Sunday, April 5, 2009

Significance of Comedian shooting the pregnant girl In Watchmen

Watchmen Comedian Pregnant Vietnamese Woman ShotThe Comedian shooting the Vietnamese girl who was pregnant with his own child scene in the Watchmen movie recently attracted quite a bit of controversy. Most movie goers who were unfamiliar with the graphic novel found it repulsive and pointless and many of the readers have asked me why that scene even exists? How does it help drive the plot? Does it help us understand Comedian? Is it about Dr. Manhattan? Is it used as a proxy to understand human behavior? Well, I think it tells us a lot of things but more often than not it's been confused for something trivial by both movie-goers and readers alike.

Many people think that it helps us understand Comedian better but I must point out that it follows quite a bit of other dickery that Comedian had been up to so the readers/viewers know what Comedian is all about. Even the attempted rape scene is more or less enough to sufficiently elaborate Comedian's character and that way, the inclusion of this becomes pointless. It doesn't help drive the plot either as it is effectively one isolated incident with no short/long term effect on the main theme.

Similarly, it's not about Dr. Manhattan as well as some might imagine. Both movie and book do a good job of portraying Dr. Manhattan as a detached and distant being. It might help show the emotional/psychological "transition" that Osterman went through to eventually become that way because he indeed asks Comedian to not do it but doesn't actually stop him. But then again, in the grand scheme of thing the significance is lost as it doesn't tell us something we don't already know.

So what is it about then? Why was it included both in the Watchmen movie (a bigger risk to show something so repulsive) and graphic novel? How does it help the plot? The answer to all these questions lies in Comedian's last words as he walks out - "God help us all". If we take into account the fact that Dr. Manhattan has a godlike stature in the Watchmen universe (Vietcong surrendering to him, "God exists and he is American" etc) and Comedian's remark acts as a cruel satirical take on the nature of God himself. Comedian's words - "You could have turned the gun into steam, the bullets into mercury, the bottle into goddamn snowflakes..." - even apply to God Himself - God could have turned the gun into steam, the bullets into mercury, the bottle into goddamn snowflakes... - but he didn't! Isn't he all powerful, all seeing, everywhere? So using Dr. Manhattan as a proxy for God and Comedian as a proxy for humanity, Moore raised a very interesting and almost cruel question - Is God really the benevolent being that we make Him out to be? Does He even care?

5 comments:

  1. That brings everything together, this is the scene that really made me hate the comedian in the book, but this backs me see the comedian in a new light.

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  2. Exactly! I've learned that Watchmen is not to be read like a normal story. It's more of a collection of ideas and comments (on/about society, human nature, philosophy etc) portrayed via comic strips all strung together in the overall storyline. Works on many levels and really is a piece of artwork!

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  3. Is it not possible that the women herself is significant? Notice that she is crying, whereas the Comedian thinks it is all a joke.

    She's trying to get Blake to own up to his responsibilities, but he refuses to. He just wants out. It's also interesting to contrast the baby not born here to the baby born thru blake and jupiter. (And of course, that Baby is what makes Manhattan decide to intervene on Mars to save humanity, unlike here where he does not lift a finger-- though in the process, the child, now grown up, ends up in tears.) Tears may be the only appropriate reaction, not laughter. The comedian laughter is that nothing really matters, it's all a big (bad) joke. Essentially, there is no *hope* for us. There's nothing to stop the coming nuke war (so what does it matter what we do?) Of course, Adrian's way suggests he is wrong about this: there is a way. There is hope! But if this ridiculous way is the only possible hope, the only appropriate response is to cry.

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  4. Oh. Come on... Wish you knew Russian, wanted to show one very interesting article about the so-call "dominating and leading senses", where three characters were analysed, includin dr. Manhattan.
    Well, my point is, that Manhattan has become a god without becoming a human. And all his weaknesses stayed with him. Can not agree with the last words. I still feel the Comedian to be a little cleverer. And more cruel. Whatever, Moore's a...specific person, but I personally doubt this kind interpretation.

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  5. Actually no matter if someone doesn't know after that its up to other viewers that they will help, so here it takes place.

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