Thursday, March 19, 2009

watchmen movie

I'm in Berlin. Yesterday I went to the Sony Centre and watched an english version of "Watchmen".

Some people will say that I should take advantage of Berlin to do Berlin-specific things instead of watching movies. My travel theory is that you should do whatever you feel like at each moment, without constraints. Unfortunately I have found almost no one who shares this philosophy.

Anyway, I was shocked at how violent the movie is. I cannot believe the amount of gory limb-hacking and head-axing that is permitted in R-rated movies now!

I was confused by one part of the movie plot.


I don't understand why Dr. Manhattan changes his mind on Mars. He's already seen the future and told Lori, "Our conversation will end with you in tears, but there is nothing for me on Earth." Then it happens, and he suddenly changes his mind.

Is it just because the actual event (seeing her in tears) is more impactful than when he read the future? That part did not make sense to me.


Matthew said...

Some Watchmen nerds consider Jon's change of heart on Mars an indictment of his Newtonian/fatalistic view of time.

Personally I think Moore just wrote it that way to keep the suspense.

The bit about how humans are thermodynamic miracles is kind of crap too. I mean, let's say there are 200 million sperm in a given ejaculate. That's all? Come on! Two hundred million to one is not long odds, in the quantum world view.

writer said...

Kimberly shares that philosophy. I'm agnostic to it (which more or less means that our vacations also end up being "let's do whatever suits our fancy" type of trips).

I've been the location in your photos. That's like the newest and most culturally shallow part of Berlin, right? Like near all the law firms?

According to my reading of the comic, Dr. Manhattan foreshadows that he will change his mind earlier in the book. So the "surprise" is also pre-ordained. The novelty of this (that prescience is limiting, rather than helpful) is explored in greater detail if you've ever read Dune Messiah or Children of Dune.

Niniane said...


It is a new complex, but I'm not sure if it's near law firms. I took the subway there and back directly.

Just because the surprise is preordained does not explain why it happens. Is it due to the unexpected pain of seeing his girl sad? That's the only thing I can think of.

ArC said...

It's a bit better explained in the book. BTW, Matthew, the idea of humans being thermodynamic miracles isn't just about which particular sperm makes it to the egg, but who even couples in the first place. Dr Manhattan's interest in human life is re-kindled by the fact of the extremely unlikely identity of Laurie's father.

I would strongly recommend reading the book; the sequence where Laurie realizes who her father is is much more compelling than it was in the movie.

As well, Manhattan's prescience is partially jammed due to all the tachyons Veidt's been pumping out, so he may not have known why Laurie would be in tears at the end of their conversation.

Also, yes, the movie was somewhat gorier than the book.

ArC said...

BTW, in 2003 on a vacation to NYC, I watched the 3rd Matrix movie.

Niniane said...

Ok, your support has allowed me to confess that I actually watched two movies yesterday. The first one was "The Reader". I did nothing yesterday in Berlin except watch movies and write code.

ArC said...

I hope you at least ate the local food.

Anonymous said...

How do you write your code, Niniane? What kind of computer do you use? What OS? Programming languages? Editor? Where is the code?

Dog of Justice said...

I also subscribe to your travel theory. But as a result, I don't travel much since most of what I want to do doesn't require it...

Rene said...

I just watched the movie while I was in Manila, and if I saw it right, you have to be only 13 to watch it there (not sure about other countries)

Michael Ashbridge said...

I was in Berlin last summer and stumbled across Europe's best mojito. It's at a makeshift open-air bar just across the Spree from the Bode Museum:,13.395005&sll=52.522606,13.394995&sspn=0.008173,0.016308&ie=UTF8&z=16&iwloc=addr

(Ignore the satellite view. The construction is complete and you can walk from museum island across the Mon Bijou bridge to the north side of the river.)

Pro tip: take your glasses back to the bar and they'll give you €2 off the next round. :-)

s said...

Your travel theory works well when one has enough disposable income to take one's time or revisit faraway places. If one had to save up for a long time to afford this kind of trip, I'd expect somewhat different behavior. In particular, one might spend a lot of pre-travel time precisely scheduling one's day in an effort to maximize exposure to "things not found at home," and stick to that schedule relatively faithfully. Naturally, there are people with limited means who subscribe to your philosophy, but I expect that they end up not traveling much at all. In economics terms, money doesn't necessarily translate to happiness, but it makes local optimization easier because of lower expected regret.

These behavior distinctions would be less wealth-dependent if travel experiences were either much cheaper or highly fungible, e.g., if one could get arbitrary partial impressions of what it is like to be in Munich for a day without necessarily being transported across an ocean. Blog posts with pictures (such as some of your recent ones, which I really liked) and online videos make a decent compromise in this direction, at least with technology in its current state. It would be nice if we had more, like some mechanism for foreign cultural immersion at home that didn't involve cumbersome methods such as VR, or making lots of friends from foreign countries and inviting them over.

Jake said...

I had the same experience a long time back while I was in London. One afternoon I was walking around Piccadilly Circus when I spotted that they were showing Masamune Shirow's Ghost In The Shell.

For some reason I was compelled to spend the next two hours in the cinema rather than continuing to explore the city.

ArC said...


Sylvain said...

I've had so many awkward conversations around how I've been traveling to places and not seen or done 'the' obvious local attraction. I can't get myself to do sight seeing, instead I'll do regular things like going to a coffee shop, shopping, movies or simply walk around endlessly in non crowded areas. At my pace it would take 3 months to see what others see or do in 3 to 5 days, which may explain why I just relocated to a different country for the 3rd time.

On this thought I'm going to build a list of the 20 or so countries and many cities I've visited together with landmarks I did *not* see :-)

Past Expiry said...

Check out this cartoon about the Watchmen movie!
*CARTOON*Feel free to post on your blog or "tweet"

PS: blog owner is gorgeous :-)

sanjuro said...

Oooh, I haven't been here for a while but I remember you wrote about Watchmen. I just finished watching the movie so finally I could read the spoiler and now, post a comment:

Dr. Manhattan can only see the future that concerns him, so I presume he couldn't tell what made her cry. Because the important thing here, what made him change his mind, was not the fact Laurie cried but what she refused to face, that her father was this awful man, The Comedian, who had tried to rape his mother.

He changed his mind because that made him realize he was wrong, that humanity wasn't all ugly and doomed, that miracles could happen, such as her, sweet and beautiful, born from such a pitiful union.