Watchmen – Part One (Desolation Row)

I’m about 4 hours away from seeing Watchmen and I can barely contain my excitement! I’m about to flick through my copy of the graphic novel real quick before I go and watch it so that I am well reminded in exactly what goes on at each point, so I will be able to make informed comparisons afterwards. But, before I did that, I wanted to mention something very quickly, mostly so that I don’t go off on a tangent about it in my review of the film, because its a pretty big tangent!

It’s mostly about My Chemical Romance‘s cover of the Bob Dylan song Desolation Row that’s used in the film. A lot of people have been turned off from this, and I can’t really understand why. I’d like to make it clear to start with, I’m not one of these massive fans of the band. I only own one of their albums (Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, the album that made them famous), and I appreciate what they as a band offer, but I definitely don’t think they’re the greatest band to ever exist. But, on the same front, I can’t understand why people are bitching so much about them making a song for this film. Well, if I can borrow your ears for a short while, I believe I can clear the whole thing up for you.

Whilst it’s true that My Chemical Romance are very much associated with a youth culture, that does not make them a “teen” band. They’re currently judged by what people have heard about them, and are automatically written of as being “emo”. In defense of the band, their earlier work was very much more modern punk oriented. Which brings me to the main reason that they were chosen to do the song.

Anyone that has read the original graphic novel will know its set in an alternate version of 1985, and as many people will know, Punk was a very strong movement at the time and as such is included in the graphic novel to the extent of being part of the narrative. Now, whilst the original Desolation Row is a great song (the lyrics also being part of the narrative of the graphic novel) and Bob Dylan is a great artist, it was also an 11 minute long song that had a “punk” edge in the lyrics and less so in the music. And lets face it, who wants an 11 minute long song for their film credits when the film itself is a;ready 2 3/4 hours long! As such, My Chemical Romance‘s cover actually fits very nicely into the whole subject matter of the film.

Now, I hear you ask, “Why My Chemical Romance? Why not a different punk band?”. Well, what many people may not know is that the singer Gerard Way is also famous for writing the series of graphic novels The Umbrella Academy, the first series of which won the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Finite/Limited Series. As such, the producers of the film decided to have a band that understood and had prior knowledge of the graphic novel, and could do it justice with their sound. As such, My Chemical Romance were chosen, not for their youth appeal but for their music and knowledge of the film.

Anyway, you can see now why I didn’t want to include this in my run down of the film! So I’ll let you get back to what you were doing, and you’ll probably hear from me again very soon!

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