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Watchmen a Film to Watch [Mar. 28th, 2009|08:13 am]
Tomas Gallucci
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[music |Smashing Pumpkins - The Beginning is the End is the Beginning]


I had no idea what to expect from Watchmen as my only connection to the material prior to the movie was through the teaser with the Smashing Pumpkins' The Beginning is the end is the Beginning. I knew from the trailer that there was once a group called Watchmen who defended the city back in the 30's but they were long gone. One of them had been killed, so solving that mystery and avenging the murder was the premise of the film.

When we got to the theater, there were signs in the window warning that Watchmen had been rated R for intense violence and explicit sexuality, almost as if the film should have gotten an NC -17. Immediately, i was reminded of the Sin City debacle, namely, the alleged theater in Texas that only took cash because there were so many senior citizens going to see the movie and the theater didn't want to refund the money or have a way for the patrons to stop payment on a check or credit card. I was also reminded of the headline Walt Disney's Sin City does $21 Million Open Weekend and the aftermath.


Filled with a cast of accomplished, though unknown actors, Watchmen was very well acted. Through the twists and turns of the plot, each character got more screen time as their character's backstory was told. The person to keep your eye on is this ensemble is Patrick Wilson. Wilson doesn't have a long list of credits to his name. His most memorable credits are playing a fop of a boyfriend in Andrew Lloyd Webber's film adaptation of his Phantom of the Opera and a pedophile that is in turn tortured by his victim in Hard Candy. (For a real treat, go grab a copy of Hard Candy to see a pre-Juno Ellen Page in the role of...antagonist?). Wilson does rather well playing the role of an overweight has-been--so much so, that it doesn't feel acted at all, much like Rosie O'Donnel's performance in Riding the Bus with My Sister.

Jackie Earle Haley--there's not a lot to say about this guy. Yes, he was Rorschach who was, in some respects, the main attraction. But there's only so much performance that you can put into body language and voiceovers alone--an actor needs to be able to emote. Morgan's scenes as Walter Kovacs were distracting because I kept comparing him to William Fichtner.

Malin Akerman was a sexy Silk Spectre and as such was only so much eye-candy. Billy Crudup is one of those great character actors that you can never identify much like Gary Oldman: you only know they're in the cast because the credits told you so. For the record, there are enough shots of the blue schlong to make women happy, but I don't think that anyone other than a pre-pubecent teen will enjoy the elongated sex scene between Nite Owl and Silk Spectre.

Walter Kovacs

If there is any lack of character, it is that of the Comedian in his older days. Granted, it wouldn't have served the story for the Comedian to be around if he wasn't in flashbacks outside of the opening scene, but it's a damn shame. Despite his imperfections, I think his older, mellower self would have made a fine drinking buddy.

Zack Snyder doesn't disappoint when it comes to showing the ass-kickings that are constantly being dished out, something that the younger generation will enjoy because they have no outlets for their angst. If this film will do anything to the "yute of America" it will be to turn them on to old sixties and seventies music. Nearly all of the choices for the soundtrack were sensibly used with the exception of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". This song was so disharmonious that it actually worked against the scene in question and made one want to head to the concession stand. I personally sung along to Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sounds of Silence". It will be interesting to see which songs are downloaded and listened to by the younger generations that see this film.


The ending was anticlimactic. You didn't really care about the antagonist and by the time you figured out what really happened, you really didn't care. The film does seem to drag on and on even though you want more and more. I caught myself looking at my watch more than once trying to calculate when the film would conclude not due to lack of interest but due to wanting to get up out of my seat.

Speaking of the ending, I do have a gripe with this film's final moments. After all is said and done, there's no news to report on because evil has been abolished. The reporter turns to his editor and says "What should we run? That actor Reagan is running for President." Now, I know that Reagan laughed at the joke when it was in Back to the Future. In fact, when they showed Back to the Future at the White House, Reagan had them stop the film, run it back and play the joke again.


I was miffed with this line because I thought it was yet another pot shot at one of the greatest Presidents that we had ever had. After I had seen the film, I ran into a buddy who had read the graphic novel. He said that this was in the source and that you have to remember that in the comics Nixon had four terms. Armed with this understanding, I can give the "joke" a pass, but I'm afraid that the younger generation will not fully understand the background to this line and will walk out of the theater hating a President they never knew.

All in all, I feel like it would be worth $6 to go see this film on the big screen.

[User Picture]From: fabrizzo
2009-03-29 11:53 am (UTC)
You misspelled 'worth' on your very last sentence. Your post is a failure.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-03-29 12:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the constructive criticism.
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[User Picture]From: fabrizzo
2009-03-29 05:29 pm (UTC)
It's the least I can do.
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From: hiro_antagonist
2009-03-30 08:41 am (UTC)
You should stick this up on the movie review blog :D
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-03-30 09:40 am (UTC)
Wow. Gee, I feel honored and shit. Will do when I get a chance.

BTW, ehowton won't read this review until after he's seen the film because this is somehow about the story and not the production whereas swashbuckler332's review was somehow about the production and not the story. I swear, sometimes ehowton just makes an ass out of himself.

Edited at 2009-03-30 01:55 pm (UTC)
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From: hiro_antagonist
2009-03-30 03:01 pm (UTC)
Geeks are good at being cranky malcontents that make any social relationship rough.
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From: highebree
2009-04-02 08:47 pm (UTC)

from the Mac community

Well, Hi there!

I really like your review and I agree with most of it. fabrizzo's first comment made me snort water through my nose.

I love going to the movies. Me + movie theater = escape. I usually go by myself and don't mind at all (I always get a really good seat. : )
I've seen Watchmen 5 times - twice in IMAX. I knew nothing about Watchmen before seeing the movie. I've since gotten the graphic novel itself and I love it as much as the film. I don't know all of the reasons why I like this story so much, but it has definitely seduced me. I am a huge fan of evil destroying itself - I'm sure that has a role in my obsession. I love the music (esp. the score itself, "I'm Your Boogie Man" and "Desolation Row") and will be purchasing the score and the soundtrack once I pay off my iPod. I couldn't agree you more in regards to that awful Hallelujah song. (They didn't even pick a decent version.)

I now have a huge fangirldorkcrush on the relationship between Dan and Laurie. I want Billy Crudup to narrate my life's story (with his fake German accent, of course) if Sir Anthony Hopkins has passed on by the time they film it. I thoroughly enjoyed Rorschach. If not just for that one famous line of his after he burns that guy. I turned my head away for the machete/saw scenes the 2nd-5th times seeing the movie. I thought they could have done without/done like the novel. The sex scene was typical Hollywood. *sigh* Oh well. Could have done without/done like the novel also. Same with Blue Man's Schlong. Oh well. It could have been worse.

Unfortunately, due to the gore and nudity I cannot recommend this movie to others. ...even though I've seen it 5 times myself. I just tell people that I like it and I think it should be rated NC-17. Then I change the subject.

...oh yeah...
Re: fop in Phantom
That movie was horrid and cannot even be compared to the stage production. I am one of the most diehard The Phantom of the Opera fans and I have been for 16 years. I will not let my husband see that movie until he has seen the live musical. Joel Schumacher should be ashamed of himself.
*steps off soapbox, straightens hair, and walks away*
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-04-02 11:14 pm (UTC)

Re: from the Mac community

Hello and welcome to my world!

fabrizzo was right at the time that he wrote his comment. I'm not ashamed to go back and make edits to my posts.

I'm ambivalent about going to the movies by myself. More often than not I do, but I do have a movie buddy. Making a few comments throughout a film doesn't bother me--I'll often pause a DVD when I'm at home to look up an actor and their chronology on IMDB.

Where do you like to sit in the theater? I prefer to sit dead center of the screen in the handicap section, i.e. that one row of seats that has nothing in front of it. I prefer being able to stretch all the way out at the movies. I'm not a big guy: 185lbs, 5' 7", but I am OCD about certain things. Being able to have space at the theater is one of them.

I choose my position because it is in the middle of the screen with no obstruction of view and plenty of space. You're also in the center of the room which means you're in the sweat spot for the sound mix as well. No weird angles on the screen and the screen fills your entire field of vision.

As for the music, I can't recall any of the score to whistle. I'm going back with a buddy this weekend, weather permitting, so I'll take another listen. There are several songs I'm going to add to my collection. Times are Changing is definitely one of them.

I wanted an iPod classic ever since I finally bought the much-coveted Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen. What a disaster that was! The UI was crap, you had to use thumbwheel to type in each letter. Wasn't anything like the iPod. Furthermore, I paid more for a previous generation PMP that didn't last long. I would have been better off buying the Classic to begin with. Fortunately, ehowton talked me out of spending a small fortune on an iPod classic--I'm the proud owner of a second-gen iPod Shuffle that I call miniPod. (On a side note, what a rip off the third gen Shuffles are. The controls are all on the headphones?!? What a load of bunk!) I couldn't imagine making payments on a classic, but then again, I've done much dumber things with my credit, so I have no room to talk.

Speaking of owning money, I owe the State $188 in taxes this year and my tags renew this month. I don't know how I'm going to pull it off, but I've always found a way.

I totally agree that Snyder choose a horrible version of Hallelujah. I'm partial to the track from Jeff Buckley's Grace.

Dan and Laurie didn't make sense to me. It worked, but it did seem forced. I like Billy Crudup's work, I just never know that it's him until months later. The sex didn't have to be so gratuitous and really served no purpose. It wasn't erotic, sexy or artistic. It was there because it was in the graphic novel. Dr. Manhattan's schlong was disturbing. Why would he still need it in his condition?

I'm surprised that Watchmen didn't get an NC-17 to begin with and have to be re-cut and re-rated.
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From: highebree
2009-04-03 12:26 am (UTC)

Re: from the Mac community

Yay for Film Fans!

I always try to sit in the exact middle of the screen. Not neccesarily in the middle of the seats. I'm sure you know what I mean. I had MY seat mapped out in college at the local theater. I still remember it - 3 rows back and the 7th seat in the middle walking from either side of the theater.

My mom got me hooked on movies and I still love to see them with her when I can (lives 3 hours away at the moment and will soon be 1000+ miles away once we move to D.C.! *sniff!*) My hubby will go with me to anything that looks interesting and I love going with him. I don't mind going with friends as long as they're mature. lol! I love going by myself too. *shrug* I really don't see what the big deal is there. Oh, and I look stuff up on the mobile version of IMDB or Wiki on my Palm if something's really bugging me. Rotten Tomatoes is fun to flip through sometimes.

I won't say anything regarding your iPod situation. It seems you've learned your lesson. ; ) I don't know what to think about the new Shuffle. It could hit or miss. Soon it will just be an implant in your cheek or something equally creepy.

"Why would he still need it in his condition?" - EXACTLY!

I don't know if I'll own Watchmen when it's out on DVD. I have this same problem with music... but that's a reply for the post below this one!

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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-04-02 11:16 pm (UTC)

Re: from the Mac community

My remarks were too long to fit into one comment, so you're going to get three!

I know the personal position that you're in wanting to be a good Christian and all. Personally (and I can see where this could be a problem down the line) I gave that all up a long time ago. It's another topic for another time, but my step parents were part of a legalistic, Southern Baptist-based cult. While the program did have it's virtues, I saw that it chocked off progress in the sciences amongst others. It limited personal choices for careers as they (the cult, not my parents) didn't believe in college. (My step dad is a doctor.) I saw the program cutting off one's life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which I vehemently disagree.

My point is that there are many excellent films (Closer for instance) that I know I can never take home and share with my family. To me, it's their loss and my gain. I'm mature enough that I can look at a film and it not effect me. I know how to separate fiction from fact. Sadly, most people don't.

The movie I saw the most in the theater was Sin City. I saw it six times within two weeks and twice on the same day. I was interested in the filmmaking process. Now, I have to be in a very specific mood to watch Sin City. Not counting special features or listening to the commentary, I think I could probably count on hand the number of times I've watched the film on DVD. Would I recommend the film to a film student or someone who wanted that kind of experience? Yes, I don't have any qualms with that. But I'm not going to go to church and try to push it there. I compartmentalize. If that's hypocrisy, then so be it.
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From: highebree
2009-04-03 12:39 am (UTC)

Re: from the Mac community

"I'm mature enough that I can look at a film and it not effect me. I know how to separate fiction from fact. Sadly, most people don't."

This exact issue took a while (and therapy, lol) for me to figure out.

I know what it's like to be convicted by the Holy Spirit. It's not really questionable when it happens. I don't feel convicted about watching movies like Watchmen or listening to Akon's latest on the radio. I really don't. And it's precisely because, well, what you said! It doesn't get to me! ...what this says about the number of safety barriers I have in place to shield me from Teh Big Bad Worldz I'm still working on... (I used Akon for an example because the little tater really knows how to make a really GOOD song to listen to despite his obsession with strippers. *rolls eyes* Hopeless.)
My hubby's VERY different from me in this aspect. He gets mentally and emotionally involved with whatever movie/song he's watching/listening to. I envy him. It makes me wonder what I'm missing out on sometimes.

I've only ever bought and then later deleted one song. And I sometimes go back and forth wondering if I really needed to delete it.
Akon and Snoop - I Wanna Love You
I thought it was awesome when I heard it on the radio and didn't really hear all the words. So I bought it! Then I listened to it... Then I googled the lyrics... Oy. WHAT IS IT WITH STRIPPERS?!?!OMGBBQ!??!?! *Delete*
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-04-02 11:35 pm (UTC)

Phantom of the Opera

This is what I say about the recent Phantom of the Opera film: the film slaughters the opera and the opera murders the book. I've never had the privilege of seeing a live production of Phantom of the Opera but I am a die hard fan of the Original Cast Recording featuring Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, et. al. A phenomenal listening experience indeed! I've chocked up several times reading the libretto. Very wonderfully performed.

I was such a fanboy about the recent film prior to it's release that I haunted the forums Warner Brothers was running for the film. And then the film came out. And I wanted my money back after a 100 lashes. God, what an EPIC FAILURE.

In honor of his accomplishments, Joel Schumacher is affectionately known to me as Joel Shitmmaker. The only halfway decent film he ever made was The Number 23 and even somehow managed to screw that up.

If you haven't read The Phantom of the Opera I highly recommend Lowell Bair's translation. I have forbade myself from reading this book again until I am in the right frame of mind to write the screenplay for my version of The Phantom of the Opera which will be a literal adaptation of the book. The book is so well written and the characters so caught up in their futile struggle that you weep for them whilst reading. Trust me, this is the best $5 you'll ever spend!

Yes, I broke this out just to use my Phantom of the Opera avatar.

Edited at 2009-04-03 03:37 am (UTC)
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From: highebree
2009-04-03 12:52 am (UTC)

Re: Phantom of the Opera

I love the book! XD

Have you read Phantom by Susan Kay? It looks like a cheesy romance novel from that cover, but it's so not. You will not regret reading it. It takes you back in his life and gives the many perspectives of the people he came in contact with before he even came to Paris. I highly recommend it.

I went to see it at the grand opening of this HUGE new theater near St. Louis on Christmas Eve.

Chesterfield Galaxy 14 Cine
"THE MEGA SCREEN - St. Louis’ premiere moviegoing experience with the largest movie screen in the Midwest and crystal clear digital surround sound."

I had my hopes way too high. I knew it wouldn't be as good as the musical, but I had no idea it could be that bad. Let's see... when did I know that Joel had dashed my hopes against the curb American History X -style... I liked the opening sequence when the theater is restored. I liked Madame Giry. Kinda. I think that's about it. Why they chose the people they chose for that movie... ok, I'm gonna stop now because it's making me depressed just thinking about it. I don't need to convince you anyway.
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From: highebree
2009-04-03 01:07 am (UTC)

Re: Phantom of the Opera

Side note: my dad bought the Highlights of the Original Cast Recording for my mom when I was 12. That tape, the 2 tapes of the complete recording, and the 2 CD's of the complete recording were buried with honors over the years as I slowly wore them down to nothing. Thank God for the MP3!

There's another awesome book for you if you don't already have it -
... and apparently Amazon's never heard of it...
Well, anyway, it's a coffee-table book covering the history of the story. From the book to the musical. Thankfully it came out years before the movie.

I also have the sheet music, a few music boxes, the full costume, every knick-knack ever made and sold, the perfume (who knew?), the karaoke version (surprisingly not that horrible), several t-shirts - a few of them worn to shreds, two puzzles, the collector's edition Barbie and Ken dolls *HEART*, and... and... other stuff that I can't think of off the top of my head. It's all in storage right now, but when we move we're going to get a curio cabinet for all of it. I'll tell my husband later. Oh yeah! I have all the movie version minus like one, I think. (Not the horror version, thank you very much, I do have standards.) And miles of various posters.
*done bragging* I never get to brag on my Phantom obsession - sorry it had to fall on you w/o warning.

Oh, and my screenname is Phantom related too. *runs away before the big hook pulls me off the stage*
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-04-02 11:38 pm (UTC)

Re: from the Mac community

Okay, so I lied, you're getting four comments. I just wanted to let you know that you're amongst friends here when it comes to movie scores. Both ehowton and I are score whores! If there's something you would like, just ask. I should be able to get it for you.
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