Saturday, March 14, 2009

Watching The Watchmen

Currently Reading: Red Square by Martin Cruz Smith

As I mentioned in the previous (and long and rambling) post, we watched Watchmen last week. I've been thinking about it for a while and while I enjoyed the movie and I think it's a good film, I have found a few flaws that didn't come to mind immediately upon viewing. I guess it's the sort of thing you'd file under "something's not quite right about that."

The first incident that I hit upon (there may be others, I've only seen the movie once and it's very visually overpowering at times) comes during one of the prison scenes. Rorschach is in prison, in the lunch line. You can see him right there on the left. Now, the guy in line behind him starts talking about how he's famous and how Rorschach is famous and that's all really just an excuse to get the other prisoners stoked up while he pulls a shiv. So, he tries to stab Rorschach who does a quick turn, flips his tray and uses it as a shield to deflect the knife. Ok so far. Yes, he moves awfully quick but hey, he's Rorschach and he's a psycho so no big leap there. Next, Rorschach punches through that sneeze guard thing there to reach behind the counter. Again, Rorschach is a psycho so we really don't have any problem with that. Behind the counter, there's a french fry cooker. Ok, bad placement, stupid place to put a cooker, but ok, we'll let that one go. Rorschach reaches for the handle, pulls it out and dumps it on the guy who tried to knife him. Ouch, that's gotta hurt. They next cut to a shot of the guy who is down on his knees, screaming in pain, covered in oil that is oozing down over his head and so forth. VERY ouch!

My problem is this: you cook french fries in a basket container. That's what Rorschach grabbed from the cooker. That's what he dumped on the guy. But keep in mind, it's a BASKET! Yes, it would be fully loaded with fries and yes, the guy would get splashed with oil causing him to scream and so forth cause OUCH big time but there wouldn't be SO much oil that he ended up covered in it. Remember, BASKET!

The other problem is a minor matter of a HUGE plot hole opened up by the change in the ending. In the book, a giant, alien squid-like thing teleports into Manhattan and blows up, killing a HUGE portion of the population with some sort of psychic blast. Great. Messy, but great. The idea behind this is that all the countries that were on the verge of war would now turn their concern first to disaster relief and then to dealing with the concept that aliens from another dimension want to attack the earth. Yeah, gotta give up trying to kill each other and focus on trying to kill them giant squid. Gotcha. Makes perfect sense, especially in the world of comic super heroes.

Now, with the movie, the changed that a little bit. Instead of an alien squid, it's Dr. Manhattan who supposedly goes nuts and blows up cities all over the world thus turning everyone's focus on disaster relief and trying to figure out how to deal with a rampaging Dr. Manhattan. So far so good. It's a doable idea, especially given the build-up.

Here's the problem though: Oz uses the heroes' knowledge of his plan to sort of blackmail them into silence. He tells them that if they go off and tell the truth, assuming anyone actually believes them, they'll end up breaking this peace that he's created from the disaster. Now, no one wants to do THAT because we're talking about the whole world being on the brink of nuclear war. So they agree to stay silent . . . everyone except Rorschach. His whole motto is not to surrender, even in the face of armegeddon. He storms out of Oz's hideout, Dr. Manhattan meets him outside and Rorschach pretty much tells the doc that there's no choice. The only way to stop Rorschach from telling the truth is to kill him. Rorschach even says outright to go ahead and do it.

Now, in the squid version, that works. You have to kill off Rorschach to keep him from blowing the cover on the whole squid story that brought peace. But in the Dr. Manhattan version, that doesn't really cut it. Say Rorschach does make it back to New York and he sits down with reporters and tells them everything that happened and they all believe him. Does that really break the peace? No. That shifts blame from Dr. Manhattan to Ozymandias. Instead of having to focus on how to stop the rampaging blue man group escapee, you've only got to deal with the worlds' smartest gay businessman. Well, plus disaster relief.

Thus, Rorschach's death is pretty much unnecessary.

I'm sure at some point I'll see the movie again. I really did enjoy it. But, like I said, it's not perfect.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Catching Up

Currently Reading: Red Square by Martin Cruz Smith

It's been almost a month since my last blog entry. I can't really claim any particular reason why I haven't written. I haven't been away on any trips or in the hospital or anything like that. And really, it's not because I've been lazy either. I've just fallen out of the habit of posting on a regular basis.

I suppose a part of that is due to all the crap in the news. Yes, it's crap. Let's face it, it's crap. It's gotten to the point where I barely skim the headlines anymore. If the papers are to be believed, we seem to be mostly preoccupied with 1. the failure of the economy and how it's all the fault of George W. and those evil republicans, 2. someone famous who did something incredibly stupid, like the singer who got the crap beat out of her by her boyfriend and has now taken him back, and 3. how amazingly amazing this Obama guy and his wife are.

I was reading an article over at the Wall Street Journal site earlier today and the writer was asking around about how people felt, in general about things. Most everyone said they were feeling a bit stressed. Ok, more than a BIT stressed. One guy was talking about stocking up on gold coins only to find out that there's now a 6 week waiting list to buy them because so many OTHER people are out buying gold coins.

Now, I look at the people in that article, expressing their genuine concern over things economic and I compare that to the crap I read in the paper and it just doesn't match. According to the paper, George W. destroyed everything economic and he's gone now and this Obama guy and his wife are just so AMAZING so clearly all of the problems in the universe are solved right?

I think it must be a sign of old age when your general reaction to almost anything in the news is to rub the bridge of your nose, shake your head and mutter "stupid, stupid stupid." I used to chuckle when I'd see people doing that. They were all OLD people of course. Now I'm one of those old people doing the same thing. Sadly, we seem to be a growing percentage of the population.

Anyway, I suppose that's part of the reason I haven't posted anything in a month. I keep hearing crap in the news and I just KNOW that my reaction to said crap is going to make the awesome Obama fans cringe and shake their heads and say how out of touch I am with reality, etc. So I've kept quiet.

But it's still crap :-)

And just what HAVE I been doing this past month? Well, I've been playing Warcraft. CC is still way better than me at it though. I think. At least she's a lot more consistant in her play than I am. She took her one character all the way up, almost to its maximum level now. Me, I'm still dividing my time between 8 or 9 different ones and they're all at different points in the game. I play one for a while, then lose interest and switch over to another one. It's funny, CC actually went out and got the upgrade to expand the game further so she can play her character to an even higher level. I have no doubt she'll reach the maximum for that addition soon :-)

I'm also still working at the clinic, grooming dogs at least twice a week. Sometimes I get more days in because the other groomer calls in. She went on vacation a week or so ago so I filled in then too. This week in particular has been VERY slow. In fact, even the traffic in the area has been lower than usual. The women at work tell me it's probably due to Spring Break. That makes sense.

I've also been doing my usual reading, though I'm slowing down I think. It's mid-March and I've only read 7 books. That seems low. On the other hand, I did start a few and never finished them, and those don't show up on the list. I was reading Canterbury Tales for a while, just because I hadn't read it in a LONG time. And last week I skimmed through Watchmen again before seeing the movie.

Had a birthday, drawing me just a LITTLE bit closer to that big number 40. In less than a year I'll be 40. Just 358 days to go.

We saw Watchmen last week. I really did enjoy it. I don't care that it wasn't a perfect replication of the book. It's a movie. It's not SUPPOSED to be a perfect copy. It had a running time of over 2 and a half hours. You've got to cut SOMETHING, right? It's unreasonable to reproduce everything from the book. You'd end up with a mini-series instead of a movie and those characters could never generate enough interest for a mini-series.

It is a good story. Certainly a much more realistic view of what super heroes would be like. Yes, you'd have to be walking the edge of psychosis to do what they do. And you just KNOW that there would be the occasional, violent, bloody ending to their stories. You plop a very real Batman down in a very real universe and he will eventually get bumped off. Or he'll go crazy. Or his ego will get so inflated that he screws up and ends up getting bumped off.

It's a very violent movie though. It's rated R for a reason. It's what you'd call a HARD R. This is not a film that throws in some profanity to push its way up from the PG-13 ranks. But then it has to be a hard R to really tell the story. I'm sure the studio would have LOVED a PG-13 version because that would mean a much wider audience. R-rated movies don't do nearly as well at the box office because of the limited market. But you really couldn't tell the story in a PG-13 way. You need all the blood and violence and sex and profanity to create that twisted little universe.

It was a little creepy to when CC and I went to see it on Sunday. Yes, it was creepy just to be in a room with that many geeks and NOT be at a sci fi convention. CC quite clearly remembers the guy in the Green Lantern shirt and I have a rather vivid image of row after row of middle-aged, balding, fat guys. And there were a few college-age kids in there, dressed in black, pony tails, combat boots. That's what happens when a geek tries to dress TOUGH.

What was REALLY creepy was the couple that brought their kid with them. This kid couldn't have been more than middle-school age. CC thinks he was maybe 11. I'd go probably 12 or 13 at the most. But the adults he was with didn't seem to think he was too young to watch it. That would suggest either they didn't know what the movie was like and didn't really care when they found out or that they knew what it was like and didn't care. Probably they knew, didn't care, and they were all de-sensitized to the whole thing. That's kinda sad. You're SUPPOSED to cringe at the violence that the good guys do in the name of justice. That's one of the points of the book.

Ah well. You'll go and see it or not and my opinion of the movie won't change your mind one way or the other. It's one of those films. You either want to see it based on the previews or from having read the book or you DON'T want to see it (for the same reasons).

Ok, all caught up pretty much. Let's hope it doesn't take me ANOTHER month to post something.