[125] By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 56"

Roger Ebert predictably gave the movie high marks - he usually does when it's expensive, makes some tries at character development, and blows a lot of shit up.

One other thing; the Moore comic book is profane and bloody - incredibly enough Snyder amped the blood and violence up further. I think he rode the edge between R and NC-17, as some of what Moore put in is less gruesome but would automatically make the constipated old biddies freak at the MPAA.

idiosynchronic said...

Finally, reading all the critical stuff, is seems Watchmen has suffered the Critic's Backlash. There is so much publicity and it's such a mediocre show, many of the critics are overly trashing the movie. More than once I've seen the comparison to The Dark Knight with a negative spin.

Folks - this is certainly the equal of TDK. Everything that I find not endearing about the new Batman franchise is certainly present in Watchmen. I find Iron Man a far better film than both.

Judith said...

Thanks Idio. You have peaked my interest. Will go see it.

Anjha said...

Idio, amazing review. I like your review far more than I would like the film. You could write reviews - I have seen you do this before and your ability to take apart flicks and analyze them is excellent. Nice job.