Monday, 19 November 2012

How not to do it

Last night I stayed up late - far too late, in fact - watching part of the movie "Watchmen".

I like superhero films.  I've sat through some bad ones in my time just because they are fun if you switch your brain off.  I even sat through "Wolverine", which is seriously dire and has a plot that manages to be both completely predictable and completely incoherent - quite a feat when you think about it. About the only good thing going for it is the eye candy (and the relish with which the wonderful Liev Schreiber wades into acting a guy who Goes To The Bad In Capital Letters, mwah-ha-ha!).

"Watchmen" doesn't even have eye candy; unless you count Billy Crudup's face, heavily CGI'd, coloured blue and stuck on someone else's naked body (huh? Isn't Mr Crudup buff enough?).  There wasn't a single character whose motivation I could understand, much less identify with, and the unrelenting gloom and doom began to seem first trying and then childishly self-indulgent. But my biggest complaint was that it didn't seem to have a plot.  Is it too much to ask that one should have been given at least a fragment of story to engage with, by the time things have been rollicking on for well over an hour?  I gave up at what was I think the fifth prolonged flashback, explaining in yet more detail just how bloody miserable the characters are. I was irritated, and worse, bored.

The whole thing was an object lesson in how not to do these things.

So tonight I'm going to go home and watch "The Avengers" again.  I bought the Dvd (of course) and have re-watched it twice (and not just for the eye-candy, which is plentiful, as fellow fans will know). It's just such a perfect specimen of the genre in almost every way.  Yes, it has its minor problems (A. The flying aircraft carrier!! - don't get me wrong, it's gorgeous, but really not terribly probable. B. Just how quickly can you travel into the centre of Manhattan, all the way from open countryside, by motorbike?  Not that quick, I'll bet. C. Not enough Hawkeye. D. Not enough Black Widow. E. Not enough Hawkeye and Black Widow together - that's such a great little scene the two of them have together and it's so beautifully played - low-key and painful and real [in the middle of a superhero film!] and I want it to last twice as long).  But what's a minor problem when everything else is so spot on?

It's been a chilly, grey, rainy day in London and I'm tired from staying up waiting for "Watchmen" to develop a story.  Bangers and veg and a good movie for me.  And lemon curd yoghurt. And maybe a beer. Time to go home, time to go home...


Anonymous said...

Have you read Alan Moore's graphic novel - the film's source? It's been years since I read anything that could be described as a 'comic' but I thought Moore achieved something rather splendid and inspiring with that book. I watched the film only fitfully and it did, sfaicc, seem to be fairly faithful to the book, though that is not always a good thing when it comes to adaptations. If you haven't read the novel, I think you should give it a's better than V For Vendetta, which I rated highly.

Imogen said...

I haven't read it, I must confess; I've never been terribly keen on comic books as I like a bit of juicy descriptive prose... I did enjoy Asterix as a kid (bizarrely, my dear Quaker stepmum has a huge collection of Asterix books).
I must add that I enjoyed the film of "V for Vendetta" enormously.

Take care and have a good Christmas/Solstice/Saturnalia etc, by the way!