Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Harry Knowles Breaks His Silence [Watching the Watchmen]

Say what you will about Harry Knowles, THIS is a review I've been waiting for. You can't deny Harry is a true fan, and since I am a true Watchmen fan, I wanna hear opinions from people who love it like I do. Below I've posted some highlights of the review.

To start,

This is a completely different experience. For the first time in my 22-23 year relationship with the characters and universe of WATCHMEN, there is something entirely new to dissect, talk about, argue about, get enraged over, get drunk over, fight over and to fucking love!

On the Comedian,

Through it all, we see Rorschach’s twisted sick view of society. We lose a bit of his respect he held for the Comedian – and a touch of the disdain others had for him. Just a touch, but it is softened ever so slightly – maybe not so much through the actions of Snyder and the filmmakers, but simply because Jeffery Dean Morgan is so great as this character. At times he reminds me of Mickey Rourke’s turn in THE WRESTLER. There’s a sadness, a madness & a genius all at play here. Morgan is basically a completely new actor to me, since I don’t really watch GREY’S ANATOMY or SUPERNATURAL… but this is a breakthrough role for him. Don’t worry – he’s still the unforgivable cock that he was in the book, but honestly… I liked his character more than I did in the book.

On Ozymandias,

If any character is given the short shift in the film, it is Ozymandias. We get a very truncated version of his story here. A very light touch on his Alexander obsession. You don’t get his obsession with Alexander fully. Or that he gave away his parents’ fortune to rebuild himself anew.

More excerpts after the jump!

On Dr. Manhattan,

Billy Crudup’s Dr. Manhattan. He never once felt silly or weird. He was beautiful, otherworldly, human and a god on earth. When Manhattan spoke I was stunned. It was absolutely NOT the voice I ever heard in my mind. I always imagined the voice of a God. I don’t know. Perhaps, Orson Welles. Instead, the voice is of someone that has seen things that he hasn’t the capacity to dumb down to a normal perspective of us. He sounds like a scientist. Someone that is absolutely no longer one of us, but was once one of us.

On Laurie (the character I've heard the most complaints about...and by character I do mean actor...because a lot of people say she sucks. I hope she doesn't),

Malin Akerman’s Laurie Jupiter. She’s bored and a bit bitter. She isn’t constantly whining about her mother nearly as much as she did in the book – and frankly I’m a bit glad. Watching that would be a bit much I think. But she feels like someone who can no longer relate or tolerate her lover. And frankly, that’s the soul of her character. She’s a woman in transition. She is transitioning from being what her mother wanted her to be. She’s moving from being Jon’s anchor to human reality, from whatever he sees.

On Rorschach,

Jackie Earle Haley IS RORSCHACH. Now the sad thing is… no matter what Zack could have done, we never would have had nearly enough Rorschach. Seriously. I have never been satisfied with the amount of Rorschach that exists. His monologues from Journal entries. Everything about him. The audience loved everything that Rorschach does. Be it with the mask, without the mask, empowered, allegedly helpless, grownup or as a child. Rorschach is a brilliant character. He’s Travis Bickle with a mask. He is the hardest version of BATMAN and less gaudy than JUDGE DREDD. Rorschach is the ID of those wishing vengeance and retribution. He is great. Truly great.

On Nite Owl,

Patrick Wilson’s Dan Dreiberg/NITE OWL. I’m a big Dan Dreiberg fan...ere – I think there’s a slight reimagining of Dan / Nite Owl. He has given up the cowl. He no longer patrols the nights. He hangs out with Hollis Mason, because at his heart – he’s the hero that WANTED to be a hero. There’s no pain or anguish that drives him. He did it because he dreamt of being a hero. He is a genius. He has the determination to learn to be an incredible fighter. But when the Keene Act occurs – he’s too much of a boy scout to “Break the Law” – he wants to uphold the law. But during his flaccid existence – he hasn’t completely gone to pot. He still maintains himself. He isn’t a hardened badass physique, but he seems soft – not as a fatty, but he isn’t happy in his life. He doesn’t know what to do if he isn’t a hero. He doesn’t know how to live without being a hero. He wallows in the memories. But those days have never left his mind. I love the character. YES, he still has trouble getting it up. Yes, the costumes help. And you better believe they fuck in Archie. But more importantly, you see that when he puts that costume back on, he pops back to life. And he loves it. That’s the soul of the character… and always was to me.

On Silk Spectre 1,

Carla Gugino’s SALLY JUPITER. First off… who doesn’t love Carla Gugino? Seriously? The Comedian / Silk Spectre 1 indiscretion is unbelievably tough. But as rough as it is, there is something in how Carla plays her that is never fully defeated. Sure it gets stopped as it does in the comic, but frankly… there’s something going on in this scene that I couldn’t see in the comic. I’m not saying she’s wanting this to happen, but there’s something there that makes you not so surprised that she and Blake would hook up later. There’s a kink at play that I can’t entirely dismiss.

On its length,

Honestly, if I have a complaint it is that the film feels brief to me. Two hours and 40 minutes and it went by like a blink for me. I easily would have patiently sat for another 2 hours, but that’s me.

On Zach (for david),

This is a movie. One that got cheers from my audience. That had wildly enthusiastic lovers – and those that dismissed it entirely. How someone can watch this film and come away thinking it is entirely about slow motion fighting is BEYOND me.
If for some reason you hate Zack Snyder’s filmic style – I’m betting right now you’ll despise this film and overlook everything else that is so incredibly dead on... Zack’s style and direction absolutely worked for me. I love his stylized fighting as filmed. After watching shitty superhero fights for way too long, it did feel good to see these characters get it right. The violence, the sex and the weight of the material is intact, though truncated to a 2 hour and 40 minute running time.

On what didn't work,

Frankly. The new ending. I just don’t like it as much as the ending of the books. As the movie nears its ending, it felt like it was rushing to an established conclusion...NOW – does this ending change RUIN the film for me. No. But it will always be one of the reasons I’ll push people to reading the book. There’s just a reality to adaptations. You lose things.

On the scene that obviously inspired Saw and I'm happy Harry mentioned,

Rorschach’s handcuffing the kidnapper/murderer to the big woodburning heater is still there. But giving him the hacksaw and setting the place on fire telling him to saw through his own arm is gone. Why? SAW. Rorschach does something different. I accept that loss.


I WATCHED THE FUCKING WATCHMEN AND FUCKING LOVED IT! It isn’t the perfect 5 hour wet dream that I always dreamt of, but I love it. I can’t wait to see the dialogue you all have with this film, with each other and with us here at AICN.

There you have it, folks! The ultimate fanboy loved it. But also readily admits it isn't perfect. Which I appreciate. Click here for the full review. I'll have my own opinion on the matter this Friday.

In other news, head here to enter to win the Watchmen Film Companion Book and here to learn about the nine big changes in Watchmen, from comic to screen.


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