Plot: In an alternate 1985 where Richard Nixon is still president, and costumed crime fighting is outlawed, the murder of an ex-superhero sparks a series of events that threatens to plunge the world into a nuclear holocaust.
Review: Iím a late-comer to the whole WATCHMEN phenomenon. Knowing that Iíd have to review this film sooner or later, this week I finally got around to reading Alan Mooreís landmark comic- and boy, what an extraordinary piece of work. It really is everything everyone said it would be, but with the graphic novel so fresh in my mind, how would the film compare?
Despite some of the earlier reviews to the contrary, I can assure WATCHMEN fans that, to me anyways, Zack Snyderís film is as perfect and faithful an adaptation as we could possibly hope for. Heís almost slavishly faithful to the comic. While he does depart from it a tad towards the end- I think that this was probably inevitable, otherwise the film would have run 3 Ĺ hours as opposed to the already long (but surprisingly lean feeling) 162 minute version we have now.
To me, WATCHMEN is a practically flawless film, as it pushed all the buttons the original comic did, but at the same time provided a truly cinematic experience (no doubt helped by the fact that I caught the IMAX version). The performances are all absolutely top notch. Patrick Wilson looks like he walked right off the page, and makes a perfect Nite-Owl. Some have complained that heís a bit bland, but I think thatís the point of the character. Jackie Earle Haley is nothing short of incredible as Rorschach, and was seemingly born to play the role. Billy Crudup is similarly perfect casting for Dr. Manhattan, and the CGI used to animate the character is exceptional, to the point that you forget heís essentially a walking special effect.
The only two actors I had any trepidation about were Matthew Goode as Ozymandias, and Malin Akerman as Silk Spectre, but both ended up being perfect, although it took me a little while to accept them- Goode in particular, but towards the end they both sold me 100%.
The fil really only has two major problems. One- the old age makeup for Carla Gugino is nothing short of awful and it looks like someone just smeared a whole bunch of gunk over her face (although Jeffrey Dean Morganís old age make up is a lot better). I also thought there was way to much pop music in the film. While some of the songs are perfectly chosen- like the opening Bob Dylan song, and a couple of great eighties tracks that suit the era perfectly (LOVED the use of 99 Luftballons, and a cleverly incorporated muzak version of Tears for Fears- Everybody Wants to Rule the World), I think a lot of the sixties tracks were a tad unnecessary- but nevertheless effective.
Overall, I think most WATCHMEN fans are going to love the film, as long as they accept the fact that a reasonably paced film cannot possibly incorporate every single bit of information contained in a twelve part comic book series. As for what casual filmgoers unfamiliar with the comic will think- I have no idea. I think some will love it, and others will despise it. Overall though- WATCHMEN is a film for fans of the graphic novel, and you really need to have read it to get the full effect.
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