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Friday, November 14, 2008

Watching


There's a new WATCHMEN trailer out, apparently showing in front of the latest Bond flick, QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

My feelings on the WATCHMEN movie keep going back and forth. Back when the whole thing started up again, I heard Zach Snyder and said 'mehhhh'.... his version of DAWN OF THE DEAD is deeply, deeply inferior to the original, and 300... well, I just didn't much care for 300.

But then the first trailer came out, and they got me. Every frame of that trailer could have been plucked directly from the original graphic novel, and I was excited.

I had a little bit of a thing with it... the only dialogue in it comes at the end, when somebody (I presume it's Rorschach) says "The world will look up and shout 'save us'... and I'll whisper 'no'." That troubled me, as it's an unnecessary, and clumsy, truncation of the much better written actual quote: "And all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “save us!”… And I’ll look down and whisper “no.”

I can understand turning 'whores and politicians' into 'the world', but keeping 'look up' and cutting 'look down' is stupid hackwork. It needlessly ruins the balance and internal cadence of the line.

So that troubled me, but, hey, it's one bit of dialogue.

But then the new trailer came out, and, well, it has more bits of dialogue, and they all suck. I mean, come on... substituting 'costumed heroes' for 'masks' is bad enough, but segueing from that into soap opera hackery like "An attack on one is an attack on all?" "Retribution"? "Why would I save a world I have no interest in? Do it for me"? What the fuck, dude?

And apparently all the heroic characters have now at some time been members of a team called 'Watchmen'?

I know, I know. Movie audiences are stupid. We can't expect them to appreciate subtlety. We have to paint the emotions and the concepts and the themes as broadly as possible.

Yeah, yeah.

Plus, apparently Snyder has changed the ending. Which, you know, you had to figure he was probably going to, but I'm still not thrilled to have it confirmed.

Also, that new Ozymandias poster? First, Ozymandias looks like a 12 year old girl dressed up for a comics con. Second, that slogan... "A world at peace. There had to be a sacrifice." That... just sounds stupid.

All in all, it's starting to look as if WATCHMEN will be a STREETS OF FIRE for a whole new generation... a fantastically watchable film that you can only really enjoy with the volume cranked all the way down.

Of course, Fox is suing Warner Brothers for a cut of a movie they had nothing to do with creating, so we may never get to see the damn thing after all.

I'm not at all sure how I feel about that, actually.

2 Comments:

At 9:01 PM , Anonymous X said...

I think the wisest thing to do is not expect them to do the source justice.

(As Ben Franklin might say, we won't be disappointed, and could be pleasantly surprised. Pessimism has its virtues.)

...I mean, some of the costume design alterations are pretty stupid... BLACK RUBBER? THAT'S original..

 
At 4:22 PM , Blogger Doc Nebula said...

I agree with you as to the wisest course. Spread in broad swaths across all human existence, though, that attitude translates into 'live without hope'. Which I'm not quite ready to do, at this point... although it does often seem the safest approach to life.

Text may well be the greatest medium in the world for telling a story... it's just a shame that it's only in moving pictures that our minds find the most satisfaction. We all, apparently, yearn to see the imaginary concepts we treasure made 'real'... and right now, movies and TV have the most power to do that.

Still, Disney's version of ROCKETEER was a pretty far departure from Stevens' original, and I still loved it. The first SPIDER-MAN movie had a great many variances from its original matrix, but I felt very much that Raimi managed to get the essence up on the screen. IRON MAN bore only a passing resemblance to the comic book source material, yet I can't regret that, as so much of the IRON MAN comic has been mediocre, and, again, the essential core of the concept was right up there on the screen (and RDJ's incarnation of Tony Stark was perfect).

So maybe WATCHMEN will work out. Maybe I shouldn't compare it so directly to its template, maybe I shouldn't insist that every single syllable Moore put on the page end up reproduced somewhere on celluloid.

Maybe.

But right now, I have a bad feeling about this.

 

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