Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Watchmen/TDK, therapy, and etc.

In the same cafe as ever, drinking coffee and mulling over things I said and things said to me in therapy today. It is proving to be a positive experience though each time I have felt very awkward being in there. The shrink thinks I need brain medicine, I think I need to do the things I've been putting off forever, and possibly both of us think we're both right.

I have been singing in public a lot lately though I've been pretty restrained about the whole thing. Then again, it is a bit difficult to sing while riding an exercise bike or running on a treadmill, but I have been singing to myself in the coffee shop and on the toilet and while smoking cigarettes at 2 in the morning. I like singing. It feels fun to do.

I have taken a bunch of pictures but haven't uploaded them yet, perhaps I will do that later this evening. Then I will have a photoblog that is all like "this is where I am at, this is what it looks like, ask me questions and stuff." It is frustrating writing a bunch of stuff and never getting any commentary back on it. I don't know if people just don't like it or don't care or my writing isn't interesting or whatever.

I just wrote a big long retort on a forum regarding Watchmen's fight scenes versus The Dark Knight's. The opening salvo, and the comment I still have the biggest gripe with, was "The Dark Knight was much superior, but I realize now how weak the fight scenes were." This, in conjunction with a picture from the prison fight sequence from Watchmen. Further comments by others are as follows:

"TDK was a great crime movie, Watchmen was a great comicbook movie, a better comicbook movie then TDK."

"yah the fight scenes in TDK (and even worse in Batman Begins) sucked. Nolan can't film a fight scene to save his life. While close angles do help give a claustrophobic feel thus not totally ruining them given the context of the film it's also the biggest fight scene cop out known to man."

"as far as what shaky description they're given and general concensus, it's assumed that pretty much all the mortal watchmen are at "peak physcial human ability" as per comic standards catch all, which means they're as strong as weight liters, agile as gymnast and are disciplined in some sort of martial art. Roarschach was described as being a gymnast and pugilist in the book, i believe dan was said to have "some training", we see Laurie train in her youth, Comedian obviously some levels of military training at least later on and Ozy is the worlds smartest man so I guess that extends to his fighting abilities."

"ah ok, i couldn't really decipher from the movie whether they were just well trained or if when they were sanctioned the government had given them "upgrades" in some sort of medical or bionic fashion or something like that. b/c they were clearly far above the average human, and seemingly above what you would think is capable for any human with someof the speed stuff that Ozy has and some of their strength."

"I could have done without all the damned slow-mo, but otherwise the fighting in Watchmen was light-years beyond the Nolan Batman movies (even if the Batman flicks are better overall)."

What the fuck.

My long and overwrought retort:


I do think that the fight sequences in Batman Begins were shot poorly for many of the reasons listed above about TDK. They're choppy, poorly edited, incomprehensible mess, generally speaking. However, I think a lot of the stuff during his training period montage was well shot (for the most part), especially the swordfight. Swords are heavy and require precision and control. They aren't lightsabers and most swordfighters don't have the classical sort of fencing battles--fighting with a katana is about patience, measured and precise attacks, and quickly ending the fight. That swordfight was very representative of what swordfighting is.

As TDK goes, I think the pacing and shot techniques are a huge step up from Batman Begins and are indicative of Batman's progress as a fighter. They're shorter and blunter. Batman isn't about big, drawn-out, flowery fight sequences. He's about incapacitating an enemy as quickly and efficiently as possible, and the fight sequences fit that bill.

Does Snyder do a good job at these big choreographed fight sequences, these long tracking shot takes of fluid action? Absolutely, slo-mo notwithstanding. Does his style fit into the Watchmen universe at all, given the context of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre? Absolutely not. Does it fit Ozymandius? Totally. He's the slick, trained, refined martial artist. He moves with grace and fluidity--you even get this feeling in the GN when he handles Rorschach and Nite Owl with ease toward the end.

However, NO and SS are two regular old people, out of shape, out of combat for years, and though they're accomplished fighters, the sort of hokey choreography and cinematography used in the prison break fight sequence are completely wrong for the characters and distracts from the whole purpose of the GN and film: that superheroes are irrelevant and merely human. Making them seem like they're superstrong is counterintuitive, and shooting it like they're Spartans, people whose entire lives revolve around combat, detracts from the entire message. All the while, it looks hokey, amateurish, and uninteresting to boot.

The way TDK is shot is intentional--it conveys the quick, brutal efficiency of a man who has developed into a living weapon, though he still has kinks to work out. Given that Nite Owl is a deconstruction of Batman, that Dan feels impotent and useless unless he's in costume fighting crime, and that he's been out of the game for a while, I don't think he should just jump into the costume and be a big-time awesome fighter all over again. He should be sloppy, overzealous, prone to mistakes, and the fight sequences should present that. That is why Vedit easily beats his ass--Veidt has remained vigilant in maintaining his abilities and is still one of the greatest fighters in the world. That is why he beats the hell out of the Comedian, who is still a strong, well-trained, capable pugilist.

Rorschach is none of these things--he's an improviser, a boxer, not someone who can just walk into any fight and hold his own (like Veidt or the Comedian). My biggest gripe with the fight sequences in Watchmen is that they're completely unrepresentative of the characters, they're a bit of hokey "look at what I can do" by Snyder and not necessarily in the spirit of the GN, especially in the case of the prison scene.

On the other hand, TDK is shot in the spirit of Batman--quick, hectic, brutal, efficient, and bare-bones. Batman's fights feel like a Batman movie should, and demonstrate an evolution in the character and his abilities.Watchmen's fights feel like a detraction from the source material, like a devolution from how Watchmen should look and feel.

In my estimation."

Am I wrong here?

In any case, it is 16:04 and I am sitting in the cafe having fights on the internet about superhero movies instead of thinking about things need thinking about. I think I will stop that soon. It is cool and crisp in Newport. I think I will walk around a little bit and settle my thoughts.

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