Insert lame “Watching the Watchmen” pun here

March 8, 2009

Seriously, how many reviewers are using that line?  Pretty lame.

Anyway, from that title, it is safe to assume I saw “Watchmen” last night. First off, I’d like to say in short, it was awesome. I’ve read the novel several times now, and actually just finished reading it through again the night before I saw it, so it was extremely awesome to watch scenes where the dialogue was taken straight from the panels in a lot of cases. I got to the point where I was giddy with excitement for a part I really loved that was coming up. When Rorshach says his “when you are” before his fight with the cops, I had a slight nerdgasm.

This leads to a problem I’ve seen many reviewers complaining about, which is that the movie is too dedicated to the original text. Rightly, about 80-85% of the movie is pretty much exactly as the book goes, barring some things moved around for the sake of keeping the movie flowing. My question is, why is it a bad thing, that the movie is so true to the original book? Isn’t it about time we finally got a comic book movie that did so? I think this shows that Zack Snyder wasn’t trying to please critics, but doing something a lot of directors seem to miss out on, which is appease the actual FANS, instead of the mainstream audience. Sure, people who haven’t read the book won’t know the difference, and will still get the story out of it, but the whole reason people want to see the movie is so you can relive those memorable images from the book in full motion.

Stylistically, the movie itself feels much like a graphic novel. Gritty scenes full of pretty gory violence look great, but maybe not for the sqeamish. If you’ve seen Snyder’s 300, then you should have no problem with it. All of the characters looked great, especially Rorschach and Comedian’s costumes, which looked great. Even some costumes like Nite Owl’s, which had changed from the book were arguably better looking. The narrative style was very film noire with Rorschach’s journal entries, and this is the probably the biggest compliment I can give the movie; it didn’t feel long. Yes, it has a running time of 2 hours and 43 minutes, but I never got the feeling of “God this is long”. Having read the book, I knew when we were getting close to the end, and I was surprised once we got there. This is I think, the best quality a movie can have, that it always feels compelling even if it’s almost 3 hours long.

Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m entirely praising this, so I should put some criticisms in here. Adrian Veidt’s character was a little two dimensional for the story, and didn’t really get the development I think he needed. Unfortunately, that would have added another fifteen minutes. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but the ending has changed from the book, though it does seem almost more of a conceivable end when compared to the novel’s. Of course I still think the novel’s ending is great, but they spent the entire book leading up to it, which would have been too difficult to weave into the already dense movie.

Well, I guess that’s all I have to complain about. I don’t really think I can do the star rating system, as I can’t really measure my movie experience with a number I’ll just say I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of the novel. Even if you aren’t I still say give it a try. My friend hadn’t read it, and she loved the thing, so that must mean something.

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