Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I Dunno, the Coast Guard?
Having seen the trailer three times now, I'm getting kind of worried about the movie adaptation of Watchmen. It's not that I'm in the, "There's no way it can be as good as the book," camp, as the original graphic novel is a perennial entrant on my Books to Read list. There's a completely different problem. I'm not entirely sure that the movie will be as good as the trailer. Now, there are any number of times when a movie ends up not being as good as the trailer promised. You know the movies. They have a minute and a half of worthwhile footage and almost all of it makes it to the trailer. Or the trailer contains stuff that fell to the cutting room floor between the ad blitz and the release. It happens pretty regularly. But in this case, the Watchmen trailer is, quite simply, a work of art. Seriously. There's no voiceover, very little of the actual dialog from the movie itself, and the first few seconds are one of those, "What movies is this? Ooohhh," sorts of things. Meanwhile, the whole thing is just flashes of a dark world with seemingly unconnected images beautifully unified by, of all things, the Smashing Pumpkins' "The Beginning is the End is the Beginning." Now, I've spent the last fourteen years fighting the good fight against Billy Corgan. It's mostly one of those things where the fanbase kind of annoys the hell out of me, and I'm more than willing to admit that there were approximately 12 good Pumpkins songs (as opposed to Tool and The Mars Volta, who completely suck and have extremely annoying fanbases). Meanwhile, there's no song that would be more perfect for the Watchmen trailer than "The Beginning is the End is the Beginning." My great love of the Watchmen trailer, however, is tinged with fear, specifically that Zack Snyder can't handle a movie like that. Really, I spent all three viewings of the trailer thinking, "Why didn't they get Robert Rodriguez to do this?" Sin City is one of my all-time favorite movies. It was visually stunning and surprisingly nuanced. I tend to think that Rodriguez had a lot to do with that. 300 was supposed to be the next big cinematic step, but it was disappointing. There was a lot of potential nuance in that movie and it failed miserably to look like anything other than a sepia-toned apologia for the Iraq War. Watchmen is a tough sell for a movie. As I recall, it's been bouncing around for at least a decade and didn't get anywhere until the recent spate of Spider-Man and X-Men movies and Batman Begins showed that comic book movies have money making potential. But part of the problem is that Watchmen requires a much more subtle and nuanced hand that I'm simply not convinced Snyder possesses. After seeing Dark Knight I'm pretty sure Christopher Nolan could pull it off, but he doesn't have the flair necessary to do the necessary atmospherics. Batman's world is simply too real, too gritty. There's nothing super about Batman or the Joker (which is kind of the point, so don't think for a moment that I consider this a bad thing). What we need is Robert Rodriguez. By now you're probably asking what the point of this is. There really isn't one. I just felt the need to get that off my chest.