Watchmen = PERFECT (a slightly spoilery review)
March 6, 2009

I saw the Watchmen at midnight. (all the agents…)

I had seen all the trailers and videos, I had read several articles and interviews. I thought the movie would hold no surprises for me. But what surprised me was how well the "unfilmable movie" was made.


This movie is a love letter to the source material and anyone who has enjoyed the comic should go and see it RIGHT AWAY. The level of detail in this film is amazing and will hold up over several viewings. There are bits of "business" that I thought might not be in the movie and yet they showed up – sometimes in the form of an unfinished line of dialogue or a small action by the character. (for example, look at the folders on Viedt’s computer that reference a "throw away" line of Rorscharch’s from the comic)

The first three books of the comic are FIERCELY reinacted down to the cover images – it was breathtaking to see something that have lived on the page with me for so long come so accurately to life. The story "changes" (more like scene changes in some cases) are logical ones – they either force the intensity of a scene or tie something up neater as they don’t have the luxury of time and space that the original comic did.

 

All the things the fan-based critics were worried about (Nite-Owl’s costume, the "SQUID") didn’t bother me once I saw them in action (a phenomena that echoed what happened to me on "Dark Knight") – in fact I thought I was amazed at how little the removal of the squid didn’t affect the ending of the movie. The characters reactions were still in character and there’s really only one change to "tweak" the ending that makes a character look more noble then they end up in the book.

There are a few nit-picks – such as the "Dawn of the Dead" level of violence – which I chalk up to the "maturity" of modern audiences – one act of violence in particular struck me as odd and out of character but as it was a precursor to another act late in the film, I could understand the necessity to make it clear to the audience that this character would kill if it were necessary.

The acting was very well cast and performed – there were moments where I would have liked to see a little further emotion
(or a little more deadening in Rorsharch’s case) from the actors but it didn’t ruin the film for me.

My only concern is that Watchmen is so accurate to the source material and so well done that it will have the same affect it did on
comic books back in the late 80′s – create tons of poorly executed knock-offs that will start a "dark age" of comic book movies.

Even if you’re not a fanboy, go see it. It is breathtaking.

 

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Scott Rogers
Soctt "Boneyard" Rogers has been collecting toys, making custom action figures and reading comic books since before many of you were a twinkle in yore daddy's eye. Needless to say, he knows a fair bit about all of this stuff and definitely has some opinions about it. He also makes video games when he's not looking for toys, making custom action figures and reading comics books.
Read other articles by Scott Rogers.

 

 

 

9 Comments »

  • ZAXILLA2 says:

    I’m seeing this movie in about four hours! I cannot wait. I love the GN and have had my eye on this for sometime. One thing, your review is cut off on the right side of the column. at least on my screen…

  • Bill says:

    It’s not doing well on RT (63%), but I’m still very excited about this movie. I wonder if it is too much of a love letter to the comic, so much so that the average audience member who hasn’t read the book will be totally lost. I hope not.

    • Hourman says:

      When adapting a book into a movie, there’s always a tension between staying true enough tot he source material so that it retains its meaning and value, and compromising on things that will allow it to translate into the medium of film. The danger of the latter is that you compromise so much that the source material looses its bite. A property like “Watchman”, while obviously highly esteemed by a great many people, is not going to appeal to everybody – or at least not in any form that retains a resemblence to the book. Its dark, its gritty, its brutal both in its violence and its truth, and those things are not going to appeal to everybody. Or, alternatively, you could water down those elements so as to make the film version more appealing to the mainstream, but you have to ask if at that point its still “Watchmen”? I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it sounds like Snyder stayed pretty close to the source. If people don’t like or get that, that’s too bad. And if that means the film flops or underperforms, it will certainly bode badly for future comics-to-film translations that try to stay similarly close to their origins. But if I had to choose between an unsuccessful film version that captured the essence of the graphic novel, or a huge hit that gutted the heart of the work, I know which one I’d rather live with.

  • Danny CantinaDan says:

    I was blown away. My wife (not a lover of geek culture) liked it and was, at times, moved by the story. I could give a flying flip what the haters have to say. In my opinion, that was an exceptional movie adaptation.

  • Just a nod to the guy who loaned me a copy of Watchmen back in college, and got me excited about it waaay back then. Be seeing the film this week if I can. Thanks Scott!

    (-Shawn)

  • Stewbacca says:

    Saw this with my wife this weekend– she and I were both impressed with the visuals — very nice, but it had the same effect on me watching it as it did reading it— absolutely nothing– boring predictable story that wants to be deeper than it is– I still dont get why everyone calls this the pinnacle of storytelling and such an opus. Granted, that was how I went in to see, and wondering if the moving form would change for me– and all I found was about 1:30 into the movie- thinking in my head we are only that far into the comic now and wondering when it was going to be over– it was just too long.. Im guessing this is a love it or leave it movie– and I was just as non plussed as when I left 300– okay, nothing great and Ill probably never watch it again (well maybe fast foward through to the fight scenes –just like 300). And watching the Mars scene was just as painful as it was reading it the first time…and just to make everyone understand- I followed all the messages and subtex and understood all the metaphysical stuff, and this might have been the most amazing creation ever in the ’80s– but it just doesnt stand the test of time.

    And just to put an unjaded sanity check on this, my wife who had no prior ideas about this– said the same thing- pretty movie– but long boring and pretty much left you with a so what feeling at the end.. and enough with Dr. Manhattans junk already…

    Yes almost a perfect visual interpertation of the comic– but since I felt the story in the comic was Meh, the movie just followed suit..

  • I think “breathtaking” is a perfect adjective to describe the film. I was every bit as blown away as I was hoping to be.

  • Its says:

    Just saw it today and was blown away by Rosharch. Matter of fact, he was the best part of the movie and Manhattan’s philosophisizing was a close second. Those we’re the two things that struck me as the most significant anyway.

    I honestly didn’t understand the fight scenes with Laurie and Nightowl. Not to mention the over abundance of screen time given to Laurie and her mangled relationships/lack of maturity.

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