Back in high school, my science teacher used to ask the class one at a time, what we’d rather have; a good war or an uneasy peace.
As you thought about this question, your eyes would move primarily to the left or to the right signaling which side of the brain was dominant. In my case, (and very much to my surprise) I was more attuned to left brained thinking than right, paving the way for more analytical, objective and rational thought.
So, with that said — the moment at the end of Watchmen was not completely lost on me which suggested an uneasy peace against a common enemy would be far more beneficial than an all out nuclear war which would destroy humanity all together. (Whew, run on!) It was an understandable and rational way to maneuver events.
Despite getting what the story was trying to accomplish, I guess it was everything else that bothered the shit out of me. Before you ask, no. I didn’t read the comic, graphic novel. I did know about its existence, but it wasn’t something high on my priority list. And yes, I understand that Zach Snyder was utterly faithful to each comic frame.
He should have cheated.
I have to admit, I did really enjoy the opening of the movie. The title sequences set to the one music track I could stomach was pretty engaging. Except of course, the shooting of JFK by The Comedian – that one had me going WTF? Yes, I understand the whole Comedian working for the Gov’t and hence giving weight to the whole conspiracy theory, but really, Zach. You had to go there? I’ll give that scene credit for being one of the only ones that actually made me feel anything, though…and it was mostly disgust.
My main issue was continuity. It was like back story, story, current, past, past, bad music, past, story, wtf, violence, gore, gore, bad music, sex, back story, future, past, current. It was almost like anytime I even had the inkling of caring about someone, the short and quirky scenes would jump to the next setup and pretty soon I wanted to vomit like Laurie every time she was teleported by Dr. Manhattan.
Another main issue was the soundtrack. Music may not be high on your priority list when you see a movie, but it is on mine. Movies that have really good sountracks are generally movies that move me. It’s one of the first things I remember about a film and I’m really sad to say, that whomever picked the diddies for this failure should be relieved of duty.
“Ride of the Valkeries” by Wagner during a Vietnam scene? Totally threw me out of the seriousness of the moment. Score from Snyder’s other movie ‘300’ would have worked substantially better here. All I could think about at this particular moment in time was the scene in Blues Brothers when the nazis fly off the bridge (you know being that this song was written by one of Hitler’s favorite musicians). Yes, I saw the references to Nixon with the swastikas throughout the movie, but this effort in pairing music with that particular scene tried too hard to tie in the political maneuvering to win the war in Vietnam and ended up failing completely.
I didn’t think it could get any worse of course until “Hallelujah” started ringing through my eardrums during the Silk Spectra II and Night Owl love scene. What a mood killer. It what could have been a completely erotic scene, the music completely killed any stimulation for me.
Nena’s “99 Luft Balloons” was okay but it felt like an afterthought. “Ooh, let’s throw in a song about paranoid elected officials willing to destroy the world because of a children’s toy”. Bah. Yeah,the movie was set in the 80’s, yeah, it was a great song, but unlike peanut butter and chocolate, these two great tastes did not go well together here.
I don’t know. I really wanted to like this movie, but this was one of the few movies in which I wanted out. Violence, gore and sex really don’t bother me in ultra-stylized movie adaptations because they are usually not too believable. (It’s the good horror and war movies that make me squeamish.) So it wasn’t because of those elements, it was the fact that after almost 3 hours, I didn’t care about anything or anyone in the movie. Not even the millions who die in the end to save the billions. I was like, eh. Whatever.
Oh and I have to say, I had a really hard time not looking down at Dr. Manhattan’s blue happy man. Usually I’m very adult when I go to movies, but frankly, it was the only interesting thing on the screen. It also doesn’t help that every time the camera would pan back and you could see the Doctor’s body, the teenagers in the theater would giggle.
Eh. Go see it if you must, but I really won’t be surprised if you don’t like it. Don’t try to convince yourself that you do either, I tried. It doesn’t work.
(Btw – I went and saw The Reader, with Kate Winlset right after this. Despite its tone, it actually moved me in ways I can’t describe.)