Thursday, March 26, 2009

Some Watchmen / Rorschach thoughts

I still haven't had a chance to see the film, but I've been reading the novel for a second time and just has some thoughts I'd like to share.

Rorschach is such a brilliant and amazing character, and really the heart of the story. And I love that he's a right-wing ideologue, and that the author of the story is about as nutty left as you can get, and although the portrayal of the character isn't favorable, it isn't complete disdain that the author has for the character either. Which is admirable.

The defining moment in the novel for me is when, after Veidt has revealed his plan, the 'camera' so-to-speak, zooms past every other character's reaction to the plan, with Rorschach in the center of the frame in the background getting closer, and then his subsequent reaction. Within the context of the story, and being aware of the author's philosophical and political leanings, this seems to be a shot at the Rand-ian ideology that Rorschach represents. And yet as a reader, you seem to identify more with Rorschach and sympathize more with his motivations. At least I did. Despite the fact that he would rather see the world literally destroy itself, and every human on Earth die, than let peace be built upon a lie. This is a character who puts principal and truth over the importance of life itself. That was the moment I knew this novel was a great piece of art because I can look at this moment which is supposed to be critical of this character, and how his 'black and white' ideology doesn't conform to the real world, and I can take something else entirely away from it. Exactly the opposite of what I believe the author intended.

But then the character is named Rorschach for a reason. That is; I suspect Moore knows that when you view this character and his motivations, how you interpret them largely depends on who you are and what you believe to begin with. A la a Rorschach test.

Also, as a footnote, I haven't seen the film, but I'm curious to see if Snyder included any dialogue that mentions what a big fan of Harry Truman Rorschach is. That mostly shows up in the non-panel supplemental materials in the novel, so unless Snyder shoehorned it in somehow, I'm guessing it's not in the film. But I always found that interesting, that Rorschach defended Truman for 'killing thousands to save millions' (and doing so openly), but yet opposes Veidt who 'killed millions to save billions' (but did so deceptively). Which again I believe was meant to show the hypocrisy / duality of the character, but doesn't really.
Anyway, read the graphic novel. Phenomenal stuff.

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