Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dork Stuff

I intended to get a few posts up this weekend, but then I came down with a nasty flu. I've actually called in sick to work three days in a row, which I never do. I'll post some more stuff when I get up and runnning but for now:

1. You can hear Bobbie publicly humiliate me on the Dork Forest Podcast.

2. Colbert attempts to out-dork Neil Gaiman!

3. For my own dorkness, I guess I should finally get around to talking about the Watchmen movie. It's not the Watchmen movie I would have wanted to see--I'd rather have had a director with real vision (and the jury is no longer out on this--calling Zach Snyder a "visionary director" is just false advertising) take the book, tear it apart and put their own interpretations of the ideas up on the screen. BUT. Accepting this movie for the movie that it is, I think it's a pretty good one. I have major, MAJOR issues with it, but I think it works.

Basically, what Snyder has done is take the book and make it into a relatively accessible movie, preserving pretty much all of the important ideas, but in a form that can appeal to a much wider audience than the book can realistically reach. This is no mean feat, if you think about how hard it is to get literary ideas into a movie (watch the adaptation of The Great Gatsby to see what I mean). Snyder may not be a visionary, but as a craftsman he really pulled off a hell of a job here.

As for the major complaint: the violence. Regardless of what Snyder says, inserting Evil Dead-level gore throughout the film does not make it more "shocking." It looks kinda silly, in fact. It's more cartoonish, not less. And then, at the one point where the audience really needs to see the bodycount, to FEEL the bodycount, after the destruction, we don't get it. No slow pan over the dead bodies in the streets. If you're trying to be true to the comic (and that really seems like Snyder's primary aim), then that's a total failure.

Beyond that, there are just a lot of things that come off cheesier on screen than they do in a comic book. Hard not to make those comparisons. And serious overuse of music cues. It's absurd how long Snyder stuck with "All Along the Watchtower" just to get the image of Night Owl and Rorschach walking through the snow to synch up with "Two riders were approaching and the wind began to howl." Wes Anderson he ain't. OK, you can argue that he's using the language of modern Hollywood filmmaking to make a point, in the same way that Moore used the language of superhero comics to make a point, but I'd say "Well, what was that point, exactly?", but then I suppose you could say "Well, what was Moore's point?" and I'd be like "I dunno...stuff."

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