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Watchmen

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Release Date: March 6, 2009 (North America)

Genres: Comic Book, Drama, Science Fiction          MPAA Rating: R

Production Phase: Released

Studio: Warner Bros.   Production Company: Legendary Pictures

Who's In It: Billy Crudup (Jon Osterman / Dr. Manhattan), Jackie Earle Haley (Walter Kovacs/Rorschach), Patrick Wilson (Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II), Malin Akerman (Laurie Juspeczyk/Silk Spectre II), Matthew Goode (Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias)

Who's Making It: Zack Snyder (Director), David Hayter (Screenwriter), Alex Tse (Screenwriter), Deborah Snyder (Producer), Lawrence Gordon (Producer)

Premise: In an alternate 1985 Richard Nixon is serving his fifth term as the American President, the most powerful being in the world is a blue-skinned man named Dr. Manhattan and the world stands poised on... More »

Official Website: www.watchmenmovie.com

What We Think: The most critically acclaimed comic book ever, fans have dreamed of a Watchmen movie while also living in fear of it. Can the graphic novel's deep, multi-layered storyline be successfully adapted to film? Will mainstream... More »

User Reviews

Who watches the Wathmen? I did!
User Score: °

I am a writer by profession, which means that everything I see, hear, smell or think, tends to get distilled into language almost immediately.

After seeing the Watchmen clips the producers leaked online, I already started to write the movie review in my head, although I had yet to see the finished project. The review was going to be about this rich kid called Zach, who build these expensive sets with the money from his father and then let the local talent act out the lines from his favorite comic. His goal was to make the ultimate fan boy movie, completely faithful to the source material, but ending up with nothing more than a moving picture book, a soulless frame in which actors move from one spot to another while declaring their lines.

I am a writer by profession, which means that everything I see, hear, smell or think, tends to get distilled into language almost immediately.

After seeing the Watchmen clips the producers leaked online, I already started to write the movie review in my head, although I had yet to see the finished project. The review was going to be about this rich kid called Zach, who build these expensive sets with the money from his father and then let the local talent act out the lines from his favorite comic. His goal was to make the ultimate fan boy movie, completely faithful to the source material, but ending up with nothing more than a moving picture book, a soulless frame in which actors move from one spot to another while declaring their lines.

I am glad to say I was wrong. Because Watchmen is a real movie with a heart and a soul, but mainly, with a brain.

After the brilliant first ten minutes or so in which we see not only The Comedian brutally murdered but also a great montage of the eighties-that-would-be if there was a Dr. Manhattan in the world, there is that part of the movie that is slow and wooden and mostly exposition. But when The Comedian gets buried and we see the flashbacks of the rape and the killings (all in the name of Uncle Sam), the movie finds its voice and starts showing us what has happened, is happening and will be happening, instead of just telling us. And believe me, what you see is amazing, and not only on a visual level.

Because that's one of the funny things about Watchmen. Although the film looks stunning, it's never about the visuals. It's about this utterly believable blue guy who is the most alien character I've ever seen on the screen, but who is oh so human at the same time. It's about Everyman Dan who only lives when he is playing the hero he so desperately wants to be. It's about Rorschach, who gave up his life, his identity many years ago when he witnessed something so horrible, it drove him insane. It's about Laurie who is doing everything she can to not be her mother, while being attracted to the one guy that will be her destruction, exactly like her mother was attracted to The Comedian. It's about the smartest man in the world, who is probably also the loneliest, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, to save the world and maybe - but not likely - himself.

It's main flaw - apart from the clumsy and awkward beginning - is the miscasting of Ozymandias. Not because Matthew Goode is a bad actor, but because as Ozymandias, he is completely unlikable. He is like the smart nerd who finally gets his revenge at the world who never understood him, instead of the good looking loved-by-all ex-superhero-turned-millionaire from the comic. It's a little bit as if Steve Buscemi is playing Superman, which doesn't work at all.

The rest of the cast is mostly spot on. I love Billy Crudup as both Dr Manhattan and scientist Jon Osterman, Patrick Wilson is loveably as Dan Dreiberg and Jackie Earle Haley completely owns Rorschach. In the same way as Gandalf will always be Ian McKellen for me, it's hard to image anyone else as Haley playing Walter Kovacs. The scenes in the prison where Rorschach walks around unmasked are so psychotic that they rival Heath Ledger's take on The Joker, and that's saying something. Finally, Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays The Comedian as humanly flawed as possible, making him the most realistic character from the movie. I didn't love the two Silk Specters', especially not when they were together in a scene, but they were never bad.

Oh, and the squid? It's out and believe me when I say: it's the best decision they could have made. Get over it, move along, there is nothing to see. Except a really great movie.

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Reviewed by: Morpheus
March 5, 2009 8:00 am
Just a matter of time, I suppose.
User Score: 67°

+ It was pretty much what I expected it to be.

+ If this movie gets an Academy Award nomination for its make up, it will be the funniest Academy Award nomination since Crash (2006) was nominated for best picture.

+ IMAX it if you have the option to IMAX it. Beware, though, that the giantness of IMAX will highlight some of the spottier CG and makeup.

+ Like the V for Vendetta adaptation, Snyder's Watchmen forwards more of a political agenda than is forwarded in the book. For some, this may be a welcomed change. For me, it was not.

+ Subtlety is not Snyder's strong suit.

+ I lamented the absence of certain things, and lamented that some things were kept (because of the way they were handled). This is to be expected with any adaptation, I suppose.

+ It was pretty much what I expected it to be.

+ If this movie gets an Academy Award nomination for its make up, it will be the funniest Academy Award nomination since Crash (2006) was nominated for best picture.

+ IMAX it if you have the option to IMAX it. Beware, though, that the giantness of IMAX will highlight some of the spottier CG and makeup.

+ Like the V for Vendetta adaptation, Snyder's Watchmen forwards more of a political agenda than is forwarded in the book. For some, this may be a welcomed change. For me, it was not.

+ Subtlety is not Snyder's strong suit.

+ I lamented the absence of certain things, and lamented that some things were kept (because of the way they were handled). This is to be expected with any adaptation, I suppose.

+ Snyder's Watchmen didn't make me as mad at it as Snyder's 300 made me at it.

+ I suppose they come closest to getting Rorschach right. He's probably the easiest of the characters to get right, though. I was made to laugh by Jack Earle Haley (good laughs!) a number of times, despite knowing what was coming.

+ It's nice to see Patrick Wilson in a really pathetic/schlubby role. Contrast his work here to/with his work in Little Children or Hard Candy.

+ Ozymandias just looked and sounded plain silly. For some reason, having Matthew Goode's hair lightened and styled the way it was reminded me of a Bowie-thin Dana Carvey. Hard to take a Bowie-thin Dana Carvey seriously. Ozymandias is also, apparently, [SPOILER]superhuman. I understand the man is supposed to be tuned to physical perfection, but that doesn't mean he (and with so slight a frame, too!) should be able to lift and throw a relatively tall, relatively heavy adult male as though said male weighed less than a balled-up sheet of paper. He also shouldn't be able to make vertical leaps of seven feet from a standing position[/SPOILER].

+ When it comes to fighting in Snyder's Watchmen universe, the only option available is generic Asian martial arts.

+ Putting Henry Kissinger in the War Room from Dr. Strangelove *as* Dr. Strangelove (who was obviously based on Henry Kissinger) is overkill. So's Snyder's Watchmen's Nixon's nose, for that matter.

+ It could have been a lot worse. My hat is off to Snyder for having the balls to make it in the first place. I hope its having been made into a movie doesn't dissuade more talented talent from considering it for an HBO miniseries, some day.

+ Here's where I say something unqualifiedly nice about the movie, so (maybe) you don't think I'm an insufferably malcontented douche: The scene where Jon Osterman gets locked in the Intrinsic Field Subtractor was touching.

+ I've already had my say on the issue of the ending. My mind has not been changed in that regard.

* * *

Most of the rest of what I have to say is the sort of stuff other folks have already said better: some things work better in comics than they work in movies, a lot of the soundtrack was used ineffectively (sometimes embarrassingly, laughably ineffectively), and I would appreciate it if the hirin' folks would stop making modeling agencies the first place they shop for actresses (Ackerman, Gugino).

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Reviewed by: The Swollen Goi...
March 6, 2009 4:52 am


 

HypeMeter Rating: Explosive

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Recent Comments

Jakester

Has anyone checked out the Watchmen Saturday Morning Cartoon opening posted on youtube?

Morpheus

Posting my review in the Lounge as we speak ...

Jimzip

So... excited... Jimzip :D

The Swollen Goiter of God

I'm guessing it was made by folks involved with the movie, but won't be in the movie.

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