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Rage

2009-11-20

Sarah Palin is stopping on her book tour here in Columbus tomorrow and there's already a line of people starting to gather to meet her which boggles my mind.  The only thing I can really think of is that people are slowing down to stop and watch the terrible traffic accident and want to shake her hand out of morbid curiousity.  I mean, I got my picture taken with Jason from Friday the 13th and this isn't too terribly different but at least with Jason you know what you're going to get.  Palin goes rogue.

Moving on. 

Apparenty ticket sales for New Moon broke some sort of record which is news enough to give me more heart problems than I already have.  Now I fully admit to throwing gobs of money at crappy cinema to be entertained but in my defense, none of those films were ever books first.  Someone needs to wake Bram Stoker up so he can go on a rampage with a chunk of wood and a hatchet (first things that came to mind) and bring some dignity back to the vampire.  I blame Anne Rice for taking something meant to be horrific and with some actual substance - seriously, have none of these people gone and read the "source" material? - and defecating all over it making the stain left in her wake all but unrecognizable.  If one more author writes a vampire book aimed at a third grade reading level (what I read of Twilight puts it somewhere under that, maybe New Moon aims higher which would explain the ticket sales) where the vampires are struggling in their love (after)life, I may burn down a book store.  Any idea what Dracula did when he was having love issues?  He murdered them turning their defiled husk into an agent of pain and fear.  Maybe we should turn our attention there.

So I don't tip the scale too far into the hate category, my wife made some cornflake candy using the Chocolate Special K cereal, and it ruled.  A lot.

Whew.

2009-11-20

Tonight I watched the 3 and a half hour long version of Watchmen.

That's right, not the theatrical cut, not the director's cut, but the ultimate cut.

What does that mean? Well, for those who haven't read the book, there's a comic book within the book that provides commentary on the book itself. (make sense?) For the purpose of the movie, they put together an animated version of the comic book. The ultimate cut is the director's cut of the movie with the chapters of the animated piece cut throughout the movie. For die-hard fans of the book like myself, this is the way the movie was meant to be watched.

And at the end of the day, it's pretty amazing. I know there are a lot of people (Mr Blue included) who were not fans of the movie, and I'll be the first to admit that it has its flaws. Some come from some of the cinematic choices, others come from being too dedicated to the source material. There are some choices I completely disagree with, but that's not what this write-up is about. I've seen each cut now, and this is definitely my favorite. Having Tales of the Black Freighter in there, adds another layer to the already layered film. Seeing it on Blu-Ray was also a revelation. The color choices for certain effects were so subtle, that I really think the end product worked better on my TV than it did in the theater. Specifically, Dr. Manhattan's home on Mars was stunning. I can understand why the movie is divisive, and I really get that a good majority of the people out there won't like it - even fellow nerds.

But to understand why I enjoy the movie so much, you might need a little bit of context. Rumblings of a Watchmen movie have been going on for the better part of a decade, and they really started moving around the time League of Extraordinary Gentlemen came out... not the book, but the movie. Remember LXG? It was a complete bastardization of the original material, and a terrible movie on top of that. But Watchmen wouldn't have been adapted that poorly, would it?

In 2001 there was a website with the famous smiley logo that had a release date of some time in 2003. Super hero movies were coming in to vogue, and I think Watchmen was supposed to be the next great one. I had images of Night Owl, Silk Spectre, and Rorschach charging into battle against a giant squid at the end of the film. Ozymandias would become the mustache twirling villain at the end shouting, "we're not so different, you and i! we want the same thing!" I imagined parents raging at the comic book shops, because they had taken their kids to see the new super heroes, and found disgusting behavior inside the books. Back in 2001, I really don't think we were ready for it.

2009, things have changed. Audiences have come to expect a lot more from their superhero movies, and a lot of people thought Watchmen was that next great step. And in a way it was - someone finally had the guts to make a superhero movie that was in no way, shape, or form, a crowd pleaser. I love the fact that we can debate the portrayal of Ozymandias, as opposed to discussing whether he made an appearance in the film at all. The movie is so close to the source material, that certain sequences feel like the book is happening right in front of me. Even the sequences that probably could've been altered to be more film friendly.

In my opinion, this is probably as true a Watchmen movie as could have been made. It took people with tremendous guts (and bank accounts) to put this up in front of an audience. The trailer alone launched thousands of new readers of the graphic novel, and a book that's over 20 years old was selling like hotcakes all over again.

I could go into a blow-by-blow analysis of what I thought worked and what I thought didn't, but at the end of the day I'm just thrilled this movie exists - and that the big-giant-whomping cut, that could never have been played in a theater, is now on my shelf.