Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Film Review: Watchmen

Mr. Black

So the novel that was deemed "unfilmable" has finally hit theaters. And in my book Zack is 3 for 3. I don't think the film could have been done any better by another director. If you haven't read Watchmen, I highly suggest it. Pick it up cheap from Amazon here. First of all, the thing I've noticed most is people who haven't read the book generally deem it "ok" or "long and boring," while the people who have read the book consider it very very good if not damn near perfect (for what it is). The reason for that I believe is because if you haven't read the book and are going to the theaters with their only Watchmen exposure being the trailers which are basically selling it as a typical "super-hero" movie and not the "film-noir-violentasfuck-studyofhumanity-moralgrayarea" story that it is. So let me put this in big letters in case someone is skimming this.


Okay, now that that's out of the way let's get on with it. The film is long, yes, even longer than Dr. Manhattan's limp blue dick, clocking in at around 2:45. Now if you don't want to sit through a movie that long don't see it, you'll just bitch and moan about how bad it was and not judge it on it's true merits. I'll tell you this though. This movie is 15 minutes longer than the Dark Knight, but it felt shorter. The last half hour or so of TDK reall dragged and plenty could have been cut, while the Watchmen barely gets by at 2:45 because the source material is so dense.

Is this movie better than TDK? In my opinion yes. You know how everyone says how TDK is so dark? Well Watchmen makes TDK look like a Spider-man cartoon. The subject matter of Watchmen is very adult and very mature. It's not just about typical violence either. Just wait until you see some of the things the Comedian does, or the bit where Roarschach tells of his first real taste of what evil is. Apart from the adult content, Watchmen tackles the whole "morally gray" issue much better and convincing than TDK. I won't spoil the ending, but let's just say it isn't handled like the "moral conflict" in TDK was handled. Shit happened.

Visually this film is a great achievement, but you probably won't appreciate it unless you've read the book because you won't notice the insane detail Snyder and crew created for this film. It is really an acheivement is set design, art direction, and photography. And for all of you worried about too much slo-mo, don't worry there is very minimal there and what is there works.

The casting couldn't have been better. Everyone fit their roles perfectly, even the invisible-to-camera Billy Cuthrup (he was replaced by cgi if you didn't know). Haley brings Roarschach to life exactly how you imagined him on the page, Wilson captured the subtle insecurities of Nite Owl, Morgan brought both the charismatic and dark sides of the Comedian, Crudup created a very "unhuman" Dr. Manhattan, and Ackerman created a very believable Sally Jupiter. I guess my one complaint would be Veidt. He wasn't bad, but I think he didn't show the internal struggle that Veidt was realy going through. This could have been a matter of him not having enough screen time to develop the character, but like I said, it still isn't bad.

I don't know what else there is for me to say about this, but go fucking see it. I'll warn you again though. If you haven't read the book, you may find it hard to digest in one viewing because of the sheer amount of content, so just go in knowing that. Oh and this too:


The Good
Great casting, acting, art direction, set design, costume design and tons of other movie shit. Snyder fully realized the content and even though Alan Moore is a pretentous douche bag, even he would have to admit it took balls to try something like this.

The Not So Good
Goode's performace, while not great wasn't bad. Not sure if it was completely his fault though. Some scenes, like the sex scene are a little odd, but I guess it was supposed to be. Not long enough. I know this damn thing is almost three hours, but I swear I wanted more. I can't wait for the collector's edition/director's cut because I think it will make it feel more complete.

The Verdict
Probably the best version of Watchmen that could ever hit the screen. While this movie is definitely not for everyone, I can almost guarantee that if you've read the book and are a fan of it, you'll really like this thing. This is probably the only movie in the last 5 years that I've actually wanted to see again in the theater. Go see it. Keep Hollywood making these kinds of movies and keep risk-taking and creative directors like Zack Snyder working. We'll all be the better for it.


Mr. White

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