Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Watchmen Movie- Voyeurs Rejoice!

by VeroniqueChevalier (writer), West Hollywood, March 08, 2009


Clocking in at nearly 3 hours, "The Watchmen" is no blockbuster-Gut buster is more like it...

I love comics, graphic novels, and all their permutations- the darker the better. I believe that I am actually a fanboy trapped in a woman's body, so I was very avid to see "The Watchmen".

Gee, where to start? I guess the length is a good place to start. 3 hours- Sheesh! While I am all for trying to remain faithful to the nuances of the original novel by Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore, this film did not use every minute to best effect.

Well, let me clarify that, the creators (the same team that brought us "300", which I loved) chose to use the time to present as many FX as possible, at the expense of the story and characterization.

But why am I not surprised? The previews for upcoming attractions featured trailers for new installments of tired, er, I mean tried-and-try FX love fests such as the "Terminator" and "Star Trek" franchises. (Old fanboys never die, they just keep rehashing their favorites from here to eternity for their progeny to become addicted to as well).

Don't get me wrong, there were things to love about "The Watchmen", especially for my male neighbors in West Hollywood. Yes, boys and boys, (and a few of you girls too), there was actual weenie on display, albeit tinted blue, and glimpsed only occasionally.

The Dr. Manhattan/Jon Osterman character (Billy Crudup), (who is reminiscent of an azure version of the Oscar™ statue with a bindi), whose superhero incarnation was created via an accident in an atomic research lab, was granted the ability to flap freely in public with his privates. This is surely a milestone of sorts, but I must say that my very straight male movie-viewing companion was not particularly impressed.

After the screening, he said he would have preferred more scenes with Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman) in her nifty latex mufti, or preferably zipped out of it, and he wished that the film had more of those almost-literal-but-not-quite-real sex scenes (think Angelina Jolie in "Beowulf") between Ms. Silky and Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson).

I too was non-plussed about the, er, flashes of The Member, for there seemed no rhyme or reason for its appearance. One moment Dr. ManHATtan would, indeed, have a hat on it (well more like a cute rubber bikini), such as during his stint in Viet Nam (guess he didn't want his Johnson decorated with mud and shrapnel in the rice paddies); sometimes he's clothed in a smartly-tailored suit, such as when he meets President and Mrs. Kennedy, or appears on a television interview; and then other times, he's au naturel (well, as 'natural' as something blue and shaved can be).

Call me simple, but one wonders why The Member is not allowed a consistent presence. One almost develops a complex, anxiously trying to anticipate its state of dress, or undress, in subsequent scenes. I guess there is no, ahem, preDICKting the whims of filmmakers...

Lest you think me a woman obsessed, let us continue our journey through "The Watchman" labyrinth as I now address the characterizations of the, uh, non-Members. Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) served as narrator, via the use of voice overs as he made observations of the superheros' goings-on to be recorded for posterity in his dog-eared journal.

Although, Rorschach was the character who was the least superhero in appearance, his was certainly the most thoroughly fleshed out of the crime fighters in the film. Haley did an exemplary job in depicting the triumph of the proverbial ninety-pound weakling who overcomes childhood adversity to become a tenacious champion of the down-trodden.

In a "Pulp Fiction"-meets-Hannibal-Lecter flashback sequence, Rorschach recounts how the kidnapping and brutal murder of a little girl shaped him into a cynical Don Quixote, who waxes philosophical one moment, and then takes down a crime boss and his minions without so much as breaking a sweat, in the next.

I have to say that the production team got Rorschach's ever-changing mask, uh, spot-on. Despite the fact that his face was obliterated, one could get a read on his emotional state by the way the ink blots obscuring his visage changed accordingly.

The other characters were rather cardboard cut-out-ish compared to Rorschach, but since he isn't the only star in "The Watchmen" constellation, I'll leave you with a few impressions of the most notable characters (On second thought, "notable" is maybe too strong a word.):

Matthew Goode's Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias was the proverbial wolf-in-sheep's clothing, whose character used the wrong means to achieve world peace, and was a nemesis of sorts to Dr. Manhattan. And I should add, what with his purple wardrobe, perfect Siegfried & Roy coiffure, his Jones for Egyptology, and the fact that he named his company The Pyramid Corporation, he certainly gave the impression that he too would have been very interested in a prolong appearance of The Member. (He was probably frustrated that Dr. M. wouldn't share with him!)

There was something almost Robert Downey-esque about Jeffrey Dean Morgan's portrayal of Edward Blake/The Comedian. Of all the superheros, he is certainly the most ironic one. He is the truth made evident that "Comedy is not pretty."

There are also flashback sequences in the film depicting the previous generation of superheros, and most notable among those were Carla Gugino as Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre, who is Laurie's mother. Shown as a glamorous siren, she valiantly harbors a lifelong dark secret about the true paternity of her daughter. Her sacrifice is on a deeply personal level, and costs her dearly, but in the end she wins the admiration of her child.

"The Watchmen" weaves the personal with the universal, and hits as much as it misses, but ultimately we come away with the message that Love triumphs over all, be it the love of a parent for her child, or the love of a demi-god for the race that created him.

I am not disappointed that I saw the film, but be forewarned not to indulge in the ingestion of liquids during the film, or you might not make it through. Oh, and a quick aside for you Boomers who deified Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkle, be prepared for a jolt, as your dear idols have seen fit to sell their precious music for use in the soundtrack in this unwieldly cinematic octopus.

The times they are a-changin' indeed.

About the Writer

VeroniqueChevalier is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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