Zack Snyder is an Overbearing Jackass, or Why "Watchmen" and "300" Suck

by Eric Melin on June 22, 2010

in Blogs

The following is a chat/friendly argument from about an hour ago between myself and Scene-Stealers contributor George Hickman. He started it, the jerk.

5:00 PM george: even though i liked it more than you i could TOTALLY write a 10 things that would have improved Watchmen

5:03 PM me: ha ha ha ha

  i can answer that in one:

  don’t make the superheroes fucking superhuman!

comedian watchmen5:04 PM george: that’s actually more of a minor one

  for me

  1) the fucking music.

 me: its the key to the entire film!!!!!!!!!!!

  it can’t be minor

5:05 PM it negated the entire point of the story

  don’t get me started man

5:06 PM george: who is superhuman besides doc manhattan? ozymandias was supposed to be physical perfection. and he’s catches the bullet in his teeth in the fricking book anyway

  that whole fight is pretty true to the book

  Rorschach wasn’t superhuman, they made it a point to show how hurt he got and how much he didn’t care

5:07 PM because he was too psychotic to care

5:08 PM The Comedian was superbuff, but also true to the comic book, and it was insinuated he was on drugs, such as PCP which if Rush Limbaugh is to be believed is a drug that turned Rodney King into a KILLING MACHINE THAT THE LAPD HAD TO STOP.

5:09 PM digression. Even though i think the fights/action was actually pretty true to the book, presenting it in SUCH a stylized fashion DID make it seem more superhuman and less human.

5:10 PM me: exactly

  i’m saying it was a total failure from a presentation standpoint

  total wrong kind of approach

5:11 PM george: and i don’t think total failure is fair at all. i think it should have been tweaked, but I also thought they did a good job with trying to ground it in some sort of physical reality by showing the blood and the bruises and hear the bones crack and such. People got hurt.

5:12 PM Style won out, but If they had gotten other elements right I wouldn’t have cared because it was satisfying.

5:13 PM me: the blood and the bruises and hearing the bones crack and such was not “physical reality”

  it was fetishized violence for the sake of it

  just like 300

300 zack snyder butler poster5:14 PM Snyder is a jackass

  you can show brutality and make it brutal

  not “cool”

5:15 PM george: 300 was the ultimate R rated movie for 12 year old boys.

  and it totally worked for me in that regard

 me: oh god

5:16 PM overbearing nonsense

  again, HATED the tone

 george: I don’t understand how anyone can’t just have fun with it

5:17 PM me: 300?

  it’s not fun

5:20 PM george: totally is.

 me: all that bullshit about freedom

  from the same guys who throw children off cliffs?

  that whole movie is founded on lies!

  ha ha ha

5:21 PM george: it’s more over the top than a movie about a truck driving arm wrestler trying to reconnect with his preppy son

  Exactly!


5 minutes

5:26 PM george: My takeaway from 300 was: the Spartans were a bunch of macho idiots, and its fun to watch them attempt not to die.

 me: but all the posturing was not jokey

5:27 PM glad to know you took it that way

  and enjoyed it

  i prefer my tone to be a little more obviously funny like Starship Troopers

  you’re just making something out of a bad movie

 george: well there are plenty of people who don’t think of starship troopers as obviously funny

5:28 PM any characters that takes themselves as seriously as the characters in 300 do are begging to be laughed at.

starship troopers poster5:31 PM me: those people aren’t thinking about all the Nazi imagery and 90210 lookalikes and absurdities like black dudes whipping white guys and men/women showering together

5:32 PM in other words, they’re not thinking

 george: yep

  and 300 goes through GREAT pains to look like a live action comic book

 me: i did laugh at 300, but the filmmaker was not in on the joke.

  comic books are not inherently funny

 george: sure they are!

5:33 PM they don’t have to be

 me: excuses excuses

 george: but Sin City and 300 are both aware of how absurd they are, in my opinion

  and they embrace it

5:34 PM me: don’t even lump sin city in with 300

  that’s poor

 george: oh, they’re SOOOO birds of a feather

 me: no they are not

  in visual style ONLY

 george: It’s The Spirit that’s off the rails

5:35 PM Mainly because Miller took himself more seriously than anyone else does

 me: my only defense of The Spirit is that it has a winking sense of humor

 george: See, and that’s what I see in 300

 me: and I dig how loose it is

the spirit posters girls5:36 PM How can I say this in a Zack Snyder-like tone?

  300 is not meant to be funny

  and the people who love it are as dead serious as the movie is

  it’s a bore

  it’s a chore

5:37 PM and other things that rhyme, like whore

 george: i’m SURE there are people who take 300 as seriously as I once took Commando and Predator

 me: yes there are

 george: But I love them all now as an adult for the same reasons

 me: mention its homoerotic qualities and they fly off the handle!

5:38 PM george: over the top macho excess and action.

  and embraces the ridiculousness of itself

5:40 PM me: the only thing the men in 300 should be embracing are each other

5:42 PM george: deleted scenes!

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Trey June 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Eric,

I am in full agreement with you, except that Sin City sucked also.

The answer to why all of these comic book movies fail is that they use the comic books like storyboards, which of course they aren’t. The outcome this produces is a motion comic and not a movie. Movies have different strengths and weaknesses. To ignore them dooms the project to failure.

Reply

2 Trey June 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Eric,

I am in full agreement with you, except that Sin City sucked also.

The answer to why all of these comic book movies fail is that they use the comic books like storyboards, which of course they aren’t. The outcome this produces is a motion comic and not a movie. Movies have different strengths and weaknesses. To ignore them dooms the project to failure.

Reply

3 Trey June 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Eric,

I am in full agreement with you, except that Sin City sucked also.

The answer to why all of these comic book movies fail is that they use the comic books like storyboards, which of course they aren’t. The outcome this produces is a motion comic and not a movie. Movies have different strengths and weaknesses. To ignore them dooms the project to failure.

Reply

4 Eric Melin June 23, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Agreed on the concept, but I think the key is in the execution, and Sin City had a kinetic quality that made it very cinematic. Plus the dialogue, acting style, and visual style all served a common purpose rather than fighting each other as they do in “Watchmen.”

Reply

5 Eric Melin June 23, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Agreed on the concept, but I think the key is in the execution, and Sin City had a kinetic quality that made it very cinematic. Plus the dialogue, acting style, and visual style all served a common purpose rather than fighting each other as they do in “Watchmen.”

Reply

6 Eric Melin June 23, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Agreed on the concept, but I think the key is in the execution, and Sin City had a kinetic quality that made it very cinematic. Plus the dialogue, acting style, and visual style all served a common purpose rather than fighting each other as they do in “Watchmen.”

Reply

7 Tim June 23, 2010 at 9:10 pm

I’m with George on “300.” But with “Watchmen” I lean more in your direction. Style won out, but one of the main points of the book was to take away the slickness and style and present these characters in flawed, true, real ways. And while it may be true to the book, what works on the page in ink does not always work on the screen in flesh and blood. Oh, and Zack Snyder is pretty damn awesome. “Dawn of the Dead” and “300″ are both great flicks.

Reply

8 Tim June 23, 2010 at 9:10 pm

I’m with George on “300.” But with “Watchmen” I lean more in your direction. Style won out, but one of the main points of the book was to take away the slickness and style and present these characters in flawed, true, real ways. And while it may be true to the book, what works on the page in ink does not always work on the screen in flesh and blood. Oh, and Zack Snyder is pretty damn awesome. “Dawn of the Dead” and “300″ are both great flicks.

Reply

9 Tim June 23, 2010 at 9:10 pm

I’m with George on “300.” But with “Watchmen” I lean more in your direction. Style won out, but one of the main points of the book was to take away the slickness and style and present these characters in flawed, true, real ways. And while it may be true to the book, what works on the page in ink does not always work on the screen in flesh and blood. Oh, and Zack Snyder is pretty damn awesome. “Dawn of the Dead” and “300″ are both great flicks.

Reply

10 Eric June 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm

dawn of the dead: zombie baby!

Reply

11 Eric June 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm

dawn of the dead: zombie baby!

Reply

12 Eric June 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm

dawn of the dead: zombie baby!

Reply

13 Tim June 23, 2010 at 10:15 pm

It’s Alive: also zombie baby! It’s Alive sequels: many zombie babies!

Reply

14 Tim June 23, 2010 at 10:15 pm

It’s Alive: also zombie baby! It’s Alive sequels: many zombie babies!

Reply

15 Tim June 23, 2010 at 10:15 pm

It’s Alive: also zombie baby! It’s Alive sequels: many zombie babies!

Reply

16 George Hickman June 23, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Don’t forget the Dead Alive zombie baby! And really should write that top ten about “Watchmen” because I do have a lot to say about it and how much of a missed opportunity it was, while also being an enjoyable flick regardless.

Reply

17 George Hickman June 23, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Don’t forget the Dead Alive zombie baby! And really should write that top ten about “Watchmen” because I do have a lot to say about it and how much of a missed opportunity it was, while also being an enjoyable flick regardless.

Reply

18 George Hickman June 23, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Don’t forget the Dead Alive zombie baby! And really should write that top ten about “Watchmen” because I do have a lot to say about it and how much of a missed opportunity it was, while also being an enjoyable flick regardless.

Reply

19 Michael Bird June 23, 2010 at 10:18 pm

300 …lbs of crap. The violence was beyond Shoot ‘em Up parody. It was a film built on the premise of eight years of George W. Bush-style cowboy diplomacy (with an appropriately imbalanced view of the enemy no less). I might have been able to laugh at it at the end of Clinton’s term, but not W., and I don’t think they were going for laughter to … See Morebegin with. That much self-righteousness literally had me rooting for the Persians. Not after the fact but during the movie — I literally cheered for them during the film.

Watchmen was good, but slow. In a long graphic novel, you expect it. Was never meant to be a film and never should have become one. Again, against the creator’s wishes. To say nothing of the fact that the film sidestepped the media-commenting-on-itself format, which the film was fundamentally incapable of doing. It couldn’t even reference it from a distance.

Sin City worked well for the internally-serialized format. Would have failed (will fail) as a franchise. A good one-off and that’s that. Which leads us to…

The Spirit was a crap book that became a crap film. Never should have been green-lit.

Reply

20 Michael Bird June 23, 2010 at 10:18 pm

300 …lbs of crap. The violence was beyond Shoot ‘em Up parody. It was a film built on the premise of eight years of George W. Bush-style cowboy diplomacy (with an appropriately imbalanced view of the enemy no less). I might have been able to laugh at it at the end of Clinton’s term, but not W., and I don’t think they were going for laughter to … See Morebegin with. That much self-righteousness literally had me rooting for the Persians. Not after the fact but during the movie — I literally cheered for them during the film.

Watchmen was good, but slow. In a long graphic novel, you expect it. Was never meant to be a film and never should have become one. Again, against the creator’s wishes. To say nothing of the fact that the film sidestepped the media-commenting-on-itself format, which the film was fundamentally incapable of doing. It couldn’t even reference it from a distance.

Sin City worked well for the internally-serialized format. Would have failed (will fail) as a franchise. A good one-off and that’s that. Which leads us to…

The Spirit was a crap book that became a crap film. Never should have been green-lit.

Reply

21 Michael Bird June 23, 2010 at 10:18 pm

300 …lbs of crap. The violence was beyond Shoot ‘em Up parody. It was a film built on the premise of eight years of George W. Bush-style cowboy diplomacy (with an appropriately imbalanced view of the enemy no less). I might have been able to laugh at it at the end of Clinton’s term, but not W., and I don’t think they were going for laughter to … See Morebegin with. That much self-righteousness literally had me rooting for the Persians. Not after the fact but during the movie — I literally cheered for them during the film.

Watchmen was good, but slow. In a long graphic novel, you expect it. Was never meant to be a film and never should have become one. Again, against the creator’s wishes. To say nothing of the fact that the film sidestepped the media-commenting-on-itself format, which the film was fundamentally incapable of doing. It couldn’t even reference it from a distance.

Sin City worked well for the internally-serialized format. Would have failed (will fail) as a franchise. A good one-off and that’s that. Which leads us to…

The Spirit was a crap book that became a crap film. Never should have been green-lit.

Reply

22 Tim June 23, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I think “Watchmen” attempted to go the meta commenting on media route by referencing superhero movies, but it just wasn’t sharp or strong enough. If anything, I thought it actually wasn’t slow enough. They cut out all the sidestories and details that filled the world of the novel up, leaving just the basic murder mystery plot. So a lot of the … See Moreparallel stories/commentary/symbolism was lost. What you got was just a slightly more adult superhero movie, as opposed to the social opus that it should have been. I enjoyed it in the moment, but the more I thought about the movie afterwards, the less I liked it. It ultimately wasn’t terrible, but it was a HUGE missed opportunity.

And Dead Alive had one of the greatest lines ever: “I kick ass for the lord!”

Reply

23 Tim June 23, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I think “Watchmen” attempted to go the meta commenting on media route by referencing superhero movies, but it just wasn’t sharp or strong enough. If anything, I thought it actually wasn’t slow enough. They cut out all the sidestories and details that filled the world of the novel up, leaving just the basic murder mystery plot. So a lot of the … See Moreparallel stories/commentary/symbolism was lost. What you got was just a slightly more adult superhero movie, as opposed to the social opus that it should have been. I enjoyed it in the moment, but the more I thought about the movie afterwards, the less I liked it. It ultimately wasn’t terrible, but it was a HUGE missed opportunity.

And Dead Alive had one of the greatest lines ever: “I kick ass for the lord!”

Reply

24 Tim June 23, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I think “Watchmen” attempted to go the meta commenting on media route by referencing superhero movies, but it just wasn’t sharp or strong enough. If anything, I thought it actually wasn’t slow enough. They cut out all the sidestories and details that filled the world of the novel up, leaving just the basic murder mystery plot. So a lot of the … See Moreparallel stories/commentary/symbolism was lost. What you got was just a slightly more adult superhero movie, as opposed to the social opus that it should have been. I enjoyed it in the moment, but the more I thought about the movie afterwards, the less I liked it. It ultimately wasn’t terrible, but it was a HUGE missed opportunity.

And Dead Alive had one of the greatest lines ever: “I kick ass for the lord!”

Reply

25 Eric Melin June 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm

agreed on the huge missed opportunity; it should have been an HBO miniseries!!!

Michael- 100% agree with you one the social context of 300–well put!

Reply

26 Eric Melin June 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm

agreed on the huge missed opportunity; it should have been an HBO miniseries!!!

Michael- 100% agree with you one the social context of 300–well put!

Reply

27 Eric Melin June 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm

agreed on the huge missed opportunity; it should have been an HBO miniseries!!!

Michael- 100% agree with you one the social context of 300–well put!

Reply

28 Eric Melin June 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm

agreed on the huge missed opportunity; it should have been an HBO miniseries!!!

Michael- 100% agree with you on the social context of 300–well put!

Reply

29 Eric Melin June 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm

agreed on the huge missed opportunity; it should have been an HBO miniseries!!!

Michael- 100% agree with you on the social context of 300–well put!

Reply

30 Eric Melin June 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm

agreed on the huge missed opportunity; it should have been an HBO miniseries!!!

Michael- 100% agree with you on the social context of 300–well put!

Reply

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