Sunday, 15 March 2009

Watchmen: Reviewed

I feel betrayed. I feel dirty. I feel violated and ashamed. Why? Cos I saw Watchmen Thursday night, that’s fucking why.

Woah woah woah, back up. Yes, this will be a film review. Yes, in my long-forgotten tradition, I will attempt to sum the film up in three words. And those words shall be:

Like everyone else I saw the trailer, got excited, made the decision to buy the goddamn tickets. It’s nobody’s fault but mine. Like many people, I failed to pick up on the one hyowj question that would have settled the ticket buying decision before I went in: Why was the trailer was all swishy-swishy fab SFX, ultra-hip moments of character posturing, cool Smashing Pumpkins music, the barest snippets of impossibly cool dialogue and no actual indication as to the plot? It was of course due to the fact that Mr Plot appeared so briefly he could have been listed as an extra. In fact, Mr Plot could have phoned in his bits of the film from the coffee shop down’t road from the sodding sound stage and no-one would have been the wiser.

I’m not saying there weren’t any plot to it, obviously. I’m saying it was a positively anorexic reason to have the characters onscreen. I’ve seen more plot in a Wong Kar Wai movie.

And another thing: how disappointed was I with the whole Stargate Manoeuvre? When you see the trailer and think it’s going to be fab cos of the concept - and then you actually see the film and they’ve wasted a perfect opportunity to create something seminal, something of a landmark, something 2001-ish (or at least Evil Dead II or Chronicles Of Riddick-ish). I feel betrayed. The film was ok to watch - and with the mighty Jeffrey Dean Morgan using Ee-vil Sneer Number One to extra crunchy effect, there were definite moments of fabness. But it wasn’t all it could be.

Loved the darkness (have I given up givin’ a fuck?). Loved the typical rain-washed, pseudo-Bladerunner-ish, possible modern Gotham City-ness to it all. Liked the Sin City-type angle of doom, of good people turning nasty, knowing they’re fighting for a world that ultimately is a piece o’ shite. Loved it.

And I loved the Sarah Jane Confronts Life Without Doctor Ten moments, where you see the ex-masked avengers had to hang up their spandex and assimilate into the real world. The whole “you have to deal with what comes next - or rather, what doesn’t come next. You get a taste of all that splendour and then it’s all taken away” thing. Nicely done - and it was the main draw of the film, I suppose. But really, mate, that shouldn’t have been all it was about, angst-wise.

I’ve often bemoaned the common phenomenon of men being physically unable to meet a girl’s eyes if she has a low-cut top on. I’m sure many other girls have too. It’s not really a bad thing - in fact, it’s a nice little reminder that, even if you are a boring, personality-challenged twat of an unattractive female, you can still get your rack ogled with impunity. It’s kind of comforting, really. So imagine my discomfort, my shock, my horror and appalled mortification as I found that I myself am no better than Rack Oglers of the lowest order.

I blame the Blue Man. Dr John Manhattan, to be precise. I understand his character was moving away from all that is human and thinking of himself as a god, as something unattached to whatever makes people people, and whatever it is that keeps them interacting with others. I understand that he was losing touch with the human concept of reality and all the usual human ideas of what’s right and wrong. But really, dude, did you have to walk around totally nekkid, swinging your blueness around like you didn’t care if it took some poor bugger’s eye out?

I had the hardest time concentrating on what anyone was saying while he was in shot. Seriously. It was like a car crash. I couldn’t look away. My eyes were watering. It stung. My severely damaged ocular friends had been Bad-Touched by the blue man, and it would take HOURS of careful and appropriately themed good porn therapy to remove the Wrongness (and we’re talking several dirty bag of carrots on the That’s Just Not Right-O-Meter, folks). Yes, men walking round Tackle-Out will always be a draw, and yes, girls will always look (and point. And laugh. And remind themselves why Calvin Klein does such a roaring trade in undercrackers that manage to make just about anything look like there’s summat un-ugly hidden beneath the wrapper). But it’s just blue! It’s just wrong! Was this a metaphor? Just cos it’s blue, doesn’t make it right! And what in the present continuous fucking hell was with the rating? So you get rated for ‘disturbing battle scenes’ in Saving Private Ryan, and ‘disturbing fantasy violence’ in Lord Of The Rings. What do we get for Watchmen, ‘disturbing scenes involving a giant blue cock with no party friends attached’?

It’s just not right. Let the bird get her baps out, fine. It’s expected, it’s what gets bums on seats. But the blue man? Really? Now, if it had been someone NOT blue or screw-loose and fancy-free, then it would have been a draw. It would have been a bonus and might even have saved me from giving this such a slating. But no. Just cos it’s blue, doesn’t make it right.

I did get the ending, and the whole ‘doing the wrong thing for the right reasons might be just as bad as doing the right thing for the wrong reasons’ argument. I did, I got it. But a few things detracted from my enjoyment of what should have been a well-crafted commentary on the modern need for heroes or how times change, shit happens, and everyone has to go home after the party eventually. I frequently found myself bored with the little flash-backs or squeezed-in back stories. I didn’t really care about the girl boinking Manhattan and then What’s His Tit the Owl (although I did like him and was rooting for him). When she has her little epiphany and realises her connection to other characters, doing her Luke Skywalker Collapses Under Truth scene, I just kind of shrugged and reached for the popcorn. Sorry. Just not feeling it there, love.

What I was feeling was upset the mighty Jeffrey Dean Morgan had to die - again. I mean, fuck me, does he ever survive any film or series he starts? I move to start the ‘Save JDM’s Onscreen Characters From Messy and Unfair Deaths’ campaign.

There, that’s all there is to it. I’m feeling a little better now, but I still feel betrayed. It should have been cool. It should have been ace. It should have been everything I wanted from a washed-up-superheroes-getting-on-with-their-lives-but-getting-pulled-back-in-cos-you-can-never-really-get-out-for-good movie. It wasn’t. It was partly pants, partly Jeffrey Dean Morgan. And that’s pretty much it.

Gotta go. Granny W wants to go shopping, and she leaves tomorrow.

Soopytwist, everyone. Except Dr Manhattan.


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