Watchmen Review A-
After years of people saying the Watchmen is unfilmable, the movie is finally hereÖ and itís actually pretty good.
I should qualify with a statement as to where Iím coming from. I recently read the Alan Moore book, so Iím familiar enough with the source material without feeling weighed down by twenty years of expectations about what a Watchmen movie should look like. I think Zack Snyder did incredibly well, given the bloatedness of the graphic novel. Letís face it, the graphic novel is a massive 400 pages long, and thereís a lot that they werenít able to be put into the two and a half hour movie. Even so, the spirit of the graphic novel was definitely there.
Certainly, there were scenes that have been changed, namely, the controversial ending. Iím still unsure how I feel about the ending. Firstly, Iím not sure why Dr Manhattanís global attacks should make the world sing koom-by-ya given that when Dr. Manhattanís existence was announced, it was announced with the follow up statement ďAnd heís American!Ē Secondly, the ending felt just slightly rushed. Veidtís character will likely suffer. If youíve never read the book, itís easy to see him as a super villain and profiteer and not see the ďgoodĒ that he was trying to do. Iím hoping that some of that may be restored in the directorís cut though. Another scene that I very much hope to see in the directorís cut is Hollis Masonís murder by the Knot-Tops. That was a very stirring scene for me which seemed to show just how crazy things are for the characters.
The cast does an amazing job. Unlike most superhero movies that cast big name actors Snyder wisely cast actors that while you may recognize them from elsewhere, you wonít be sitting there thinking ďah well thatís Halle Berry playing Storm.Ē And if youíre a fan of the book, well, youíll be shocked at just how much these characters look and embody the characters of the graphic novel. One thing I felt with the book was that the characters were difficult to relate to, especially with so many other themes striving for dominance. Not so in this version. Even the Comedian, a fairly deplorable character, shows some humanity as portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Billy Crudup did an amazing job considering he was pretty much entirely a motion capture character. And thereís no doubt about it, Jackie Earle Haley is Rorschach. Perhaps the weakest link in the cast would be Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt, who aside from having a slightly odd and distracting accent in parts, just seems a little creepy. Even if I hadnít already read the book, it still wouldíve been an easy bet that he was involved.
For those interested, the movie also comes with a pretty fun soundtrack. My only problem would be that at times the music seemed a tad too intrusive. It needed to be more in the background. The FX in this movie are pretty masterful. Truly if there were a right time to make this movie, now would be it. Clearly Snyder worships Alan Mooreís masterpiece and this can be seen in every frame. Fans of the graphic novel will definitely enjoy seeing literally panels and panels of Dave Gibbons work come to life in detail. Itís a shame then that so much back story had to be left out. Which is another thing that Iím hoping will be restored in a longer version. Pay close attention to the opening sequence which is where a great deal of back story will appear as well as some shots that were never in the comic. And by the way, if you missed the Tales of the Black Freighter and Under the Hood storylines, they're being released as a separate DVD with Gerard Butler doing the voice over.
Overall, Iíd say I liked this movie a lot better than I thought I would. And though Alan Moore will probably never watch this movie, if there were ever any movies of his work that he should watch, this should be it.
Return from Watchmen Review to Film