Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mike Reviews The Watchmen

What do the following items have in common?

The Watchmen
From Hell
V For Vendetta
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Answer: they're all crappy movies based on the works of Alan Moore. And while I haven't read any of the comics they're based on, I'm not letting Moore off the hook for the movies; I did read his run on WildC.A.T.s back in the '90s, and Jim Lee's creation is, to this day, trying to recover from the garbage that Moore wrote into it in the name of making it more "relevant" and "thoughtful." If Alan Moore would shave, get a hair cut, and never write again, the world would be a more magical place.

Of course, I'm not reviewing Alan Moore. I'm supposed to be reviewing the Watchmen. So on to it.

In an alternate timeline, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union are running hot because the god-like Doctor Manhattan almost single-handedly won the the Vietnam war for the U.S, Nixon is on his fifth term as President, and costumed vigilantes are outlawed. The aforementioned Doctor Manhattan and former Watchman Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias are working on an alternative, unlimted energy source. Meanwhile, another former Watchman, the Comedian, is murdered. This leads the slightly psychotic Rorschach to try to reunite the old team on the suspicion that the killer might deliberately be targeting them. Sounds simple enough, right?

It could have been, if the plot wasn't so meandering. Perhaps you have room to write in a 12-issue comic book series that you don't on the silver screen, but the Watchmen just dragged on and on. The character of the Comedian is explored in a series of flashbacks other characters have of him, ultimately culminating in a revelation that may have served some point Moore was trying to make about human nature, but really drags what could have been a movie of a little more than an hour into a three hour nightmare, because aside from fleshing out the backstories of characters that you still don't give two craps about, it does NOTHING to advance the plot.

The movie had way too much of one other thing... glowing blue dicks. You see, Doctor Manhattan, one of the only two remotely interesting characters in the entire film, was turned into a blue god-like being during the cliche scientific experiment gone awry. He can teleport, he can see his past and future, and he can alter matter on a whim. Now, as time goes by, he becomes more and more out of touch with humanity, and Moore thought a great way to illustrate that in the comics would be to start him with a bunch of human habits that he would eventually lose, along with his clothing. Now, you see that tiny, almost understated package he was drawn with in the above picture? Doesn't work as well when you've got several inches of live action cock flopping around in a movie. Instead of noticing how he's given up wearing clothing as a sign of his deteriorating connection to humanity, you find yourself thinking, "Guy's got nearly unlimited power, so why can't he put some damn pants on"?

The other interesting character was Rorschach. Rorschach is interesting because he's a man who follows his own moral code unerringly, without concern for whether or not his moral code conflicts with societies. When the movie takes the time to explore the events in his life that shaped his character, you find yourself empathizing with him... which is apparently the opposite of what Moore wanted. To hairy, hippy Moore, Rorschach is simply supposed to represent the violent ultra right-winger.

Sadly, the movie spends a lot of time trying to explain to us who the other characters are, but sadly, despite their pivotal roles in the story, the movie completely fails to make any of them even remotely interesting.

Ultimately, I would have to read the comics that the movie is based on before I feel free to critic the story. But I feel qualified to tell you that if it was any good, it didn't translate to this train wreck of a film. A train wreck, I might add, with BLUE GLOWING DICKS.

Final Score: D

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