The Watchmen Vs. Gran Torino

I've Loved You So Long, Watchmen.
Longer than one ought to,
you taught me that a comic can transcend its various illustrated panels, that a story can go beyond text. You taught me that a graphic novel can have merit. I can stand toe to toe with some one going on about Burroughs, Dickens, Eliot, etc.
I can look them in the eye and say "Moore, Alan Moore. Watchmen, read it. Change your life."
but i can't really say that anymore cause Hollywood had its way with you.
They tied you to a table and had their way with your heart and soul.

Now the film The Watchmen isn't all that bad. I stand quite solitary in the belief that the picture is merely an ok flick.
but an ok flick of one of the greatest stories i've ever read, though undoubtedly the best superhero story of all time, is more a travesty than having a great adaptation or a bad one.
I'd love a bad Watchmen movie. I'd love to watch it and laugh at it and walk away going "these fat cats in the studios have no idea what they're doing" but i can't.
I'd love a great Watchmen movie, to feel that the times were a' changin and mainstream cinema could actually grasp the ideas presented in the story and present them well enough so it could be enjoyed by the initiated and the uninitiated alike.
Yet, this film comes across as a bit of both.
On one hand the film captures the look of the comic completely. the story boards are the panels, and the script the text that fill up the panels except for some minor changes. It's a long, difficult picture just like the book.
On the other hand, what's left out or altered are the most apparent problems with the film. One of the biggest parts of the book that seemed to be left out completely in translation was any inkling of emotion.
I don't think i've ever sat through a 3 hour plus film and feel absolutely nothing for its complete duration. Not to say i wasn't entertained, just that entertainment was strictly superficial.
The picture sure made a hell of a lot of noise and yet i never felt for any of those noises. There was altogether too much and not enough of basically anything to make up a film resembling something.
whoo, there i said it.
I could nit pick this one, but it's nothing you wouldn't be able to find on some other blog or in some paper. It's an entertaining picture, but at this long a run time i would hope it would at least be that.
Like Joe said after leaving the theatre "it was like watching the Cole's notes of the book."

After sitting through the Watchmen twice (yeah i saw it twice. Thought like the book it would be better upon going through it a second time but in fact it had the opposite effect.) i was a little miffed with seeing current films at the cinema.
Then on a whim i decided to watch Clint Eastwood's' Gran Torino at the Bloor Cinema.

What happened after viewing this picture was a complete reversal of the effect Watchmen had on me. This picture had me feeling actual emotions left right and center.
Not to say this is a terrific film, it's not. It like the Watchmen is just ok as well.
But this is double, no scratch that, ten times as fun as Watchmen.
The premise from the trailer had me going.
From what i could tell is that this was a picture about a racist old man with a shotgun asking his new Asian neighbours next door to get off his lawn.
And that's basically what i got.
To say this picture is racist is an understatement. You'll hear every racial slur in the book in this one, except for the really bad ones.
Mostly just old terms from the 50's that Clint is belting out at the beginning and ending of every line.
Yet, no one can argue this little picture doesn't have its heart in the right place and by the end you get a picture calling out everybody, including Caucasians, because of their skin and stereotypes that come along with our skins and lets us all know we all can connect on the basis of having heart, integrity, and strength in this damned world of ours.

The acting by everyone except Clint is pretty bad.
But Clint, although awkward to me at first, really won me over in this picture.
This is his last role and i thought it was a great way to go out, playing an old man trying to accept the changing of the world around him and through that not only does he fully embrace the change but he finds something worth living for in it. He finds meaning again after losing much of what gave him any reason to wake up in the first place.

There is a weird moment at the end when Clint starts belting out a song about Gran Tourinos over the credits that is a bit jarring. but overall i found this completely entertaining through and through. like a chicken skillet cooked all the way through as to not get salmonella unlike Watchmen which was more like fillet Mignon that barely touched the pan.
now that... that's a metaphor right there or is it a simile? Damn university literature courses are good for nothing. it's all theory, nothing practical.. ya know?

Gran Torino has its flaws but this is fun,
as my friend Jessica said while walking out the cinema "i wish Clint Eastwood was in my life right now. I would feel like everything was going to be ok, and then he would call me some racial slur and i would hug him."

In the end there's no contest, if anyone out there is deciding which film they should watch between Watchmen and Gran Torino the answer is a shotgun racist scream in the night "GRANNN TORINO!!!"



the coelacanth said...

"I don't think i've ever sat through a 3 hour plus film and feel absolutely nothing for its complete duration. Not to say i wasn't entertained, just that entertainment was strictly superficial."


I've been wanting to check GT for some time, but it somehow keeps eluding me. I'll have to remedy that, now.

Awesome write-up man, and welcome back.

Britarded said...

Silk spectre II's latexed cameltoe in IMAX and still you felt nothing?

the coelacanth said...

true. i started to feel a little crotch-flutter when the nudeness was on the screen, but any sense of eroticism was vanquished when "hallelujah" kicked in.

Chandles said...

Gran Torino is like Clint's very late-after-the-deadline respone to Crash or something. And it is so much better. well... "better"

La Sporgenza said...

Not seen this yet but I'm assuming that Clint dusts off a few youngsters (he seems to be brandishing a shotgun in most of the stills I've come across).

I mean I'm hoping he does.

On the matter of The Watchmen, I think I've seen my last comic film for a while. I'm finding them less and less interesting as time goes by. They seem to be getting bigger and smaller all at once.

the coelacanth said...

bigger and smaller, yes that's a wonderful description.

Mr. Scratch said...

Gran Torino was great for a laugh, great for picking up new racial slurs and great for Clint sounding like an 80-year-old Batman. I very much agree with you on this one Kadar.

Watchmen though? I simply can't agree. To be sure I wish this film did not exist but since it does and it managed to get released I must say I'm glad it's merely an ok film, not a bad one.
It couldn't have been great, staying true to Moore's text on screen would be impossible. If it had been bad then it would have stained the wonderful novel for all time, for those not in the know and the media, people would just say when asked aabout Watchmen "isn't that some crappy movie?". Hopefully, now thats not the case, as I have spoken to people who haven't read the book but still really enjoyed the movie, look forward to reading it now and getting even more. Thats a success I think, us crotchety fan boys can bitch and bitch but thats what being a fan boy is all about, and I think this film may go aways as to make some more.
Also as far as comic book movies go none except this one (and 300) have been adapted from a single book, they've all been "based" on. Important I think.

Whoo, all that being said I hope Zach Snyder dies, hopefully by strangelation at the hands of Alan Moore.