Home > Shtuff > What happened to the American dream? (or, why #Watchmen is terrible)

What happened to the American dream? (or, why #Watchmen is terrible)

March 15th, 2009

Several people have asked me today: “If you didn’t like the comic, why did you watch the movie?” I didn’t have a good answer. If pressed I would have said I felt compelled, like it was a big geek moment and I had to participate. But on further reflection, many the things I didn’t like about the comic I knew wouldn’t be in the movie.

What I didn’t like about The Watchmen Comic.
1. the plot. That is, the villain’s nefarious scheme. It was lame. I can’t think of a better term. It was just a pathetic scheme, which is common in fictions that have villains with schemes, but this one was SO dumb and so low order of probability that it did nothing but roll me eyes. (I knew in advance that this had been changed. Except it wasn’t. One little detail was changed. Other than that it’s the exact fucking same as in the comic. Which I’ll get to).

2. The Black Freighter. WT*F*. Stupid, stupid, stupid. (I had already read that this would be relegated to DVD extras.)

3. The excessive backstory. Don’t get me wrong, I like a developed world, with developed characters with complex interactions. But The Watchmen pushed it. Maybe it made more sense as issues (I read a collection) but the flashbacks kept dragging me out of the story. I had to go back to catch up more than once. (I figured this would be trimmed, until I read geek reactions to the movie, to it’s “faithfulness”, I’ll cover that later).

4. Dr Manhattan. Hands down, least favorite thing.

What I liked about The Watchmen Comic
1. Rorschach. What. A. Bad. Ass. Even with the heavy handed reactionary outlook. Even tho he talks like he’s semi-retarded. I liked Batman before I read The Watchmen. Now I think he’s a rich pussy in tights.

2. No superheros. Masked heros, or masked adventurers, or masked vigilantes were fucking cool! They weren’t some alien, or mutant, just kick ass dudes (and chicks) out to bust some bad guys up. Except for Dr. Manhattan, who in seeming contrast had every fucking superpower.

But even with all that, the comic was good. I didn’t like it, but it was a well executed story and piece of fiction.

The movie, however, is absolute shit and I can’t imagine how anyone could enjoy it. First, the positive.

What didn’t completely suck about The Watchmen Movie.
1. Fight scenes. They were slightly Matrix-y but it’s almost too much to hope for that they wouldn’t have been. Fight scenes would be so much more impressive at full speed. That, more than somewhat exaggerated strength, would have illustrated just how good “masks” are.

2. Um. Malin Anderson is way hot. So was the chick who played Dr Manhattan’s first girlfriend.

What sucked.
1. Comic book dialogue simply can not be spoken aloud. EVER. While The Watchmen wasn’t as bad as Sin City in this regard, some of the lines made me want to cry. The title of this post was spoken aloud. By a protagonist. As a reaction to a riot. What the fuck? What the FUCK? This defies credibility. Which leads to….

2. “Faithfulness”. Read: slavishness. It’s called “adaptation” for a reason, Zack fucking Snyder. You have to adapt the story from one medium to another. I’ve mentioned the dialogue, but here I’m talking about the God damned backstory. The hateful, unwieldy, uninteresting backstory. I couldn’t imagine that the directory would bloat his movie with this nonsense that most of the audience wouldn’t know or care about. All you need to know is that masked heros are outlaws, and there was a group of them called The Watchmen (although they weren’t in the comic). That’s it. Viewers don’t need to know about Dollar Bill or the previous incarnations of Silk Spectre & Nite Owl, or Vietnam, or what the fuck ever. Well, I guess the genesis of Dr Manhattan is important.

For an elegant, artistic adaptation, witness LA Confidential. The novel covers decades. Literally. The movie covers maybe a month, and there’s a big gap in the middle of that. In the novel the Nite Owl (ha ha, I just realized that commonality, whatever) is a by-blow. One little detail in the midst of the story. The characters are streamlined to (get this, Zack), what can be conveyed efficiently in a movie.

I know Snyder can adapt, because he did it in the movie. When Rorschach gets his mask back. That was elegant and artful. Unlike the rest of this terrible movie. Especially the two major Ozymandias scenes, before the end. The intro interview and the assassination attempt are ham handed, terrible, half assed suck. Just plain bad writing. This should be used in film schools and screenwriting classes as textbook examples against.

This whole movie is a bad exercise in slavish devotion. Oh, except for the digs at the oil industry. Yawn.

I hope this movie win Razzies for both of the Dan/Laurie sex scenes in this movie. Holy shit those were terrible. Both of them have lame orgasm jokes.

It’s hard to deliver this line straight, but Zack Snyder should be ashamed of himself.

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