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March 27th, 2009

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01:03 am - Watchmen
I just got back from seeing Watchmen, my first three reactions are that it was visually stunning, it had the best sound track of any film I've seen since Until the End of the World, and it was a truly magnificent adaptation of the story. Many of the reasons that it was imperfect were the reasons that the comic was seriously flawed – the misogyny seemed far less egregious in the 1980s, because it was sadly significantly less than that found in most other comics – today it merely looks tacky. Also, it seems dated, both because the American Empire has so clearly fallen, nuclear war is no longer a significant worry, and most of all, we know far too well that a terrible and unexpected disaster in NYC is hardly a useful path to world peace.

It wasn't a perfect adaptation – Ozymandias' vaguely germanic accent was a bit tacky and overly obvious. However, it was also true that the ending was considerably better than the one used in the comic, both thematically and in terms of suspension of disbelief. Before I saw the film, I talked with athenian_abroad about his, because he had seen it previously, and his point was well made – because the plot is now sufficiently unbelievable that the morality of it is a moot point, and so all that remains of the work in the modern day is the tone, which was done perfectly, but it was also done as an homage to a, now, long-ago era, now almost 25 years in the past. Thus the film was about the 1980s, from people looking backwards, while the comic was a living part of the 1980s, and so the film feels very different. Looking back on the 1980s, from the perspective of the (much rejoiced) collapse of the Reagan legacy, watching it also made me again glad that I am now in the present day and not the 1980s, fictional or not.

The film also personally affected me very differently than the comic. Since both the threat of nuclear war was very real, and Ozymandias' solution was not obviously doomed to failure, I knew that while his answer was far from good, and it would be vastly superior to find a different answer, if the bombers were fueled and preparing to launch and the president was getting ready to evacuate to Mount Weather, and if it honestly seemed likely to work, I would definitely enact Ozymandias' plan, not because it was a good choice, but because not doing so and watching the bombs fall would be an even worse choice. Losing that dramatic tension makes the film very different from the comic. Of course, it's also far more comfortable to watch this film without a madman in the White House.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

(5 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 27th, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
I am so glad I'm not in the 1980s! I was a child then and too young to pay attention to the godsawful religious and political trends, but I do remember the hideous fashions, big hair, and worse music.

I'm really glad I came of age in the more permissive 90s.

Even now, if someone plays music that was popular in the late 1980's, I want to bite that person.
[User Picture]
Date:March 27th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
The Russians were very provocative too, and a lot of stuff didnt make the news due to national security. On both sides.

[User Picture]
Date:March 27th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
Are you saying the story is misogynist, or the story contains examples of misogyny?
[User Picture]
Date:March 27th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
Both. Moore had a significant problem with misogyny, particularly in Watchmen, although he looked like he got over it in Promethea. To start with, all of the active, choice making characters are male.
[User Picture]
Date:March 27th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I guess it didn't jump out at me. The characters Watchmen was originally inspired by were mostly male, which leaves basically Rorschach's psychiatrist as the other developed character.

As the 40s, 60s, 70s, and 80s were all known for redefining and upholding standards of masculinity, I read the misogyny of the characters as almost a character in itself. The Comedian, of course, is a personification of lunatic masculinity.

I'll confess I don't know much about Moore in that regard. It is interesting that Silhouette is a non-character and as part of the backstory, a woman in a refrigerator.

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