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 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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