Watchmen

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

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"Watchmen" delivers the thrill and complexity of the acclaimed graphic novel.

  • Mar 5, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+4

Fanboys rejoice!  Director Zack Snyder, of "300" fame, has faithfully adapted Alan Moore's acclaimed graphic novel "Watchmen" with intensity, style and passion.    The film has a few minor flaws in its narrative, as it crams an epic story into 2 hours and 43 minutes, however the end result will entertain casual moviegoers looking for an action movie with a brain.

"Watchmen" revolves around the lives of estranged heroes who have devoted their lives to protecting a world that has lashed back against them.  Set in 1985 in New York City, the U.S. is on the brink of a nuclear war against the Soviet Union. 

The film begins with a furious fight between the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a jaded hero with jet-black humor, and an assassin.  Snyder's trademark slow-motion flourishes are used just enough to clearly capture the action without upsetting the pace of a good brawl.  The sequence is set to Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" and the juxtaposition of the sweet ballad and the harsh violence adds a touch of playfulness to the story's nihilistic tone.  

Another hero Rorshach (a fierce Jackie Earle Haley) sets his sights on discovering Comedian's killer before more former heroes of the crime-fighting unit The Watchmen are threatened.  Vigilantism has been outlawed and most of The Watchmen are retired, regular civilians like the gawky Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson) and the sexy Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman).  Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), considered the world's smartest man, is now a wealthy businessman with his own vision of how the world can be saved.

Thrown into the mix is the only member with actual superpowers, the godlike Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), a man who radiates blue energy after a science experiment gone wrong.  Allied to the U.S., the government uses him as a deterrent so the communists would not dare strike first, but the plot to kill The Watchmen threatens Dr. Manhattan's affection for humanity.

The acting is uniformly strong, with particular credit to Morgan and Haley, although Akerman falters, lacking the skill to realistically deliver Moore's snappy dialogue adapted to the screen by David Hayter, the screenwriter of the first and second "X-Men" films.  Another complaint is the love story between Nite Owl and Silk Spectre drags a bit and their characters lack sufficient back-story.

Nonetheless, "Watchmen" is more than satisfying; it's stylized, thought-provoking entertainment that proves comic books movies can richly explore the psyche of superheroes.   

The godlike Dr. Manhattan in

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March 14, 2009
Nice write up. Fanboys definitely have reason to rejoice! I thought the acting was mostly carried by Rorshach and maybe even the Comedian. Doc Manhattan couldn't really count because he was mostly CGI rendered but I like the voice-acting.
 
March 06, 2009
Great review. I hope to see this on the weekend.
March 14, 2009
Good to know, Scottie. Please enough with the "Moore is a whiner" nonesense. LOL
March 14, 2009
OK OK OK, young man!!  I actually do like Moore's comics writing -- American Flagg, and so on....
 
March 06, 2009
Nicely done and for the most part I agree. I still feel that Snyder's not a particularly talented director, but this film certainly stands above anything else he's done. I'm curious to see how audiences and other critics respond to it, especially those unfamiliar with the book. Keep those reviews coming, after all you can't call yourself "movieman" with only a handful of film reviews. :)
 
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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 . 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 . July 26, 2009
Not being a big follower of the endless slew of comic book conversions, I was refreshingly surprised with how good this film is. Directed by Zack Snyder, who previously made 300, apparently the movie has been stuck in development hell for years with one director after another bailing out, since the original graphic novel is a rich and complex environment that has a Lord of The Rings unfilmability (though of course, Peter Jackson proved everyone one on that one).       There …
Quick Tip by . May 22, 2010
Not a comic book watchin kinda guy but this was a good movie with some depth
Quick Tip by . February 01, 2010
How long has it been since this film came out? Doesn't matter, it's still terrible...
Quick Tip by . November 08, 2009
A comic book movie for adults -- in an alternate reality, Nixon bans heroes as society moves to nuclear war. Will our heroes step in? Dark!
review by . March 08, 2009
  Let's just say that I should have stuck with my gut and not have seen this movie. I knew it was going to be bad and it was. A stupid trailer that was better then the first one made me go see this movie and I dragged other people with me including my fiance who had to be up early the next day. What was so terrible about this movie? For one thing the blue dangling penis that happened to be waving for most of the move. I mean really, it should have had a line in the credits because it was …
review by . March 31, 2009
Pros: Wow.  Just...whoa.     Cons: Not for everyone, definitely.     The Bottom Line: A movie that takes time to absorb - even a carload of friends may be silent for a bit on the way home before launching into typical after-movie conversation.     I just got home from watching Watchmen.  It is currently 12:07 AM.  The movie began at 9:00 and ended around 11:45 PM, so be ready for a picture that's long and involved.   &nbs …
Quick Tip by . August 20, 2009
There's so many green-screens, so much slow-motion and slavish obedience to the book, that at the end of it all, there's nothing human left.
review by . April 13, 2009
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 …
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Eric Horwitz ()
Ciao!     My world in a nutshell: Born in the humble beach town of Ventura, CA I went to UCLA with ambitions to pursue journalism and film. I studied literature and picked up Italian … 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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