W.

I suppose I should blog about this. I really should, seeing as it was my event of 2009, and now it is passed I need to start aiming for something else. I suppose suggestions would be welcome. The thing is my life is now not empty, not meaningless – also there is no massive void, no gaping chasm in my world now that it is here, but there is a sense of anticlimax for this and I needed time to digest it. Plus, going with two virgins probably didn’t help my case… but here we go.

Watchmen, the movie.

Snyder’s Watchmen is an interesting beast. It’s like someone said “Hey, look, you can make a movie based on the most interesting and revered comic book ever” and Snyder went “Okay, let me have a look… and then just made the comic book. And I know what you are thinking – that must be a good thing. I mean, that’s what you wanted, right? You wanted a movie version of the comic, not a movie that just so happens to have your characters in it and disregards the complexities of the book. You got what you wanted right?

That person would be right – I did, I got the movie I wanted. In fact, I think I got the movie loads of fans wanted, the movie that so closely sticks to the comic that they might have just copied and pasted the scenes from the novel to the screen panel by panel. That’s a good idea too, and works for the most part. But it is in the inescapable universe created by Moore and Gibbons that the film is suffocated, almost to death, by the confines of a regimented storyline that needed to be told. So here’s my critique of the film. Spoilers, for those who have not read the book or seen the film, lie ahead.

The Characters
There was no problem here. Ozymandias, the only one that I was slightly worried about, was actually portrayed really well by Matthew Goode, almost perfectly. In fact, Ana turned to me during the film and asked “Is he gay?” to which I had to say “Yeah, probably”. Rorschach considered that as a possibility too during the comic book, a facet of the character never explained explicitly. Also, Ana, on the ball as always, picked up the not-too-subtle inference that The Comedian was Laurie’s father. It unfurled in a slightly more dramatic way than in the comic book using a new power of Doc Manhattan’s to push memories. And Doc Manhattan was excellent. He was naked, like in the comic, and his willy was blue (and circumcised, for some reason). It worked, but his nakedness was never explained… and that was interesting – it almost made no sense for him to be naked without explaining that if he was no longer human why would he need to wear clothes? Dan Dreiberg was another well cast member of the crew, and pulled off the impotent washed up regretful superhero quite well. Even standing naked, he looked the part.

Rorschach, my favourite character, for reasons that will become obvious, was played perfectly. So much of the film rested on his shoulders that pitch perfect casting was required and it was absolutely correct – this made this film; especially the final scene with him and Manhattan, even with the comedy “Noooo!!!” from Nite Owl. The Comedian had the most fun though, even if the make up was a little off at the beginning. And the least said about Laurie the better. It is obvious she was a little out of depth in the film but looked the part.

The Ending
The ending is the part of the film I was most apprehensive towards and was the only time that I didn’t know exactly how it would pan out. In the movie Adrian Veidt uses research with Doc Manhattan to create an endless power source. He then uses this to detonate a massive explosion in each of the largest cities in the world killing millions of people to trick the world into uniting behind the common threat of Doc Manhattan. The end was the same outcome, but in the novel it is not Doc Manhattan, but a large telekinetic extra planetary squid. I always thought the ending of book was a little WTF, and the new ending streamlined the plot in a good way – at least we still got the ending in spirit.

But there was important changes that ruined it a bit. First of all Rorschach’s death at the hands of Doc Manhattan was well done (apart from Nite Owl of course) but the missing parts killed me. For example, the impact of Veidt saying “I did it 35 minutes ago” knocked me dead in the comic book, but the impact was missing from the film for some reason. Plus, Veidt in the movie never seemed too pleased about his endgame outcome – in the novel he sheds tears when he turns on the TV screens and says “I did it!” whilst crying. He knows he succeeded. That was missing. Then, at the very end, Laurie says “Nothing ever ends.” Which is nice, but in the wrong place! Manhattan can read the future and past, and in the novel Veidt asks him “Did I end it? Did I do it?” to which Manhattan replies “Nothing ever ends” which has a million times more meaning than Laurie saying it – because Manhattan can actually see the future and knows, but refuses to tell Veidt.

The Music
Argh! Snyder fucked this up impressively. The music was dreadful at parts – the opening scene was good and the funereal scene was played well but Ride of the Valkyire? Hallelujah? No thanks. No thank you at all. I wanted a proper soundtrack like The Dark Knight, but instead I got a 3 hour music video. That was disappointing.

So…
Did I like it? Yes. It was a good adaptation but probably a terrible film. I hate being that guy though… you know, the guy who complains about the changes, the errors and the mistakes, and the only reason I am writing this is to end people asking me about it. The reason why I am so amiable? Well, I still have the comic book, so no matter how shit the film was, or how good it was, I’d still like the comic. The comic is the original and the best, and always will. Snyder’s Watchmen was interesting, a good version and the best attempt that we could hope for as fans.

As for Ana and Michael?
“That was a terrible film!”
“It was very long and slow at parts.”

Sheffield

On Tuesday I went to Sheffield. It was the first time I had ever been there. In the journey of getting there I also broke my duck of visiting Manchester, being caught in the windy valley of the esoteric Victorian train shed, glass fronted and bustling with hundreds of similarly commuting patrons. The journey was interesting as it was enthralling, being built upon old and older train stations.

Manchester Piccadilly is how I'd imagine a Railway Station to be if it had been built by Escher. It was a labyrinth of platforms, switches and signals randomly collected together in a way that mimics a Lego set being tossed onto a carpet. The shoutings of railway guards, the over enthusiastic ticket inspectors and the clinical but always wrong announcers had me hooked - a world away from the simple platforms and 4 trains an hour of Aberdeen's central station.

And it led to me to ponder the difference between an English city and a Scottish city. Ours are smaller than English ones, given that our population is spread over an area not too dissimilar to England's but a fraction of the total people - the number of people in Scotland could easily fit in London's vast boundaries. Manchester was massive - the number of trains that entered that city are directly proportional to the number of people wanting to leave it.

So Sheffield is more comparable to Aberdeen as it only has one train station. Unlike Glasgow, which has the largest urban rail network outside of London, Aberdeen has but two stations, only one inside the city. Built in a valley, Sheffield was cut off from the most of Britain by the thing called nature, until several tunnels and mountain scaling motorways later, it became the hub of Steel production.

Like Glasgow in the 1980s and Aberdeen in the 2010s, the main industry left Sheffield for warmer and cheaper climes. The city I visited was a marvelous mix of random roads, canals and tall buildings dotted around a complex city scape not unlike a road planners nightmare. Pedestrian walkways lead to nowhere, tram lines are side by side with pavements, buses drive in pedestrian areas, a ring road that is actually not a ring...

Sheffield was a place that made me happy to be leaving it - not that is was an unlikeable place, but somewhere that I'd find it hard to fit into. It is so much like Aberdeen in it's style of construction and it's failing purpose, but not enough like the bustling wealth and partisan feelings of the citizens to make me feel at ease there. Aberdeen has the small town mentality with the amenities of a middle sized city, whereas Glasgow has the big city mentality with the size of an English town. Sheffield is somewhere that is a place you go through, go past, not to, and the fact that most, if not all of the companies at the graduate fair that I went to were from out of town, says a lot.

The Rorschach Experiment: Part Three, Part One - The Debut.

More to follow, but last night I went out into the real world dressed as my favourite anti hero. Only one person recognisedme, and he was dressed as the Joker... which says more about him that it does of me.

I'll post a picture of my self and some of my favourite costumes tomorrow, or Monday, when I feel less horrible (cold, not Alcohol related, unfortunately).

The Rorschach Experiment: Part Two - It Means Nothing to me.... Oh Fedora!

So I found the Fedora I think looks the part and grabbed it from eBay. A nice little £20 for it, and it should look pretty good. Once I have it (it is an original from the States) I will try them out. I am looking at tights this weekend and going to start experiments on the mask... which should be a good laugh.

Can't wait to buy womens tights.

The Rorschach Experiment: Part One - 16 Days to go.

You might have noticed a small addition to the blog last week. The addition was to the right hand side of the blog, over… ---> there. Basically, I am working on a Halloween costume for a Halloween party. This is the first time I have really tried to make one and have put a fair amount of reputation on the line, ruining a planned three-couple costume of The Flintstones in the march towards Comic book geek dom.

Indeed, my costume is obscure. It will require a length explanation. But, if it works, it will be intense and really striking. So here is the rump:

I am going to go as Rorschach from Watchmen.



So, how will I make it. Well, I have the Trenchcoat. I bought a tan, lengthy trench coat from eBay early this month for the unsubstantial £21. This actually looks pretty amazing, though I am under strict instructions not to even consider wearing it anywhere else other than late October 31st.

I am now looking for the pinstripe trousers. Indeed, I found a pair of trousers in Topman that looked that part, and will serve me well for going to work too. These will be purchased at the weekend.

I am also looking for a piece de la résistance, the fedora. Instructed that H&M might be a good shout, I shall send my minions to work on the shops in Glasgow. Failing that, a good look at eBay tells me that for a good one it is £50 (which is way out my budget) and an okay one is £15-25 which I can stretch to.

But I think the costume will be made or broken by the mask. The concept behind the mask in the comic book* is that it is two pieces of film, in which a oily substances is free to move around, making the mask change it’s look all the time – effectively like a screen saver on the face of the character. This is unfortunately, impossible. But what I can do is create a shape in the style of the ink blot test and put it on my face. Currently my idea is to use white tights and fabric paint. This weekend I will be creating my first version of the mask by acting all nonchalant and buying a couple of pairs of white tights in a ladies department and some black fabric paint from somewhere in Aberdeen and going all arts and crafts.

So, the count down begins. With 16 days left I really need to find the Fedora and get it mailed out. I am looking for a Friday confirmation and purchase, delivered by next weekend. The minor details, such as the sugar cubes and leather gloves, should be easy to capture closer to the date.
*Watchmen is one of those rather interesting phenomenons that have a little history behind the classification. Technically, as it was printed as a serial, it is a comic book; one that is released in issues rather than a single volume. Collected together, however, it could considered as a graphic novel. Discussed muchly, this point is. /Yoda