Upon reading Alan Moore's Watchmen I was blown away by its complexity and attention to various small details that could be present in a society where caped crusaders were a part of everyday life, and the loved the philosophy presented within the panels, but now I am forced into the difficult task of judging this movie adaptation of the infamous graphic novel. Upon seeing this movie I wrote an initial review of my opinion, but realized there was something wrong with it. The problem was that I was spending more time praising Moore's novel than the actual movie, so I deleted it and decided to start from scratch after spending a good deal of time reflecting on the movie and flipping through the panels of the comic.
Now I am torn between liking and disliking this film adaptation of the beloved graphic novel.
On one hand I love Moore's original story and comic. On the other hand I am not very fond of director Zack Snyder's previous films (the remake of Dawn of the Dead and 300).
On one hand this movie mimics the visual style of the novel very well and looks very well polished. On the other hand Snyder and his team in their dedication to perfectly mimicking the story of the graphic novel have made this final product come across as very mechanical and unmoving.
For the most part the actors pull of their parts, but none of them really go above and beyond to truly make the characters anything more than iconic images lovingly ripped from the panels of Moore's story. There were only two actors who I felt really tried to do something with their characters in an attempt to enhance the characters, and they were Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian. Aside from these two performances I feel that most of the actors were so determined to fit Snyder's idea of matching the book perfectly that they failed to take the initiative to really try and break the wall and make this movie more than the graphic novel put into motion. But, not to leave him out of this review Billy Crudup did do a satisfactory performance behind the make-up and special effects for his portrayal of Doctor Manhattan, but it wasn't good enough to really get my attention when compared to Earle Haley and Dean Morgan.
We also get decent performances by a few minor, supporting cast members, such as Robert Wisden as Richard Nixon. He wasn't no Frank Langella and his make-up was rather off part of Snyder once again trying to carbon copy the graphic novel), but it was by no means a bad Nixon performance. A good supporting act is also given by Carla Gugino as the first Silk Spectre.
Even with the few acting problems the production is a good and it is strong. The images are dazzling, and very true to the comic. It is definitely one of best providers of eye candy we're likely to see 2009, but then we have to remember visuals aren't everything, and that's why I was let down by this film.
My biggest problem, as I have previously mentioned, is the lack of initiative that the production crew took when making this film. It's like they took up a diet of respectively redoing the comic for twelve weeks until they remembered each panel perfectly and made the actors do the same. Most of the actors don't look like they're really into their roles, and the production is just a fanboy dream come true, but it manages to do one thing that made me mad that keeps me from rating this higher than a seven.
If this had just been a visual comic down to the letter I would probably give it an 8/10, but the few times Snyder decides to take action and add in his own little ideas to the plot it just really distracted me from the concept of the story, and ruined the mood for me. What is it that Snyder is adding that angers me so much? Perhaps the most pointless gore and drawn out sex scenes I have ever seen on the big screen.
The gore is tacky, and cheap, and distracts from the story, and philosophy behind the images. Many of these images were not in the graphic novel, and nor were they ever even HINTED in the graphic novel. In this movie we have arms broken wide open, a man has his arms cut off, and a man repeatedly has his head cut into by a meat cleaver. None of these moments ever took place in the graphic novel, and I felt they threw off the pace, and distracted the viewers from what was actually going on, and I won't even talk about how he drew out a sex scene that was like six-panels into a 5-10 minute scene.
My favorite part was by far the opening credits, and I don't say that in a bad way because it was really a brilliant way to open the movie. To the tune of `The Times They Are A Changin' we get an animated series of photos that maps out most of the Watchmen's history, the universe they live in, and the setting for the rest of the film. This moment alone makes this movie a must-see for fans of the comics.
I can't recommend this film very positively because I for one was disappointed by the finished product. I'm sure many will rave about this film, and it's sure to become a cult-classic, but compared to the graphic novel it really is nothing. Watchmen may be the most endearing comic of all time, and is a classic for the medium, but as a film its impact will not be as lasting as films such as last year's The Dark Knight. The comic will always be remembered as a great, and an incredibly unique, original tale, but I fear this film adaptation will slip away into strictly cult-movie realm over the next twenty years.
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 … more
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. … more
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, … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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). … more
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 … more
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.
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 … more
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.