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Watchmen

The 2009 movie directed by Zack Snyder and based upon the book by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

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I'll Watch something else, thank you.

  • Jun 11, 2009
  • by
Rating:
-3

I never read the old Watchmen book.  Called by many the greatest graphic novel ever and read by millions,  I was going to consider reading it after I saw the film maybe catching what they changed and get more insight but now, I think I'll pass.

The film is about an alternate 1985 where Nixon has remained in office and the world is constantly facing a doomsday clock where Russia could launch it's weapons in a moments notice.  A once proud group of masked crime fighters have been outlawed by the President and have either retired, been incarcerated or died with only a few of them still working and one is Rorschach a private eye whose face is obscured by a mask with a constantly shifting ink blot.  Others try to work on a solution to the worlds impending nuclear crisis.

The premise of the movie isn't quite the story it once was with themes that have diminished over the years only to be reborn again as metaphors for our new society.  The story material is certainly heady and not your standard comic fare. 

People have said that the original graphic novel is almost unfilmable but came across well for a movie as best as it could.  I guess that's a plus but here is a big minus.  The characters.

First off, only one of these guys is actually a "superhero" in that he has superpowers.  He can seemingly do whatever he wants.  More on him later.  The rest of the characters are more or less people in costumes in what are more or less based loosely off of other DC characters.  At times very loosely as in to imply ripped off.  Nite Owl is clearly based off of Batman.  There are probably others but I'm not a big DC fan so I'm not entirely familiar with all the characters.  A friend of mine though backs up my claim and cites a copyright issue in that real DC characters were supposed to be used.  Maybe it's for the best.

If you read my Star Wars Episode II review, I said that Anakin Skywalker in that movie played a real whiny unlikeable character and was the lead protagonist no less.  Imagine for a second that DC had a Jedi character in one of their comic books who had to be ported over into Watchmen to be used as a character.  Anakin would be the Watchmen Jedi.  Maybe you can see where I'm going with this.

I can't think of one of these "heroes" that left me with a real good feeling.  One is taking matters into his own hands to change the world and make it a better place one that will have massive casualties.  The ends justify the means for him I guess, that isn't anything new.  The aforementioned Rorschach speaks in Christian Bales Batman voice as he tells us what a dank polluted hell the city is.  I knew the world wasn't always a great place but after listening to his hard boiled city talk of life through a sewer tinted lens where STD's and serial killers are everywhere, it ‘s enough to make someone whos high on life and in love with the world end it all.  No hope with this guy, no matter how cool he could have been.  Don't even get me started on the Comedian.  He beats up and even attempts to rape one of his colleagues, gets a girl pregnant while in Vietnam and later kills her and takes glee in shot gunning rioting civilians!  Aren't these guys just precious? 

I saved the best of last, Dr. Manhattan, a seemingly omnipotent glowing blue man who can do, well pretty much whatever he wants and is a key factor in trying to save the world from nuclear attack.  If arrogance and pretentiousness had a picture it would be one Dr. Manhattan.  When he isn't walking around in entire scenes completely NAKED he's spouting platitudes about the world and how he is above everything on another plane.  Then why are you trying to help stop a war?  This is a man who in the middle of the movie takes off from Mars to live, leaving the big blue marble behind with it's problems.  Remember how I said that he can do pretty much anything?  In the aforementioned scene above where The Comedian shoots and kills a woman he got pregnant?  Dr. Manhattan is right next to him and does NOTHING to save her.  The biggest crime of ALL is that if he can stop this impending war, why DOESN'T HE?!?!  I guess then there wouldn't be much of a movie.  I know that there was something in there about nations being responsible and all that, but clearly if they're threatening each other with nuclear arms with the narrow vision in that the world could literally be destroyed, it's not very responsible so SOMEONE with the power to do something should step in and put an end, someone like Dr. Manhattan.  With great power comes great responsibility Manhattan.  Where's Spiderman, a REAL superhero to kick some sense into your blue naked butt? 

Like I said I can find the good points in almost every movie but here it would have to be production.  Scummy jail cells look they way they should.  The seedy downtown with it's porno theaters and run down little tenant apartments look right.  Nite Owls toy collection is equally good and looks like it's equipment the one and only Batman might actually have in his Batcave.

The bottom line, great production doesn't save a real pretentious nature coupled with an unlovable bunch of would be heroes with a dated story that only serves again as a metaphor for today.  Should I have read the book first?  Did I miss the point?  Did I just not want to like this movie?  I think the answer to these is all no.  Dr. Manhattan could maybe enlighten me if he can get off his blue high horse.

I'll Watch something else, thank you.

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March 10, 2011
another great review
March 10, 2011
Thanks. Opinion on this movie is mixed and I'd still rather read the book.
 
August 28, 2010
After taking care of the replies, off to addressing some issues raised in your review. First of all, great review, interesting, thought provoking and well written. Well done. Watchmen are purposefully not superheroes, that was the intention. By doing so, the idea of anti-hero was more visible. These people were not men who were given a gift. These people chose to fight crime for some reason or another- Comedian because it gave him power, Rorschach because he believed in it, Silk Spectre II because she was forced to it. Watchmen is a commentary about why someone normal- not Peter Parker with super spider powers- but someone like you or me would decide to dress up in a stupid costume and fight crime. Comedian is- while being a great character- a sick guy. And that is the point- why are you, as a society, letting that guy be your hero? Dr Manhattan. So, here is what differs Doc from God. He may have Godlike powers, but he was a simple man to start with. Just as Peter Parker didn't had to use his powers to fight crime, neither does Doc. So, I have not seen the film, so I do not know if Doc's speeches about humanity being more or less important than an insect are well transferred, but the comic presents his dilemma. he is not human, his only connection to humanity was Laura- the only reason he cared. For him,a dead human and a live human makes no difference. Its hard to explain this, but for Doc, humans are not the center of universe. There are other things, not more important, but equally important than saving the world from nuclear war. Perhaps the best example is chapter three of Watchmen the comic, the Watchmaker. I highly recommend you to read that, because then you will understand his mind better- his understanding of fate, of time, that was my favorite chapter. But I digress. Maybe not clearly stated in the movie, the comic has convinced me why Doc has not played God- because he does not want to. Hope you get a chance to read the book, it may answer some questions, and thanks for sharing!
August 28, 2010
I've read the book, own it, loved it and wrote a glowing review of it here: http://www.lunch.com/Reviews/book/Watchmen-1...7.html?cid=91#rid:12618 The book gave me a much better understanding of what was trying to be conveyed here in a far less upbeat way and far better told. This may be one of the most celebrated books ever but I don't see why people must read something first before seeing the movie, the movie should stand on it's own which is why I hate that the new Star Wars movies leave a lot of details out from editing or poor writing and have books and comics fill in the gaps and that the new Star Trek movie did the same thing in a far less extreme sense. Thank you for the comment.
August 28, 2010
I understand, though I am happy that your understanding of Watchmen was not limited to the movie, that would be horrible.
August 28, 2010
I watched the movie first when it was new in theaters and read the book later. If I went in having read the book FIRST, I probably would have liked the movie more the first time.
 
June 13, 2009
Thank you for the comments everyone, it's nice to know that this Lunch place is a civilized land and not a Youtube comment world where theres flaming and racial slurs being flung around. Maybe something I should have touched on better is that for all the talk about the big thinking that this movie has, it didn't feel like anything new (to me) was being brought to the table. I already learned in FIght Club that no one on this planet is important in the grand scheme of things and enough movies have brought along the idea of people who will do big and terrible things if it will lead to a benefit to the world. And for as much as I kept hearing about this being a new comic book movie, no one on any forum where I looked up the movie or commercial I saw made mention of what a dark movie this was to be or the nature of the characters. I went in wanting to see it fresh. I'll consider giving it another shot when it comes out on DVD and maybe read the Graphic Novel in the mean time for better insight, but the movie if being adapted from the book shouldn't need to have both be looked at to stand on it's own.
 
June 13, 2009
Nice comments guys. Its always nice to see people with diametrically opposed views be able to disagree politely, I wonder if Woopak agrees? =)
June 13, 2009
Wow, you actually seemed surprised that I'm capable of being polite. I wonder why? ;)
June 14, 2009
I'm not surprised at all. I was just patting you on the back for it. And making another little joke at Woop's expense.
June 18, 2009
I have already pointed out the film's pros and cons, and as a fan of the original 12-issue mini-series, the movie may be faithful, but it does indeed falter in the comics' original message. I still liked the movie, better than the adaptation for "V for Vendetta". The John does give out an interesting point of view, this point of view was explored in the comic series "Kingdom Come" but "Watchmen" was meant to establish the fact that heroes aren't perfect and sometimes they are blacker than normal folks. A hero is supposed to stand for something, while a warrior is one who is not afraid to break some eggs. I may disagree with the review, but I see where he's coming from.


Karen, yep, we have to disagree politely. :) Have I ever been different? I'm the only negative reviewer here for Star  Trek...
June 19, 2009
Ah, discussion. I have accomplished my goal.
November 07, 2009
You were one of those college aggrevators back in the sixties and seventies weren't you? ; )
November 08, 2009
I wasn't even an agitator. =) They may have been at a bit aggrevated at me though, who can say.
 
June 13, 2009
Okay, as something of an Alan Moore and Watchmen freak it's my duty to play "defender of the faith". However, I disagree with your rating, most of your complaints are totally valid. But... since you've not yet read the graphic novel there are some things that have escaped your attention. The reason that Dr. Manhattan doesn't stop The Comedian from killing the pregnant woman is because he was having a "flash-forward" to another time in the future, so he wasn't mentally there. Read the book and re-examine Dr. Manhattan. Also keep in mind that none of these characters are really "heroes". That's the entire point of the graphic novel, that if you need a hero then become the hero, don't look to someone else or you become powerless. As they say in Buddhism, "If you should meet the Buddha on the road, slay him for he is not your master." Which basically means that enlightenment comes from within and this could also apply to matters of self-defense and self-reliance. Check out the reviews on the graphic novel:
Trashcanman's review
GEldred's review
My review
 
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More Watchmen (2009 film) reviews
review by . November 17, 2010
All I know about WATCHMEN I learned from the movies. I'd never read the graphic novel…I'd never heard of it, in fact, until buzz about the movie started. So I cannot comment on the faithfulness to the source, or whether it captures the spirit of the original work.      So for this novice, WATCHMEN was a big, often entertaining, sometimes tedious mish-mash of straight-forward action film, a tongue-in-cheek spin on the superhero genre and a sometimes interesting …
review by . July 20, 2010
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Careful what you ask for, you just might get it.  I always wanted to see the Watchmen made into a movie.  At the same time I knew it would be a train wreck.  It had to be.  How can you get everything from the graphic novel into one movie?  You can't.  it's just that simple.  Still they tried.  Problem is I don't give credit for effort.  Only for success.      The biggest problem for me is how they changed the ending.  …
Quick Tip by . November 26, 2011
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I'm a firm believer in that you shouldn't review something if you don't know the full story (or at least the background), like a person who doesn't play video games reviewing a video game movie or criticizing a Sci-fi film because you don't understand something or a better example me reviewing the Watchmen Movie.      See i never read the graphic novel so I went into the theater (opening day might I add) expecting a classic Superhero movie, (Spiderman, …
review by . March 06, 2009
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WARNING: This review may contain spoilers!   For the past decade Hollywood has been scrambling over the rights to adapt comic book characters to the big screen. This year one of the most celebrated graphic novels is being brought to theatres in a cinematic adaptation that may very well be the most highly anticipated film of 2009. But can director Zack Snyder's film adaptation of Alan Moore's masterpiece Watchmen satisfy legions of rabid comic book fans and still succeed commercially …
review by . September 25, 2010
If there's one thing that I lament about the film-going experience as I get older, it's that I move further and further away from the boy who used to watch movies with unquestioning wide-eyed amazement.  When I turned thirteen I started looking at film with a slightly more critical and as the years packed on with an increasingly cynical eye.   It's a very rare experience for me to walk into a film without the baggage of 20 odd years of cinema watching experience, comparing …
review by . March 07, 2009
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Comic book adaptations are all the rage these days and they are a dime-a-dozen. To prepare for the film and to write this review, I re-read the graphic novel so I can give a more detailed viewpoint. "Watchmen" is adapted from the award-winning 12-issue mini-series in the 80's which in turn became a popular graphic novel. The graphic novel was written by Alan Moore (From Hell, V for Vendetta) and illustrated by Dave Gibbons (Green Lantern) and adapted to the big screen by Zack Snyder (300). …
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
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It's really a mixed bag. A lot of what worked for the graphic novel doesn't translate well to the big screen. But it comes alive enough to keep you entertained, even if it doesn't fully satisfy. A few cheesy liners and a few moments where the movie takes itself a little too seriously is nothing to deter anyone from going to see it. And for what it's worth it's a decent movie. The problem isn't so much the movie, but more that what they had to work with was very complicated. I would say they did …
Quick Tip by . July 24, 2010
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Zach Snyder does his best to adapt the "unfilmable" graphic novel magnum opus from Alan Moore, and comes up short from either fans who wanted more, or didn't think it stuck close enough to the source, not to mention the general public who the story went over they're heads due to almost requiring the audience to come in knowing whats going on. Uneven performances and loss of narrative hurt what could have been a pretty good adaption.
review by . November 07, 2009
The movie was a little bit dark (the superheroes in this parallel universe literally kill their enemies) but I found it entertaining throughout. The movie starts with the murder of The Comedian, a sometimes hero, most times a nasty bully acting as a hero. He was part of a group of masked adventurers called the Watchmen. Most of the Watchmen were retired but they get together at the funeral and each has their memories of the group that go back to the 1940's.       There is also …
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I can see where the film was TRYING to go, but it never quite got there. Visually appealing but it dragged on just too long.
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John Nelson ()
Ranked #5
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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Production Overview

There have been numerous attempts to adapt the superlative graphic novel Watchmen, which was written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, into a feature film. The first serious proposal to do so came in the late 1980s and for a long time director Terry Gilliam (director of Brazil and 12 Monkeys) showed interest in making the film. However, after numerous attempts to create a script, Gilliam was quoted as saying that the graphic novel was too complex and too amorphous for even him to adapt. Later acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain) was reported as a possible director, but this never came into fruition. Initially set to direct the film  was Paul Greengrass (director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum). However he was sacked during budget disputes at Paramount Studios, who were at the time meant to release the film. Since then Zack Snyder (director of the remake of Dawn of the Dead and of the film adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel 300) has been assigned the role of director and the film has been moved from Paramount to Warner Bros. Studios.



The film was released on March 6 of 2009.
On July 21 of 2009 the film was released in both theatrical and director's cut editions on DVD.
On November 10 of 2009 the film was released in an Ultimate Edition containing Tales of the Black Freighter animated sequences and linking scenes.


Cast / Crew and ...
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Details

Director: Zack Snyder
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: March 6, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: David Hayter, Alex Tse
DVD Release Date: July 21, 2009
Runtime: 162 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Legendary Pictures
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