Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Watchmen revisited

I've been watching the Watchmen again. I didn't like it much the first time I saw it in the theater. Since they started showing it on HBO I have had the chance to watch it a few more times and I find it growing on me. The feelings of nostalgia for a universe that is 1985 but at the same time not are strange. 1985 was a significant year in my life, I've always looked back on my life as two periods, pre 1985 and post. The fraction of my life before 1985 is getting smaller and harder to remember so I suppose that will fade away.

I thought it strange at first that with one exception, the superheroes had no superpowers. Now I think the purpose of this was to focus the story on the human aspect of how real superheroes would act, what their personalities would be like.

The movie has a great feel to it. The music, the look, everything just fits. I was never a Bob Dylan fan but the opening sequence with "The Times They are a Changin" sets the tone. All through the movie the right songs at the right time keep setting the perfect tone. I just downloaded Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". Admittedly the scene with this song is a little on the pornographic side, something like you see late night on HBO. Maybe this was to appeal to the teenage boy inside all us guys, it was a comic book after all.

I don't know if the movie is great or if I am just overwhelmed by the style and nostalgia factor. The story line was original. The last time I watched it I found myself wondering if Ozymandias was right and arguing pro and con in my head. When is the last time a movie had any ideas worth debating? Every movie I have seen in the last few years has been a sequel, a remake or new variation on an old theme. Not necessarily bad things if done well but it was nice to see something original. I never read The Watchmen comics so it was new to me.

The characters are intriguing. I found myself captivated and horrified by most of them. The Comedian is a charismatic sociopath that you can't stop watching. I wish there was more of him in the movie. Dr. Manhattan is a god like being who has not yet acheived god like maturity if there is such a thing. Rohrshach who oddly enough is god like with his absolute uncompromising views on right, wrong and justice. Then there is Ozymandias, the protagonist and smartest man on earth except for Dr. Manhattan. A couple other superheroes, Night Hawk 2 and Silk Spectre 2 are along for the ride.

The key question of the movie seems to be whether or not humanity needs a god. To be honest, I wonder this myself and I don't know the answer. The greater question may be if humanity cannot exist without believing a lie, should it?

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