Monday, June 14, 2010

Trish (finally) Watches "The Watchmen" and "Dr. Parnassus".

I am temporarily adopting my usual "three times a week" schedule because there is suddenly much out there in the world of stuff I can geek out about arts and entertainment. Had I stayed with my twice-weekly summer schedule, this review wouldn't have seen the light of day until July.
July is when Drawgasmic is happening! Also, I think -I hope- a certain book will be published during that month. Stay tuned...

On to the movie reviews. So I finally got around to watching Zack Snyder's film adaptation of Watchmen.
Well. That was interesting.

I guess if a
Watchmen movie has to exist, it might as well look like this. Did that sound weird? This whole blog post is going to come across as weird.
OK, look. I've read
Watchmen many times. The first time was the best, of course. If you have read it, you know why. If you have not, then you probably have heard that the novel has a surprise ending. This is a bit of an understatement; I won't ever forget the experience of reading that ending for the first time. And the thing is, the book pretty much hinges on that ending. Reading the book again, you realize how incredibly *tight* it is. There isn't a single scrap of extraneous information in the book, which is phenomenal if you pause to think about it.
I would say that the film-makers agree with me here, because the entire book, save for maybe a chapter's worth of information, is in the movie.
Seriously. The film "Watchmen" feels like sitting down next to Zack Snyder as he reads the graphic novel to you.
...Until around the two hour, eleven minute (!) mark. Whereupon he puts the book down and makes some stuff up for a couple of minutes.
But the thing is, he then picks the book up, flips ahead a few pages, and starts reading right from it again. Hrm...
I have mentioned this before, back when the film was in theaters, but yes, the ending is different. Except when it isn't.
So is the movie good? Well, yes. Actually, it's very good. They pull off some of the things I thought were going to be tricky or downright impossible (in particular, Dr. Manhattan, who in the film looks and acts as alien as he ought to.)
But you know, I wish I had some kind of a control group -- people who had never heard of the book before much less read it. What in the world did
they think of the movie?
By the way, that had to be the
second most-uncomfortable-to-watch sex scene I've ever seen in a superhero movie...

Shortly after watching "Watchmen", I was finally able to see "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus". You may recall that this film has been at the center of contention here at the Obligatory Art Blog. It is Heath Ledger's final film, and we American fans (a built-in audience for this movie, mind you) almost didn't get to see it. The given reason for this is because the major studios who would have bought the rights to it as it was being shopped around at film festivals believed it to be "too weird". That I read that news during the same week where the number one movie in the country was some crazy jazz about giant robots who are also cars that want to blow up the sun felt like a giant rude gesture in the face of me and anyone else who likes nice things.
Ah, but thank goodness for Netflix, as arbitrary studio b.s. does not affect the DVD market too badly. I say to everyone reading this, put this movie in your queue. Even if you never actually watch "Dr. Parnassus", renting the movie is your vote for challenging, imaginative films.
RANDOM READER: "That's all very noble, Trish, but DID YOU LIKE THE MOVIE?"
If I said that this film is, out of all of Terry Gilliam movies, possibly the single most Terry Gilliam-est, would that make sense?
HALF OF THE READERS: "Yeah, OK. I immediately get what I'd be getting into watching this movie and also what you thought of it."
THE OTHER HALF: "... ... ... Terry Who-in-the-what-now?"
OK, then. The Other Half of you might want to give it a shot anyway. I suggest following it up with "Lost in LaMancha", a documentary about Gilliam which is worth watching in it's own right. It's on Netflix instant watch as is, I just found out, all three seasons of "Avatar". So why aren't you watching that right now? Do it!


Sketch of the Day!
Guess what's finally happening at my hummingbird feeder?!

6.6.10. Oriole at MY Hummingbird Feeder!


1 comment:

Zach said...

Terry Giliam is not an instant badge on honor on a movie. "The Brothers Grimm" comes to mind. Even Monica Bellucci couldn't save that pile. However, "Stardust" was wonderful.

I couldn't sit through Watchmen (the movie). During the first half-hour, I was thinking, "this movie was miscast. And I may as well just read the book."

I'm also not as ga-ga about the novel as everyone else. It has pacing problems, and I can't stand Tales of the Black Freighter (we get it, it's parallelism). Very good overall, but I like "Dark Knight Returns" more.