Watchmen reax?

Who liked it and who didn't?

Put me down as one who thought it was a bad movie. Not completely worthless, but there was a lot of bad dialogue and acting, it was too long, and it was gratuitously gruesome. And the characters felt flat to me, more there to deliver supposedly wry one-liners that came off corny too many times than to make me identify with and root for them.

Another thing that bothered me was the heavy and awkward use of baby-boomer classic songs. That has worked for films in the past, but the choices here were too over the top and I felt clubbed over the head with them. "All Along the Watchtower" (har har, get it, WATCHtower? forget it) and LC's "Hallelujah" became soundtracks to particularly irritating scenes.

No, I had not read it. I had started it and stopped.


cfp said...

I'm a fan of the book but haven't seen the movie yet. Just based on the previews it seems clearly misguided. Some of the more interesting elements of the book literally require the comic form to work, for example. But perhaps more importantly I wonder if the tone can possibly survive. It's really hard to deconstruct one artistic form in the vocabulary and syntax of another. It's even harder if that other form is the 21st century big dumb action movie.

I don't want to dis big dumb action movies or, for that matter, to overstate the deconstructive, intellectual brilliance of Watchmen the book. Both are what they are, as the saying goes. There's a wry playfulness to the book that's very delicate and that sometimes gets lost in the critical revolution it fostered. But all the same, I'm not sure this is the right sort of text for the "300" treatment.

Grendel said...

I heard someone on the radio, some NPR program host -- yes, I get every American radio station that streams its broadcasts, which is like all of them, on my iPhone -- saying that the book wasn't as violent, that the book's violence often feels like it happens offscreen, and the guest on the show pointed out that it's one thing to see a single panel of blood spatter in comic book color two inches by two inches, but it's quite another thing to see it happen on a giant screen in Technicolor in slow motion with music blasting away. And that is so true.

cfp said...

There was a nice line in one review about how movies these day know a lot about violence but not much about suffering. I think that's the problem-both aesthetically and, uh, humanly. Even Tom and Jerry felt pain.

Grendel said...

What a great insight. I think that's right. Think about Daffy Duck getting shot or Kaplonged with a big iron skillet. Or better, the Patron Saint of Suffering: Wile E. Coyote. You really feel for him as he fails and is hurt time after time. You see his suffering and angst. The Watchmen, not so much. Though I must say, the scene with the Comedian at the beginning -- I did feel for him. Which is why I liked the first half hour of the film but not the rest.