Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I've Watched the Watchmen!

Hallelujah! ;-)

I have now seen the Watchmen movie. And I thought it was pretty good, better than I was expecting. In parts it was blinking excellent and in others it was just above okay but in general I enjoyed it. Sure, it wasn't the "graphic novel" (and it was never going to be) but it was a decent adaptation.

A friend of mine, who does not read comic books, also thought it was good. I had been worried what someone not familiar with the original work would think of this but it seemed to go down well. Although I suspect I was seeing the film in a different way to him.

Anyway, on to some random good and bad points...

Good Things

1. The acting. I liked Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Comedian and Jackie Earle Haley was excellent as Walter Kovacs when he was outside his mask (the growling voice-over was a little too heavily done though). I actually thought Matthew Goode was quite, ahem, good as Ozymandias.

2. The music and score.

3. Doc Manhattan. Sometimes the CGI was a little off but his voice - including the weird whale-like sounds in the background - was a great choice.

4. Doc Manhattan's background story on Mars (which, I think, equated to issue 4 of the comic book).

5. The shape of the Rorschach's blood splatter at the end.

6. The little ironic juxtapositions of image and voice-over. For instance, the "curtains" as the Comedian drops to the ground. Although, unfortunately, there weren't as many as the comicbook.

7. Easter eggs such as the snow globe, the S.Q.U.I.D, Nite Owl saving Batman's parents and so on.

Bad Things

1. The sex scene aboard Archie went on far too long (although the background music was amusing).

2. To much bloody violence. Yes, I know the comic book is quite bloody but, with a bit of restraint, this film might have been rated 15.

3. The lack of dead bodies in New York after Ozy's masterplan is complete. The horror in the original comic book gruesomely highlighted the depths that Ozy had plummeted to "save the world". And, yes, I know this conflicts with number 2 above.

4. Nite Owl's "Noooooo!" near the end.

5. No Hollis Mason death. They made the effort to show him near the beginning so they should've showed his death as well.

6. The rather low-key beginning - well, at least until Comedian's death.


There were probably a few other good and bad things that I've forgotten now.

Overall, I thought the new, squid-less ending was fine. I can see why it was done and it worked within this film. It would've been better if we'd seen the affects of the Manhattan-bombs more but generally I'm okay with it. The squid would probably have been too jarring anyway.

My main concern with this film is its reception. It might have done well in its first weekend but after the first week the viewing figures have dropped like a stone. Certainly, in the cinema complex I saw this, Watchmen was only shown once per night, in the smallest screen and only a handful of people attended. The 18 certificate and the lack of advertising (perhaps due to the aforementioned restricted certification) didn't help.

So, considering Watchmen is considered one of the greatest superhero comic book graphic novels of all time, its film version hardly set the world alight. It wasn't a huge success and probably didn't get lots of non-geeks thinking how wonderful comic books, and comic book movies, are.

Ah, well. I’ll give this a Very Fine grade.

Roll on Christmas and the extended, director's cut DVD!


Afront said...

Very Fine indeed, I'd read the book a couple of times before and loved this movie too. Interesting that you cite the music as a good thing, as for me that was one thing I didn't like. I thought it was inappropriate and from the wrong era too: the movie was set in the 80s, but most of the pop songs were 70s tunes (except Nena).

Nimbus said...

Each to their own, I guess. The songs might not have been from the right era (some were used because they were quoted in the graphic novel) but I still liked them and felt they gave an older feel to the film.