Friday, March 13, 2009

I Have To Admit, The Rather Large Blue Penis Is Somewhat Distracting

On a whim tonight I decided to go see Watchmen. It was 5.45 and I'd just gotten off the bus after work, I was feeling somewhat aimless and not wanting to go straight home, the cinema was right there, there was a 6.15 session... I figured it was fate or something. So I bought my ticket and a beer (so civilised that my local cinema serves beer and wine!)

I really enjoyed it, but not unreservedly so. Mostly because the violence got a little much for me at times, just a tad too graphic. However, there was lots that I did love. I wasn't familiar with the premise, other than something about 'retired' superheroes.


I loved the mock archival footage and all the retro superheroes. So well done. The backstory behind the rise and fall of the 'watchmen' was clever, and put the story into a different sort of context from the usual 'superhero' story.


So many of my favourite boys are in this film. Patrick Wilson! He's no longer the lean, slightly built repressed hottie Mormon of "Angles in America", but someone more broad and solidly built (and yes, with a great ass). Nobody seems to quite do complexity and fragility/strength like the handsome Mr Wilson. Matthew Goode! Fresh from being a winsome English homo (and companion to Lord Sebastian Flyte) to being... well... blonde this time. Jeffrey Dean Morgan! So dark in this, but once he cracks that smile, and laughs that dirty chuckle. Mercy.


Billy Crudup's 'Dr Manhattan' is amazing, and it's hard to tell where the CGI/make up starts and ends. (I'm guessing the facial close ups are mostly Crudup, and the long distance massive physique/wang shots are CGI.) THE performance of the film for me though, Jackie Earl Hayley as Rorshach. OMG, until I imdb'd him I didn't place him as a well known former child actor, and one of the young teen actors from "Breaking Away". He has a fantastic presence in his Rorshach persona, but during the few scenes where he unmasks... his presence on screen crackles with intensity. Fantastic.

It has made me want to buy the original graphic novel, and I would recommend the film unless like me you have a lowish threshold for graphic screen violence.

12 comments:

Michael said...

I have to finish the book before I see Watchmen. I started it and then got sidetracked.

If you haven't seen Jackie Earl Hayley in "Little Children," prepare to be mesmerized/freaked out. And "Little Children" bonus: more of Patrick Wilson's ass. Plus Kate Winslet, who I can never tear my eyes off when she's onscreen. (Unless it's that one scene where she's sharing screen time with Patrick Wilson's naked ass.)

Kris said...

I can lend it to you if you like. I've been passing it around to lots of folks in the past few months. Give me a buzz is you're anywhere near my house this weekend. :)

Martin Magdalene said...

"The Superman exists! And he's American! And circumcised!" After all these years of seeing Rebecca Romijn Stamos as a pervy blue superhero in X-Men, it was great to see a man's body on display for a change. The superhero genre needed this moment of male nudity, I think, to "grow up." So much of the genre is full of repressed homoeroticism (men in tights, anyone?), and "Watchmen" just made the sexuality explicit. Great post - and I reckon "Watchmen" is the best superhero movie since "The Incredibles." (Srsly!)

Campbell said...

I liked the film too - although I agree with you about the violence. There were a couple of times when I had to look away. These weren't the times when there was a large blue penis on display however!

John C said...

Yes indeed, read the book, it's a masterpiece, even the NYT thought so when they put it on a list of the 100 best novels (I think it was the only graphic work there). Watchmen is one of the few comic books I recommend to people who want to know what the medium can really do. I like all of Alan Moore's work but still find something special about Watchmen even though I generally loathe the superhero genre.

One thing most reviews won't tell you is that as well as the blue penis the story has a secret gay character in Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias. Alan has long been a supporter of gay rights and he often puts gay or bisexual characters into his work. Veidt's sexuality is hinted at fairly broadly throughout the book, there's even a moment when Rorschach is following leads that he makes a (disapproving) note about how Veidt "may be homosexual--must check". Lots of other stuff: his all-male household in the Antarctic, a drawing of him in the same pose as Michelangelo's David, his first name hinting at Hadrian (Alan is a big history reader), etc.

The Other Andrew said...

John C - yes, but I thought the computer file labelled "Boys" was not a touch for the better! Pederasty would jump into many people's minds.

John C said...

Hmm, well given that director Zack Snyder previously made the egregious 300, which was written by the deeply egregious Frank Miller whose script and comic book abhors the idea that the Spartans may have been even remotely queer (contradicting all historical evidence about said Spartans and their very gay Hyacinthia festivals), and given that Veidt is pretty much the villain of the piece (or one of them)...maybe that was intentional.

The Other Andrew said...

I never saw 300, I had heard some negative things about it... despite it being such an abs-fest!

Mikey (TLE) said...

300 was silly in the extreme (what was David Wenham thinking?) but it was stylish. Watchmen was intelligent and inredibly stylish. Evan and I saw it a bit over a week ago and we both loved it. I had read the graphic novel years ago (and it is very good) and the movie is a pretty faithful adaptation. Some of the shots in the movie are direct lifts from the comic book (sorry, graphic novel). I must admit when I saw the "boys" file I thought it was a stragight reference to Ozymandias being "family", but then I had read the graphic novel. Oh and the CGI was based on Billy Crudup's body double, some guy called Greg Plitt. Check him out, he is certainly uber buff

freakgirl said...

I think in the (remarkably good) opening credits, during that "Last Supper" retirement tableau, two of the male heroes are holding hands. I loved that little touch.

Lara said...

I'd have to agree about the ultra-violence too. Mark and I went to see it at Macquarie Centre Gold Class for his birthday (MC GC is sweeeet).

I would have enjoyed it more if they had dialed down the violence to about 34 out of 10 - as it was I was only able to keep watching because of the graphic "cartoon" nature of the violence. It was only the fact that it was _so_ over the top that stopped me from having nightmares.

As for the enormous blue penis, I was mesmerised. I don't know if it was the hypnotic blue glow, the size of the appendage, or whether it's just that we are so unaccustomed to full frontal MALE nudity in mainstream American cinema.

And I thought I saw a foreskin?

Lara said...

P.S. I was bitterly disappointed when Silhouette was offed in the credits. Now she was a character with promise!