Sunday, March 8, 2009

Watchmen (Apologies to Alan Moore, but I loved it)

I saw the movie version of Watchmen on Friday night (of course I need to go on opening night) after a great dinner with my beautiful girlfriend. And as I believe most people should read this book just so they can understand that comic books can also have depth and not just be about Superhero chases around costumed Super Villain, there will be many spoilerish type of things mentioned in this review.

So let's just get this out of the way, I thought the movie was fantastic. It was in as much of the spirit as a comic book (not graphic novel people! Stop trying to make it sound 'important' with semantics) adaptation could be to its source. I never read Sin City, so I can't speak about that, but I have read Watchmen at least 12 times over the past 12 years, so I can consider myself an amateur expert and I can say it was at times a perfect recreation of the book.
In more detail, I will go over what I thought how each character was done and perceived in no order except how I come up with each character:
-Dr. Manhattan - Almost perfect. Billy Crudup had the detached almost scientific approach to the character down pat. Inhumanly virtually omniscient, and I thought he was great. The effects used to create him were perfect. Stand out moments for me: the introduction of the character when he was HUGE working on that machine, the sex scene, the flashback to his origin, getting dressed for the Ted Koppel interview, and on Mars. I felt it was great how they introduced his ability to see all times at once early in the story a smart move and am glad they did it that way even though it changed a few things. Just over all, very well done, and for the people that were in my theater that laughed at his blue junk almost every time...that's just ridiculous.
- Rorschach - Almost perfect. His origin scene was my favorite of the movie. Of course they cut out the psychiatrist's back story which I liked in the book, but Jackie Earle Haley was perfect. Almost born for the role. My only problem of his entire arc was him chasing after the Big Figure in costume instead of in his prison uniform.
- The Comedian - Such a likable asshole! He is not in the story much, but he brings the story together and Jeffery Dean Morgan played him to perfection. They did not cut back on any of his horribleness and seeing the fight scenes (which were all done so well) in real time and seeing how bad-ass these characters are as fighters made you appreciate how great the Comedian must have been in order to survive for so long doing what he did. On top of that, there was the sick scene with Silk Spectre I that was violently brilliant (and while I'm here I will say I loved Hooded Justice looking like he walked out of the page of the comic even more than anyone.
- Nite Owl - I loved him. He is the heart of the story anyway as the sad, bored retired super hero that you realize halfway through how great he is at being a super hero and he really doesn't know how to do anything else. Patrick Wilson always seems to do very quite, good work like he did in Little Children (did him and Jackie Earle go on audition together?) and the frightening Hard Candy. He made Nite Owl come off the page into the screen.
- Silk Spectre II - All I can really say is meh. She wasn't bad, but this girl cannot act. She's pretty and looks good in latex, but acting does not seem to be her strong suit. That said, she had to play the probably the least complex role of Silk Spectre II, and she was OK in it. Her big reveal about her connection to the Comedian and such did not feel like such a huge revalation because of her flat acting, but that hardly ruined the movie for me.
- Silk Spectre I - Why couldn't Carla Gugino play Silk Spectre II instead? She was great as the mother, but she's beautiful and can act better than Malin Akerman. She always seems to be solid in everything she's in from Son-In-Law to Sin City.
- Ozymandias - I don't know who this Matthew Goode actor is that played Ozymandias, but I felt like he was the worst actor of the bunch. He had one of the hardest roles to play mankind's savior/villain/smartest man alive/everything else and I didn't believe him. It may have been mostly due to his her-now, gone-later accent. It sounded Germanish when I always saw Ozymandias as being as American as apple pie/hometown boy made good. On top of that it always seemed to come and go which annoyed me. He pulled the action scenes off amazingly, but he took me out of the movie at times with his wooden acting (which was actually kind of ok for the role) but the accent bothered me.
- Zack Snyder - Great direction. He put the impossible to film comic book onto filmand impressed me doing so. It was gorgeous to look at, and he made the complex story easy to follow (for me, but I've read it many times. I will have to speak with other people to see if they felt the same way.) My only real problem was a lot of the make-up used to make people look old didn't work for me. That is such a slight complaint that it's hardly worth bringing up, but at times it was quite bad.
- The ending - I have no problem with it. This book is not my bible (that is reserved for Sandman - Another impossible to film comic book that I hope someone can someday bring the love and care that Zack Snyder seems to have brought to this, but I doubt it unless Hollywood is hiring, then I will do it.) I'm not sure if the new ending made as much sense, but it's close enough to the original that I get it. They cut out all the artists and engineers story which would have added a lot of time to make the ending of this make sense. Instead with this ending they could limit the characters to just the myriad they already had. The ending doesn't make as much sense since Dr. Manhattan seems to be more powerful than the rest of the world, but I'm OK with it. It kept to the spirit of the book and they kept the final 2 twists in the movie which I was worried they would Hollywood up: Rorschach and the New Frontier 's final scenes were done quite well, and these made me happy.

That's all for now I think. Go see this movie, I think everyone will enjoy it.
For a movie that has an important line that says "Never Compromise" - I can understand why Alan Moore will hate this movie, but for someone that enjoys Comic Books, Film and the marriage of the two when they are done this well, I can compromise a little. At least until the sequel. Then me and Hollywood will have words.

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