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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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Ah, There is Nothing Like a Dark Adult-Themed Movie on a Cold Saturday Night

  • Jan 10, 2010
Rating:
+3
Pros: Dark noir setting; action; performances.

Cons: Slow in places.

The Bottom Line:

Watchmen is one of those movies you really have to see at least twice to get the full effect.



Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

Watchmen (2009)
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Screenplay: David Benioff
Principles: Billy Crudup, Mailin Akerman, Matthew Goode, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson, Stephen McHattie, and Carla Gugino
Running Time: 251 minutes
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: "R" for: Strong graphic violence, sex, nudity, & language

Ah, Comic Books, they are the province of fertile imaginations and seriously good artwork.  I didn't really cotton to the $.75 color rags growing up; I got into them after I was stationed overseas and longed for a patch of home.  My favorites were those from Marvel Comics: Xmen, Wolverine, The Mighty Thor, and SpidermanDC Comics were never that exciting for me, Superman aside of course.  So I was never fan of The Watchmen, though I have heard of the comic series.

But, comics made into movies, well no matter who inked the paper, it's time to watch.  Some like the original Superman (1978) were instant classics, while others like The Punisher (2004), and Punisher: War Zone (2008) were, well, instant stinkers.  Watchmen (2009), while not as fun to watch as Superman is certainly darker and every bit as engaging and entertaining.

Story-Line

Directed by Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead), Watchmen is based on a 12-issue limited series comic book created by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons and colorist John Higgins, and published by DC Comics  in 1986 -1987.   

The basic premise: someone is killing some of the ex-members of the superhero group The Watchmen formed before World War II.  They include Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre (Carla Gugino ~ Snake Eyes, Spin City, Chicago Hope), Edward Blake/The Comedian (Jeffery Dean Morgan ~ Supernatural, P.S. I Love You, Grey's Anatomy), Hollis Mason/Night Owl (Stephen McHattie ~ Beauty and the Beast, Cold Squad, 2012).

Now it's left up to the new members of the recently disbanded Watchmen to find out who has it out for the good guy and why.  The new members include Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman ~ The Comeback, 27 Dresses, Couples Retreat), Dan Drieberg/Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson ~ Angels in America, Little Children, Lakeview Terrace), Walter Kovacs/Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley ~ Breaking Way, Little Children), and Dr. Manhattan/Jon Osterman (Billy Crudup ~ Waking the Dead, Almost Famous, The Good Shepherd).

The new team has been disbanded by order of President Nixon(?), who in this alternative universe has been elected to office five times!  Nonetheless, before the end of the movie three of the four Watchmen band together to battle Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias (Matthew Goode ~ Match Point, The Lookout), the "smartest (and fastest) man in the world," as he hatches a sinister plot to save mankind from itself.

My Thoughts

Watchmen is thankfully rated "R" so you know the movie means business and will truly entertain in a manner befitting such a dark piece of work.  Director Zack Snyder brings to the movie that same sort of dark noir setting that made 300 (2006) such a critical success, complete with slow motion action sequences that really bring the viewer into the film.  I loved it in 300, and I love it here on Watchmen.

From where I sitting (and writing) there is nothing wrong with an occasional movie that shocks the senses, an adult movie with truckloads of gore, sessions and sessions worth of angst, superhero sex, unschooled, nails-on-a-blackboard narration, seriously fun fight scenes, and enough back-story to fill in even the most casual comic-book reader.  Watchmen delivers all of this and quite a bit more.

Slow in places, especially at the beginning, the 251 minutes movie nonetheless never fails to entertain, and do in spades once the action really ramps up.  Watchmen does an excellent job creating the dark, complex, alternate reality which unfolds like a bad nightmare, but don't shy away or you'll miss the rewards that come from a well-crafted adult-themed movie.  And I don't mean adult as in XXX, but a serious thinking man-and woman'-movie where the kiddies can be safely excluded.

But Watchmen isn't all darkness and grim faced, there is fun afoot as well in the guise of Pat Buchanan and Eleanor Clift arguing nuclear war on PBS's The McLaughlin Report.  Richard Nixon and his cabinet make frequent, if not hilarious appearances as larger than life bumbling idiots lazily taking the country to the brink of nuclear war.

Also look for Ted Koppel, JFK, Lee Iacocca and others to make cameos in this alternative landscape, wherein America won the Vietnam War (thanks to Dr. Manhattan), and the American Dream is a nightmare un vapid unfulfilled promises and the country is on the brink of self-destruction. 

Watchmen
is one of those movies you really have to see at least twice to get the full effect and to soak in little things happing in the scenes you may have missed first time through.  So, I'll be watching the move again thanks to my trusty DVR.  Even if you watch it once, I think you'll be glad to you did. 

Recommended:
Yes

Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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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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Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #188
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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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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