Review, Watchmen

This past weekend, Yufang, Seth, Kolter, Masaya, Brandon, and I went to see Watchmen at the Independence Regal South of Akron.  Having read the original comic, I enjoyed seeing a live action rendition of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ graphic novel on the silver screen.  I believe that Zack Snyder produced the best possible filmic interpretation of the source material short of the original media and barring a big-budget mini-series.  As in other cases (e.g., The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Right Stuff, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and We Will Remember It For You Wholesale, etc.), I enjoy the experience of seeing someone (or a committee of someones) else’s imaginative vision and interpretation of a story (from whatever media–text, music, art, video games, etc.).  I have my own interpretations from my first, second, and subsequent visitations to a story, as do others who also enjoy those cultural artifacts.  I find it enriching for my own imagination to experience, however tangentially it may be, the imagination of another person.  Snyder definitely has a vision or project that he brings to his films–an almost splatter-gore sensibility tempered with an American erotic titillation–that will color or taint (depending on your point of view) any project that he directs.  I knew this going into Watchmen, and I wasn’t disappointed.  If you dare to experience the mind’s eye of a director capable of loyalty to his source while asserting his own artistic manifesto, then I suggest you see Watchmen in the theater and don’t forget to read the comic series while you’re at it.

I have heard from a number of friends that have taken issue with the film’s dedication to its source, the graphic depiction of violence, the casting, the soundtrack, etc., ad nauseum.  I had almost lost all hope until I saw that Patrick Sharp gave props to the film and Haley’s performance as Rorschach on Facebook.  And today, I ran across Patton Oswalt’s shining emblem of Nerdlore head-smackery in his discussion of Watchmen and film interpretations:

Because Zack Snyder STEPPED UP, motherfuckers. THE WATCHMEN was going to get made, one way or another. And instead of bleating on his Facebook status updates or Tweeting about how shitty the upcoming adaptation’s going to be, he TOOK THE BULLET and tried to do it right. . . . Zack delivered a 2 1/2 hour, honest attempt, and broke his ass cranking out tons of free extras. . . . Plus, he gave you a kick-ass DAWN OF THE DEAD remake, plus 300, plus whatever else he’s got coming down the pike. He’s the best friend the Nerd Mafia’s had since Joss Whedon and Brian Michael Bendis, so everyone please crack the tab on a frosty can of Go Fuck Yourself and go see the movie version of THE WATCHMEN.

You should read the rest of Oswalt’s hilarious and on-target post on his MySpace page here.

In a side note:  I’m currently having my students experience interpretative tension between Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff, and Philip Kaufman’s film of the same name.  In these two works, there seems to be more a conversation taking place between them instead of a directly derivative function of the latter.  My students in both classes today came up with some great ideas for their essays on this subject, and I’m eager to hear what more they have to say about interpretations in class on Friday.

Five Fists of Science

Today has been one of those days that try my back, but despite the pain, it has been a good day. It started early this morning when I got up and fixed some tea and crackers for breakfast (now, I’m out of pb&j). Then, I walked to the Health Centre for my 11:10am appointment. Luckily, it was a painless visit, and the doctor told me that the rash around my eyes is just very dry skin. She sent me to Boots Pharmacy (she pronounced it as “Bootsies”) to get a tub of Aqueous Cream B.P. I’ll put this junk around my eyes for the next four to six weeks to clear it up.

I went straight from there to McDonald’s in the city centre for lunch. I had some delicious chicken nuggets with curry sauce. I’m going to miss curry sauce when I go back to the states.

Next, I walked to Lime Street Station to pick up a cheap student return ticket to Manchester. I almost missed the train to Manchester, because the original train I was going to take got cancelled. An attendant on the platform saw me standing there by myself and he told me that the train on platform six was going to stop by Manchester, so I ran over there and hopped on the train as the doors were literally closing. On the way there, I continued reading Ian McDonald’s River of Gods.

After I arrived in Manchester, I headed to Travelling Man comics to pick up a graphic novel that I ordered before Christmas, The Five Fists of Science. While I was there, I also got a few issues of an interesting comic called Mouse Guard. Next, I went to Forbidden Planet to look around. I guess I was in a spending mood, because I picked up some Sandman comics. What followed was a very long walk. I went in search of Blyth’s Art Shop. According to my map of Manchester, it was in the heart of the “gay” district. I walked along the canal and around all of the blocks, but I couldn’t find that damn art shop. Then, I walked down an alley that had some signs jutting out, and under one of them was a smaller sign that said that the art shop was accessible from the other side of the building. I looked around and it was inside a building with an electronic access system and a tiny placard showing the art shop was indeed inside. I called up, and they let me in. After looking around for a bit in their cramped quarters, I found a nice easel and acrylic paint set that was marked down 20%. I purchased that, and then I walked back to the Manchester Piccadilly train station.

Again, a cancelled train screwed me over. When I entered the station, the board said that a train was leaving in four minutes from platform 14. I rushed there, and hopped on the train sitting there. After it pulled out from the station, the driver announced that it was headed for Wales. Luckily, it stopped at the Oxford Road station, so I hopped out. The Liverpool was cancelled, so I waited about twenty minutes for the next Liverpool Lime Street Station train to come along. I got on board, pulled out my book, and read until I made it back to Liverpool.

The hard winds of Liverpool greeted me with hard hands and shoves as I exited Lime Street station. Since I was across the street from Worlds Apart, I decided to go in there for a bit. Unfortunately, that was the third comic shop that I purchased something at today. I “weighed” each of the Please Twins surprise figurine boxes until I was satisfied that I had picked the one with the figurine I wanted. I also got a set of manga art prints that I had been wanting for awhile.

After walking back into the street and noticing how my back felt, I decided I better get home. I decided to cut through the central train station to Bold Street so that I could get a skinny latte to join me on the trek up the hill to my flat.

On the way back, I saw the usual suspects–the Arab guys in Hot’n’Tender Chicken (serving up doners), the homeless guy in front of the news stand (I didn’t have to say “sorry,” because he was talking to some guy), Quick Chef (just reopened), and Dennis at the porter’s lodge (no new mail–I have another book on the way from Ed at SFRA Review).

Back in my room, I applied the aqueous cream to my face, sent some emails, looked through my loot (I did pick the right Please Twins figure), and watched another episode of Star Trek (“Amok Time.” If they used titles like Friends, it would have been called, “The one with Spock’s cheatin’ wife”).

I’m going to cool it awhile and do some more reading. I’ll catch you on the flip side, which reminds me of eXistenZ (I watched it last night). God bless David Cronenberg!