Watchmen: Boo. Kings: Yay!
By now you’ve not only seen or heard all about the Watchmen movie, you’ve more than likely read all the reviews. Well.. depsite the bad reviews I decided to go ahead and see the movie. I figure, a movie like this is one that’s best seen on a big xcreen with lots of people.
Watchmen was directed by Zack Snyder who did the 300 movie. What worked in that movie was its simple plot (We’re attacking you…. not if we stop you) and the balletic violence. Unfortunately that’s exactly what goes wrong with Watchmen. Snyder tries unfolding a murder mystery while unveiling complex characters. Unfortunately, Snyder’s not up to the task. Sure you have some great fight scenes; they’re very well orchestrated. But since the storytelling is so lax, you don’t develop a buy in to the characters so you don’t really care who is winning the fight.
Part of the point of the Watchmen was to explore the idea of superheroes as flawed people. Unfortunately, these characters were so flawed as to be unrelatable. Of course, this is not an impossible thing to do. In Talented Mr. Ripley, the author showed us a sociopath whose every move engrossed us. And for those who’ve heard, yes there’s swinging blue pipe (as Jon Stewart calls it) and while I’m always in favor of movie nudity, this really didn’t do anything for the movie other than serve as a distraction for the row of snickering teeneager behind me. (Yes I got them kicked out and yes I got a free pass. )
This is my beef with Hollywood. Too often they think audiences will watch anything with great effects. The truth is, it always comes down to a great story told well.
Luckily, I got to counter my bad movie afternoon with an evening of great TV watching.
Kings is a new series starting up on NBC. It’s about a farm kid from the Shepherd family that joins up with the army, gets caugh up in a rescue that happens to save the King’s son. He’s adopted in a sense by the King for his bravery and given a position in the king’s court. The King himself is a highly charsimatic man who seems to be have an amoral side. At one moment he’s making his family breakfast in the palace kitchen and in another he’s prolonging the war despite an offer for peace so the military industry can continue making money. And it helps that his brother in law the Finance Minister owns a piece of the industry and is highly invested into the King’s coffers. Family blackmail anyone? The King’s son who David rescued, has his own secrets and is feeling dispalced by the new kid at court who everyone loves, including his beautiful sister. Oh… and David faced down a Goliath class tank in battle. Sound familiar yet?
Already, this series is starting with good source material… the life of King David from the Old Testament. It’s a life filled with courtly intrigue, betrayals, lust, and devotion. And if the acting and writing from the pilot are any indication, I’ll be watching this show for a while.