Thursday, March 12, 2009

Of Wagner and Watchmen

Having seen criticism, implicit and less so, of Zack Snyder's use of Wagner's overture to act 3 of Die Walküre in Watchmen, I think it's necessary to point something out:

Alan Moore uses it in the book. True story.

In the end-of-chapter text for Chapter 1, "At midnight, all the agents...," Hollis Mason's Under The Hood (pp. 27-32) recites the origin story of that character – who became the first Nite Owl. That story involves the Walkürenritt, but in a sad, ironic context. I won't spoil the book, but I assure you that there is as much distance between the Watchmen use and Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now as there is between Moscow and the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Snyder, then, had an opportunity to be clever and give hard-core Watchmen fans something about which they can smile. He, instead, chose to give a "homage" to Apocalypse Now and, in the process, adding an absent and contradictory meaning to Moore's already near-perfect book. From Hell is Moore's perfect book, but that's another post.

Tom Service is highly wrong about everything in that quoted passage, though. About Wagner. About the Valkyries. About Watchmen. He also seems dangerously impervious to irony. Indeed, thinking about this makes Snyder's choice even more perverse – it's funny to talk about a piece of music showing bloodlust when a theme of Watchmen is Dr. Manhattan's disconnection from humanity and emotion.

Onions all 'round.

5 Comments:

At 10:57 PM, Blogger Michael said...

From Hell is indeed Mr. Moore's perfect book. I'm still bitter about the excisement of the killer's visions of the future sterile office buildings in the movie form, but compared to what else movies have done to Mr. Moore's work, it seems a pale complaint.


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