Mar 6 2009

Watching the Watchmen

Adel Gabot

jackie_earle_haley_as_rorschach_watchmen_movie_image(Warning: Here there be spoilers.)

During the scene of Jon Osterman (Billy Crudup)’s first full-on appearance as Dr. Manhattan, at the lab cafeteria where he manages to reconstitute himself days after being blasted apart by the Intrinsic Field Center, there was a crude, jarring and ham-handed jump cut in the movie, the first of many, and I thought, ok. So it was the blue penis that threw the MTRCB censors into apoplectic fits and made them cut up Watchmen. So are they going to censor every instance the big blue banana makes a screen appearance? If that was true, we were in for a lot of jump cuts.

It was just the one time, if it was even a cut; the blue banana made subsequent full frontal appearances unmolested by the MTRCB later on in the movie, to uncontrolled giggling of largely juvenile audiences. (I suppose these are the same people who giggle at the UP Oblation every time they pass by the statue in the Diliman campus.)

Apparently the MTRCB’s major trims were reserved for the backseat action in Nite Owl’s ride, between Patrick Wilson’s and Malin Akerman’s masked heroes (and apparently, we discover, Nite Owl performs better in costume that he does in civilian garb.)

Unsurprisingly, there were no trims for the graphic double arm amputation scene at Rorshach’s cell, or the dogs fighting over the partially eaten shin bone and still-shoe’d foot of the murdered and mutilated little girl, or the goodfella intestines hanging off the ceiling of the club courtesy of Dr. Manhattan. I was especially taken aback by The Comedian’s exceptionally brutal and vicious attempted rape of Silk Spectre.

Loving, passionate sex always trumps unflinching, graphic violence, as always. So snip snip snip. No gratuitous sex! Gratuitous violence, yes, but sex? No frakkin’ way. (But that’s a ranting for some other post. Like my mother-in-law loves to say about most things in life, what can we do?)

A large part of the adult nature of the material is precisely that unflinching violence, present in the graphic novel, and front and center in the movie. It is this violence that sets it apart from even the already sobering and serious tone of The Dark Knight. This is the nasty stuff. The bone-crunching, flesh-rending kind of brutality more at home with recent gore porn like in the Saw series of films. Viewers looking for pop-culture superhero-ness in the vein of Iron Man or Hulk will be in a for a surprise. This is a comic-book movie?

But Zack Snyder’s stylized treatment puts a glamorous veneer over the violence of Watchmen, and the slow motion stop-starts of the action make the fighting less draining and somehow exhilarating. The Dolby punctuation of the teeth-jarring punches and the juxtaposition of incongruous, yet appropriate music makes for exquisite contrast. I will never listen to “Unforgettable” in the same way ever again.

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Feb 26 2009

I. Can’t. Wait.

Adel Gabot

watchmen_movie_image__15_

Some humans have actually seen it, damn them. Reviews are out, and are all good. The normally loquacious AICN’s been reduced to inarticulate, babbling praise.

I plan re-reading Watchmen this weekend. Or shouldn’t I? Hmm.

UPDATE: I just found out SM Cinemas has removed all screenings of Watchmen from their theater due to the R rating it got. No big loss, really—save for the IMAX option. Damn it. We should sic Rorschach on them.


Feb 18 2009

To boldly go—again

Adel Gabot

 

star_trek_xiAs I like to say, I’m a Trekker—as opposed to being a Trekkie. There’s a distinct difference.

Trekkies go to conventions, write fanfic, wear the ears and do cosplay. And speak in guttural languages. Trekkers, on the other hand, remain anonymous, incognito. On the surface, you cannot tell we like Star Trek just by looking at us or listening to us talk. We have restraint, conduct reasonable discussions on the possibilities of faster-than-light travel and matter teleportation without getting too far outside the realms of hard science. And we do not speak or read Klingon.

I am actually a lapsed Trekker, to be honest about it. I have grown up and realized I will not die if I don’t read every single bandwagon Star Trek novel ever written.

Yes, I have lapses. I can wax rhapsodic about the Nicholas Meyer movies (II and VI), the first season of TOS (The Original Series), and one or two truly intelligent novels if I really had to. I’m not exactly sure I should be proud of it, but I think I can hold my own with Trek trivia buffs. I have been known to say Live Long and Prosper on rare occasions (although to my knowledge I have never publicly made the splay-fingered Vulcan greeting).  But I find on the whole I can live without Star Trek most of the time. Forgive the heresy, but these days I’m actually thinking most of the stuff is asinine. Doing as William Shatner himself once exasperatedly suggested (and biting the hands that fed him), I went and got a life. It’s just a TV show.

Thing is, the mounting hysteria over J.J. Abrams‘ new film is lighting a fire under my ass once again, to my dismay and consternation. I have no problem obsessing over Watchmen, but I’m surprised to feel nearly the same way with the Star Trek movie. I download the trailers and surf the net for tidbits and morsels about it. I even downloaded a version of the reedited trailer that showed four seconds of an aging Spock as a coda at the end. In HD. I have recently rewatched II and VI, God help me.

bill_leo

The other week I caught an episode of William Shatner’s 30-minute talk show for the Biography Channel called Raw Nerve that got me nostalgic about being a Trekker. Normally I don’t watch anything with Bill Shatner. Truth be told, I only liked him in the first season of the original series, and in The Wrath of Khan movie. He is, and he admits it himself, a ham. He’s also a very rude and acerbic personality off-cam, and apparently that makes for a good interviewer. So when I found out Leonard Nimoy was guesting on his show, I made it a point to watch that episode. Kirk and Spock, shooting the breeze. It should be interesting.

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Feb 1 2009

New Transformer robot?

Adel Gabot

cyclebot

Here’s concept art for a rumored robot for the forthcoming Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen movie. Dunno if it’s real (most likely recycled old fan art), but I hope so. Babes on bikes are real cool, but babes who are bikes are something else.

There have been leaks of twin robots and one or two other models, most of them based on Chevys (through the miracle of blatant product placement deals), but nothing confirmed. We’ll know soon enough – the teaser trailer Super Bowl ad’s coming out this weekend.

Someday I’ll have a Transformer designed and named after me. It’ll be called the AdelgaBot.


Feb 1 2009

Embarrassment of riches

Adel Gabot

watchmenOne of the biggest things I’m looking forward to this year, like many other geeks, is Zack Snyder’s Watchmen movie. It’s a mixed blessing. I know I will likely enjoy everything their Massively Mercenary Marketing Tie-in Monster Machine will put out (which is just about everything it possibly can, from Dr. Manhattan blue body paint to Silk Spectre thongs). But as a devoted and avowed sucker for all things Watchmen, I also know I shall calmly hand over my money and try to get everything I can afford. (Well, maybe not the thongs.)

Over the years, I’ve already gotten two copies of the trade paperback, the massive Absolute Watchmen book, the complete original first-print comic book run and a set of the reprints. But by the looks of things, my misery’s just getting started.

The movie won’t be out for a while, but already tons of pre-release merchandise is incoming. I ran across news last night about one I’m particularly salivating over:

blackfreight

It’s a DVD/Blu Ray tie-in of a portion of the graphic novel Snyder couldn’t sneak in the movie for reasons of length. So Smarty Pants Snyder instead made it into a separate animated feature. Tales of The Black Freighter is a full-length version of the comic-within-the-comic, and is voiced by 300‘s Gerard Butler. The disc will also have a live-action faux docu called Under The Hood, Hollis Mason‘s look at the costumed hero’s history, using the original actors. Plus deleted scenes and other features.

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