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Post 0

Saturday, February 28, 2009 - 1:34pmSanction this postReply
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Just finished the motion comic from itunes. It was pretty good, enough to interest me in the movie. I've noticed some editing I don't care for, so I'll have to pick up the original too. Interesting concepts and a better quality of story than you see lately.



Post 1

Sunday, March 8, 2009 - 7:54amSanction this postReply
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This is extracted from my comments in the "Objectivist Saint" topic thread.  Basically, the book was disappointing and I am not going to see the movie.

The sense of life is totally negative.  The "innocent" people who die in New York are all flawed -- Joey beating up her girlfriend... the therapist not intervening in that .. the topknots at the concert... even the kid reading The Black Freighter: the newsstand operator asks him why he keeps reading it and the kid says it's because he doesn't understand it. 

Reading "objectivism" into Rorschach is about as meaningful as the last comic hero that grabbed the attention of Objectivists: The Incredibles. 

I would have tagged Ozymandius/Veidt as the one most aligned with Objectivist Ethics.  Not that he is.  None of them is.  I had no problem with Dr. Manhattan's quantum-mechanical view of the universe.  It is no more difficult than Edwin Abbott's Flatland.  Ultimately, Dr. Manhattan proves himself the most human and humane of the superheroes... but that's not saying much... 

So, all in all, this was disappointing.




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Post 2

Sunday, March 8, 2009 - 3:30pmSanction this postReply
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I liked it. I would align Rorschach the MOST closely with objectivism, but of course not completely. The character is a deeply flawed character, but I do see echos in his belief that a thing is what it is and the rejection of compromise. For a comic and a comic movie it was great. My largest complaint with the film was the subtle infection of the whole left agenda into the story. A significant commentary on green environmentalism was added, and there were some other changes that seemed to be deliberate pandering to certain groups. I absolutely wouldn't have tagged Ozymandias as anything near objectivist, he's subjectivist and pragmatist all the way. There is a dim view of humanity to the story, but quite honestly, humans do all of those things. I found the Silk Specter character to be much improved in the film version, the comic has her dumb as a post.



Post 3

Friday, March 27, 2009 - 3:50pmSanction this postReply
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Well worth the time invested, the show was a profitable afternoon.  On a recommendation, I saw the movie today.  The time went quickly.  The craftsmanship was excellent. 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 3/27, 4:07pm)




Post 4

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - 6:50pmSanction this postReply
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See my post today in the General Forum:  Over Racism....

Just saw Watchmen this past weekend after watching the thoroughly disgusting Liam Neelson "Taken."  Embarrassed for Liam, who is one of my fave actors.  Anyway, it was go home with the taste of "Taken" in my head, or try something else and lose sleep.  Luckily, Watchmen fit the bill.  WOWEE!  If this is the shape of things to come, as regards plot integration, characterization, etc., then we are in for an interesting cinematic future, for sure.  I echo the negative takes on theme, the gratuitous throw-away violence, etc.  Still, what a magnificent artistic effort!  Thinking about starving myself for sleep again tonight or tomorrow, as the only theater still playing Watchmen is only showing it at 9:15PM. 

Oh hell, who needs sleep?  What dreams may come will hardly match the silver screen.




Post 5

Friday, May 22, 2009 - 11:37amSanction this postReply
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Why did you find "Taken" to be disgusting?



Post 6

Friday, May 22, 2009 - 4:37pmSanction this postReply
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I wondered too why you didn't like TAKEN. I thought is was a rather straightforward action flick - something that Neesan hasn't really tackled before - and that it was carried out very well. The pacing was good, Neesan made you believe his character. There were certainly some less than credible scenes of endurance and luck, but not worse than any others of the genre.

The most noticeable thing about his character, once in action, is that he was completely ruthless about his task. He moved in one direction - straight ahead - and showed no mercy to those in his path - a slightly surprising depiction that I think gave more edge to the film.

Obviously, I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed all three in the Bourne series.

jt



Post 7

Friday, May 22, 2009 - 4:42pmSanction this postReply
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I thought "Taken" was pretty good. I enjoyed Neelson's character, although his talents certainly weren't used to the fullest. I found it similar to "Man on Fire", but less inspired. I'm with Jay, pretty straight forward action flick in the budding "Burned out badass who has the only thing he loves messed with" genre.

Of course, "Watchmen" was great. Although, I did prefer the comic, especially since some of the revisions were totally pointless outside of pushing an agenda.




Post 8

Sunday, May 24, 2009 - 2:13pmSanction this postReply
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Why? Two main reasons:

1> You could instantly pick out the bad guys by their skin color, hair-do, etc. This is just one more example of rather blatant racial stereotyping in action cinema.

2> The action scenes were simply not believable. The bad guys could never shoot straight; so even when they had overwhelming firepower, they could never hit our hero. You don't push big trucks around with little sedans. And there was that karate chop to the neck thing, repeated so many times that the audience started laughing at the absurdity. For people whose primary joy in life is watching other people die, I suppose that it could have been fun.

What might have been a decent action/drama, given a competent director, was reduced to a stereotyped fantasy.

Fortunately, I was so disgusted with having wasted my time with "Taken," that I decided to forego sleep and see the late showing of "Watchman."

A slight update. In the pursuit of objectivity, I suppose that one ought to include evidence supporting the "malevolent universe" concept. (Although, on the other hand, if it were valid, what difference would it make?)

Anyway, the last and final showing of Watchmen in the OC was last Thursday night at 9:15PM. So, I trucked myself from Tustin to the theater in Irvine, through heavy traffic, taking 30 minutes+ and found myself in a sizable group of patrons, all eager to see "Watchman" who were informed that the showing had been cancelled because the projector caught on fire.

This HAS to be the work of a malevolent God, right?

No matter, I've determined that "Watchmen" by itself is almost reason enough to finally move to HD.

Breaking NEWS! New research proves that HD causes brain cancer; all HD players to be recalled and burned.

;->

And if it happens? I'll assume that whoever owns this video game at least has a sense of humor.
(Edited by Phil Osborn on 5/24, 2:17pm)




Post 9

Monday, May 25, 2009 - 10:11pmSanction this postReply
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http://www.bigempire.com/filthy/taken.html

If you watch most movies uncritically they seem ok, but frankly most really do stink.  The new Star Trek for example had so many plot holes you could sail a star ship through it.  Rarely is something actually well done any more.




Post 10

Thursday, November 5, 2009 - 6:30pmSanction this postReply
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Blockbuster had a bunch of inventory on close-out, so I bought the movie and watched it again... twice...

Plot, theme, (plot-theme) and characterization were all identifiable and integrated. One of a handful of self-made superheroes who take responsibility for making extra-legal justice discovers a plot against them when one of their number is murdered. He rallies the remaining members to track the killer who is actually one of their own. The theme is Justice the plot is The Pursuit of the Killer of the Comedian. The plot-theme is Justice Following its Trajectory to its Ultimate Target.

Subsidiary plots play out within the wider drama. A love triangle hinges on the complexity of one of the heroes, Dr. Manhattan, who lives a quantum-relativistic perception and who is, therefore, completely alienation from humanity at the metaphysical level. His realization that each person is unique and therefore important brings him to the conflict at a critical moment. The irony that he is blamed for the "nuclear" destruction is ultimately irrelevant to him: humanity does not touch him because he lives completely in a different frame of reference. Dr. Manhattan is easily contrasted with the protagonist "Rorschach." Unlike the government physicist who is accidentally endowed with super powers, Rorschach is a self-made man from the lowest of socio-economic strata. Whereas Dr. Manhattan's alienation from humanity distances him from it, Rorschach's horror at the depths of human depravity draw him to the pursuit of justice.

The love affair between Silk Spectre and Night Owl depends on their search for identity. The superheroes were outlawed and forced into retirement. Now, back in action to find the murderer of The Comedian, they must reconnect their lost past to their present. Night Owl-2 has been a regular drinking buddy of Night Owl-1, the hero of a previous generation. All they have is the older cop's memories. When Night Owl-2 and Silk Specter (also a 2, asher mother was Silk Specter 1), first have dinner, their conversation is a reminiscence. After dinner, caught in an alley by punks, they find their inner selves in close quarter combat. But that is incomplete, as back at Night Owl's apartment, they cannot consumate their passion -- he cannot. His internal conflict prevents an integration of personality necessary to enjoy sex as a triumph. Later, after rescuing people trapped in a fire, again working as a team, they are able to give physical expression to their shared admiration, thus underscoring the reintegration of their personalities.

The final scenes complete the search for justice. Although Ozymandias believes that he has pulled off this necessary horror to save humanity from itself, Rorschach's Journal has been delivered to a conspiracy magazine, THEN NEW FRONTIERSMAN. Thus, despite Rorschach's death at the hands of Dr. Manhattan to preserve the duplicity of Ozymandias, the truth is waiting to be revealed.

The use of rock 'n' roll music was at first compelling in its integration: The Times They Are A-Changin' at once shows the rollout of history, but also, from our point of view, rolls out this alternate history in which Dr. Manhattan won the war in Vietnam, The Comedian killed President Kennedy, and Nixon was granted a third term. So, too, did many of the other tracks provide depth of understanding. Unfortunately, this was uneven and at two places apparently gratuituous: "Sounds of Silence" for the funeral of The Comedian and Leonard Cohen's "Halleluiah" for the love-making between Night Owl and Silk Specter.




Post 11

Friday, November 6, 2009 - 1:45pmSanction this postReply
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Great review, although I still can't say that I cared much for the movie. Not sure whether you are giving it more credit than it deserves (as art), but nevertheless you make compelling arguments.

jt



Post 12

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - 9:46amSanction this postReply
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Finally saw Watchmen and enjoyed it very much - again don't agree with all the ideas in it but it was well done.



Post 13

Thursday, January 17 - 11:23pmSanction this postReply
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I'll never forget the first time I watched this movie. It was mid-summer and I was in dire need of money so I found a job working the weekend graveyard shift(6pm-6am) as a break-press operator for Federal Mogul. I had finished the second week of work and though I was dead tired I could not seem to fall asleep, so I decided to put in The Watchmen really just for the hell of it. I was just amazed though I believe the lack of sleep may have made the movie seem that much more awe-inspiring. The two scenes I'll never forget are when Night Owl and Silk Spectre make love inside the owl ship to Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and Night Owl and Rorschach's approach to Ozymandias' lair to Jimi Hendrix's version of All Along The Watchtower. "Two riders were approaching and the wind began to howl!" Just brilliant!



Post 14

Sunday, January 20 - 10:17amSanction this postReply
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I thought that Hallelujah was the wrong song there.  But it was not my movie to make, so I take the work of art in its entirety.  Also, while I appreciate all of Rorschak's heroic qualities, I am not as enamored of him as other Objectivists are. I think that Adrian Veidt is underappreciated for his moral complexity and ambiguity.  We here have had discussions in which some advocate nuking Teheran based on an offhand comment by Ayn Rand that we should not let the existence of "non-communist blobs of protoplasm" prevent us from nuking the USSR if necessary.  Just sayin... it's complicated...

For all the pros and cons, it is clear that all of the characters act on the basis of moral values that are clear to them.  Of them, Dan Dreiberg (Nightowl) is the least engaged, the most pragmatic, willing to go along even as he disagrees - as when Rorschak is breaking fingers in the bar.  Nightowl does not intervene when the Comedian kills rioters... but the Comedian himself pointed out that Dr. Manhattan did nothing when Comedian killed the Vietnamese Girl (no name). 

That superheroes wrestle with internal demons less tractable than the physical badguys goes back to Spiderman.  The extent to which Steve Ditko influenced that is arguable, perhaps.  From the frame of reference of  "Mr. A" I see the moral questions in Spiderman (at least the fundamental story of the early years) coming from the consequences of our choices which we do not always foresee but for which we must always accept responsibility.

All in all, I found the Watchman compelling, powerful, integrated, and challenging.  I only came to the series when the movie was released in 2009. My wife and I both work in security, and our neighborhood Borders had posters up: "I'm used to going out at 3 A.M. and doing something stupid. -- Silk Specter"

It was 3:00 PM, not three in the morning, when in a class for first responders, my wife broke her wrist because she wanted to play in the snow with the real army guys.

PS: Watchmen is enjoying a renaissance with new series for each character, including new action figures and other collateral.  I read a couple of them in the comic book store and was not impressed.  Avengers, X-Men, Justice League and Justice Society have them beat.  But the movie remains a recommendation.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 1/20, 10:27am)




Post 15

Sunday, January 20 - 12:39pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,

You wrote, "We here have had discussions in which some advocate nuking Teheran based on an offhand comment by Ayn Rand that we should not let the existence of 'non-communist blobs of protoplasm' prevent us from nuking the USSR if necessary."

Could you cite where Ayn Rand said that?



Post 16

Sunday, January 20 - 11:02pmSanction this postReply
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Hall Forum 1977: "Global Balkanization"Q: Can you defend one country attacking another?
AR: The source of this kind of statement is the idea that nations do not exist, only individuals, and if some poor, noncommunist blob in Soviet Russia doesn't want an invasion, we mustn't hurt him.

The whole thing here.
http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=media_america_at_war_morality_and_civilian_casualties

Or see Ayn Rand Answers (ppb) page 95.




Post 17

Monday, January 21 - 8:35amSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Michael. That use of the word "blob" seems so strange.

This is a place where I don't agree with Rand. Guilt isn't assigned collectively to everyone in a country that becomes a dictatorship. If the Soviet Union had started a war with us, and we responded out of self-defense, then innocent Soviet citizens would have been killed. And they would have been innocent if they didn't support their government or its war effort.

But even if our bombs killed them, their deaths would be the moral fault of their government for initiating the kind of violence that required a massive retaliation.

I've always seen this problem of innocent people killed in a war as the argument against the Neo-cons, or the hawkish Libertarians and Objectivists who believe that it is moral to initiate a war against a country that has a dictator at the helm even if there has not been a major attack against our country. It would be moral to kill a dictator, but not when there is a great risk of innocent citizens losing their lives - unless it is in response to an attack that threatens us on a national level.



Post 18

Monday, January 21 - 1:40pmSanction this postReply
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It is a whole other discussion for which several topic threads exist. In terms of The Watchmen, however, consider the problem as seen by Adrian Veidt "Ozymandias".

The world is on the brink of nuclear war, with the Doomsday Clock moving to midnight as the US and USSR face off over Afghanistan. Indeed, President Nixon orders the DefCon status raised, eventually to DefCon 2. Even if Dr. Manhattan can stop 99% of the missiles launched from the USSR, the results will be catastrophic. Veidt foresaw this. His solution in the book is technically different but morally the same: he launches a series of "small" destructives in major cities, killing tens of millions, but ultimately saving billions.

The Comedian figured this out before the plan could be engaged, so Ozymandias killed him. The death of the Comedian caused Rorschach to enlist Nightowl's help; and Nightowl brought along Silk Specter II. You can argue with Ozymandias, of course. It is not up to him to choose which millions to sacrifice to save which billions. ... but, then who is it up to? ...

"It doesn't take a genius to see that the world has problems, but it takes a roomful of morons to think that those problems are small enough for you to solve." -- Comedian to Ozymandias.

Granted, the amorality of Edward Blake is unquestionable: killing is a joke, even his assassination of President Kennedy. He is only the polar opposite of Nightowl, though. Neither of them qualifies for "superhero" by our standards, regardless of their ability to arrest bank robbers or whatever. They lack moral compasses, only that Dreiberg is stopped by doubts and Blake never is.

As with Veidt/Ozymandias and Kovacs/Rorschach, a case can be made for Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan. He leaves Earth for Mars rather than allow himself to be entangled even deeper. He helped the government many times - from the Vietnam war to Project Apollo. It is the personal level, his allegedly causing the deaths of his friends, that takes him into voluntary exile. Similarly, the personal plea of Silk Specter II brings him back... though, ultimately he leaves for extra-galactic times/places. Plainly, living among humans is morally impossible for him. It always was, but now he realizes it: every choice causes harm to those whom he values.





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