Saturday, March 07, 2009

Blue Man Nuke

Last night I made the mistake of rounding up the usual suspects and going to see the movie, "Watchmen." Bottom line: there is no reason for any Republican to watch this movie, and I suppose, there's no reason for any Democrat to watch this movie, either: just save your money for the next Michael Moore movie.

I suppose "Watchmen" tries to overcome some of the stereotypes and tropes of the comic book. The characters are "deeper" than comic book action heroes. Deeper characterization in the sense of having internal contradictions. Yeah right. If you look for a message in this film it may be that the immanent is corrupt and the transcendent is indifferent.

There's the latex-clad eye-candy. Her story arc goes from unhappy childhood, to stealing the blue man nuke from his first love, to dumping this god for the dork, dithering a bit between them, then settling on the dork. I figure dorkman, who inherited his fortune the old fashioned way, inheritance, was a better meal ticket than the naked blue god.

Justice is for cranks. The crank justice of the all-in-one judge, jury and executioner. Rorschach is the narrator of the film and his character has a nicely noir flair about him. He's the one who investigates the crime that serves as the inciting incident. His flawed sense of justice and morality serves as an interesting counter-point to the machinations of the oh, too, predictable villain of the piece. His reward for solving the crime is fitting of the writer's nihilism.

Then there's Dorkman. He's the guy the comic-book reader identifies with. He stumbles through this film. He's told he needs to grow up. I saw no evidence that he ever did or that don't think he even wakes up from his somnolent stumble through this narrative.

EVERY a movie that depicts the smartest man in the world is set in the same universe as Idiocracy. Let's see, smartest man in the world, accumulates the greatest fortune in the world, how does he use it? 1) surround himself with ancient Egyptian kitsch, 2) fly blimps with his name plastered on the side over Manhattan, 3) leave evidence of his crimes on a computer, 4) password-protect his secrets with a password taped to the underside of the computer keyboard, 5) reveals his plan in comic-book villain fashion then says he's not a comic-book villain.

Meanwhile a number of minor characters populate the film like the little birds and stuff in the margins of Mad Magazine: Richard Nixon, Ted Koppel, Pat Buchanan, etc. It would help if the actors they'd chosen had been made up to at least vaguely resemble these public figures. Politics casts an omnipresent, baleful stench upon this film. The ultimate political solution advanced by the film is paternalistic, which makes sense given the stupidity of everyone inhabiting this world.

Let us now turn our attention to the Blue Make Nuke. If you've seen the movie trailers, you've seen all the memorable scenes of the movie. He is endowed by a nuclear accident with godlike powers. And being a god means you can be indifferent about covering up your junk. In fact, that's one of the central themes of the book: to be transcendent is to be indifferent.

In the world of Watchmen, if there is a God, s/he/it is indifferent to the human condition. The god of Watchmen is a cerulean cgi construct. One does not love this god with all of one's heart, because he's likely to be checking email during coitus. And what, precisely, does this character do with his godhood?

C.S. Lewis wrote an essay, "Men Without Chests," and the only chest worthy of note in this film belonged to the eye-candy in latex. But in the essay, "chests" was used in a metaphorical sense of ordinate affections: loving the good and hating the evil. There is evil in this film, but only a crank would confront it and oppose it. And only a sleep-walking child would endorse the sentiment.

I walked out of the film and said, "That's two and a half hours of my life I won't get back."

1 comment:

JBW said...

Nihilism rules dude, but my god is fuschia.