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 . 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 …
review by . March 05, 2009
The godlike Dr. Manhattan in
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 …
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.
About the reviewer
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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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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