07 March 2009

No Cigarettes or alcohol!

Went in to see Watchmen last night and it was not as bad as I was expecting it to be. Once I got over the wooden acting (resulting from choosing actors on the basis of their physical resemblance to two dimensional comic book illustrations) I actually managed to enjoy it*.

I'm not going to waste any time tearing apart all the things that are different to the book (my attitude being that the film is a separate animal to the book, even a three hour film would never be able to convey the subtleties and complexities of the book so why bother being disappointed when it doesn't really try?), but one thing that did strike me was the almost complete absence of one of the most iconic images in the book, that of cigarette smoking, especially the stylized cigarette holders.

In the film there is arguably more graphic violence than in the book, there is certainly a lot of sex and nudity (both female and blue supermale), but only The Comedian is seen smoking a cigar, which is acceptable because he could never be accused of being a positive role model. One scene in particular where this is most obvious occurs with Laurie looking for a cigarette lighter and setting off a flame thrower; the scene makes it to the film but sans cigarette, she just decides to start pressing random buttons for no apparent reason.

It says something about American society that in an "R" rated film the only taboo seems to be the portrayal of smoking in anything other than a negative light.

*except for the music. Seriously, seriously painful to sit through gratuitous uses of "Hallelulja", "First we take Manhattan" and especially "99 Red Balloons". Boo.

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