16 April 2009

Your Red World, My Blue One

Chicagoans might remember this thing called "Sunshine" that made a surprise visit to the Windy City. Without a doubt, one of the rarist visitors to our city, I decided to snap a quick photo of the clear blue sky and aggressive rays which beat down on our heads. Like any good citizen, I immediately trecked out to get a headstart on my tan, since a temperature of 57 means you can almost go shirtless in what might be called a "Heatwave" in April. We've simply had too many days of chilly, cloudy days in a row since the endless tundra called Winter was officially over. If March 21 is indeed the first day of Spring in Chicago, I am Mayor Daley himself.

I got a text from two of my favorite Partners In Crime from Evansville last night gloating that they ha
d tickets to the Cubs vs. Cardinals game that took place mid-afternoon. The importance of this match-up is more important to people in Downstate Illinois and Indiana than it is to
Chigoland, mostly because the war of bickering between fans of these teams in those area is harsher than the Perpetual War of Nineteen Eighty-Four... For instance, an "Official Hot Dog of the St. Louis Cardinals" was for sale in a grocerie store in Peoria, Illinois when I was there last weekend, but I couldn't find a proper Chicago brand at all. While this is pretty anecdotal, this was definately a hotly contested game in the sport's bars and beer hauls in the Tri-State area.

Speaking of hot dogs, I had my first Chicago Dog of the baseball season (even though, as far as I'm concerned, its almost always a good time to eat a Chicago Dog) from my favorite vendor of fine all beef products: Flub a Dub Chub's. A very essentric place located in the basement of a bar, or hair salon, or something, FDC perveys some of the tastiest Chicago Dogs in Lincoln Park. Each dog comes with a bag of fries included in the price... the Champaign of Beers was my own addition. Armed with one of the best personal effect's one could have during a great day, I embarked back to the rooftop terrace at my building to consumer and ponder upon an endevor I've been working on for the past two weeks: The Watchman Motion Comic.

This piece of tomfoolery isn't the most scenematic thing I've seen in a long time, but it definately puts a lot of perspective to the Comic Book and the Movie... Think of it as the gap between reading Hamlet in English class and seeing it performed in the mid-nineties version by Mad Max himself. Each disc is about an hour and forty-five minutes long, which isn't much, of course, until you think about the fact that most of the time, there is only a little movement inserted into each panel of the comic book. What movement has been added isn't magnificent watching. You also have to get past the inch at the beginning that all of the characters are voiced by the same narrator. With all that, out of the way, though, its definately an interesting watch.

The Motion Comic puts into sharp perspective the difference between the movie and the comic book... The book alone allows you to voice the characters in your head and add intonations and meaning to the text as you see fit; the Motion Comic adds some "professional" spin on the same idea. If you ever imagined Rorschach to have a gravily voice while masked but monotone and sticato in person, this lends credence to your perspective. If you didn't imagine Dr. Manhatten sounding like a bit of a robot, though, you've apparently missed the mark, at least according to this telling. I can't imagine what the narrator was thinking as he tried to record the Silk Specter II and Night Owl II in mid-coitis, though.

Having gotten through almost all of the Motion Comic, I'm realizing more and more how great a telling the Watchmen Movie is with reference to the original material. The film is well edited to include the most important fascets of the plot and provides a truncated, if not sometimes too well snipped, overview of the major plot elements. It also points out the difference in publishing something in 1985 and something in 2008 about 1985. For instance, putting a Giant Space Squid into a movie is a laughable idea when there was an opportunity to edit in the concept of Superhuman Terrorism (ala Manhatten bombing the world in retrobution) . The nuance in how the plot was pieced together to move the movie forward, however, is what I'm most impressed about. In the book, Rorschach has to retrieve a spare outfit from his house, whereas he steals it back from the police in the movie after killing Big Figure. As he puts his mask on and assumes his real self, he confronts Dr. Long, creating my favorite original quote from the movie: "Your turn, Doctor. Tell me: What do you see?"

The die-hard Watchmen fanboy might always argue that they should have stuck to the absolute original lines from the book, and in the process would prove Alan Moore right that it shouldn't be made into a film. Knowing that it was going to be made into a film, however, some great changes were made to the film. The best: the pan shot recreating the JFK assassination (I guffawed in the theater "That is METAL!") revealing that the Comedian was the rifleman.

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