Thursday, March 5, 2009

Who reviews the Watchmen?

Sitting at 64% on Rotten Tomatoes. So not a train wreck at least... but clearly a flawed movie in many critics' opinion. I despise people entirely too much to sit in a crowded theater opening weekend for a very likely mediocre movie... so I'll probably wait until next weekend to see it (when Anna is also out of town). The major complaints seem to be that it's "only for fanboys", which is sort of ok since I'm a fanboy... but it's disappointing to think it might not be appealing to a wider audience. Kevin Drum had an interesting post on that aspect:
I've been waiting for it with a mixture of both anticipation and trepidation. Anticipation, of course, because it's a seminal comic and I'm eager to see how it gets translated onto the screen. Trepidation because I don't think it will translate well. This isn't because I think it's "unfilmable," or because I think Zack Snyder will necessarily ruin it. (I'm agnostic about that. I thought 300 was fairly entertaining, so I don't hold that against him.) No. Oddly enough, it's because I think the story is simply too absurd to survive the transition to film. I realize that proposition is a little hard to defend, but there's a sense in which a story that tries to treat costumed superheroes as real people is much harder to accept than one in which the essential burlesque of the superhero genre is simply taken for granted. Once you start to interrogate the whole concept, it's much harder to successfully suspend disbelief.
Are the story and themes something that can only ever appeal to comic book geeks? Everyone can enjoy Batman and Ironman beating up terrorists, because it's fun and the movies never ask you to think to hard about somebody dressing up as a human bat... and how f-ed up he'd really have to be to do such a thing... but that's the whole point of Watchmen. I think a large part of the appeal to your average comic book geek is the examination of the very nature of their passion... how freaky would your heroes be if they actually existed in real life... something your average movie goer has no investment in.

I'll have more thoughts once I actually see it.