March 7th, 2009

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03:29 am - Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? - graffiti.maverick

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[User Picture]From: sui66iy Date: March 8th, 2009 - 03:36 am (Link)


I guess we just disagree. To me, fight scenes like that just don't look like fights. They look like carefully choreographed computer tricks with cheap gore and splatter thrown in. Real people don't move that way, and the falseness of it all pulls me out of the flow of the story.

Now granted, this is a problem with all stylization. People who aren't opera buffs find the fact that real people don't actually sing in the middle of a conversation off-putting, but it doesn't mean opera is a stupid art form. So maybe if I were more of a fight scene connoisseur it wouldn't distract me.

It isn't the brutality that bothers me --- I think we agree that brutality is part of the point. It's the manner in which the directors chose to depict it and how that meshes with the larger structure of the story. I guess I'm with Aristotle: it's often better to keep the violence off-stage. Which was more effective [SPOILER] the scene where Big Figure's henchman's arms are cut off, or the scene where Rorschach does something unspeakable to Big Figure in the men's room? To me, it's the latter by a mile.

Moreover, with the exception of Dr. Manhattan and [SPOILER] Ozymandias' bullet catch, these guys aren't superhuman, or even necessarily all that awesome as fighters. Rorschach main tactical advantage is creativity (the improvised flamethrower; the hot grease). Nite Owl is kind of flabby, and in the comic book is severely winded after the mugging scene. Eddie Blake is in great shape, but also 67 years old. However, once you slow everyone down and put them in bullet-time, you're programming the viewer to *expect* them to be able to catch a bullet, which robs the actual incident of its impact.

Overall, it's a nit. The fight scenes didn't ruin the movie. And I can see how if that's your thing, you might think they were a highlight. But for me, narratively, they were a detriment, and I didn't see any creativity in them particularly.

I guess I am a little surprised that you liked them so much. For the non-connoisseur, what do you think makes them special?
[User Picture]From: brotherless_one Date: March 8th, 2009 - 04:57 am (Link)


they were filmed as panels on a comic page. when "bullet time" was invented, the idea was to bring the idea of decompression found in manga to cinema. the difference being that your imagination doesn't have to fill in the movement from one image to the next. Which I'm sure you're aware of but -- aside from a few throw away scenes in the spiderman franchise...and posibly FF:RotSS -- it really hasn't been used in superhero movies.

the choreography wasn't impressive, but as you say, none of these people -excluding veidt and possibly the comedian- are supposed to be martial arts masters. At the same time, they used self-defense and combatives heavy fighting styles which tend to be more useful in street-fighting/brawling scenerios.

Neither of those Rorschach moments actually worked for me, actually. The former scene was meant to show his improvisational skills and cunning, but came off as almost incidental to his participation in it(even the line change reflected that). The latter should have been incidental but was played for menacing effect..and failed.

Its just a matter of visual reference, is suppose. In most films the slowed effect supposes something superhuman or extraordinary is happening, whereas here (IMO) its just there to let you take in everything at your own pace.

I'll admit that it does come off as slightly camp but that was partly the point.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: March 11th, 2009 - 03:18 pm (Link)


See, I don't think the point should be camp. The reason everyone in watchmen is normal is that the world moore created was supposed to be hyperreal, as opposed to the comedic innocence of the the 50s (which we discover wasn't so innocent or comedic after all). But the slowmo fight scenes didn't let me take anything in at my own pace. They distracted me. They came off more as the modern equivalent of the 60s Batman fight sequence. That's ok in some movies, not in this one.
[User Picture]From: brotherless_one Date: March 13th, 2009 - 10:43 am (Link)


there is a lot of dissonance between the visuals of the fight scenes and the overall atmosphere of the story. IMO, it was intentionally done as a way of saying "these people enjoy the brutality of what they do". The shots at the end of the mugging scene did in seconds what the owl ship sex scene failed to do in what felt like 10 minutes.

in any event, you'll never here me say it was a good movie, but my expections going into it were based on knowing that its impossible to get a story that dense right in under 5 hours.

I agree with you and mike about pretty much everything else (besides cutting more. It's like trying to do "Roots" in 100 minutes...)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: March 11th, 2009 - 03:12 pm (Link)


I'm on the same page as you here. I didn't like the fighting, but it didn't kill it for me. At least not nearly as much as my problems with the editing, writing or the general direction of the film. Basically there are a lot of things about it that "aren't awful" but aren't particularly good either. And when combined they make it mediocre and a throwaway comic book movie. In a vacuum without ever having heard about the comic, I think it becomes rather forgettable. That makes me sad.

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