Episode 36: Watchmen Internal Affairs

The overthinkers watch Watchmen.

Matthew Wrather hosts a panel including Peter Fenzel, Joshua McNeil, David Shechner, and (drumroll) new OTI staff writer John Perich to overthink the Watchmen movie, which several of us have seen and all of us pontificate about, with minor digressions into Leonard Cohen and (of course) The Wire.

Tell us what you think! Email podcast AT overthinkingit DOT com or call 20-EAT-LOG-01… that’s (203) 285-6401. And do us a favor and take the very short survey!

Download Episode 36 (MP3)

10 Comments on “Episode 36: Watchmen Internal Affairs”

  1. Gab #

    I think the movie had mcuh more than 20% of the book’s content and feel the same as Josh about this and everything he said about Rorschach throughout the Podcast, as well as the other characters. Actually, Josh, I think I agreed with you every time you spoke. Rock on.

    The extra DVD comes out at the end of this month and has the internal comic as well as _Under the Hood_ on it.

    Biggest fail in casting and acting for me was Veidt.

    Billy Cruddup was wonderful- I had interpreted Dr. Manhattan’s voice and facial expressions to sound just like that.

    To be nit-picky, the safety of the world actually depends on not a lie, but on silence, which would go with Kant (see his _On a Supposed Right to Lie_); so one could say that by insisting on telling everyone, Rorschach was stepping outside that aspect of his Kantian philosophy and mode of life. So was his death necessary? I think yes, because this part of Kantian philosophy is a little gray, and Rorschach is nothing but black and white.

    Re: costume. So this sort of relates to what I said about their outfits before. Did you notice in the movie how the costumes evolved? The Minutemen’s costumes were more traditionally comic book-esque, while the Crime Busters, with the exception of Rorschach, were made to look more like the plastic/rubber stuff we see in other modern comic movies. Yes, in the book, the costumes evolved, but the later generation still looked like old fashioned comic strip outfits. Interesting how it’s okay for the flashbacks to look campier and have more Spandex in the movie- I think this has to do with the marketability aspect. Comic book costumes have never looked comfortable or practical to me at all, be they _Watchmen_ or _Superman_- Spandex doesn’t seem like it would fight well. And then of course you get the modern problems with hard rubber and plastic- an issue addressed in _TDK_, though, something I found quite admirable because of Nolan’s ability to skillfully address something that had been staring us in the face. They showed Dollar Bill’s dead body with the cape caught in the door during the opening credits of _Watchmen_, though; but it’s subtle enough that a non-reader probably wouldn’t get it.

    While yes, I thought the sex was overdone and ridiculous, at least the fire shooting out of Archie stayed- it served as (much needed) comic relief. The immaturity of the audience kept people laughing the whole time during that scene, and also during the one earlier between Laurie and Dr. Manhattan (I’m not sure if the WHOLE scene between Dand and Laurie was meant to be comical because of the song, but I personally didn’t think it was). So to go to the very beginning: was the penis REALLY that distracting to those of you that saw it? I didn’t think it was that big of a deal- it isn’t like he was ERECT and bouncing around. And why *is* a penis such a big deal? I go back to the kids I saw: those three little (and this is important) boys had their eyes covered when Dr. Manhattan was onscreen, but they were allowed to watch skulls get hacked into and arms cut off and throats stabbed. Why is a flaccid penis so much more to pay attention to? Is it because we see it so less often in public than violence? What does this say about American society?

    Favorite Leonard Cohen song of mine: “Chelsea Hotel.”

    Re: Homosexuality in comics: You’ve seen “The Ambiguously Gay Duo” on _SNL_, right?

    I agree about _Troy_ being fun, too. I enjoyed it, but I in no way think it is trying to be faithful or accurate to the source material. Remember how in the credits they say “Inspired By,” not even, “Based On.” I think that’s important for viewing and comparing source material to finished film.


  2. lee OTI Staff #

    Mike from LA: LOVE it! All, be sure to hit the link. It’s a video of Watchmen done as a Saturday morning cartoon.

    John Perich, welcome to the podcast! Looking forward to joining you one soon.


  3. Rob #

    Ego non Custodies Ipsos custodivi; ergo, huic colloquio contribuere non possum. Si exspatier: Catone, non Cicerone, “Carthago delenda est” dictum esse credo.

    … As opposed to “Carthago pudenda est”, which was said by, I believe, Aeneas.

    By the way, John – “Democracy is Coming” FTW.


  4. Equinspire #

    Let me just say “Yay for tangents!” Not having read or seen Watchmen yet, I wasn’t sure if it was worth downloading this one, so it was a very pleasant surprise when you started discussing one of my all time favourite things… Adam West’s Batman! Love it!


  5. John P #

    Thanks for the welcome, guys.

    And I’d like to officially apologize for writing enough about Atlas Shrugged to cause AdSense to start rotating in Ayn Rand Institute banner ads. That one’s on me.


  6. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    @Fenzel – I’ve been thinking a lot about Rorschach’s death scene at the hands of Manhattan. You thought he seemed too weak in that moment. I don’t know. Maybe. I certainly imagined him as more defiant, screaming through tears of rage. But I wonder whether what we saw there wasn’t fear or weakness, but sadness over the deaths of millions. Rorschach seems straight-up sad to me. I’ll have to rewatch it.

    I’ll tell you what I definitely DID like, though: Manhattan’s expression while he hesitates. It’s a great look of sadness and empathy and maybe admiration. In the graphic novel, you can’t really see subtle facial expressions. Manhattan’s face is always a poker face. But brought to life on the screen, Manhattan shows as much emotion as Rorschach. There are many things the graphic novel does better than the movie. But movies can show you real faces, not just the signifiers of them.

    That confrontation in the snow is a showdown between two characters that are borderline-sociopaths. But in that moment, they both do almost inconceivably heroic things. They both make amazing sacrifices for something greater than themselves. It’s kind of a highlight of the graphic novel/movie for me. Screw Mars.


  7. lee OTI Staff #

    John: my favorite AdSense moment of irony on this site was the ads for creative writing courses that accompanied the review of the novel Jack Nicholson wrote in The Shining. I don’t think they’re running anymore, but it was pretty hilarious to see ads promising to release one’s inner creative spirit in the context of, well, The Shining.

    Belinkie: That’s funny, I didn’t think of Dr. Manhattan as a sociopath until you just put it that way. He and Rorschach clearly are, in very different ways.


  8. stokes #

    Matt – perhaps all the more impressive in that the face is so CGId. I’m sure there’s some Crudup under there, but as to how much…?


  9. neubauer #

    Thanks guys for the Bday message! Sorry Matt had to tell me to listen to it 3 weeks later. My excuse is that I didn’t see Watchmen and skipped over the Watchmen stuff on the blog…


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