Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Watchment Worldview

I'm sure you've heard the hubbub. Well, I'm assuming there's hubbub. I know there's a hubbub among fans.

The Watchmen.
Yes, I went to see it.

I had not read the books, but I'm always game to go see a good action hero movie. I love good characterizations. I enjoy a good plot.

I got 1 out of 3.

The opening credits are fascinating 3-d pictures that show the history of "The Watchmen". The Watchmen is a group of masked avengers. They are supposedly ordinary people who dress up in masks to protect their city. The first group started after WWII. Time passes as we watch the pictures. Cold War. Richard Nixon is elected President for his 3rd, 4th and 5th (??) term!

Right there -we're clued into that this is not history as we know it.

Our Story takes place in 1985.
The second group of Watchmen have disbanded.
They had taken on the costumes and identities of their predecessors and now, we see through picture flashbacks, that the city they had protected hates them.
They've gone undercover, except for a few who had come out from behind their masks, or given up altogether.

The first thing that introduces us to the world of the watchmen is the death of one of their own. "The Comedian" is brutally murdered in his apartment. Well, actually, he's thrown out of his apartment. He doesn't die until he hits the ground a bazillion stories down.

It is through the death of the Comedian that we meet the rest of the motley crew that were the second generation Watchmen.

We meet Rorschach first. He's the narrator for most of the movie. He really is the best character and the one given the most depth.
His mask is a constant moving ink blot.
He has a very bleak out look on life. We see why, through a series of flashbacks that show us what he'd seen and gone through from childhood to young super-hero-dom.

He is convinced that someone is out to kill the Watchmen. He seeks out Nite Owl II, otherwise known as Dan. Dan is, well, he's a nerd. He truly is convincing in his mild, mannered alter-ego. It's hard to see him as a any kind of super hero. He is fearful and looks more like an insurance salesman.

Then we meet "Dr. Manhattan" who -- well, he's pretty much naked through the whole movie -- and he's blue. From head to foot. He was a scientist who suffered a terrible accident and pretty much, dematerialized. Only somehow, managed to rematerialize. He now has, to quote the Genie from Aladdin, "Giant Cosmic Powers". He can grow, he can shrink, he can teleport, he doesn't need air, he can kill others by - well - pretty much exploding them -- he's lost touch with his humanity. Because he's loosing touch with his humanity, he's loosing any compassion for them.

We're introduced to Dr. Manhattan's girlfriend, Silk Spectre II (daughter of the original Silk Spectre). She is not really well played and you're not really given a reason to feel any connection with her.

Finally we meet Ozymandias. The only other super hero, Dr. Manhattan being the first, that has a super power. He is fast. In this after-hero-life that he has, he has built an empire and we see that he is super smart.

Now for the plot.
There is still a cold war.
There are nukes in the hands of the Russians. Nukes in the hands of Americans.
and complete annihilation is imminent.

The hubbub I have heard pertains to Dr. Manhattan's nakedness. the violence, and a sex scene.
It's very violent. VERY violent.
I heard someone use the phrase, "appalled at what Hollywood calls entertainment".

While Christians should be on the look out to support excellent movies - being "Appalled" isn't exactly the way to change things. Unless you're going to put your words into actions.

What Christians should pay attention to in this movie is the worldview that they present.
It's completely HOPELESS!!! Even the characters have no hope.

During a flashback, we see Night Owl II and The Comedian trying to break up a riot. We learn that there are police strikes going on -- but the people are rioting against the "Masks" and crying out for the vigilantes to be banned. Ironic, really.

The Comedian realizes that they're not going to listen, disperse or become peaceful and he goes into action. With a shot gun. He starts shooting into the crowd. We dont' know if he's using real bullets or not, to be honest. There's oddly an absence of blood in this scene. The crowd immediately runs and few stay to fight, and the Comedian welcomes the challenge. He shoots. and shoots.

Nite Owl II catches up to him -- and after a brief dialogue asks, "Whatever happened to the American dream?"
The comedian looks around and chuckles - "This is it." and he starts shooting again and walks off. Leaving Nite Owl II and the viewer totally disillusioned.

I don't want to compare Batman to anything - but Batman is a dark setting. The Watchmen triples the dark level. In Batman, there is an over all element of good. There is the over all element of Good conquering evil.

Not so in the Watchmen.
At the end, nuclear war is averted by Ozymandias, using Dr. Manhattan's power (The good blue doctor is on Mars at the time) to kill an entire city of people. All to stop the war. He says that he's going to mourn the dead..but really it was a good plan, because war was stopped.

The skewed morality of this bugs me still today. Because the others, except Rorshach, see that they are helpless to counter this logic. Because he's right. Rorshach takes a stand, "No compromise even in the midst of armageddon" and Dr. Manhattan kills him.

What Christians need to see in this movie - is not the nudity or violence -- but the HOPELESSness of the worldview. That evil dominates every aspect of Every part of life. There are no good people anywhere. And that if there is a God, He doesn't care or quit caring.

Instead of being Appalled -- we should be concerned.

Because we have the Hope of the World in our lives!
We have a hope that can not be stopped!!
A hope that is not dependent on the government.
A hope that is not dependent on the opinions of others.
Our Hope conquered DEATH!!!
We have a Hope that can overcome those cruel things in our past (unlike what happened in the movie).

It is a movie that I will not see again.
I'm not regretful that I saw it.

I'm very glad that My God is very interested in what is going on in my life..
and that He Gives me Hope. That is really the only counter we can make to this movie.


Poopsie said...

Hope is so important in life, Comfy. Thank you so much so sharing from your heart.
Cindy P :)

Mother Mayhem said...

I suppose this may be what those without hope envision our world to be like? Sad really.

Hope is spelled J-E-S-U-S. Glad I know. :o)

Kelli said...

Thank you so much for your review. Being a super-hero fan, I was wondering if this was a movie I would enjoy. I think it's preet safe to assume that if you didn't like it, neither will I. :)

Dapoppins said...

great, great review. is this really what the world sees for our future?

Is it all Busch's fault?

Paula Vince said...

Great to read this. We've read your movie reviews before deciding whether or not to go and see something. We get them a month or after they've been out in the USA.
Hopelessness really is a sombre matter.

jugglingpaynes said...

I am so glad you saw it and reviewed it so that I don't need to see it. I wish there were more campy superhero movies to see. I miss Adam West's Batman. We need more boy scouts, don't you think?

Peace and Laughter!