Watchmen, a movie that was at least 20 years in a place called development hell, is finally brought to the big screen. Now when viewing a movie like that I always wonder; what was the big deal anyway, was this really that difficult to make? I had the same thing with Freddy vs Jason. Once it’s out there you wonder why it took so long in the first place. Watchmen even had the luxury of having the story actually there, all it needed was a screenplay. Well now it’s finally here and to answer a piece of graffity from the movie; Who watches the watchmen? Well, I did and this is what I thought about it…
I loved it. I can write tons of words about it but these three words sum that up real nicely. I read all these comments about people walking out and that people found it too difficult to understand. I read the comi… ehm excuse me, graphic novel in the month before the movies release so I knew what was coming plotwise so I wasn’t affraid to see a movie I wouldn’t understand. I do was affraid that it might be harder to follow for my girlfriend who never read the comic novel. Well I can say that, from my own perspective and from her comments, all you have to have is a functioning brain. Maybe it’s me, or us, but anyone not understanding this movie has probably got some braincells missing. The movies storyline is linear with a few flashbacks thrown in here and there. There are some good deep speeches but all in all this movie is not harder to follow than a Star Wars flick.
Director Zack Snyder has shown us he knows his way with visuals. This movie does not disappoint. The movie, as dark as the story is, bursts with vibrant colors and all the special effects are top-notch. The costumes are in most cases fairly true to their comic counterparts. Only one costume was radically changed when compared to the comic, it works better this way because it’s probably the only costume that was too much if you’d put it on the screen the way it was in the novel.
The acting is of a quality one would expect from a cast like this. Jackie Earle Haley imitates Christian Bale’s gruff Batman voice and shines as Rorschach. Same goes for Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the ruthless Comedian. Patrick Wilson had to put on some extra pounds for his role as Night Owl. That and a pair of glasses make him practically unrecognizable. Billy Crudup does a Gollem for this movie as he is most of the time in the movie as the CGI-generated Dr. Manhattan. He does the best he can given the limitations and really shows a man who has almost no contact anymore with humand. Matthew Goode played the German Ozymandias and loses his accent on multiple occasions. Back to theatreschool! Malin Akerman is the eye candy for the boys (and lesbian women). She holds up but isn’t Oscar-material.
The music has had a lot of criticism. The movie is filled with music from the 60’s 70’s and 80’s. Most of them work, two don’. Nena’s 99 Luftballons should have been more integrated in the background like Tears For Fears’ Everybody wants to rule the world, and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah shoull have been replaced by A: The version by Rufus Wainwright or B: Something more sensual and less bombastic.The rest of the music is well selected and the original score has some resemblance to the score of The Dark Knight and is very well composed.
Because Watchmen is based upon a 400+ pages graphic novel it was necessary to cut things. The good thing is that this did help the pacing, the bad thing is that some of the characterbuilding felt rushed. Everybody gets fleshed out, but it was deeper in the book. Luckily an extended version of the movie will be made available on DVD and Bluray.
Watchmen isn’t a perfect movie, but to me it comes close and it’s the best movie fans of the novel could have asked for. Thumbs up for Zack Snyder for staying as true to the original work as possible. Without him the movie might have been desastrous and nothing more than a second “League Of Extraordinary Gentleman”. Think about that when you start rambling about the guns in the Owl Ship!