Week 1: Batman? Batman who?”It’s almost like the audience is saying, ‘Yeah, I know, I get it. I get Batman. Enough already,” said director Zack Snyder to philly.com just before his film, “Watchmen,” hit theaters.
You might be wondering just when exactly did audiences proclaim- “enough already” with all this Batman stuff? Was it before or after “The Dark Knight” crossed the one billion dollar mark worldwide? Before or after it shattered box office records and won two Academy Awards?
Are movie audiences really tired of Batman and his ilk or is this simply an example of Zack Snyder trying to make a name for his film by picking a fight with the biggest kid on the playground?
If that’s the case, then it looks like Snyder’s strategy didn’t pay off as “Watchmen” ended up with the mother of all wedgies and minus its milk money after two weeks in theaters.
The film opened to a respectable 55 million dollars, but saw that drop to a mere 17 million last weekend, losing nearly 68% of its audience.
Maybe we shouldn’t tell Batman to hang up the cowl and cape just yet, as Snyder’s bloated take on Alan Moore and David Gibbons’ subversive graphic novel isn’t likely to replicate the caped crusader’s success anytime soon.
The biggest thing missing from “Watchmen” was an identity. The film never distinguished itself from the graphic novel, taking great pains to recreate to a “T” the world that Moore and Gibbons created. When the film does stray from the graphic novel, the changes just aren’t enough.
If its box office and mixed critical response is any indication, “Watchmen” seems destined for a future as a cult classic, forgotten by most, but loved by a small yet fiercely loyal group of followers.
The thing is that it didn’t have to be this way. “Watchmen” coulda been a contender.
Snyder missed a chance to take “Watchmen” and make it his own. Instead he played it safe to avoid drawing the wrath of fanboys. The remarkable thing is that he had a perfect blueprint of risky adaptation right in his own backyard.
The film’s end credits are accompanied by My Chemical Romance’s energetic and raucous cover of Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row.”
On the music spectrum there are very few acts as far apart as those two. My Chemical Romance is a pop punk/ emo band with an affinity for eyeliner and sweeping, Bill and Ted-esque guitar solos. Dylan, on the other hand, is the quintessential singer/songwriter, whose politically charged tunes inspired a generation to change.
There was no way this could ever work. but somehow it did.
The My Chem boys took Dylan’s folksy track, which runs over 11 minutes long and contains ten verses, and trimmed it into a brisk three minute, razor sharp, punk rock song. The best part is that they did all of this while maintaining, and in some cases enhancing the rebellious spirit of the original.
It makes you wonder what would have happened had Snyder employed the same tactics on his film. Rather then obsessively recreating every detail of the comic on the big screen, Snyder could have interpreted it in his own way, while staying true to the original’s edgy message. We’ll never know what that film would have looked like, but one thing is for sure: it would have been a whole lot more interesting then what we were given.
Hitting the silver screen.
It promises to be a busy weekend at your local Cineplex as three new movies hit screens. First up is the hilarious- looking Jason Segal/ Paul Rudd comedy “I Love You, Man.” In it Rudd plays a successful real estate agent about to marry the girl of his dreams. The only problem is that he doesn’t have any male friends close enough to be his best man. This causes him to set out in search of a perfect guy to go with his perfect lady, a search that eventually leads him to Jason Segal. Wackiness ensues. Both actors are riding hot streaks and if the trailers are any indication, “I Love You, Man” will continue that trend.
Next up is the latest Nicholas Cage head-scratcher entitled “Knowing.” In it Cage plays a teacher who uncovers a book that contains predictions of natural disasters, predictions that start coming true. Cage’s last few films have been disasters themselves, and this one doesn’t look any different. Either way it’s too bad that book didn’t tell him not to make “Ghost Rider.” “Knowing” might be worth watching just for the part where the screenwriters awkwardly work the title into the dialogue and have Cage say “KNOWING is only half the battle” or something to that effect.
Finally, “Duplicity,” is a spy vs. spy “dramedy” starring the always great Clive Owen and the lately so-so Julia Roberts. This one looks like a push, could be ok, could be a Nicholas Cage-style disaster.
That’s all for now. Check back next week for updates. Vaya con dios.