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07 March 2009 @ 11:58 pm
 
I'm halfway through my weight-loss goal (yay!), and discovered today that I can wear a pair of pants that I haven't gotten into in over two years. And they're not terribly tight, either! Whoo!

We saw the Watchmen tonight, which was not what I was expecting.

Well. I hadn't read the graphic novel, of course (I'm not a comic book person), so I had no context going in. First of all, I didn't expect it to be so dark, or so "Alternate Universe" of U.S. history. And second, I didn't expect it to be so sociopathic. Many of the superheroes it it are sociopaths, and the character played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan is reprehensible. Oh JDM-- looking so hot, and it's wasted because the character does some very sick things. :(

Interesting story structure (which unexpectedly slows down to a snail's pace near the end), interesting alternate 'history,' very good historical character-casting (the Nixon and Kissinger are great, and it looks like Dean Stockwell is playing Nikita Krushchev). Some really great visuals, which contrast oddly with the sheer cheesiness of the Watchmen group's costumes and superhero identities. And I found the Dr. Manhattan character really interesting, as well as Rorshach.

But the violence was explicit, sickening, and gleeful, and that really doesn't suit me at all. I hate glorified sociopathy-- it's one of the reasons I don't like the "Godfather" series (or "Goodfellas," or most mob movies) or "Pulp Fiction." Also? I never thought I'd say this, but too much penis. After awhile, it just starts to get weird.

Okay. It was entertaining, but some of it was unwatchable due to the graphic violence.

To the world at large, I'd really like to just enjoy JDM being charming for a change and not get these characters that I wind up being mad at.

ETA: Dear god, a whole discussion went on while I slept! It appears at first glance that people who have read the Watchmen graphic novel will take away something entirely different from the movie than I did. Unfortunately, I'll bet most audience members haven't read the novel, so now the question is what does the Average Joe (Yeah! Blow shit up!) see the movie being about?

Watch out for spoilers in the comments below.


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she said mysteriouslyresounding_echo on March 8th, 2009 08:27 am (UTC)
I'm going to see Watchmen tomorrow night with my brother, and your review is roughly what I expect to see. I will ask this--do you think these characters were glorified, and their actions as well? I have read the comic, and while we are supposed to find them sympathetic, I do not think we are to view them as heroes (though some people seem to miss this point). The graphic novel is structured so as to explore the psychology of costumed crusaders--I mean, who the fuck actually does that, right? You'd have to be crazy, fame-hungry, and/or have a messiah-complex, etc.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: IronManhalfshellvenus on March 8th, 2009 08:44 am (UTC)
This is an excellent question. Part of the problem is that our society as a whole glorifies sociopathy in entertainment, even though we condemn it in reality. For the main part, the characters are more aware of when others in their group are crossing the line, but they apathetically let it happen and they don't really turn that probing gaze onto themselves. Which may mean that the audience doesn't either-- and people are far too accepting of "cartoon violence" in general.

The graphic novel is structured so as to explore the psychology of costumed crusaders--I mean, who the fuck actually does that, right? You'd have to be crazy, fame-hungry, and/or have a messiah-complex, etc.
What a perfect idea!

Some of that does come out by the end, but I don't think it's stressed enough that the average audience member would say, "Seriously, who DOES watch the watchers?" instead of "Okay, now THAT guy was kind of nuts."

I.e., they don't see the larger question or idea, only as it applies to individuals. I think the larger message is much more powerful.

But since you've read the novel and you know what you're getting into, I'll be interested to see what your take on the movie is and how well it put forth the novel's messages!
(no subject) - astrothsknot on March 8th, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - halfshellvenus on March 8th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - resounding_echo on March 8th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on March 8th, 2009 07:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - black_regalia on March 10th, 2009 01:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on March 10th, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deutschtard on March 9th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on March 9th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deutschtard on March 9th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
i want this to last foreverlinzi20 on March 8th, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the pant fitting! Woohoo :) That must feel great!!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 8th, 2009 07:13 pm (UTC)
It does! Especially after I went out Tuesday trying to see whether to get a new belt or new pants (because I didn't remember how close I was to fitting into these pants), and the pants-shopping was awful. As it usually is. Jeans and pants in general fit me SO badly-- I'm so far out of the norm in so many different ways. :(

So I bought a new belt instead (for the mid-rise pants), and discovered I don't really need it! Whoo-hoo!
Shainalady_shain on March 8th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
Congrats!
That's awesome - way to go, lady!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 8th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Congrats!
Thank you!

I saw a random post from you the other day, and was so pleased to see that you were back again. Yay!
Re: Congrats! - lady_shain on March 8th, 2009 08:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
fairyd123fairyd123 on March 8th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC)
Ah yes well if you hadn't read the graphic novel I can see why you'd be surprised. Characters like the Comedian are fascinating - dark and just plain horrible but far too nuanced and complex to be written off as just a monster. This was not the movie to watch if you wanted to see JDM being twinkly and charming considering that his character beats and rapes Sally and shoots a Vietnamese woman who is pregnant with his child (I'm assuming those incidents are in the fim?)And Rorshach is a complete psycopath.

But yes the tagline is "Who watches the Watchmen?" - if society deteriorates to the point where a group of people take it upon themselves to police things while dressed up in superhero outfits who protects us from them?

The book is wonderful - yes its incredibly violent and dark (Alan Moore doesn't write day glo happy) but its lyrical and superbly written. But I can understand that if you went in thinking you were going to be seeing something in the vain of Spiderman or X-Men you'd be horrified.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 8th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
(I'm assuming those incidents are in the fim?)
Oh god, yes. :(

And Rorshach is a complete psycopath.
You know, him I was less sure of. In the movie, other than trying to escape the policemen who attacked him, he very much reserve his wrath for those whom he thought guilty of very serious things (or in self-defense). I.e., he doesn't kill or attack randomly-- he's very much crime-fighter oriented, and is still pained by the memories of injustices he could not prevent.

So in the film at least, he comes off as dark and dangerous but actually escapes sociopathy. The Comedian, in the movie, is an unadulterated sociopath.

The book is wonderful - yes its incredibly violent and dark (Alan Moore doesn't write day glo happy) but its lyrical and superbly written.
I'm puzzled as to how a graphic novel could ever BE lyrical or superbly written. Speaking from ignorance, of course, because comic books are not my thing and never have been, but the little I've seen of even the more modern ones is graphics-heavy (obviously) and prose-sparse. That seems to me to be the intended medium, so it your words surprise me!

(no subject) - fairyd123 on March 8th, 2009 08:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on March 8th, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deutschtard on March 9th, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fairyd123 on March 9th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deutschtard on March 9th, 2009 10:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Huntresshuntress69 on March 8th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
My son and I both read the graphic novel (which is excellent, BTW, and I am a comic book person, he is not) and we saw it last night with my daughter, and we all liked it. But one thing my son pointed out, as an analogy, is that this is a comic book movie the way Sweeney Todd was a "slasher movie". People are going expecting some type of comic book action, the way they went to ST and didn't expect a musical. I loved the alt history timeline, I thought the cast was amazing and very true to the novel, and I don't think that was Dean Stockwell as Nikita. But I did recognize Matt Frewer as Molloch.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 8th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
People are going expecting some type of comic book action, the way they went to ST and didn't expect a musical.
That's the problem with off-genre films, especially those that are unfamiliar. Sweeney Todd is at least a well-known musical that has been around for decades. The Watchmen is less well-known, so the audience will be less prepared for it.

I didn't see Sweeney Todd. I love Johnny Depp, but I can't handle gore and slasher stuff and violence at all, and it's too inherent in that story for me to want to see it. I still have bad memories of having seen "Time After Time" (a Jack-The-Ripper story) in the Mormon-edited version (with TONED-DOWN violence) and being utterly sickened by it.

The historical AU was fascinating though-- imagine the horror of people reelecting Nixon ad infinitum! And I recognized Matt Frewer as well. Krushchev was a brief fly-over moment, but it sure looked like Dean Stockwell to me.
(no subject) - deutschtard on March 9th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on March 9th, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deutschtard on March 9th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
cindytsuki_no_bara on March 8th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
i was mostly surprised there WAS penis. maybe because it was blue cgi peen and not actual peen, they were ok with showing it as much as they did. still kinda weird, tho. (and i might have giggled once or twice, but that's because i'm really twelve. :D )

i wasn't expecting the violence to be so graphic either - i read the graphic novel but a long time ago, so i don't remember most of it - but the friend i saw it with (who never read the book) thought the dark knight was darker and more violent. she still cringed a lot and covered her eyes.

part of the point of the movie - because it was part of the point of the graphic novel - is that just because these "superheroes" are going out and catching and killing criminals and making the streets safe for the common man doesn't necessarily make them good. the comedian is nominally on the side of law and order, but he's not a good person. adrian veidt's an arrogant megalomaniac with a god complex. rorshach is fucking crazy. and yet these are the people who take it upon themselves to try and bring order to the world. we're supposed to look at them critically and think about who they are and why they do what they do, and not just accept "oh, they take revenge for dead little girls" as an excuse for their sociopathy.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 9th, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
i was mostly surprised there WAS penis.
Me too-- it's unusual in American movies, and there didn't seem to be a point to it, though I suppose you could say that it was a metaphor for how disconnected that character was with human society. Still... distracting!

but the friend i saw it with (who never read the book) thought the dark knight was darker and more violent. she still cringed a lot and covered her eyes.
Gore seems inherently more violent to me than lesser gore. The blood-splatter, dismembered parts, goo, sinew, skeletal bits-- yack! God, I just hate that kind of stuff, and I would have noticed if The Dark Knight had achieved quite that level of violence. Though it was more violent than I would have liked.

is that just because these "superheroes" are going out and catching and killing criminals and making the streets safe for the common man doesn't necessarily make them good.
I think that's a great thing to center a story around, but I'm still not sure it comes off clearly to audiences who aren't familiar with the novel. Part of working a movie screenplay is to make sure that kind of tone and aspect is not in doubt.

the comedian is nominally on the side of law and order, but he's not a good person.
God, not at all. He was frightening, and I wasn't expecting that.

rorshach is fucking crazy.
In the movie, he didn't seem entirely crazy to me. Not at all-- tortured, dangerous, very much pained by the weight of the world, and more than a little paranoid (though his paranoia turned out to be justified), but he still seemed to own his moral center. Makes me wonder what he's like in the novel, because several people have echoed your feelings about him!

(no subject) - mooyoo on March 9th, 2009 07:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - deutschtard on March 9th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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Sorrel, the artist formerly known as goddessleilasorrelchestnut on March 8th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
Everyone has said it better than me already, but I'll add my two cents in saying that some of the gratuitous violence is the *point.* For example, I'm pretty sure some of the more violent extremes in the fight scenes probably weren't in the comic books, but I actually found them really appropriate. When you're one person (or two, I guess) fighting an entire gang full of people set on killing you, you don't stop to make sure that you only knocked them harmlessly unconcious. You break bones, you break heads, you make sure they go down and stay down so they can't get back up and come after you again. So while Nite Owl and Silk Spectre didn't torture and kill criminals the way Rorschach does, but they're not handing out love taps when they fight, either. Because it wouldn't really be *effective.*

I do think they could have tried harder to warn unprepared audiences about just how graphic the movie is, however. I feel like anyone who doesn't know the comic thinks that it's just another superhero movie, and it's actually kind of the antithesis of a superhero movie, really.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 9th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
When you're one person (or two, I guess) fighting an entire gang full of people set on killing you, you don't stop to make sure that you only knocked them harmlessly unconcious. You break bones, you break heads, you make sure they go down and stay down so they can't get back up and come after you again.
THAT wasn't so much the violence that bothered me. It was the gore and grisliness- blood spatter, guts, goo, skeletal portions, sinews (remember the stuff on the ceiling?), and then the quanitity of it in addition to the gore.

Part of the problem for me is that when a movie is that gory, I can only assume that its creators intend to celebrate the violence and gore. Because it's so offputting that it makes it harder for me to 'hear' the message behind it than if a different method was chosen. Say, showing the families grieving over the civilians that the Comedian randomly killed. All we see is his clear enjoyment over killing people-- guilty and non-guilty alike. That sends a different message!

feel like anyone who doesn't know the comic thinks that it's just another superhero movie, and it's actually kind of the antithesis of a superhero movie, really.
Exactly-- and something in how the story was conveyed on screen probably could have made that clearer than it was. I'm all over that kind of idea and message, but I don't think that's what general audiences are going to get from it.

My husband... absolutely hated it. :(
(no subject) - sorrelchestnut on March 10th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Harleycrimsonkitty88 on March 8th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
Heh. I'm one of those who hadn't read the graphic novel before I saw the movie (besides the first two or three chapters). I personally loved it. The intersecting lives and the normality turning to violence in a split second. Oh and Rorschach. RORSCHACH RORSCHACH RORSCHACH. That is all.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 9th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
Oh and Rorschach. RORSCHACH RORSCHACH RORSCHACH. That is all.

He was fascinating, though Jackie Earl Haley still kind of scares me. But what a performance! JDM's was fantastic too, though the character was hateful.

Very on the fence about whoever Patrick Wilson played (I couldn't tell if "Dry Bird" was the superhero name or just how Rorshach liked to mock him). He was awfully weak and ineffectual for a superhero, which seemed to be the point of his character, but still... meh.
(no subject) - deutschtard on March 9th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - crimsonkitty88 on March 9th, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deutschtard on March 9th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
brigid_tanner: words-fiction frozen dreamsbrigid_tanner on March 8th, 2009 11:46 pm (UTC)
Responding first to something I saw you say in another comment, if you want beautifully written graphic novels, you MUST read Sandman by Neil Gaiman. He's an amazing writer. I have loaner copies of some, if you want to borrow them.

I hadn't read the Watchmen novel. I was warned ahead of time by a friend that the gore was graphic, and the sound effects really amped it up. Seeing a bone break is one thing, hearing it makes it even worse. I did like the songs they chose to accompany parts of the movie.

When I bought my ticket yesterday, there was a sign up at the theater warning parents of graphic violence, sex, nudity and that this was NOT the typical super hero movie. There was a family in the theater with kids ranging from maybe 2 years old to about 10. I judge children's age badly. I would never take my 3 year old niece to this, but mostly cause she'd be bored and wouldn't be following the story. My nephew when he was 10 or 12, I might have taken, cause we could have discussed all the shades of gray and what really makes a "hero" afterward. And how heroic is it to gun down a pregnant woman just cause she annoys you.

The friend who warned me about the violence also told me that JDM's character wasn't exactly a shiny friendly fellow. Was glad to know that upfront, though I caught on pretty quickly. I liked Rorshach the best, cause he did seem to hold his violence for the truly guilty.

The rape really bothered me. The idea that she would willing have sex with him later bothered me. It's why I quit watching General Hospital years ago when they changed Luke raping Laura to "making love". Did enjoy that there was more male nudity than female. That was a unique thing. Though the blue penis all through the movie was a little distracting.

Planning to get off the computer soon and read the novel tonight. I like seeing what everyone else thought of the movie. It had more talking/thinking than I was expecting.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Starry Nighthalfshellvenus on March 9th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
I'll have to add "Sandman" to my list of things to check out from the library. Thanks for the recommendation! I've also been meaning to try "Night Watch" (Sergei Lukyanenko), because everytime I see it at the bookstore I'm tempted by it.

When I bought my ticket yesterday, there was a sign up at the theater warning parents of graphic violence, sex, nudity and that this was NOT the typical super hero movie.
I didn't see kids there, and thank god. Graphic violence, major gore, nudity, fucking, you name it-- all manner of things that I wouldn't even take a younger teen to see. :(

And how heroic is it to gun down a pregnant woman just cause she annoys you.
That was horrifying-- and pregnant with his baby, no less.

The idea that she would willing have sex with him later bothered me.
Me too-- the rape was bad enough (god, the Comedian clearly loved hitting women a lot, aside from the rape thing), but for her to have sex with him later? What kind of idiot was the woman supposed to be? I hate the whole idea-- it makes it seem as if he was right when he said, "The kind of No that means Yes." She kept saying 'No,' but that later choice seems to invalidate her 'No' and that's the last thing women need!

Did enjoy that there was more male nudity than female. That was a unique thing.
Yes-- rare and welcome, though again... continual blue peen was awfully strange.

like seeing what everyone else thought of the movie. It had more talking/thinking than I was expecting.
That part has been fascinating, though I hope I haven't ruffled too many feathers.

My main fear, as I've said, is that with an unusual message you have to take additional care that the audience is hearing what you're saying. I'm not at all sure it was heard, especially given the huge popularity of glorified sociopathy in American gangster films. :(


(no subject) - deutschtard on March 9th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on March 10th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deutschtard on March 10th, 2009 03:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
mooyoo: Ollian - Rocky!Christianmooyoo on March 9th, 2009 06:33 am (UTC)
So I saw the movie today and really liked it. But I do think you're right, that it loses something of the message for those who haven't read the book. I finished the book two nights ago, and really glad I finished it before seeing the movie, because I'm not sure how I would've taken it (I'm still having trouble really pinning down the meaning of the book). That's the difficult thing with a movie like this - I appreciate that it's message is subtle and not big and glaring, but as a result it's hard to miss.

The violence, for example, I'm with you on - I don't think it's meant to be sensationalized or celebrated, yet people in the theater when I saw it laughed hysterically and cheered throughout every gory scene (even the scene with the kidnapped little girl, people laughed through it), which I found crazy. (I'm the same way with movies like Pulp Fiction and Godfather. I've never understood the appeal of mobster movies and TV shows and things that glorify violence in that way)

So yeah, liked the movie a lot - I actually liked it more than the book, particularly the ending, which was slightly different (I found the ending of the book pretty anti-climactic and missing some key points that were made up for in the movie) - but the message is so subtle that I can almost see a viewer not familiar with the story coming away from it feeling very what was the point? and seeing it as a celebration of violence and superheroes rather than a condemnation of that kind of absolute power and authority.

As for the too much penis, I actually wasn't bothered at all by it - partially because that's how the character spends most of his time in the book, totally naked (with a few scenes dressed in a suit and a few with minimal clothing) so I was pretty impressed that they stayed true to that, and partially because so often it's the woman who runs around in the skimpiest of outfits, and it was nice to see a naked man this time.

The sex scene, however, went on way too long for my tastes. I like a good sex scene as much as the next person, but that was just unnecessarily long, and by the end had ventured into full on porn territory. Yikes.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 9th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
The violence, for example, I'm with you on - I don't think it's meant to be sensationalized or celebrated, yet people in the theater when I saw it laughed hysterically and cheered throughout every gory scene (even the scene with the kidnapped little girl, people laughed through it), which I found crazy.
It's generally too much for me anyway, but this seemed REALLY over the top. I stop "hearing" what a movie is trying to "say" when the gore level gets that high, and I still think it was unnecessarily graphic.

and partially because so often it's the woman who runs around in the skimpiest of outfits, and it was nice to see a naked man this time.
Yes-- THAT I can't complain about. But it still seemed oddly gratuitous, so I guess that reversing the target for that still doesn't make it less gratuitous for me!

and by the end had ventured into full on porn territory. Yikes.
Yes-- much more lengthy and detailed than I really want, especially since I'm already cringing over whether people were dumb enough to bring their children to the movie! :0
(no subject) - deutschtard on March 9th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on March 9th, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deutschtard on March 9th, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)