Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fixation


  • So, I was watching the Watchmen movie 2 weeks ago, (I took the day off, I know, nerd-boy) and I was wondering what it was that was bothering me about it. I had read the comics during their original run, in fact, I cite Alan Moore's Watchmen, along with Frank Miller's Dark Knight, and Miller's underrated Elektra Assassin as the comics that brought me back to the fold after my "too cool for comics" faze. I eagerly anticipated the adaption of the nigh "unfilmable" text, trying my gosh darnedest not to get my hopes too high while still remaining confident about director Zack Snyder's abilities. After all, did he not, already, film the nigh unfilmable 300 movie? From the inspired opening credit sequence, I found my confidence was not entirely misplaced. However, as the movie continued, despite the slick action, sometimes brilliant casting, startling visuals, and slavish adherence to the source material, I started to become, um... dissatisfied a bit? I'll refrain from illustrating my thoughts on Snyder's altered ending, along with my other artistic and technical quibbles, to maintain focus on point. That being that something permeating the film bugged me.

    A friend of mine called into question the directors, um, sexual proclivities? An unfair, if not unarguable, observation (accusation?) that I am disinclined to entertain here. I had to disagree, and as I marshaled my mental bullet points in anticipation of defending my viewpoint it hit me. Zack Snyder is a fetishist. After googling the actual definition of the word, I find "fixation" more appropriate, but I'll continue to use "fetish" as it is more encompassing. What I'm getting at is that Snyder fetishizes aspects of his movies, the violence, the fight scenes, the costumes, the shots taken directly off the comic page, the porno-ish sex, the slo-mos and zoom-ins, all to serve his fixation on the material. He focuses, with near unhealthy preoccupation, on the cosmetic and salacious portions of his films. The fights scenes are tightly choreographed exhibitions of sensationalized violence punctuated by lingering shots of broken tibias and smashed faces. The sex is glamorous and athletic, the scenes are rich in hue and grime and fire and light and all the other sparkly things he can cram in. This is not to say that he's unable to pull out a standout performance from some of his actors, or that Carla Gugino isn't luscious kitted out in her attire. Nor am I saying the obsessive directing style is, particularly, a bad thing. But maybe it's a bad thing in this instance, or at least an inappropriate one. I think Snyder's take saps a great deal of the weight and power from Alan Moore's brilliant prose, and he's unable to translate Dave Gibbon's skillful use of panel and pacing into a complementary cinematic form.

    I read some of the reviews of the film, the ones that didn't arbitrarily laud or dismiss the film had alot of interesting observations, many of which I have varying degrees of agreement with. I went to Snyder's panel at the comic con last year and, in reference to Alan Moore's legendary disdain of having his comics filmed, he said something to the effect of, I hope that on some dark, stormy night, if Alan somehow comes into a copy of the film and watches it, that he doesn't completely hate it. In that respect I think he failed, however, he did make an ambitious, entertaining film which in the end, I have to say, was pretty decent.

    It's late, I'm battling illness, so that's all you get... oh wait, the pic is a sketch of some random image from the fffound blog, I been strapped for drawing time lately, a bit sucky really, the being strapped for time not the drawing, I'm not that self deprecating... Geesh.

3 comments:

naas said...

A fetishist huh? I'm not sure what to take from all that when watching the watchmen, because I haven't seen it yet - but I'll keep your opinion in mind when I rent it.

I always find that better these days, renting the dvd instead of seeing it on the big screen... Is that bad? I know it should be the other way around, but we have a 53" HD screen with surround sound that I can pause, rewind, refill, repack(thebowl) and whatever. It makes the viewing experience all that much better. Plus I don't like move theaters, maybe that's why.

Great drawing as always Dust, that is one thing you're very good at besides long rants.

Dust said...

Thanx naas. I've always liked the theater "experience", especially with event movies like Watchmen. Tho I admit the experience gets more and more diminished as people get ruder in theaters. It may not be far off when first run movies will be available to download to your home entertainment center. Now if we could just see some steps towards meals in pill form and flying cars...

naas said...

hehehe, indeed Dust