Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mitch -- OZYMANDIAS HAS BAT-NIPPLES!

[A guest post by Mitch on the new Watchmen movie pics.]


Ozymandias
I'm not thrilled about the Watchmen movie. Right off the bat it feels like someone making a Citizen Kane video game or getting a Mona Lisa tattoo — that is to say, it misses the point to take a work that so perfectly highlights the advantages one medium and adapt it into another. With Alan Moore’s stuff, you can’t get lucky like Spider-Man 2: an iconic character + a popular villain + a popular story from the comics + a love interest sub-plot, shaken and baked = $$. With Moore, the methodical plotting and the juxtaposition of words and pictures — the craft — is more essential than the characters.

With that clear, I have to admit that I have been morbidly curious to see all the development info and photos from the movie. The cast is a little wompy-jawed— the child molester from Little Children is perfect for Rorschach and I’ve always liked Patrick Wilson, but can’t say I would have ever thought of always casual and charming Billy Cruddup as the stoic Dr. Manhattan. The production stills confirm that director Zach Snyder is going for a literal panel by panel adaptation, like he did with 300. Everything certainly looks straight out of the comics, but again... I just don’t know. This sort of thing sort of made sense for 300; first because there was an established audience for “epic classical war movies” and second, because it was a short graphic novel adapted into a 90 minute computer fight sequence/Nine Inch Nails video. There is a lot more material to cover with Watchmen, and how they could even BEGIN to cover it in two hours is beyond me.

In the face of all this negativity, I found myself surprisingly tickled by the recently released promo photos on the movie’s website. Some of the designs are totally faithful and some are black rubber, like all movie super hero costumes. (PS: Is this really Hollywood’s best answer to super hero costumes? Black rubber? They can go fug themselves. ) But right in the middle is Ozymandias’ black rubber costume, with two glorious Bat-Nipples on his chest. Certainly, Snyder is making a reference to the costumes in Batman and Robin, but for what purpose? Is the Watchmen movie attempting to address comic book movies in the same way the Watchmen comic addressed other comics? Or is he just feel that Bat-Nipples never really got a fair shake and deserve a second chance? I’ve yet to decide if I hate them or love them, but their presence amuses me at least.

10 comments:

Madd_Hadder said...

"Right off the bat it feels like someone making a Citizen Kane video game or getting a Mona Lisa tattoo."

That is the best reason I have ever heard against making this movie. I get so tired of people just complaining that it won't be faithful enough or that movies always ruin comics, but your reason actually makes perfect sense.

Elliot Mears said...

Look upon my rubber nipples, ye mighty, and despair!

Adam said...

"Is the Watchmen movie attempting to address comic book movies in the same way the Watchmen comic addressed other comics?"

Zack Snyder has confirmed this is the case in interviews.

James said...

Eurrgh, maybe that's a noble goal, but given that most superhero movies are terrible, doesn't that pretty much guarantee a terrible time watching Watchmen? I dunno, these images make me grumpy.

Mikey said...

Well, Ozymandias is the character that made action figures out of himself, after all.

James said...

Also, I wouldn't say "Some of the designs are totally faithful and some are black rubber, like all movie super hero costumes". Because they're all black rubber, with the exception of Rorschach, who may as well be black rubber, so pristine is his brand new leather raincoat. Why is it so hard for these big Hollywood movies to dress their characters in anything resembling actual clothing? See also: Dr. Octopus's coat, Sandman's t-shirt, Ben Stiller's uniform in Night at the Museum etc.

James said...

ALSO! I've just figured out why "attempting to address comic book movies" doesn't excuse these images: because they all look like they're from the same comic book movie (Batman & Robin). Surely it would work much better if Ozymandias looked like he was from Batman, The Comedian looked like he was from X-Men, Silk Spectre looked like she was from Catwoman, Nite-Owl looked like he was from The Rocketeer and Rorschach looked like he was from Dead Man's Shoes? (Although Ozymandias should actually look like he was from Troy, obviously.)

Basically: SCREW YOU, WATCHMEN PICTURES!

Stephen said...

I'm not thrilled about the Watchmen movie. Right off the bat it feels like someone making a Citizen Kane video game or getting a Mona Lisa tattoo — that is to say, it misses the point to take a work that so perfectly highlights the advantages one medium and adapt it into another

I have this fantasy that no one will go to it. That it will open to echoing theaters, and close the next day. That it will never come out on DVD, and but a few weeks later everyone will say, "Wait, there was a movie of Watchmen? I never heard about that."

Fantasy: less likely that an invasion by orcs. But 'tis mine, and I cherish it.

Streebo said...

I'm not thrilled about the Watchmen movie. Right off the bat it feels like someone making a Citizen Kane video game or getting a Mona Lisa tattoo — that is to say, it misses the point to take a work that so perfectly highlights the advantages one medium and adapt it into another.

That is a great comparison, Mitch, and one I agree with wholeheartedly. I suppose my dedication to corporate owned comics over the years has desensitized me to the abuse of great superheroes and their stories - so I'm not really gnashing my teeth over this one. There is simply no way possible to adapt Watchmen faithfully with anything less than a ten hour mini-series on HBO. I expect major changes and streamlining to the final movie version which will no doubt rankle many fans of Moore and Gibbon's majestic story. We have to separate ourselves from the source material and give the film a chance to find it's own way. Personally, I did not care for Snyder's remake of George A. Romero's classic zombie flick Dawn of the Dead and I think Snyder was just fortunate and smart enough to adapt 300 as the graphic novel was ripe for expansion into a full length feature. He followed Rodriguez's lead in Sin City by going the CGI route and made a fairly entertaining film with 300. Based on his past work, I seriously doubt that Snyder has the subtlety to pull off Watchmen - but I give him props for getting it out of development Hell and if it is good - I will bow down and praise him.

dr zombieswan said...

Okay. Now I totally want a Mona Lisa Tattoo.

Cause I'm weird like that. And I know you were mocking it. So'm I. Kind of.

BTW: We will someday create our own, cooler version of the University. When the Husband makes a bazillion quadrillion million dollars, he says you're first on the list of hires. I'm second. (cause, you know, your PhD is more fancy than mine. I kind of agree. But I'm getting paid more.)