I was curious what people who weren’t as familiar with the source material thought of Watchmen, so I asked a good friend of The Quarterbin’s, Nikkita (writer for our sister site The Daily Dairy), to give her thoughts on the film. I’m sure many of you had friends or family that didn’t know what to expect going in, so it was interesting to see what Nikkita had to say upon exiting the theatre. So before you hit the jump, I’ll thank her for taking the time to do this, and I hope you enjoy her “outsider’s” perspective.
I missed the comic book boat as a kid, so it wasn’t until last summer during the trailers for The Dark Knight that I heard of Watchmen. Man, that trailer was gorgeous. Glass shattering in slow motion, bright vivid colors, sweet costumes and that Smashing Pumpkins song which, ironically enough, was originally from the Batman and Robin soundtrack. That was it for me, I had a movie crush.
Before its big release, I squeezed in some time to read part of the book before I was asked to stop in order to review the film from a non-fan perspective. And well, I liked it. I liked it a lot actually. But within the Gamervision group alone, there were a lot of mixed reviews and I understand why. Watchmen is a misunderstood little movie.
Watchmen isn’t its trailer.
Granted I did have part of the book under my belt, I had already accepted that it wasn’t going to be the action film displayed in those awesome trailers. And while everything shown in the trailer was totally cool and probably exciting for the Watchmen fan base, the rest of us have been seriously mislead. Why? Because Watchmen is not an action film, it’s a drama. Therefore…
Watchmen isn’t 300
They are not fighting all the time, which I’m sure to some, that was implied. While the fight sequences did feature the gnarly removal of limbs, and plenty of blood and gore, these bits are few and far between. So what’s the rest of the film? Dialogue. And stuff that you should probably pay attention to. For some that may not be easy because…
Watchmen is long
Really long. I like movies, I like move watching, but even I felt like we were dragging along. And while I generally don’t advocate sequels, I think the Kill Bill split between a Volume 1 and a Volume 2, released within a few months of each other, could have worked out in Watchmen’s favor. But at this point, it’s kind of an arduous film to watch.
Watchmen is heavy
Take the tortured super hero complex, multiply it by 100 and then throw in the threat of nuclear annihilation. Period.
Watchmen is different
That kind of intensity isn’t necessarily something you’d get from a super hero film. And while my buddy Batman may be one dark and brooding character, it’s not the same.
Watchmen is focusing on a much bigger picture of a handful of masked heroes and their dying trade in a violent and fragile world.
And seriously, Rorschach is fucking awesome.
Watchmen isn’t soundtracked by Nickelback
One more reason this film is “different”: the soundtrack. There is no “butt rock” in it, and as a person who despises (no offense) Nickelback and every damn thing that sounds remotely like them, it was a welcome change to the genre. Sure, I was a bit confused by the Bob Dylan, and even more so by some Leonard Cohen choices (sex scene, huh??) but it’s about time someone thought outside of the box and crafted a soundtrack giving credit to its viewers’ musical tastes.
Watchmen is a movie with full frontal (male) nudity
Yes, this is something to talk about. In modern American film culture, nudity = sex. And by nudity, that usually means boobs and it’s getting annoying.
That’s not to say there isn’t gratuitous sex. As a matter of fact, the audience I was in had no idea how to even handle the sex scene. Even the annoying high school boys that had something to say about Dr. Manhattan’s front side every fucking time he was on screen shut their yaps. That is until Dominic screamed “sex rules!” as loud as humanly possible and the audience cheered and applauded. I couldn’t even make that part up.
Like I said before, I believe Watchmen is misunderstood. It was long and it was a lot to take in, and sadly, it was misrepresented, but then again, what isn’t? As for the controversy around the ending, I say it’s fine the way it is. It works cinematically and it’s simple enough for the more confused viewers to put the puzzle pieces together. And let’s face it, Watchmen can’t really afford any more cheesiness. At least it’s still getting away with what it’s already brewing.
All in all, I think it’s worth it to give Watchmen a chance and I look forward to what kind of road it has paved for others thinking outside of the movie box.
Also, Rorschach is fucking awesome.