Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator (ludickid) wrote,
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator

Zack Snyder, Visionary Director of My Balls

Here are the things I liked about Watchmen.

1. It started with a fake episode of The McLaughlin Group only instead of yelling at Eleanor Clift about the flat tax, John McLaughlin was yelling at Eleanor Clift about superheroes. I could seriously watch that all day. "J. JONAH JAMESON'S LATEST EDITORIAL CLAIMS SPIDER-MAN IS RESPONSIBLE FOR NEW YORK'S GROWING GRAFFITI PROBLEM. COMMENTS JACK GER-MAAAAAAAHND?"

2. The opening credit sequence was clearly made by someone who, whatever his other faults as a filmmaker, has an impressive visual sensibility. A few of the scenes looked really good, as did some of the costumes and effects.

3. I finally got to see someone murder Lee Iacocca.

Here is the one mitigatory thing I will say about Watchmen, without meaning it as praise or damnation:

1. There was clearly a huge amount of studio meddling.

As for the things I didn't like about it, well, that would be exactly everything else. It would be far too long to list them out, and tons of better critics and writers have beat me to the punch, but in brief: Snyder has absolutely no sensibility for subtlety, and he's incredibly blind to emotional affect, psychological motivation, and philosophical intent. He's an atrocious handler of actors; Malin Akerman is getting roundly criticized for her weak performance, but I don't think it's any worse than any of the other acting jobs in this thing, because no one had a director who cared about acting in a traditional sense. The scenes that were the most faithful to the book were the ones that were the least consequential, and the ones that were eliminated were the ones that gave the book its depth and resonance. Fidelity is given to the visuals at the expense of everything else. The pacing is an utter mess, because Snyder doesn't understand that what works lingeringly on the page drags on the screen. The scenes of violence and 'heroism' are totally overblown to the degree that you wonder if the director even understood what he was communicating to the audience. The places where the script deviates from the original aren't an improvement. And the only scenes that really work are the ones that are more or less impossible to fuck up.

And what's maybe even worst of all is, I can't hate it. Snyder clearly did his best with material he really, really liked, and there's nothing about it that's malicious or even necessarily incompetent -- just incredibly tone-deaf and flat, good in all the wrong ways. It's sort of like meeting someone at a party, and you find out you both like the same books and movies and art and music, and then he regales you for four hours about all the things he likes about them, and none of them are the same things you like about them. And you leave the party wondering, how did we have so much in common, and yet I left feeling like I hope I never see him again? And then he follows you out to your car and makes you listen to a really bad cover of "Desolation Row".

ETA: OH MY GOD WHICH REMINDS ME THE WHOLE FUCKING SOUNDTRACK WAS SO AWFUL. Even if the whole rest of the movie had been amazing, the soundtrack would have killed it. Note: the whole rest of the movie was not amazing.

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