WHY does Rorschach have to die? Why does the movie end with a depressing note and a funny tone? Why show an 80s story in the year two thousand and nine? Why the interest on this film adaptation of another DC comic book about heroes and end of the world and the great American dream?
1. I just reported on sci-fi, cyberpunk, and mainstream postmodern fiction.
2. Dear friends, Connet and Ryan, who own boxes of sci-fi and cyberpunk novels, entrusted me a copy of Watchmen (for my report).
3. I need a break break break from my academic load load load because the end is near near near and Watchmen, the first grafiction I’ve read, happens to be under “Now Showing” at SM MOA one Saturday.
Of course I’ve seen people snicker when they saw the trailer or the posters which remind them of X-Men or Justice League. But I know it’s going to be different, and I here propose ways of reading it:
Alan Moore, creator of V for Vendetta and other politically charged comic book stories, has utopian fantasies, apathetic activism, and incredulity towards human nature’s innate goodness, all personified in his characters.
His story about the Watchmen is plausible given our technology and morality right now, but is surreal because it is happening right now. Turns out that the world (or America) is living a comic book life.
Was the story changed after it has been canned? Looks like the movie staff is a huge fan, so nothing was distorted, but cuts were inevitably made because of the overflowing intertextual devices (excerpts, inserts, box stories, multi-layered voice over, parallax or multiple perspectives) in the novel.
So for those who couldn’t dig the story, be thankful, this one has been simplified.
Right, the main characters are supposed to be glamorized New York based crime busters whose careers suddenly went black out (Yes, like The Incredibles).
But this storyline is no match to the so many other stories it tells, so instead of following the plot of what happened to the Minutemen and watchmen, it would be less frustrating to follow the individual stories of Rorschach (I won’t call him Walter or Kovacs, so that I may live longer), of Silk Spectre, or, Lorie Juspeczyk or Lorie Jupiter (the staple sexy, catty figure of action films), of NiteOwl, of Dr. Manhattan, of the Comedian (played by Jeffrey Morgan of Grey’s Anatomy and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which both typecast him as an aged weirdo) and of Ozymandias who talks like he’s always on cam.
It is not for kids.
It is not for Xmen The Movie fans.
It is not for Marvel comic book fans.
It is not for modernists.
It is not for anti-America fundamentalists.
It is not for Robert Fulghum.
It’s very postmodern, and how I am very much reminded of Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation!
Watchmen has a feel-good opening, probably because of its musical score and pastiche of scenes in nostalgic sepia. That’s postmodern: when one is hinged on something in the past, without any genuine care for or understanding or knowledge about the golden past which has been glossed over, making people actually forget the historical forces that forge them.
Now that’s when the movie make a statement.
Allusions to the wars with Vietnam and Soviet union among other infamous reputations of the US of A through TV screens and newspaper headlines make the historical background so vague, shallow, trivial, ephemeral, insincere, fake, Disneyland-ish, fantastic in other words, and detached so to speak. Perhaps the country looks at the damages it has done this way?
Like what Baudrillard tackles in Simulacra and Simulation (recently reported in my Socio class) there is no real world. Not even a real history. All these images, news reports, and different sorts of “mediatization” are a symptom of our fetish to simulacra and simulation, illusions and meaninglessness. It’s all about desire, of the eye, I would like to think.
And so, no real social change should be expected if the great depressions and wars of the past are nothing but a normal “happening” in world history. (If you are an anti-imperialist activist, this movie is not for you)
It was my movie buddy who told me that Rorschach is the psychologist who devised the ink blot test to sort of diagnose people who are “convicted” of a personality disorder.
We would diagnose each character as a symbolism of what happened to the great American dream after all the wars that this superpower country waged.
We would also diagnose the entire film as schizophrenic.
But pause we would: isn’t the entire film a parody of psychology? (who believes in psychology anyway?)
Enjoy. It’s just a movie. Come on.