Who Watches The WangWatchmen?

V is for Very Funny
A friend invited me out to see Watchmen tonight and, in brief, it was a good way to spend a couple of hours on a Friday night.
The film hews very closely to the graphiccomicnovelbook (as noted on GeekDad) and is hugely indebted to the work put in by its original creators. I firmly believe that the solid foundation of the DC comic built by Moore/Gibbons is a (the?) chief reason the movie works. A weaker script would have doomed this movie.
As GeekDad also notes, it is most assuredly not one for the kids. It’s rated “R” and earns it — crude language and sexual situations abound, as do violence and disturbing scenes. A sex scene set to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is vastly overlong — and am I alone in liking Jeff Buckley’s version of the song better? Also, there is far (far, far, far) more screen time devoted to Doctor Manhattan’s, errrm, Junior Doctor Manhattan than I would have necessarily wanted to see. Ever.
Digitized electric blue Wang-Dang-Crudup-Doodles aside, I would definitely put it beside Zack Snyder’s other recent work, 300 in terms of both its thought-provoking nature and its visual artistry. Well worth seeing, if only to support the notion that loud, visually-stunning movies based on comic books can be complex, compelling and more than just over-muscled dudes in spandex prancing about.
Oh, and before I leave off for the night, two Watchmen-related earwigs to toss at you:
Continue reading “Who Watches The WangWatchmen?”

Taking Chance

Over a year ago, I volunteered to escort the remains of Marines killed in Iraq should the need arise. The military provides a uniformed escort for all casualties to ensure they are delivered safely to the next of kin and are treated with dignity and respect along the way.
Thankfully, I hadn’t been called on to be an escort since Operation Iraqi Freedom began. The first few weeks of April, however, had been a tough month for the Marines. On the Monday after Easter I was reviewing Department of Defense press releases when I saw that a Private First Class Chance Phelps was killed in action outside of Baghdad. The press release listed his hometown—the same town I’m from. I notified our Battalion adjutant and told him that, should the duty to escort PFC Phelps fall to our Battalion, I would take him.

Four years ago, Blackfive posted Marine Lt. Colonel Strobl’s accountof his accompanying the remains of a Marine Lance Corporal, LCpl. Chance Phelps, from Dover AFB to Phelps’ home town. It’s an incredibly moving account of the final honor accorded to our bravest and finest that die in service of our country and I found myself getting choked up at several points in reading Lt. Col. Strobl’s story.
Well, HBO has decided to make a film about Strobl and Phelps entitled Taking Chance. It stars Kevin Bacon as Strobl and is due to air February 21st. Here’s the trailer:

Looks like a must-watch. I get choked up watching the trailer too. God bless our men and women in uniform.

…Full Of Sound And Fury, Signifying Nothing

Imagine, if you will, that you have somehow been able to escape seeing Star Wars in any of its incarnations but have managed to pick up its main tenets via cultural osmosis. What would your summary of the plot look like? Let us hope it is nothing like this:


The Dark Knight Always Triumphs! Have At You!

I got a chance to see The Dark Knight Saturday night with a couple of friends. Here’s my quick take: go see it in the theater, now. While it’s 2:20 long and has enough plot lines for 2-2.5 movies (so much so that it makes it difficult to explain the overarching plot to family members…), the time practically flies by. It is, in many respects, the single best villain-driven comic book-based movie yet produced. (I am undecided as to whether Iron Man is the better overall comic book movie; it certainly was a better hero-driven effort.)
Christian Bale is merely “meh” in his portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman, as the scriptwriters, unaware of just how annoying Bale’s Batman growl is, give the star long soliloquies to deliver in said annoying undertones.
Heath Ledger, however, is transcendent in his portrayal of the Joker. With the exception of Gary Oldman’s Lieutenant Gordon, the underlying actors are visible in all roles (including Michael Caine’s Alfred and Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox), by which I simply mean that I found myself looking at the screen and thinking “Oh, Michael Caine makes an excellent Alfred. Well chosen, lads, but I can still see Caine peeking through.” There is almost no Ledger allowed to peek through, so completely does (did, I guess?) he own the role. The psychoses, the bouts of extreme violence, the depravity and, yes, even the humor inherent in the Joker’s character are all portrayed stunningly by Ledger. I do not think the whispers of a posthumous Oscar nomination for Ledger are completely unfounded.
So run, do not walk, to your local cinema and check out The Dark Knight.

Cracking Good Trailer, Grommit!

UPDATE: Stupid AOL. I’ve replaced their crappy Flash player for jerks with a decent YouTube version of the trailer.
The new Bond flick, Quantum of Solace, while hampered by an unendingly stupid and utterly unpoetic title, appears to have all the requisite features of an excellent theater-going experience:

A car chase, a boat chase and a dogfight [and a horse race and a foot chase and some sort of motorcycle chase as well. -ed.], all conveniently wrapped up in one Bond movie? Count me in.
(And while we’re on the subject of much-anticipated-movies, check out IGN’s review of The Dark Knight which calls it “the first official comic book adaptation that truly succeeds in being a great artistic achievement in its own right.” I cannot wait to see it.)

Don’t Mess With The Open Source Bunny

I don’t know that Pixar needs be worried yet, but those Shrek and Ice Age cats ought to be worried about Big Buck Bunny, the story of a large, gentle-souled rabbit pushed just a wee bit too far. It’s done entirely on Open Source tools (Blender in particular) and, to be quite frank, is an amazing example of what can be done by a dedicated few. It’s also Creative Commons licensed, for those that care.
Check it out:

Very cool. Also note that the HD version of the short is available, which ought to be viewed for the full effect.