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Give me my Damn 12 Bucks Back (My Open Letter to Watchmen’s David Hayter)

March 17, 2009

Last week you published an open letter to fans asking us to go see Watchmen a second time in order to support smart edgy adaptations of comic books. So I went a second time, hoping that this time I wouldn’t waste a few hours sitting through an awful butchery of Alan Moore’s work just so the director of 300 could show off how many more neat camera tricks and slow motion scenes he could squeeze out. And after all that I’ve got one thing to say to you, Give me my damn twelve bucks back.

There’s only one good thing about the cinematic abortion you proudly participated in, and it sure as hell isn’t in the script. It has three names, the last one is Hale.  Everything else is rubbish.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a nitpicker or obsessive. Keep the squid or don’t keep the squid. Cut down some plot lines. Even make the movie sound like a damn Best of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s Radio station. I can live with all that. I can even survive Malin Akkerman doing her best to audition for the reboot of Melrose Place, and I can even accept your lame attempt to modernize the story by throwing in the energy crisis and making Dr. Manhattan the one who gets the blame. (Yes those are spoilers, you’ve now been spoiled. Live with it.) It’s a halfway clever idea, and a genuinely talented writer might have made it work. You didn’t, but I could still accept all that if there was some larger redeeming value to the whole damn movie. Too bad there wasn’t.

Let me be clear about this, Watchmen has one thing and only one thing to offer, and that’s the chance to see Jackie Earle Hale deliver a mostly pitch perfect take on Rorschach. Cool yes, worth 25 bucks, no. Not when the rest of the movie is a disconnected cut and paste jumble of scenes that still somehow manages to drag. Not when half the performances are terrible. And oh yeah, the attack on Manhattan is replaced with a 2 second CGI scene from Independence Day.

Ballsy, David? No you wussed out. And you wussed out big time. Ballsy doesn’t mean splattering people in blood in slow motion while Bob Dylan croaks in the background. Ballsy doesn’t mean showing a guy’s hands getting sawed off. Lots of R Rated movies can do things like that. Ballsy means having Dr. Manhattan and Silk Spectre walk down the street and see the dead bodies, the corpses of people who were doing nothing more than eating take out, murdered for world peace. It means showing Ozymandias triumphantly raising his arms in victory,  Nixon style, while the TV sets he’s watching fill with corpses. It means realizing that he’s no different than the same people who were ready to drop the bombs and that the village had been destroyed to save the village.

Where is that in your “ballsy” movie? It wasn’t there because you and Snyder didn’t have the guts to put it in among the soft core blue lit porno and the mutilations. You couldn’t even manage to do what Cloverfield did. That’s how much you suck.

All the sad parade of compromises might have been worth it if Watchmen had managed to hold on to the ideas and actually make people think, instead of being a gloomy version of 24 with more capes. Your appeal to the fanboys showed how much you didn’t get it. Watchmen isn’t Batman or Superman. There are no drooling fanboys who want to see their superhero kick ass on the big screen. Watchmen dissected the whole premise of superhero comics and asked you to question it. The only thing the movie makes you question, is why Hollywood just can’t seem to get it. Ever.

Closing your letter by saying we’ll come back like Sally was a wonderful touch of class. But I’ll give you that much, whoever came back did see a rape. Not just the one on screen, but you and Zack raping Alan Moore’s Watchmen on a big screen backed by a whole lot of CGI and not a single clue. I saw. I came back. I was disgusted.

Now give me my damn twelve bucks back.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 26, 2009 7:51 pm

    Fantastic! I agree with your sentiments completely!!

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