Friday, March 13, 2009
I hung around in town last night to watch Watchmen, which was playing at the local cinema because they probably thought it was a regular type of superhero movie and not a 3 hour steampunked dark vision dripping with irony and all sorts of other smart stuff no one will probably get because they will be too busy being scandalized by Dr. Manhattan's junk.
I had a few hours to kill between my therapy appointment and the movie, so I went to Walmart to get a book and some carrot juice. Then parked behind the theater to read and listen to All Things Considered while I waited for the 7 o'clock showing.
It's funny, because I had been talking with my therapist about how no one looks like what I thought we'd all look like as we aged. I had written a story after looking at pictures of Robert Smith and Morrissey, both of whom are cemented firmly in my brain forever 25 or so--and it was shocking to see current photos of Smith not pulling off the eyeliner and hair (and bless his heart still trying to at 49) and Morrissey looking like a stodgy publican despite his lifelong veganinity. I mean, I always figured I was headed to Hell in a handbasket due to the lupus, poor healthcare, hard living and poor diet. But those beautiful boys and girls from the pages of Spin Magazine wrapped in their moodiness, I sort of would like them enshrined--wrapped in acid free tissue in their original box. None of us have aged like we thought we would, though I'm quite certain we feel the same in our heads.
There's no line in the theater since it's a week night and the show the movie only once during weekdays. The teen-something at the counter's eyes pop when I ask for one ticket to Watchmen. "Ouuu..." she says, "you know it's rated 'R'? It's got lots of blood, gore, nudity and sex."
Actually what I said--and it sort of came out of my mouth like the ghost of my Aunt Emmy-Jo--was, "That's fine, dear. I'm not from around here."
I loved the film, which is full of balletic violence and Jackson Pollock blood splatter--and, thank you very much--finally--full frontal male nudity, albeit of the CGI variety for much of the film. The sex was okay--Torchwood has hotter sex scenes and that's for late night Brit TV. It's a very grownup film with stunning art direction. I'm talking Blade Runner gorgeous. The source material is masterful and they don't screw that up. If you are a history buff, there's delightful plays in that direction and wonderful period pop culture references. Costume design was uneven, but where it popped it popped big. Like Ozymandias' purple 80's business suit and the 1940's stuff. Wow. Hard to go wrong, but not appropriate for anyone under 17. Really.
But it was disquieting to see the 80's steampunked on film. I mean, I was twenty-something when Watchmen came out--then, it was an alternate reality. This felt like the first time I heard The Talking Heads rendered into Muzak.
I may go back and watch the movie again--it's that beautiful. Not for everyone, but I love artful blood splatter and realistic violence rendered lovingly. And there's really more subtext than can be absorbed in one viewing. And maybe I just want to get another gander at Dr. Manhattan's package.