Today at THT

Sleepy this morning because I went to the late showing of “Watchmen” last night. Loved it, of course. My only quibbles were minor ones:

1. Malin Akerman, who played Laurie/Silk Spectre II, was perfect when she kicked people’s asses and did sexy things. When she spoke, eh, kind of reminded me of Sofia Coppola in Godfather III. Thankfully, the ass-kicking/sexy to speaking ratio stayed within acceptable parameters;

2. I don’t think the casting was right for Veidt, as Matthew Goode kind of came off as a petulant schoolboy. Based on the book, I kind of expected someone a bit older and weathered. Maybe someone with a tan, rested and ready vibe. I know the fanboys wanted Ralph Fiennes for that role for years, but I have to admit, he would have been perfect.

That was pretty much it. Other thoughts:

Even though all of you should have read the book by now and if you haven’t you’re dead to me, I won’t give away any spoilers. That said, if you’ve read any of the pre-release publicity, you know that the ending plot point is somewhat different than the book (i.e. the giant squid thing isn’t in the movie). Good move, and I really liked the new ending. It’s so good that I have this feeling that Alan Moore went into a darkened theater incognito to watch the movie this weekend and left kicking himself that his original ending wasn’t as elegant and as simple as the film’s.

So yes, I highly recommend it. It’s not going to sneak into my top 5 all time list or anything, but it stands on equal footing with “The Dark Knight” and “Spiderman II” among top comic book/geek entertainments. Final word on it: I can’t imagine that people who haven’t read the book got nearly as much out of the movie as those of us who have read it, so if you have any interest in this film at all and somehow haven’t read “Watchmen” yet, please, do yourself a favor, take a day off work this week and read the damn thing before going to the multiplex. You’ll be glad you did.

Now, on to matters slightly less geeky:

  • Sal Baxamusa wants you to know about the sports analytics conference at MIT’s Sloan School of Business, which he has dubbed “Dorkapalooza.” OK, I suppose that wasn’t all that less geeky at all.
  • Chris Jaffe takes a crack at similarity scores on a season by season basis. For all of his gifts of analysis, however, he has not been able to create a database which accounts for the human emotion of love.
  • Evan Brunell runs down last week’s transactions. This is your second straight week with some Neal Musser news. Mr. and Mrs. Musser must be so proud.
  • Over at Fantasy Focus Derek Carty shares with us his League of Alternate Baseball Reality (LABR) roster. Once again, I stress that my thing about “Watchmen” is not out of step with the rest of today’s news in terms of geekiness quotient.
  • Finally, Victor Wang runs down the AL prospects to watch this season. Heh, what’s the deal with this Wieters kid? Why on Earth would Baltimore give him a shot when they have a trusty veteran like Greg Zaun around?
  • You don’t understand. I’m not locked in here with you! You’re locked in here with ME!


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    Chris H.
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    Chris H.

    In the book the password thing is even more hilarious, as Dan guesses “RAMESES” as the password, and the computer prompts, “Password incomplete; do you wish to add rider?”

    Bwahaha.

    The other comment my son had was, “And what was the deal with Manhattan being naked all the time?  I didn’t need to see that.”

    Word has it the Blu-Ray will not only include the director’s cut but Tales from the Black Freighter as well, with the option to watch TftBF integrated with the movie via seamless branching.

    kendynamo
    Guest
    kendynamo
    yeah i found watchmen to be more enjoyable than i expected.  i’d like to talk to someone who saw the movie but hasnt read the book but for me, after all the hype and my dread of seeing someone try to film the ‘unfilmable’ and fail, i thought it was an excellent job all around. my biggest issue with the ending is it takes out the ambiguity of whether what veidt did was justifiable or simply monstorus (and obviated the need for the black frieghter parallel sub plot, which probably helped the movie in the grand scheme of things).  theres… Read more »
    themarksmith
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    themarksmith

    I loved The Watchmen as well, but I haven’t read it. For me, the first half was a bit long, and I thought some of it was unnecessary from solely the movie plot. It probably makes more sense had I read the book, but I’m not sure how some of the backstory really added much to it. Still, I really liked the movie, but for those who want to see the Director’s Cut, how much longer can that movie be?

    Aarcraft
    Guest
    Aarcraft

    I have not read the book, but saw the movie. I liked it. I didn’t think it was on par with the Dark Knight, but close to Spiderman II. Maybe if I had read the book it would have inched up. I have to say, I had no trouble keeping track, it wasn’t really all that complicated.

    The obvious music choices almost killed it for me. I mean, can you get any more cliche than The Times They Are A’Changin’ for a montage through history, Sound of Silence for a funeral and Ride of the Valkyries for a war scene?

    Eddo
    Guest
    Eddo
    Craig, I agree totally with your points on the casting of Veidt.  He came across a little too “emo” for me, and a little to scrawny.  I just couldn’t buy that this skinny little kid could handle Rorshach and Nite Owl at the same time. I, however, have some quibbles with the ending: *** SPOILER BELOW *** * * * * * * * * * * * 1. In the book, the ending works because the threat of an extraterrestrial attack causes the world superpowers to realize they may have to fight something bigger, and more importantly, something completely… Read more »
    Craig Calcaterra
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    Craig Calcaterra
    Aarcraft: Yeah, those were a little on the nose, eh?  In way of weak defense, there are some musical cues suggested in the book that probably led the filmakers in that direction. “All along the Watchtower” being a specific one that probably led to others. I was not a fan of the use of Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in the sex scene myself.  I mean, I love Cohen, but his voice just kind of oozes irony and sleaze in a way that makes that not work for me.  John Cale does a more appropriate cover of that song if they insisted on… Read more »
    Eddo
    Guest
    Eddo

    Craig:

    Again, I actually liked the music choices.  I think their obviousness was a strength – to me, it conveyed that this idea of having masked heroes was this huge part of the Watchmen universe.

    Though I agree that “Hallelujah” was kind of cheesy there.  I prefer the Rufus Wainwright version, but even it wouldn’t have worked in that seen.

    Aarcraft
    Guest
    Aarcraft

    I think Jeff Buckley’s version is the only version that might of worked. I haven’t heard Cale’s. Even then, the song choice reeked of cheese.

    kendynamo
    Guest
    kendynamo

    eddo – also good points about the ending – i agree with you. 

    as for anyone wondering how much more from the book could have been put into the movie?  a lot. 

    oh also in the minor fan boy quibbling department, why wasn’t sally jupiter smoking the whole time?

    Eddo
    Guest
    Eddo

    kendynamo:
    Totally agreed on the smoking thing.  Without Laurie smoking, the reason for her shooting flames out of Archie in the basement was totally ridiculous.  She would know better than to just push a random button.

    Craig Calcaterra
    Guest
    Craig Calcaterra
    Ken—you mean Laurie?  I agree, it was distracting not seeing her smoking. I think it actually led to my disappointment with her voice and acting chops.  Seeing Laurie smoke in the book all the time had me thinking that she’d have a huskier, smoky kind of voice rather than the near-valley girl thing she had in the film.  Just a little distracting. Eddo: I see your point about the ending, but I don’t know how the risk you identified—that even in the face of a common enemy, the superpowers would soon start plotting against each other again—would be any different… Read more »
    Craig Calcaterra
    Guest
    Craig Calcaterra
    Also re: the smoking: I can only imagine that it was cut because (a) they mimimized many of the “lifestyle” improvements brought on by Dr. Manhattan, which I assume included those funky smokeless cigarettes from the book; and (b) they didn’t want to show a hero smoking in this day and age because that’s frowned on more every passing year. And if the latter explanation is really the case, how messed up is it that the filmakers don’t feel compelled to edit out multiple scenes of limb severing, meat cleaver to the head violence and sex scenes with considerable amounts… Read more »
    Eddo
    Guest
    Eddo
    Craig: re: the ending: You are right about the ending; I think that’s part of the Moore’s brilliance, showing that Veidt’s plan isn’t really perfect, that in all likelihood, it only buys a few years or decades before the world is back to its old ways. But I still like the book’s ending better.  In the movie, all Veidt has change who is hated by the public.  It used to be the Russians, but now it’s Manhattan.  They have a face and a specific person to hate.  In the book’s ending, all they could do is fear aliens, they couldn’t… Read more »
    Eddo
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    Eddo
    I realize my last comment, calling Rorshach a “simple-minded thug”, could probably come off as harsh.  I just hope too many people don’t identify with him as they see the movie, because he’s a symbol of problems with society.  Even he realizes this at the end, when he begs Manhattan to kill him; he know he can’t exist in a peaceful world full of ambiguity (which ultimately causes him to win me over).  He sees things in black and white, right and wrong, good and bad, which has gotten the world into a lot of trouble over the years.  Anyone… Read more »
    RoyceTheBaseballHack
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    RoyceTheBaseballHack

    Hey Shyster,

      Not certain of the factual element here, because I’ve slept in the last few weeks, but didn’t you mention when they announced the release of, “Watchmen” that is coincided with your birthday? or, was that somebody else?  I dunno.

    Anyway, if a belated Happy Birthday is in order, please accept this as one.

    Craig Calcaterra
    Guest
    Craig Calcaterra

    Royce: not my birthday. Mine is July 14th.  March 7th was my brother’s birthday, though, and I may have said something about that.

    Chris H.
    Guest
    Chris H.

    I, for one, had indeed been reading Veidt’s name as “veet” all these years.  That doesn’t make sense given the common i-before-e/i-after-e rules, but that’s how I read it.

    I liked the music overall.  I figured they were just taking the cues from the book, for the most part.

    I do agree that eliminating Laurie’s smoking made the flame-thrower thing kind of dopey.

    Chris H.
    Guest
    Chris H.

    themarksmith: my son had exactly the same reaction about a longer cut.  Having read the book, I think a longer edit will flesh some things out better, but I can see why folks who haven’t read it would have your perspective.

    kendynamo
    Guest
    kendynamo

    well, both sally and laurie now that you mention it, but i more so the old mom.  they got her drinking, which is good, but the smoking, coughing and hacking is how i always pictured her.  a real mess.  that laurie didnt smoke is not as bothersome (but the archie flame thrower bit is a good point, too). 

    as for why they cut it, doubt it was to spare the children from a bad influence.  the comedian is still chompin cigars.  i think it was merely a style choice.

    Chris H.
    Guest
    Chris H.

    Oddly, Hollywood doesn’t seem to view cigars with the same negative light that it does cigarettes.

    Plus, the Comedian was a rapist and murderer, so showing him smoking is okay, I guess.

    (Zack Snyder commented that when the suits saw “Lesbian Whores” written on the wall in the opening, they immediately knew the movie would get an R.  Had it just been “whores,” they would’ve been OK with a PG-13.  Of course, other stuff in the movie would’ve popped it back to an R, but it’s all about the inconsistency.  You should all now go watch “This Film is Not Yet Rated.”)

    joao
    Guest
    joao

    Aarcraft,

    If you have seen Shrek, you have heard of Cale’s version of Hallelujah. 

    I fall in Eddo’s camp regarding liking the book’s ending better (way better, in my case).  I’m not saying it would have worked in the movie, but you know, they didn’t have to do a squid, which might have looked silly in a movie and confused the masses.  They could have used some other invention that wasn’t a squid.  I have some other complaints about unnecessary (but minor) choices made, but I will hold my fire until I see it a second time.

    Eddo
    Guest
    Eddo

    joao:
    The Cale version is used in the film?  I always thought that didn’t sound like Wainwright’s version on the soundtrack.  Thanks for that info.

    As for the ending, I agree that using a squid would have been too out-there for viewers who had not read the book.  Like you say, though, a different creature or something could have been used.  Maybe a fake flying saucer or something?  I just think aliens work so much better than Manhattan.

    Ethan Stock
    Guest
    Ethan Stock

    Re:  full frontal on Dr. Manhattan—in our group of 12 there were no complaints at all from the four ladies.  I said over food after “they didn’t need to show that much” and someone said, “Oh yes they did!”  I pointed out that the movie probably had the highest penis-to-breast ratio of any R movie, ever, and the consensus was, “good!” 

    Hrrm.

    Craig Calcaterra
    Guest
    Craig Calcaterra

    Ethan: anyone in your group notice that the book’s Dr. Manhattan was uncircumsized, but in the movie he was snipped?

    Not, um, that I noticed that or anything.  Cause I never notice that sort of thing.

    /leaving

    mkd
    Guest
    mkd
    I am usually harsh on major changes to source material, but in this case I think they pulled it off beautifully: 1) In the book, the alien entity is basically a new character introduced without warning or explanation to the people of earth. By contrast the power of DrM is already well understood/feared, so when he “turns on humanity” everyone immediately gets what that means.There is no casting about: “What was it? Was it an alien? Really? No it’s gotta be a trick…Aliens? Really?”, It’s just: “Crap, DrM turned on us. We done f’d up, boys.” I think for the… Read more »
    Hizouse
    Guest
    Hizouse
    My main problem with the ending was that it came too fast, and I couldn’t figure out exactly what earth’s reaction was supposed to be.  In the movie, I thought the earth was uniting to defeat Manhattan, which makes no sense.  He can’t be defeated—and Russia wouldn’t trust the U.S. anyways since Manhattan is American. mkd’s fear of retribution makes sense, but I just didn’t see in the film.  I hear his objections to not convincing people of the reality of the alien, but what other explanation could there be for the big squid?  And Manhattan isn’t in the punishment… Read more »
    Chris H.
    Guest
    Chris H.

    I think the whole second half was rushed, but the ending in particular: there was no time to build up to the denouement, or to show how the world really reacts to the new situation.  It just whizzed by too fast.

    Aarcraft
    Guest
    Aarcraft

    Joao:

    The Shrek version was Wainright, at least on the soundtrack. I checked Allmusic to verify.

    Eddo
    Guest
    Eddo

    Aarcraft:
    The version used within the film Shrek definitely sounds different than the Wainwright version on the soundtrack.  It still may be Wainwright, but it would be a separate version then.

    Daniel
    Guest
    Daniel
    I’m going to see the movie Thursday night.  I have NOT read the book yet, mainly because I’m a book-to-movie snob.  Normally, I read the book first and then am disapointed to varying degrees by the movie.  The one big exception is Lord of the Rings (my favorite book of all time).  While I still enjoyed the books WAY more than the movie, I would definitely say that I would have enjoyed the movies far less had I not read the books.  Maybe this is one of those cases.  If I go to the library tonight, any way I can… Read more »
    Craig Calcaterra
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    Craig Calcaterra

    Daniel—yeah, you can do it.  No sweat.

    Christopher
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    Christopher

    So, what are your top five movies of all time, then?

    Ian C
    Guest
    Ian C

    My only problem with ‘Watchmen’ was that I wanted more.  I left the theater wanting to watch the director’s cut right away (but went home to read the book). 

    I totally agree about the ending.  It’s actually better than the book’s because it makes much more sense. 

    I always thought Brad Pitt would’ve been a good choice for Ozymandias, but casting a big star in that role may have compromised the story.

    TLA
    Guest
    TLA

    I couldn’t agree more on your Watchmen points.  Ralph Fiennes would have been perfect.  Fortunately, dialogue involving Malin Ackerman did not drive the story line.  She played “hot” very well though.  I couldn’t help but think that Mr. Skin would like her character.

    john
    Guest
    john

    I loved the adjusted solution instead of the squid, but I thought that everything that happened after that was ridiculous. The last conversation between Dreiberg and Spectre really angered me. They’re still crimefighting? WTF? Also, Veidt should have saved the world; instead, they protrayed him as trying to conquer it ala Alexander the Great. It robbed the movie of it’s interesting finale.

    Mild spoilerish, but whatever.

    Chris H.
    Guest
    Chris H.
    I did think the ending worked just fine.  I’m not certain I think it’s better just yet, but it definitely worked. I agree with Ian C—I wanted to see the director’s cut right away.  I think the movie had some pacing issues in the second half, and felt a bit rushed. I’m not convinced that people who haven’t read the book will like it.  My son (eighteen years old) hadn’t read the book, and he had real problems keeping track of everyone.  I think there are a lot of nods to those of us who’ve read the book that don’t… Read more »
    Chris H.
    Guest
    Chris H.

    Oh, and for the record I loved actually getting to hear Rorschach say the “trapped” line, rather than having it happen off-screen (as it were).

    In fact, overall I thought Rorschach was brilliant.  Jackie Earle Haley was inspired casting.  He actually felt more like Rorschach than the comic character did (if that makes any sense).

    Hurm.

    Chris Kash
    Guest
    Chris Kash
    I never would have discovered Watchmen if it hadn’t been for the original Shysterball posting Craig did back when the first trailer came out. I had to find out what all these people were talking about. I devoured the book over a Thanksgiving trip to visit my family. Since that time I’ve been a huge fan and eagerly awaited the movie. I saw it Friday night and loved it. I agree with Chris H.‘s comment and with Shyster’s warning about watching the movie cold. There were quite a few people sittign around me in my sold-out showing who openly complained… Read more »
    Craig Calcaterra
    Guest
    Craig Calcaterra
    From here on out, if you read a comment in this thread, be prepared for Watchmen spoilers. If you don’t want spoilers, go somwhere else. My top five can be a bit fluid depending on mood and stuff, but these have all appeared in it at one time or another, and in no particular order: Citizen Kane Godfather The Conversation Miller’s Crossing It’s a Wonderful Life/Casablanca, depending on what time of year it is. Like I said, though, there are probably 5-10 more that are within the margin of error for top five inclusion. As for Watchmen: The point about… Read more »
    Marcel
    Guest
    Marcel

    Were there a bunch of parents with children in the theatre when you went?  There were at least a dozen kids that couldn’t have been any older than 10 or so at the showing I went to.  It’s a good thing they put ratings on movies for a reason…

    Chris H.
    Guest
    Chris H.

    Marcel: well, part of the problem is that the movie ratings system is ridiculous.  Zack Snyder mentioned in an interview that as soon as the suits saw “Lesbian Whores” written on the wall in the beginning, they knew that Watchmen would get an R.

    Had it just said “Whores,” it would’ve been PG-13.

    You are now all assigned the task of watching “This Film is Not Yet Rated” to see just how truly fracked up the ratings system is.

    Having said that…definitely not a movie for young kids.

    wpDiscuz