I was driving home the other day, listening to my iPod, when Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" came on. I am a fan of most of Dylan's work, but his protest songs are among my favorites. Usually I just think of pictures and videos from the 1960s and 1970s when I hear this song, but this time was different. I immediately thought of the opening credits of Watchmen, which employed the song. And it made me realize that, back when I was making my list of the best scenes of 2009, I had left this one off.
I know that most people's reaction to Watchmen was that it was an overblown, too-faithful adaptation of the seminal graphic novel. However, I thought it was a brilliant film, not just visually but thematically as well; it was a big-budget rumination on vigilantism and its effects on the human psyche (because lets face it, it was becoming a "superhero" that really drove Rorschach to (or past?) the brink of insanity). And this scene was a perfect summation of the alternate history in the world in which the Watchmen reside: its gritty, political, and devastating all at once. It's put together fantastically by Zack Snyder, whom I still feel is perhaps one of the most visually-creative directors working in Hollywood today (he lived up to the promise that Kerry Conran didn't with Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, another movie I loved more than most). Snyder's blend of mixing documentary footage, staged recreations of famous images, and the tales of the vigilantes that were the Minutemen (later the Watchmen) make for a compelling scene, but of course, it's Dylan's ode to changing times that really holds it together. You can see the scene for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceKIN272dmQ&feature=related
One of my personal favorite images from the opening credits.
On a semi-related note: I was reading a post about Toy Story 3 over at The Film Experience blog (http://filmexperience.blogspot.com/2010/04/we-cant-wait-6-toy-story-3.html) and, in thinking about the above, is it just me or does Pixar tend to use music more devastatingly than most movies? I'm thinking of two in particular: the "When She Loved Me" scene in Toy Story 2 when Jessie's owner grows up, and the "Married Life" scene in Up that I've raved about many a time before. I'm sure there are other examples that I'm not thinking of, but if there was ever a perfect blend of emotion, music, and film, those are prime examples.
I promise to write that Rescue Me post soon. I may write some more about Lost too, now that the best show on television (my opinion) is in its final stretch. I need to get out to the movies again, too, hopefully this weekend with Date Night and Kick-Ass, though other recommendations are welcome. As are comments, of course.