Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I watch the Watchmen

I saw Watchmen last week.

Watchmen takes place in 1985, in an alternate history where Nixon has been elected for his fifth term, and the US won the Vietnam war. In this alternate history, there existed people who, inspired by superhero comics, decided to become costumed heroes themselves. These people tended to be a little unbalanced, and many had fascist tendencies, but for a while it was all well and good. But costumed heroes were eventually outlawed when it became clear that standard heroics were very poor solutions to the world's problems. In particular, nuclear war with Russia is a looming threat, and has thus far only been prevented by the existence of a single superhero, Dr. Manhattan. Dr. Manhattan is practically omnipotent, but has lost almost all humanity he once had.

In this setting, we begin with the murder of one of the old costumed heroes, the Comedian. As the plot slowly unravels, we meet many of the other costumed heroes, all of whom are deeply complex characters.

I thought the movie was great! I don't think I've ever seen a movie which so faithfully reproduces the novel it is based upon, but that's good because I absolutely loved the graphic novel too. The novel had a very cinematic flow to it, so at times it seemed the movie copied the novel right down to the camera angles. If you didn't read the book, you must see the movie, and if you don't see the movie, you must read the book. Ideally, you should do both.

So after that brief excursion into movie-reviewing (a form of writing in which I do not excel), you should see this video which delightfully subverts nearly everything that Watchmen stands for.

Hmmm... I think I might write something more about Watchmen in the near future... something suitably philosophical.