thehefner: (Rorschach and Deadpooooool)



And now that I've come up with that subject line, I want to commission SIMPSONS artist Bill Morrison to draw Homer as Nite Owl. And Flanders as Adrian.
thehefner: (Watchmen: Nobody Cares but Me)
So via On Demand, I just rented the WATCHMEN tie-in DVD, TALES OF THE BLACK FREIGHTER/UNDER THE HOOD. Anyone interested in having a real WATCHMEN experience needs to see this, for it's well, well worth the rent (don't buy it, though; save your money for the super-extended WATCHMEN DVD this Fall). UNDER THE HOOD itself significantly improves the actual film experience, and will address many of the complaints I've heard over this past month.

One of the problems that many people have with WATCHMEN (the movie) is that Zack Snyder and company have emphasized the superheroic aspects of the characters, when the comic was really about flawed human beings who played dress-up for messed-up psychological reasons. A perfect example of how Snyder "missed the point": in the comic, Rorschach slowly scales the building to get to Blake's apartment, climbing up over the balcony. In the movie, he gets a Batman-like reeling up and lands, flawlessly, on the balcony's railing. The former is human, the latter is superhuman. And then you have the fight sequences...

All this bothered me too, I must admit. But the thing is, Snyder doesn't miss the point all the time. The pitch-perfect opening credits sequence is proof of this, especially in the bits where they pose for the group photos. There's a wonderful awkwardness to those shots, capturing the goofy yet earnest attitudes of the characters, and the result for me was... well, I got chills. Now, while I very much liked the rest of WATCHMEN, I wish it had maintained sequence's spirit throughout. Sadly, so much of the book's down-to-earth humanity (especially in the supporting characters like the news vendor and Rorschach's psychiatrist) was lost in the inevitable need to streamline the story to two and a half hours.

Now, I've been reserving judgment on criticisms like this until I've seen the final 302 minute long WATCHMEN cut, because I feel like Snyder's earned my trust with all he did succeed in pulling off. I feel like people are too busy nitpicking WATCHMEN (and it's a film that can and should be nitpicked, to a degree) that they don't give Snyder credits for his many seriously amazing accomplishments, and the sheer existence of TALES OF THE BLACK FREIGHTER/UNDER THE HOOD is testament to this. That he managed to convince WB to make and sell this in the first place is amazing. The fact that he pulls both off both tie-ins with aplomb is astounding.

First off, I cannot wait to see BLACK FREIGHTER properly spliced back into the film, where both shall almost-certainly be enhanced mightily. It will especially add to Adrian's story and character, and further sell the complexity of his actions. Taken on its own, BLACK FREIGHTER is simply a cool diversion, a neato EC-style horror story brought to life with classic 2D hand-drawn cell animation (with added CGI effects). It's too short and too slight to be memorable, since it's meant to be seen in the greater context of WATCHMEN itself, so I greatly look forward to that.

UNDER THE HOOD, however, holds up excellently on its own. This mockumentary single-handedly restores a lot of the humanity and character depth lost in the theatrical release, with extended "interviews" with Hollis Mason, Sally Jupiter, Sally's agent/husband, Bernard the News Vendor, Dr. Malcolm Long*, Wally Weaver, and Moloch. Some of the dialogue is right out of the book, but most is improvised in Christopher Guest fashion, creating some unique insights into the characters and the world.

The Moloch bits are especially great in this regard, and not just because more Matt Frewer is always a good thing. He explores a point that I don't recall ever being raised in the book, saying that supervillains were created as a rebellious response to superheroes, and that with superheroes gone, there are no need for supervillains either. But then, he points out, there's Dr. Manhattan, and he wonders and worries about the inevitable supervillain who will rise up to be Manhattan's counterpart. Wonderful.

But the real selling point--as it should be in UNDER THE HOOD--is Stephen McHattie as Hollis. He truly is the heart and life of WATCHMEN's vigilantes, and his performance here really makes one both long for and dread seeing the extra scenes of him in the extended WATCHMEN. If his work there is as excellent as his nuanced performance here, his last scene will be as heartbreaking as it was in the book.

That's the thing that UNDER THE HOOD captures that really reflects will upon the greater film: just like Moore's comic, the story shows the ridiculousness of superheroes without ever once mocking them, taking their emotions and actions as seriously as they do. And what's more, UNDER THE HOOD pulls this off with frequent subtlety and very little winking at the audience.

As I was writing this, I wanted to check out what other reviewers made of this, to see if it would provoke any other thoughts. CHUD.com's Justin Clark summed up my final thoughts pretty well: "All those people who said something to the effect that the film is too much of a copy/paste job of the comic, and Zack Snyder really doesn't have anything meaningful to add, kindly hand them a copy of this, along with a side order of piping hot shut the fuck up."

To call WATCHMEN: TALES OF THE BLACK FREIGHTER/UNDER THE HOOD a tie-in (as I do) is to imply that this is supplemental material, not essential to the enjoyment of the story, when in fact it's just as important as the "supplemental" material in the book itself. This instantly bumps WATCHMEN the film up a letter grade, and I'm more interested than ever to see the 302-minute cut.

Whether you liked or were dissatisfied with WATCHMEN, definitely give this a rental.




*He's renamed William or something, for some reason. Dr. Long gets a welcome touch of depth added to his character here, although sadly there's still nothing from his Rorschach subplot. That loss will stand as one of Snyder's most painful cuts.
thehefner: (Watchmen: Nobody Cares but Me)
I had been taking notes for a massive WATCHMEN review post. Which, it became increasingly evident, would have become *ten* posts. Maybe more.

I could do entire posts on the different endings, on the effect the comic has had to modern comics for better and for worse, on how I actually kind of preferred movie!Ozymandias to comic!Ozymandias, on whether or not some/all the things Alan Moore predicted came true and/or totally didn't come true and are now quaint fears from a bygone era, on the paradox of how a totally fucked-up Objectivist with utterly reprehensible views could manage to be badass and awesome, on how this movie has affected the non-fan world at large for the better or for the worse, on how the sheer fact that this has caused millions of average people to buy the comic when they barely ever did that for the any other superhero-related comics, not even THE DARK KNIGHT...

Then I accidentally deleted the notes. Which is fine, because really, I have better things to do with my time. I think all that energy is still tapped out from THE DARK KNIGHT. Funny thing I realized: every other fan is giving WATCHMEN the same level of scrutiny that I gave THE DARK KNIGHT (while most others seemed content to just flail say how awesome it was). Being on the other end of this en masse dissection has been fascinating yet exhausting.

I will say this, though: even if you don't think WATCHMEN deserves a second viewing, see it again anyway. If nothing else, when it comes out on DVD this Fall in the super-extended 302 minute edition. For all its faults, they've pulled off some amazing feats that deserve notice and recognition, but I suspect those will only come with time and repeat viewings.
thehefner: (Al Bundy: Shoot Me)
I'd love to give y'all the full rundown from my FRIGID experience, to give mad props to [livejournal.com profile] muzikmaker21 for taking such good care of me and to [livejournal.com profile] suburbfabulous for making it out on Sunday.

Hell, I'd love to finally see WATCHMEN again, so I could get up here and write the first of what's sure to be several posts discussing the book and movie*.

More than anything else, though, I'd love to be able to drink a glass of water without throwing up. But that, nor any of the above, is gonna be happening anytime soon.

In case you didn't already know, food poisoning suuuuuuuuuucks.




*Until then, I'd like to point you toward two articles that I'll be touching upon in my eventual WATCHMEN analysis, both focusing on keeping Snyder's accomplishments in perspective: the version of WATCHMEN the studio wanted and Patton Oswalt's passionate defense of Snyder, made even though he hasn't seen the movie yet. Though the fact that he holds Brian Bendis on the same level as Joss Whedon in terms of being the Nerd Mafia's best friend is a very suspect claim.

And since we're talking about Oswalt's myspace blog (and who uses those anymore?!), I very much recommend his essay wherein he sings the praises of Jason Statham.

watched.

Mar. 7th, 2009 12:30 am
thehefner: (Watchmen: Nobody Cares but Me)
I don't have the time nor energy to really give all my thoughts on WATCHMEN. In fact, I may hold off entirely until I've seen it a second time.

I think that folks really really *really* need to see it at least twice--if they can--just as I think people need to reread the book at least a couple times (with healthy breather periods in between, natch). It's not as dense as the book, but good lord, did they manage to cram so much in that two and a half hour period.

It was fascinating to read all the very different reviews over the past month, giving me a bizarre but very effective combination of over-hype and lowered expectations. Furthermore, the way everyone's coming into this with their own expectations versus the film's delivery is actually a surreal inverse of my own expectations and demands of THE DARK KNIGHT and being the world's biggest Harvey Dent fan*, but that's a whole essay unto itself.

The real test will be seeing how well it survives the first weekend. How will it hold up once word of mouth spreads? Because let me tell you, by the time of Rorschach and Dan's first meeting, several of us could feel other members of the audience bristle. This will most definitely not be for everybody, fan or otherwise.

And dear lord, I don't think I can read any more reviews right now, between ALL the goddamn bitching. No one can agree on what works or what doesn't, and right now, I'm in no mood to process it.

A warning to everyone, though: I don't think any of us will really be able to judge WATCHMEN the movie until we see the complete 302-minute long cut on DVD this Fall. Only then... ONLY then... will we truly see Snyder's WATCHMEN as it should be, and judge it on its own true merits. Until then, we've got this lengthy excerpt Cliff's Notes version.**

I'm gonna have a lot to say. But for now, based on what I did see, let's just say I give it a solid B+. Hell, maybe even A-. Even now, I think about it with wonder and go, "Wow, I actually saw that." But let's see how I feel after Round 2. Possibly in IMAX. Or at least the Uptown.

That said, when it comes to a couple of my opinions, many of you will think I'm outright nuts. Fair warning.



*Can I realistically claim that? So far, I haven't met anyone else as passionate and/or as well-versed of the character, but I don't wanna sound like an unhealthily obsessed freak or anything.

**And before you think that you can judge everything now, that no amount of extra scenes or different editing can make any difference, chew on this thought: the Director's Cut of DAREDEVIL was actually watchable.

I'm nutty!

Mar. 5th, 2009 02:50 pm
thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)
This might--*might*, mind you--actually be better than WATCHMEN BABIES. Here's hoping he makes the opening credits for that next. If not do a full episode. Utter magnificent brilliance. I just don't know what's my favorite part. Although Bubastis and Ozy as Scooby and Shaggy is up there.

The fact that they went with comics!version rather than the movie wins it mad props of cred and all that too.

Fuck it, I'm seeing a matinee of WATCHMEN tomorrow before doing my own show. I reckon by the end of the day, I'll believe I'm some kind of hummingbird.

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
thehefner: (Watchmen: Nobody Cares but Me)
I'm packing for tomorrow's bus journey to NYC, where I shall be performing for hippies in exchange for crash space. But before I go, I had to post this video of WATCHMEN director Zack Snyder, interviewed by my favorite joyless bastard, Devin* from CHUD.com:


Zack Snyder Interview from devincf on Vimeo.

The main reason I thought this noteworthy is Snyder's description of what the original, more-Hollywood style WATCHMEN script was like... in which he includes something which I already thought was *in* the final movie. Namely, the thing I spoiled in my whole "I've read the ending of WATCHMEN" post back in October. I'd heard reports that had corroborated that this was the case for the final movie.

So... does that mean the ending is actually faithful now? I mean, give or take the squid (which may, it seems, actually still be in there in some mysterious capacity!). I cared less about that than I did the bloody added fight scene between two characters, ending with a certain character's death. So that's gone now? We're back to the real, complex ending?

If what I read wasn't the final draft, it was certainly close to it, because it didn't match up with any of Snyder's other descriptions for the old draft (it being PG-13, sequel-able, modern day, etc.). Here's hoping I was mislead!

So far, buzz on WATCHMEN from people who've actually seen it has been uniformly blown-away. The next few weeks will be extremely interesting, for those extremely interested in such things.



*In another perfect example of my love-hate relationship with Devin, I've been resisting the urge to waste an hour writing up a thoughtful and pointless rebuttal to his "Superheroes are very, very bad, they're like 50 year old hookers chainsmoking on the corner: used up, their best days behind them, appealing only to the most debased, most awful people, and I welcome the death of superhero comics with open arms" essay. Really, there's just no point.

Ultimately, I do agree with him on one point, though: I very much hope DC and Marvel lose their strangehold on comics (although how much of it do they really have these days compared to the old days?) and that sequential art becomes a much richer field. I look forward to the day when there's as much variety of form, style, and content in comics as there is in film. Superheroes included.
thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)
Via [livejournal.com profile] mirthical, who saw this and for some reason thought of me.



I'm just saying, if that's supposed to be Dr. Manhattan, it should glow in the dark and/or feel like a D battery when you put your tongue on it.

By the way, WATCHMEN's theatrical length will be 156 minutes long. The subsequent Director's Cut will be 190 minutes, which in Snyder's words will be "considerably more violent... and sexier." Whatever that means.

And then, in the Fall, they'll release another cut down the line, splicing in this*, which will be hitting DVDs at the end of March:



So that the full, final version of WATCHMEN the movie will ultimately be 205 minutes. And that's not even counting the UNDER THE HOOD "documentary," included with the TALES OF THE BLACK FREIGHTER DVD.

It ain't a 12-part HBO mini-series, but that's still pretty goddamned impressive.

Hell with the worry and the apprehension and the snobbery. March 6th needs to fucking get here fucking NOW.



*Among other things, including cut scenes like more Dr. Manhattan on Mars, dialogue scenes at the newsstand, and the death of a certain character that involves a statue. At first, it's hard to imagine those last two not being in the final cut, but then you remember just how much fucking stuff there is in WATCHMEN.
thehefner: (Watchmen: Nobody Cares but Me)
And I thought it was weird seeing kids' costumes for V FOR VENDETTA.

See, [livejournal.com profile] droidboy010101's take on Jon was much better than any of these, but even he didn't go far enough. Maybe next year, I'll go be Dr. Manhattan for Halloween. Yes, all the way. I'll crash your Halloween parties if I have to.



Oh, and in case anyone hasn't seen this yet:



For all that they're gonna get wrong with the movie, it's the little touches like that which will ensure that I'll have my ticket opening night.
thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)
The producer of WATCHMEN speaks openly on the current legal battle.

Frank, insightful, inspiring, and infuriating. Now, more than ever, I feel there is no finer response to this debacle than this.

Coincidentally, I've discovered that there are several fans out there who think that WATCHMEN won't be better than THE DARK KNIGHT. While I agree that may be the case, it depresses me because it should be better.

I don't think WATCHMEN will be perfect, and I'm sure I'll have criticisms just like I performed several autopsies on TDK. But if I have any serious hopes here, it's that WATCHMEN will raise the bar above and beyond how TDK already did. Because that's exactly what frickin' WATCHMEN did and should do.



And in other superhero media news, holy crap, SMALLVILLE is getting a ninth season?

To quote CHUD.com: "OK, think about this for a moment: nine seasons of Smallville. That's longer than any Star Trek series by two years. That's going neck and neck with X-Files, which itself should have ended two years before it did. That's approaching the current genre record holder, Stargate: SG-1, and that show had to retool itself bigtime after Season 8."

Did anyone see the Legion of Superheroes episode? Geoff Johns wrote it, right? Certainly gives me hope. Heck, that alone might actually interest me to finally catch up where I left off around the Zod episode, and I subsequently avoided the rest because of things like sexy Mr. Mxyzptlk and dialogue like in the Bizarro episode, "I'm like you, only... bizarre."

I say it's time to don the tights. Let's see some actual Superman versus Lex action in the final episodes.
thehefner: (Watchmen: Nobody Cares but Me)


Do you live in the US? Do you have iTunes? Are you a big flaming geek?

If your answer to all three is "yes," then then you're gonna want to check out three minutes of WATCHMEN footage, which originally ran at Comic Con this year, and is mostly new to the rest of us. If the link doesn't work, just search the iTunes store for WATCHMEN, you'll find it there.

I'm never going to stop being apprehensive until I actually see how it all plays out, but... come on, man, it's hard not to feel chills at points throughout. Also, Matt Frewer as Moloch. That's worth the price of a ticket alone.
thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)
And in comics this week, Harvey Dent fights a werewolf.

... huh.

And not for the first time in my years of reading superhero comics, I can't quite decide if this is ridiculous or badass.



So as I understandably missed Spike TV's awards show last night, I subsequently missed out on the WURLD PRU-MEER of not one but two teaser trailers. First, for the new FRIDAY THE 13TH remake/reboot (fast forward through the annoying pretty people at the awards show to the annoying pretty people in the actual movie):


Friday the 13th: Exclusive First Look

Gotta say, the 80's fanboy in me is excited. And while I loathe fast zombies, I think I'm digging fast Jason based on that two-second clip. The speed of Leatherface, the precision of Michael Myers, the ferocity of Jason Voorhees. Jason's a character I've always loved for some reason, way more than any of his actual movies.

While I wince at the knowledge that this film is by the same asshats who remade TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, one of the most horrible remakes I have ever seen... I, for one, welcome our new Camp Crystal Lake overlords.



Oh, and of far more interest to most of you, the new WATCHMEN trailer:



I still love the music on a purely subversive level. The fast-slow-fast effects scream "style over substance," but all critics who attended a 25-minute screening of footage have universally raved about the film, and how the speed changes actually work beautifully to convey the shifts in speed of actual comic panels, translated to film.

I know the fandom world is aflame with reports that OMG THEY CHANGED THE ENDING WTF but I'm reserving judgment until we hear more. As I understand, those reports come from a small handful of dubious sources at a rough cut screening. And besides, some things are just gonna have to be cut to later be reinserted into the 5-hour long final DVD cut down the line. I recommend a philosophical and patient perspective for the time being.

By the way, is this tagline an actual line in the book? If so, it's awesome. If not, it's cheesy. Yes, that's my geek double-standard and I'm sticking by it.

thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)
When someone posted scans revealing a real children's book of Heath Ledger Joker ruining Bruce Wayne's birthday party, one commenter began speculating what would happen if the WATCHMEN movie would also come with kid-friendly stories. Really, what would a birthday party episode of WATCHMEN BABIES be like?

"When are you going to throw my surprise party, Adrian?"

"When? I did it thirty-five minutes ago."

BEST DAY EVER.

"Hurm. Piñata. Piñata with head split in half."

I shared this with Bloo, and soon we found ourselves wondering who would play whom in a Muppet version of WATCHMEN. Our casting has gone as thus:

Rorschach: Gonzo

Dr. Manhattan: Kermit

Silk Spectre II: Miss Piggy

Nite Owl: Scooter

Hollis (and) Mason: Satler and Waldorf

Silk Spectre I (Sally): Miss Piggy (she would insist on double-casting, naturally)

The Comedian: Fozzy Bear (waka waka waka!)

Hooded Justice: Sam the Eagle

Moloch: Beaker

Ozymandias: Animal (all he would say is, "SMARTEST MAN! SMARTEST MAN!")

Any other casting ideas?

By the way, WATCHMEN director Zack Snyder put out a contest on YouTube, inviting people to make their own commercial for Veidt enterprises (circa 1985 or earlier). The best ones will actually be used in the final movie. I've seen a couple, but so far, the only one that truly stands out is this:



Finally, I know a lot of us are still extremely apprehensive about how WATCHMEN is going to turn out, but I am frustrated to see so many people dismissing it outright with such hostility. This film actually does have a great deal of promise. Like, not long ago, I was talking with [livejournal.com profile] chickenhat about the film, and he was uncertain, hesitant.

Then I said, "You know who's playing Moloch, right?"

"No, who?"

"Matt Frewer."

"... TICKET. BOUGHT."
thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)
Weirdly, enough, you know what just might be my favorite part of the WATCHMEN trailer?

The Smashing Pumpkins song.

You might think I'm insane. [livejournal.com profile] kali921 already raged about the song's inclusion bespoiling the trailer for the adaptation of one of the great graphic novels. I certainly understand this reaction. Others were even more pissed when they realized that the song in question, "The Beginning is the End is the Beginning," is--insult upon injury--the fucking theme song from BATMAN AND ROBIN. What the fuck, right? It's idiocy! It's tacky! It's sacrilege!

It's brilliant.

I should point out, it's not the original version of the song from BATMAN AND ROBIN, but rather a remix. A remix of the theme for the most infamous superhero film at all. And you if you don't think that's not deliberate and beautifully calculated, I urge you to turn your attention back to the nipples on Ozymandias' suit. Snyder has gone on record saying that's no coincidence.

It's a pitch-perfect touch that most people are completely missing. I love it.
thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)


I fucking love it.

There are some people who will think they look ridiculous. These people miss the point entirely.

Not only does it look like one of the old Batman/Republic serials, but one commenter on the CHUD.com message boards made this observation: "The thing that truly sells the picture for me is the looks on all of their faces. The costumes look ridiculous like they should - but that's not hard. Get a decent costume designer to exactly replicate what's in the comic and it's done. The faces though, betray a lot of character and do for the the costumes what the actual cloth can't accomplish. With each face, you can see the slight embarrassment that is a subtle undertone in the book. There are (perfect) exceptions - the comedian looks like he couldn't give a shit, hooded justice just looks slumpy, un-photogenic, and uncomfortable, and night owl looks like he's dove into this thing head first and is bound to take himself seriously. I can't get over how absolutely fantastic the look on Dollar Bill's face is."

More than ever, I know that if WATCHMEN fails, it won't be for lack of honest effort and passion on Zack Snyder's part.
thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)
Oh.



Oh. Snap.

Not friendly for dial-up or non-geeks. )

Am I still apprehensive? Of course.

Am I excited? Hell yes.

I don't know how he could possibly pull if off, but now I'm actually hoping he does.
thehefner: (Simpsons: ...Comic Books?)
GOD-FUCKING-DAMMIT!!!

I go on one date last night, shunning the usually-abysmal Sunday night Fox line-up, and what oh what do I miss??



I WILL NEVER GO OUT ON A DATE AGAIN.

Oh who am I kidding, I want to meet a girl whose purse is a lunchbox.

Although Lisa identifying with the GHOST WORLD girls? She's alienated, but she's also still idealistic and isn't a selfish jerk. But thankfully, all of that was forgotten by the time we got to "Watchmen Babies: V for Vacation" and "Maus is in the Haus!"

September 2012

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