We keep getting dragged back in!!! This is the biggest example of a front loaded media sensation we’ve ever seen. Has everyone just been storing up their secret desire to write about WATCHMEN all these years? Cinematical even asks How Sick Of Watchmen Are You? and more people are not sick than sick! This is insane.
Is it the dread at Dr. Manhattan’s blue full frontal? (Probably the most subversive thing about the whole film.) Is it Rorschach the Objectivist? Is it How Scientifically Accurate Is Watchmen? What? What?
MTV’s Splash pages asks Should We Brace Ourselves For A ‘Watchmen’ Sequel? and finds out the answer is….NO!
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Okay a few more. John Ridley, whose fine The American Way owes a bit to Watchmen, has an audio commentary on NPR: Are Critics Or Crowds Right About ‘Watchmen’? To be honest, we didn’t listen to it, but it is probably interesting. Apparently EVERY NPR show had a WATCHMEN segment this weekend.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is easily the cuddliest WATCHMEN cast member, but he still made a despicable Comedian. We’d avoided reading the endless cast interviews, but this one at Hollywood Interview seems to capture a typical case of WATCHMEN fascination:
“I’m dead, man!” I mean, what the hell? And on page three, no less! Not much of a run on this film. But, you know, it was made very clear to me that I was being a jerk-off and that I should continue reading. And I did, and I remember I got to the last page, and I put it down, and I was like, “What the fuck did I just read?” [laughs] And I put on a pot of coffee, and I started over, started on page one again. And I read it three times in about a twenty-seven hour period, and then went and had my meeting with Zack. And I went into this meeting now knowing the material pretty well, and I met this guy who has so much energy and so much enthusiasm, and I think I said two or three words. I said, “Hey, I’m Jeff.” That was really the extent of the conversation that I had, and then watched him for two hours, bouncing around this office, and when I say bouncing, I mean literally he never sat down. He had sketchbooks out, conceptual costume stuff at this point, pictures, you know, panels from the actual graphic novel art, floor to ceiling his office is just covered in this stuff. And at the end of the meeting, he looks at me, and he finally sits down, and he’s like, “Are you in?” And that was the beginning of a tremendous ride. We’re nearing our finish line now. It’s been two years of my life kinda dedicated to this, and I’ve become, like you, a huge fanboy of Watchmen, and actually saw the movie for the first time two weeks ago. At a little screening room at Warner Bros. And it blew my mind. And for the first time I can remember – I’m hyper-critical of seeing myself onscreen, I generally don’t like to see myself – but I watched this movie, and there were no signs of me in it. You know, it was the Comedian. And I was just watching this experience. I don’t know how else to explain Watchmen. Even if you’re not familiar with the comic book, what you’re looking at here is a massive filmgoing experience. It transports you to this alternate reality that is scarily similar to what’s going on now, which is crazy, since this came out in 1986!
But here’s the antidote, as The Walrus takes a clear eyed view of why there should be movies about outsider superheroes like Ma Hunkel and EIGHTBALL #23:
She dons the Red Tornado garb not to strike fear into the hearts of men, but rather to defend her grocery from mobsters, to protect her neighbourhood, and to impress upon her kids/sidekicks that Green Lantern ain’t shucks. No tortured, ennobled tough guys here—Mayer was always in sync enough with his kid readership to know that the idea of hardworking mom as secret superhero would somehow ring true. And if even that concept sounds too groan-inducingly earnest, keep in mind that Mayer was one of the great comic book humourists, always ready with elegant pratfalls, goofy dialogue, and irrepressible energy—he never cartooned a saccharine or brooding moment in his career.
The second time through I found myself really listening to what Manhattan says, and it is actually thought-provoking. I didn’t care as deeply about the characters on the human level as I did with those in “The Dark Knight,” but I cared surprisingly about the technically inhuman Manhattan. He doesn’t lack emotion as the alien did in the recent remake of “The Day the Earth Stood Still Fire.” He has simply moved far, far beyond its reach. From where he stands, he might as well be regarding a termite. Why does he even bother to make love with Laurie Jupiter? Not for his own pleasure, I’m convinced. And not to father a Little Manhattan, either, because as I understand his body he would ejaculate only energy. Could be fun for Laurie, but no precautions needed, except not to be grounded at the time.
Finally, we eagerly awaited Todd Alcott’s opinion of WATCHMEN, and were reassured to see it mirrored our own:
As for the learned critics who have screwed in their monocles, tucked in their ascots and sniffed in disdain at this rather ambitious piece of popular culture, describing it as trash and its audience as sociopaths, in time they will look like idiots, if they don’t already.
Our final thought for today? Although it will sound like the faintest of praise, maybe someday WATCHMEN will be like Robert Altman’s POPEYE — reviled by many when it came out, now, it’s just a charming, flawed attempt at something different.