Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Watchmen

Time for a movie review. I don't think this one will have much in the way of spoilers. If I change my mind and start writing stuff I think that you don't want to know, I'll warn you.

Okay, so I tend to go out and watch all the big movies based on comic books, even though I don't really read comic books. I think I read Elfquest back in the day, and that was about it. I'm not even sure that I read all of those.

So I go and see the movie versions of Superman and Batman and Spiderman and so forth. Being that I'm not a big comic book fan, I sometimes like to have a few little details explained to me after the movie. I have a lot of people around who can explain such things. While they aren't as much into comic books now, both my brother and my husband used to read a lot of them twenty years ago, and they still try to keep up with the major developments. And I have friends who read them and sometimes still read them. I have a friend who has been reading Ironman for about fifty years now.

So maybe I don't totally get everything that is going on in these movies, but for the most part I think I enjoy the movies themselves more than the real fans of the comics. I go into the theater expecting less and just watch the movie, while the comic book fans are sometimes disappointed that the movie didn't really do justice to their favorite story.

I would say that most writers of these movies I have seen realize that a lot of other people in the theater don't read comic books either. The movies often tell the beginning of the story. Superman told how Superman first came to Earth, and then he had to deal with Lex Luther. Spiderman showed us how a teenager became the wall crawling crime fighter. Then you can also watch Superman II and III and so on, and you can watch Spiderman II and III and so on, and if the writers of the sequels don't expect you to have read the comic books, they at least expect you to have seen the first movie.

The Watchmen didn't feel that way to me. We are mostly watching the end of the story instead of the beginning. How Dr. Manhattan came to be is explained through flashbacks, but little is really said about the others. There's a lot of stuff in the opening credits trying to establish that there have been masked superheroes around for a long time. And there are a lot of flashbacks about this and that which I found confusing, and the "present day" which most of the story takes place in was 1985, which I couldn't quite figure out at first since Nixon was still president.

It must was sort of an alternate history that split from ours maybe at some point in the 1920s.

Okay, I suppose that all comic books (and movies based on comic books) take place in alternate histories or even alternate universes, because in the real here and now we don't call for Superman to come and rescue us, and there aren't millions of people living in someplace called Metropolis. But when we watch the first Superman movie, everything else seems about the same until the point in time where a small spacecraft brings us a baby from another planet. But in this movie there are references to real life things that just aren't quite the way that we remember them. Things have been different for long enough that it changes stuff like who is president and there being laws against mask-wearing crime-fighters.

So I found it all a bit annoying.

I should also warn you about the sex and nude scenes. One of the characters is a glowing blue guy who often goes to work in a little black speedo. Only in a lot of the scenes he doesn't even bother with the speedo, and we get cgi frontal nudity. There's sex with that character, and a lot of sex with two other characters, and an almost rape scene with still two other characters.

I just didn't care too much for this film. I thought that it was just me, with my dislike of characters switching sex partners and my lack of knowledge about comic books in general. But my husband didn't care for the movie either, and he had read the comic book when it first came out.

So I think that if you really like this comic book and already know the characters and such, and you'd just like to see what it looks like on the big scene, then you should probably go see it but try not to expect too much. I don't think the rest of you will like it that much, except those of you who'd really like to see a giant nude glowing blue guy.


Ananda girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ananda girl said...

Sorry, needed to make a correction. I thought that there were comics too, but my expert tells me no, only the graphic novel. Is he correct?
So I guess I have read all of The Watchmen.
I heard two bad reviews and one good one. I am going to watch it tonight myself. Let you know what I think tomorrow.

dmarks said...

"Graphic Novel" is a more pretentious, literary term. But in realiy, "Watchmen" was a monthly comic book. I am one of those who read them one by one as they came out. They put them all into one volume later, which is where the "graphic novel" came from.

Actually, my favorite part of the "Watchmen" comic book series was the "Black Freighter" comics that appeared here and there. It was fiction within fiction, like Dixon Hill within "Star Trek:TNG" They left this out of the movie.

Dr.Manhattan sounds like the sure thing for someone who has a Papa Smurf fetish.

Traveling, not blogging much at the moment, I'll do more than skim this review a little later, and likely comment more. Thanks for the detailed comments.

Ananda girl said...

Thanks for clearing that up, dmarks. By the time I finished watching this very long movie, I was totally confused on the issue of comic vs graphic novel. I was thinking that I had seen some of it in individual monthlies, but he was so sure... oh well. I should have fact checked it.

As for the movie, I liked it. It has been far enough back that i read it that I was not bothered much by details. I understood the jumps through time, which I could see would confuse some.

My sons were more bothered by the anatomy issues than I was and when I tried to ease their discomfort (watching sex scenes with mom is not that fun) by saying it's only CGI schlongs, they disagreed... moms are not supposed to view any. I had a good laugh over that.

Not the best movie, but it was entertaining. Over all I enjoyed it.

dmarks said...

CGI schlongs. "the anatomy issues".... one way to refer to a wardrolbe malfunction. Most of the comic books handled it in odd ways. You'd often have these cosmic energy beings and Norse/etc gods wearing anarchronistic swim-trunks and bikinis. OR "Swamp Thing", who wore only strategic shadows.

Ananda girl said...

Here in ananda's land we are all hoping that they will do some movie version of The Preacher.

dmarks-- isn't it funny how they exaggerate those portions of anatomy into Barbie and Ken on steroids? Thor was my first love...heavy sigh... and darned hard to find any guy like him! Still looking.

laughingattheslut said...

I had thought to warn people who might be uncomfortable with nudity themselves, or people who didn't want their children to see it.

I had not thought to warn guys who didn't want their moms to see it.

And I don't have a smurf fetish.

But I could have a hairless fetish.

dmarks said...

Giant Dr Manhattan would probably make Cher happy (if I remember the witches correctly).