Monday, March 16, 2009

What Zack Snyder must've been thinking - II

The more I watch Watchmen, more it feels like a normal run-o-the-mill formula film! It might not be noticeable at first as the story whirs past you (confusing those who don't already know it) but for those who know the story and are a bit of movie buff, the pattern is obvious. I don't blame Zack Snyder though because it all worked pretty good in 300 and a sh-tload of other movies out there. But before I go further, let's look at the patterns that make it a formula film -

4) Make it vague and semi-coherent so they come again - Matrix and many other movies successfully used this technique and created the post-release-hype that is instrumental in making a blockbuster. People watched them, understood just enough to try to understand all of what the hell was going on, some talked on internet forums, some discussed by the water-cooloer, some wrote their own blogs explaining it to the world, some just got more of their friends to watch them....more people became curious and watched it only to start the cycle again and it went on and on to the delight of Wachowski brothers. A good inspiration for Snyder, specially for Watchmen that is supposed to be THE story the mother of all such vague plots that are supposed to result in the *epiphany* after you've understood it clearly (more reason to watch again). But unfortunately, there is only so far you can go with confusing pace, confusing dialogues, confusing flashbacks, confusing sub-plots, confusing villain, confusing hero(es), confusing beginning, confusing ending, confusing middle....whew!

For most people it was just too confusing. Other successful movies actually worked on two distinct levels - one, give the viewers a simple enough story and two, throw in bits and pieces that require some thinking. So one can enjoy Matrix without the "epiphany" part of it. In other words, a casual viewer can simply see that Andreson is the bad guy, Neo is the "One" and the story is about what Neo will do in the end. The hype exists in "how" Neo will win against such insurmountable odds (through Kungfu and telekinessis ofcourse). The "epiphany" exists in the alternate explanations and philosophical implications of this world and the movie satisfies both the viewers. Even a kid goes home awed by the Kungfu and with the resolve to come back again. But Watchmen fails the first viewer because there is no clear cut story, there is no hero, no villain and the guy who died seemed to be a criminal and better off dead in the first place (no sympathy). The second group of viewers looking for the "epiphany" are partly disappointed because the movie downplays the whole nuclear war and climax bits. Like I commented in my other article about things that made Watchmen movie suck when compared to Alan Moore's graphic novel, there is not enough sense urgency to actually make Ozymandias' actions justifiable. The climax should result in "Holy Sh-t, WOW" feeling or atleast keep the viewers on their toes expecting something, but as we saw, it turned out to be kind of bland really. And needless to say, there are not likely to be all that fan base debating "the ending" or the "the story" of Watchmen as they did for Matrix. Can't entirely blame Snyder for this but I guess adding the needed coherence and straightforward plot (on the surface atleast like Matrix had) would have made the first group of viewer coming back for more.

5) The viewers will love the big blue swinging Dong - Ok, that is wrong. The big swinging bright blue dong DOESN'T work. Not in any movie unless it's just some sort of superhero porn flick (Dr. Manhattan would have had a good alternate career there though). Now, I understand that the gradual de-clothing of Dr. Manhattan kinda shows his growing detachment with the world cultimanting in the final stage where its just he and his blue friend. But an average casual movie goer wouldn't appreciate it appearing on and on and again and again for no apparent reason. Just read any reviews and you will find them flooded with homosexual jokes related to the whole thing and the reasons why some people found it annoying enough to just walk out of the theatre. I knew the story and all but even I was wondering why do they have to show it like that. Why Mr. Snyder, why? I understand if Silk Spectre has to get naked or why the fight scenes have to be so gory but what purpose does the the big blue swinging thing serve for God's sake?

Part I - What Zack Snyder must've been thinking Part I

What Watchmen movie was missing - What Watchmn Graphic novel had but movie didn't

More about Dr. Manhattan -

To find about Dr. Manhattan's funky transformation, click - Osterman to Manhattan - Dr. Manhattan's funky transformation

To read some of Dr. Manhattan's memorable quotes, click - Dr. Manhattan's memorable quotes from Watchmen

To find some funny details about Dr. Manhattan's personal life, click - Dr. Manhattan's personal life and his girlfriend Silk Spectre

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