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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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With Great Power Comes Great Responsability

  • Apr 13, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+4

Though it's been deemed unfilmable for years, the acclaimed graphic novel "Watchmen" has finally come to the big screen. I'm not into the camp who felt this movie was unfilmable. It was filmable, the question was whether people would pay to see a superhero film that was as dark as this. Well, through the combined sophisticated efforts of "Spider-Man 2," "The Dark Knight," and "Iron Man" have kicked down Hollywoods prejudice doors to let in "Watchmen." Based off the graphic novel from Alan Moore (who asked to have his named removed from the credits), "Watchmen" is a classic for those who are into the whole comic book scene. Time Magazine even got caught up in the stories spell, and named it one of the greatest novels of all time. That does not guarantee a good movie, but it's certainly an impressive build up wouldn't you say?

The movie is shockingly similar to it's source material, which should please fans of the material, but it's bold and fresh enough on it's own to warrant catching the attention of people who may not be familiar with it. I won't claim that non-comic book fans will instantly fall in love with this though. The story begins with the murder of The Comedian, a semi-retired superhero who continued the good fight after President Nixon outlawed superheros. Oh, but this isn't a scenario where the creators simply put a caped crusader into a pivotal moment in history. No, this is a retelling of history. In this universe superheros actually helped the US win the Vietnam war, and as a result Nixon gained more power. So much power that he struck down the two term law and is now sitting comfortably in his FIFTH term as president! Yeah, I can hear all you liberals out there screaming murder, but calm down: We all know this really didn't happen.

Besides, Nixon is a minor player in this soap opera. The real star of the movie is Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), the only member of the Watchmen who considers his alterego to be his one true identity. When he loses his mask he feels he has lost the one thing he enjoys doing. He believes that this murder may be the first in a series of murders, where as time goes on the assassin will come to kill the remaining members of the Watchmen. His best friend is Daniel Drieberg (Patrick Wilson), otherwise known as Nite Owl II. Daniel thinks that Rorschach is just blowing off steam, and that what happened to comedian was unrelated to the whole superhero thing. The only other person who might believe that theory is Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), a big blue superbeing that may have the power of God.

He's concerned about the idea of a superhero murderer out there, but is more concerned with the threat of nuclear war. He can see the future, and his vision has been blocked past a certain date, and he fears for the end of humanity. Or does he? Now that he is pure power his humanity has been slipping away, and his girlfriend, Laurie Juspeczyk/Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman), is especially frustrated by the lack of intimacy in their relationship. There are other characters who also contribute to the overall story, but I can't get into them here. Not only would it start to get redundant for me to explain what every major character does in this film, but I may spoil some of the twists for people who aren't familiar with this material.

"Watchmen" is a skilled, dark, and deeply complex film of people. Not superheros; people. While they may wear masks and dress in funny costumes they have feelings. Time has changed them all, and many of them can only contemplate what's happened to them. One of them never leaves the superhero business, feeling that is the side of him that now defines him. Another person has come from that life broken and shamed, constantly crying for the humanity he lost. In a way this is not too different from soldiers who fought the Vietnam war themselves. It's almost ironic that a movie that fears nuclear war is released this year, when real nuclear war seems like a possibility more then ever.

Though this is a great movie it's not a perfect movie. The violence, while necessary, seems more glorified then it should be at times. The director decided to take a beautiful sex scene and make it campy and drawn out. Maybe the worst offender though is that director Zach Synder uses a slow-motion shot every chance he gets. After the twelfth time this happened I no longer felt anything special coming from the effect, and started to wish he would just get on with his point. I don't expect everyone to fully embrace this film either. For some it will be too adult and strange for them. Others might not like it on principle alone (A.K.A.: They never should have made a movie in the first place), but I think I can safely recommend this to fans of interesting cinema. The key word being "interesting." Because this is what the film is, even if you don't particularly care for the final product.

Grade: **** and a half stars

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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
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
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
Logo- Smiley Face Button with Blood
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 . June 11, 2009
I'll Watch something else, thank you.
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 …
review by . March 07, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
movie poster
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
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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Kevin T. Rodriguez ()
Kevin T. Rodriguez is an aspiring film journalist. He's more comfortable typing a review then doing an on-camera appearance, but he loves doing the occasional rant. Whether it be on movies, eBay, or comics, … more
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About this movie

Wiki

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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