Early Watchmen talk!
I haven't had a chance to see WATCHMEN in full yet (something I hope to rectify soon) but some lucky bastard out in Los Angeles was able to get into one of the early screenings that's been going on. Most of the opinions of people I know who've seen on the film have been wildly all over the map so when this guy offered to write in his thoughts, I was curious to see where he would come in. Here's what he had to say... (Again, I stress this is NOT my review of the film. I know sometimes people get confused when we run reader reviews...)
A few days back I was lucky enough to catch a Early Screening of Watchmen. Before I begin my review, a brief preface: I read the graphic novel once last year and absolutely loved it, so in that respect, I'm a definite fan (though not a fanatic). OK, here goes...
It's pretty damn clear from the first scene that Zack Snyder took the term "faithful adaptation" to a whole new level. Zack made this film for the fans, and from the first scene, it really shows. But he obviously needed to bring the non-fans up to speed too on the history of the Watchmen (and their impact on the world) and he does this with a truly mind-blowing and strikingly beautiful opening credit sequence. I saw this film with a friend who had never read the graphic novel, and by the time the credits were over, he completely understood the universe we were about to delve into. Awesome stuff, with a song choice I wont ruin for you, that truly is perfect. Along those lines, the soundtrack for this film is extremely unique and not at all what i was expecting. Lets just say you'll recognize A LOT of this music, but I mean that in the best way.
The rest of the film is a violent (INSANELY violent actually) and gripping affair filled with all sorts of colorful characters. I was a bit skeptical of the cast when I first saw the list announced, especially Billy Crudup as Dr Manhattan. But he knocks it out of the park (perfect voice) and Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach not surprisingly steals the friggin' show. He is one badass mother, and a few of his lines had the audience literally bursting into applause.
Malin Akerman certainly brought nothing to the part (other than a nice rack). She definitely didn't have the chops to pull off anything really dramatic, but man did she look good in that black and yellow leather. Patrick Wilson was great and Matthew Goode, who I thought was NOT old enough, did a decent enough job.
If I had any critiques to make, I would definitely say the film is a bit too long, or drags in some spots. This is an adaptation of a novel that had 12 chapters, and as is customary, new characters will come in with each chapter and you have to develop them and provide backstory. These flashbacks that come midway through sometimes slow the pacing (we want to get back to the present action!) but really, this isn't a huge issue. I had a huge grin across my face the entire time (that stayed well after the film's conclusion) and I couldn't get it out of my mind for days. What made this comic famous was that it reached way beyond the norms of your typical comic book and had something truly profound to say, and that's all here for display in the film.
Kudos to everyone involved for having the balls to make Watchmen the film it really deserved to be. To all those who've never read the novel, I ask only this of you...go in with an open mind and don't expect the next Superman (and thank God for that).