Monday, April 20, 2009

Who is Watching "The Watchmen"? Apparently No One.

The Watchmen: Reviewed by A Guy Who Never Even Saw The Flick.

The Watchmen is the movie adaptation of a graphic novel by the same name created by in 1986 by Alan Moore. Known for other dystopian works of pure escapism and light-hearted fun, Alan “Sunshine” Moore obviously hates any adaptation of his own work. As demonstrated by his hearty criticism of the films, “V for Vendetta” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, it was obvious from the start that Moore would never, never, ever like this movie. So why would I spend my hard-earned bucks on a film that even the author who inspired it couldn’t stand? The answer is, “I didn’t”. But, after a bit of background research on the trailers released just before the film debuted, plus a bit of study on the comic-book universe and cast of characters, I think I’ll be able to encapsulate this so-called cultural phenomena into a few, well-chosen words.

The Watchman takes place in an alternate universe...similar to the alternate universe we’ve been living in for nearly a decade now, but I digress. A race of Watchers have been quietly observing the Earth for decades and are making bets on when the curtain is finally going to come down on this developmentally challenged race of “humans” struggling to make ends meet. Uatu, one of the Watchers who has selected May 2012 in the office pool as the date of Earth’s final trip down Doe-Doe Alley, slips down to earth to get the fix in, when he accidentally sends the entire world back to an alternate history in the 1980s. So using a time-traveling plot point from the LOST playbook, thus begin the fun, games and confusion. In this reality, the U.S. won the Vietnam War, Nixon is still President and the Blue Man Group has been outlawed with the exception of a giant, naked Dr. Manhattan. After seriously tea-bagging the VC into surrender, the U.S. remains the most feared and powerful nation on the planet thanks to the Big Blue Dude.

The film starts with the murder of a retired superhero by the name of the Comedian whom, it appears, wasn’t really that funny enough to SOMEONE. Taking on the case is yet another masked hero going by the name Rorschach whose mask looks like…like…well, it looked like a dead dog to me, but my brother thought it looked more like Alice Cooper. I’m not sure what the hell that pattern was supposed to be, but regardless, this crazy bastard spends the rest of the movie pursuing the perpetrator of this heinous crime. Incorporating other “outlawed” heroes, Rorschach rushes headlong to his appointment with destiny without even bothering to shower.

The first washed up ex-superhero teaming up is the second Night Owl, whose main super-power appears to be the ability to turn his head completely around. Not a bad trick when you can't trust your teammates. Joining him is the second Silk Spectre, who has the ability to turn men to stone…or at least certain critical components from what I’ve seen from the stills. And what team of ex-superheroes without superpowers would be complete without an indifferent, naked blue guy with the only superpowers to speak of? So before you can say “Dude, put some pants on”, the team is breaking bones in bars, breaking people out of prison and breaking bad, all in the name of justice.

I’m not going to give the ending away (the butler did it, in the penthouse, with a big ass lamp pole), but it does merit mentioning that the fifth Watchman, Ozymandias was absolutely no help at all. In fact, I’m not even sure why the character was even written into the story. This calamari eating, tea-sipping, sissy-boy has no right donning the tights of a superhero, but I suppose that’s the point Moore was trying to make. Not everybody is cut out for the rigors of protecting society against itself. And not to give the plot away, but as a general rule of thumb, when a naked, blue guy walks up behind you...look over your shoulder.

I give this movie 5 out of five stars for its effort to take a multi-part series and condense it into only half a day. The visuals were stunning, the story remained true to the comic (dark AND depressing) and though the slight change of the ending may have made more logical sense...but certainly didn’t solve the film’s economic problems. Grossing considerably less than the $150 million budget, The Watchmen merits bail-out consideration. But, who’s going to watch how The Watchmen spend the dough? Maybe a big, blue, naked guy who sees the past, present and future simultaneously? That would be nice, but unfortunately, we ain’t got one of those...

But, hey look, a Black Freighter’s pulling into port. Maybe someone there can help us out of this ghoulish oversight dilemma?


Anonymous said...

It's like Dr. Manhattan said: "Nothing ever ends..." Especially this long, tedious movie review.

Anonymous said...

Funny. You knoow you reaallly saw the flick.