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Technomancer and troubleshooter by trade. Programmer by choice. Creator of Deviant Paradigm, somewhat by accident.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Well, I got the Director's Cut of Watchmen today, so I figured I could use this as an excuse to revisit things I wanted to say about the film. So, yeah, this is going to contain MAJOR SPOILERS. You've been forewarned.
I really rather like Watchmen. I saw it twice in theatres, which is rare for me. I have to really like movies to do that (for instance, I saw both Sin City and Taken, which are top contenders for "favorite movie" multiple times). The Director's Cut, while not as significant an improvement as the one for Chronicles of Riddick (the Director's Cut of which transforms a forgettable action/sci-fi movie into a worthy action/sci-fi followup to Pitch Black), is much better than the theatrical version. They add a lot of little details that tie the whole movie together and make it better all around.
Of course, the biggest problem the movie has is one that they don't fix. Of course, I'm referring to the worthless, piss-poor ending they gave it. And it would have been so easy to deal with. I don't even mean the stupid logical fallacy where Dr. Manhattan has to be the villain (even allowing that the world needs a villain to unite it, I have yet to understand why Ozymandias can't be that villain). What I mean is that Ozymandias is a smug, narcissist with no compunctions for murdering millions of people in cold blood with no remorse. Yes, he claims to have remorse, but (and this is the problem and the easy fix) he doesn't bother to show it at all. All they'd need is a scene where he actually bothers to cry about their deaths, show some kind of emotion other than self-satisfaction. It is difficult for me to describe exactly how much I hate Ozymandias. I hate him more than almost any other character I can possibly think of. I truly despise him. What I'd really have liked is for him to have died, his own sacrifice for the utopia he wanted. But of course, I'm denied that too. I'm a bit surprised, considering how well the movie does with comeuppance (it's a movie all about comeuppance; you spend most of the movie learning how the Comedian earned his). But I guess we don't get everything we want.
Dr. Manhattan is also a character I don't care much for. He's an emotionless robot who only does what he's told and is good for exactly two things -- blowing up what he's told to and stating the obvious. For a nuclear physist, he's also incredibly unthinking. He never bothers to think critically about anything throughout the whole movie. It's embarrassing and sad. He's also remarkably without any kind of moral compass at all.
I do, however, love Rorschach. That might be at least partly because he's got a moral compass much like mine. A twisted, exaggerated distortion of my moral compass perhaps, but it's one that stays steady in all things. I have to respect that. Nite Owl's greatest asset is that he's human. He's got the same sort of foibles and failures of morality as any other human. But without him, we'd only have monsters to identify with in the show, and that obviously wouldn't work very well.
All in all, it's a great movie, with a terrible ending. It's not that Rorschach dies (I'm really fine with that, despite him being my favorite character). It's that Adrian Veidt, a completely despicable monster, has his horrible, murderous plan succeed completely without any drawbacks or remorse. He never pays for his crimes. In fact, he apparently profits from them, considering the preponderance of Veidt Industries construction stuff in the end of the film. If they were going to bother with changing the ending so that it'd seem less silly to a movie audience, why not make it more palatable to the audience? It's a remarkably unsatisfying ending to an otherwise terrific film.
-- And also --
Something I've always remarked about Dr. Manhattan is that he needs to grow some balls to go with his big blue dick. He espouses gibberish philosophy that neither makes sense nor do I agree with, and then doesn't bother to act (practically at all) even once he learns the meaning of Christmas. His only damn function is blowing people up, and he doesn't manage to do it to the only person in the whole movie who really deserves it.