Sunday, March 08, 2009

Who Watches The Awesome?!!

Been looking forward to watching a particular movie after hearing of it and going through a rather above average weekly grind. That movie is "Watchmen". Based on the graphic novel "Watchmen" of the same name in 1986-1987. There would be a few liberties and discrepancies on the treatment of the story to set it on modern day standards in some manner in spite the 60's roots which the original graphic novel was set.

Spoiler Mode On

The movie's opening credits shows a montage of pictures and scenes showing the 1940's masked men group called the Minute Men. It showed the outcomes of its many members. Like one gets gunned down by being stuck in a revolving door, another get murdered due to her alternative lifestyle, another goes insane and gets committed. Only one of the few remaining survives through it and ends up in a later generation team, The Watchmen and his name is The Comedian.

The movie's plot starts off with a murder of man, who turns out to be a government employed costumed hero, which leads the trail for another costume vigilante Rorschach to pick it up and leads him to a conspiracy of worldly proportion as he contacts his former circle of fellow costumed heroes. The other heroes in this circle were Nite Owl II, Dr. Manhattan, Silk Spectre II and Ozymandias. All were contacted in one way or another given their previous membership as Watchmen hence the title of the graphic novel and now the movie. Rorschach's warnings gets mixed results. Rorschach gets subsequently arrested by the police due to a frame-up by the mysterious mastermind who got Comedian killed.

While Rorschach is locked up in prison with a scene in it with his famous quote: "You don't understand. I'm not locked in here with you. You're locked in here with me!", Dan Drieberg aka Nite Owl II and Laurie Jupiter aka Silk Spectre II were contemplating about their lives and somehow rekindled their heroic selves with a brawl in an alley which simultaneously occurs with Dr. Manhattan's TV interview which laters turns out to a ploy by the mysterious mastermind to leave the planet Earth. Dr, Manhattan leaves Earth for Mars and sets up a massive clock-style artifice made from Martian glass. After having a round of sex for Dan and Laurie, they decided to give the superhero gig another go and they don their costumes and set off to do something, which happens to be a rescue at a burning building. After that rescue, Nite Owl decides its time to spring Rorschach out of prison which he considers it to be "more fun" given the level of opposition involved compared to the alley brawl they did earlier. They charge in and waylay the the prisoners which the prison was having a riot instigated by the prisoners and one of Rorschach's enemies. Rorschach gets to exact his "business" with crime boss "Big Figure" in the men's room.

After returning back to Nite Owl's base of ops, Silk Spectre gets whisked away by Dr. Manhattan to Mars to see if he can be swayed to help humanity in spite them shunning him for what he did. Laurie gave another go at home Dr. Manhattan perceives time and sees a truth she didn't know of, her father was the Comedian in spite his attempt to rape her mother many years ago. Back on Earth, Nite Owl and Rorschach shake down a lead to follow the clue of a delivery company who connected to an earlier assasination attempt at Adrian Veidt aka Ozymandias. A critical clue clicks on mention of the company and a former girlfriend of Dr. Manhattan. The pair head over to Veidt Industries offices and uncovered a lot of intel of what's behind the delivery company and Veidt Industries. Ozymandias is discovered to be responsible for some plans in the works. They have to fly off to the Antarctic since the files mention about a facility build there for an unspecified purpose other than energy research.

After the revelation of parentage was revealed to Laurie Jupiter, Dr. Manhattan begins to see humanity anew of having another chance of saving and they both head back to Earth. Nite Owl and Rorschach fly over to the Antarctic base of Ozymandias in Archie the Owl-Ship where it crashes at the edge of the base due to very severe icing of its engines. Rorschach and Nite Owl, sporting Cold Weather gear, walk the rest of the way to the base. A celebration was held in progress for the completion of the energy system in the base but was cut tragically short by Ozymandias poisoning their drink and the scientists bodies disposed by the very science they developed. Nite Owl and Rorschach break into the base and try to stealthily get in to the drop on Ozymandias, which failed since he was able to counter there attacks.
Ozymandias was telling the pair that his plan was well underway that he's not prone to the usual supervillain monologue spiel involving their plans in which no chance of the heroes to stop it can occur. Multiple energy expulsion events happen all over the world in which the energy devices were build under the guise of energy resource research by Veidt Industries. The intended effect was that the one responsible for these eruptions of energy were none other than Dr. Manhattan himself. For the comic purists, this is a more tidier and plausible way of killing people to establish peace as opposed to teleporting in a genetically engineered psionic creature which is a freakishly inspired love child by H. R. Giger and H. P. Lovecraft. Dr. Manhattan and Silk Spectre arrive at one of the blast sites too late after their return from Mars. Dr. Manhattan now sees the logic behind the tachyon emissions blinding his timesight as well as reasoning out his involvement to them as well as the widescale destruction and they both head off to the Antarctic base of Ozymandias. Dr. Manhattan's timely arrival trips the balance back to Nite Owl and Rorschach in dealing with their erstwhile teammate now well-meaning master of the world. Ozymandias was able to live up to being able to catch a bullet when Silk Spectre pulled a gun on him. At his moment of defeat, he posed them a question about either exposing his scheme to the world to sacrifice the tenuous peace the world deserves or let peace and unity prevail. The group somehow in unspoken terms, decide not to. Only Rorschach says differently which he gets vaporized by Dr. Manhattan to silence him leaving his nom de guerre pattern in the snow. So peace has been in the world while it rebuilds from the fabricated attack. A periodical runs dry of ideas to publish and an enterprising intern decides to tap some material in the so called "crank file" to get some dirt or something juicy to use and it happens to be Rorschach's journal which he dropped prior to his trip and demise at the Antarctic. Dan and Laurie are living together and Laurie made peace with her mother Sally Jupiter. Dan has finished the repairs and upgrades to Archie and decides to take it out for a spin. End credits would roll from here. :)

The only missing bits from the graphic novel not shown in the movie was scenes about a comic called "Tales of The Black Freighter" and the murder of Hollis Mason, the first Nite Owl. With those bits in the current length of 162 minutes, the actual uncut version would have clocked to 3 hours all in all.


The movie is tagged with an R rating given the loads of violence and sex that peppers the film but still doesn't reach pornographic levels. It can be construed as superhero porn for some but also subtle gay porn if one were attentive to some details here and there at some parts.

The reviews and reception about this is mixed between hightly raved about to very disappointed. I'm pretty much leaning to the highly raved camp though on grounds of being a comic book geek and not too much of a purist anyways by some stretch. I can say that the movie is a close and tight adapation of the base material and having some interesting twist to accommodate the initial absurdity like substituting a psychic creature with an energy reactor which was also called a SQUID (Superconducting QUantum Intrinsic Device). To see what the monster looks like, closest thing you'll get online would be straight from the graphic novel itself or this. From surfing the net, it appears that this project has an albatross around its neck for being too complex to adapt to film given that two movie outfits are trying their hand at this graphic novel. Another fact known was that any film adaptation of Alan Moore's work is disowned by him for whatever grudge he holds regarding this so-called bastardizations of his work. Examples of this were V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell.

All in all, I find it to be an enjoyable film for a slow burner a superhero flick in spite the lack of superpowers per se since it is a humanocentric deconstruction of the superhero genre.

If Zach Snyder can pulls this one off, I wonder if they would tap him to do a movie version of The Authority which is pretty much over the top in action and cinematics that was described and written by its writer Warren Ellis. If that happens, I would be ecstatic to see it realized on film. That's it for now. Next time.


At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the comic.
Sadly the movie was so true to the comic, it came out dragging for a movie. Oh well, you can't have them all.


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