Feeling heroic (and an expanded look at Watchmen)

Thanks to this cool site (http://cpbintegrated.com/theherofactory), I offer you this:

Kevin Hall is The Astonishing Masked Warrior

This is apparently what the superhero version of Kevin would look like, although I don’t know what special abilities or powers I have. I do have that battle axe, though, so that’s a plus.

On the topic of heroes, I offer this expanded/updated version of my initial thoughts on Watchmen. The fine folks at Georgetown News-Graphic asked me to tinker with the first version and provide it as a full review for the paper, so here it is, complete with even more blue penis:

I entered a viewing of Watchmen with an odd combination of high hopes and low expectations. The former comes from being a fan of the comic book (or “graphic novel” for those people too ashamed to admit to reading comics), with the latter stemming from my shared opinion that the comic is unfilmable.

Well, director Zack Snyder proved me wrong. The Watchmen saga actually is filmable. Unfortunately, Snyder’s version is unwatchable.

Whereas the book version deftly blends the hard edge of the characters with a look at why humanity failed so much in the first place, thus requiring superheroes, the movie just pounds you over the head with mind-numbing “action” scenes, questionable music choices and far too much blue penis (more on that later).

It’s only fair, though, to compare a film separate from its source material, so in entering Watchmen (the movie), I distanced myself from Watchmen (the comic book). This wasn’t exceptionally difficult, given the distinctions between the two. Although I don’t worship at its altar like many fanboys do, I still think Watchmen a pretty masterful piece of work.

Let me clarify: the comic is a pretty masterful piece of work.

The movie is a pretty masterful piece of crap.

Its overwhelming connection to the book actually poses a large chunk of its problem. It’s impossible to escape comparisons when you churn out such a literal translation. I have no problem with the changes to the book because, frankly, I thought it was just a straight visual transcription. Even though many of the scenes/images looked cool, I’d already seen them in the source material. Of course, to make any such change would require a director with some sort of artistic vision, something that cannot be said of Zack Snyder. He can sometimes put together a sharp-looking shot, but I’m convinced he doesn’t know how it happened. It’s the film equivalent of giving 100 monkeys 100 typewriters — eventually they’ll put together something.

And to be honest, I’d much rather watch 100 monkeys with 100 typewriters than Watchmen, but I guess that could be said about anything. Monkeys always entertain me.

Zack Snyder, on the other hand, does not. The Watchmen previews hailed him as “the visionary director of 300.” Someone needs to get their vision checked.

The music in the movie also baffled me, as how anyone could possibly use “Hallelujah” with a straight face anymore is beyond me (the song, while brilliant, has been used to death). Also, I was a bit disturbed by the amount of blue penis shown in the movie. Sure, I knew Dr. Manhattan would be naked in parts, but it’s a little distracting to see his Empire State Building flopping about. And the filmmakers decided to make it bigger than what was on the page. The book version of Dr. Manhattan’s penis is more Chinatown, while the movie version was “Long Island.”

The best part of the movie, by far, is Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach. Haley perfectly delivers the socio- and psychopathic vibe of the character, both in terms of his physical presence and his line readings. However, his hard-boiled edge doesn’t really belong with some of the lightweight performances elsewhere. It’s as if you took Christian Bale’s Batman and dropped him into the world of Batman & Robin. It just doesn’t fit.

I know this is a bold statement, but right now, I’m pretty sure I was more entertained by last month’s Friday the 13th remake than I was with Watchmen. At least Jason Voorhees didn’t pretend to be so self-important. Also, you don’t see his penis (although, I have to wonder, would Jason’s penis wear a little hockey mask of its own?).

So, who’ll watch the Watchmen, as the book famously asked? Quite a few people, I suppose, but I won’t do it again.


2 thoughts on “Feeling heroic (and an expanded look at Watchmen)

  1. Do you think people who have never seen the original graphic novel, and knew nothing of its existence prior to now, will like the movie? I fall into that category and I will be going in with a clean slate (should I decide to take the chance).

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