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Quis Custodiets? Me, That's Who!

March 11, 2009

I went and saw Watchmen last night. I went by myself and sat in a theatre with about sixty other folks. The good thing was that they were there to see the movie and--I'm going to guess--most of them either knew the story or at least knew what to except. There was no extraneous giggling about Dr. Manhattan's peezer, though there was laughing at the appropriate times when Rorschach was just being the complete badass he was supposed to be.

So, here's my review, but if you want to read reviews by people who do a much better job than me, check moog, Jon, Rider or Jidai. Pfangirl will also have a review up soon has an excellent review up, as well.

The short review: I wanted to get up and walk out of the theatre...to buy a ticket to the very next screening. I really enjoyed it. For one, it was as true an adaptation of the comic as possible. There were a couple of things left out that I thought were important: Laurie's favorite toy, the snow globe, that she broke when she saw her mother and her mother's husband fighting (I realize that Doc Manhattan's glass palace played the same role) and Sally kissing the picture of the Comedian from the group photo of the Minutemen. I thought that, when she did that in the comic, it wrapped that subplot up nicely. Also, I thought that the movie made it too obvious as to who the antagonist was. That could have just been because I knew who was behind the diabolical plan and I picked up on the clues more readily.

I wish that there had been more to the story as to why the Keene Act was set in place. I thought that was touched on a little too quickly. Also, I wish that we could have explored Dr. Malcolm's reaction to Rorschach's story more so that it was more obvious that he understood why Rorschach became what he became. I realize that these additions would have taken up more time, and the movie was already nearly three hours long (not that I minded).

Of course, I also know that the Black Freighter story arc will be in the extended version when the DVD hits shelves later in the summer, so I'm not upset over that.

That's all the negative I could pull out of it. At first, I thought Dr. Manhattan's voice wasn't right, but then, given what he has developed into, I realized that having a soothing, placid voice was better than the cold, almost Vader-esque voice I always read in the book. Also, I liked Silk Spectre II in the movie much better than the book.

Needless to say, Rorschach and the Comedian were fucking unbelievably good. Everyone has talked about them, but I also really liked Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II. I thought Patrick Wilson didn't get enough accolades (in the reviews I've read) for balancing the impotence/vulnerability/cowardice of Dreiberg versus the crime fighter persona of Nite Owl.

As for the ending...it's different than it was in the book (which will, of course, make Alan Moore fly off the handle over how Hollywood has ruined his art...right after pocketing yet another check), and I have to say, the ending that Snyder orchestrated was...if not better, then more believable. It tied elements of the story together more cohesively as opposed to leaving things to chance like the ending in the book did. Plus, it didn't involve a gigantic vagina-squid in the middle of New York.

The fight scenes, I thought, were well-done, despite the fact that they jumped from real time to slow motion and back. It was a little easier to follow this way than, say, in Batman or a Wolverine fight scene where things are crowded, close and fast. Rorschach's origin story was tweaked a little, but that didn't bother me; it still fit in with the character.

And as for the criticism that I heard from people on the radio that the movie had too much talking and not enough action...what the fuck movie were you watching? Yeah, it slowed down a little bit after the initial fight scene, but so did Iron Man, and you fuckers weren't bitching about that. The only problem I saw in the pacing is where Nite Owl and Rorschach are about to figure out what's going on and then we jump back to Mars to see Laurie and Jon discussing the fate of the world and Laurie's past...which is exactly how it happened in the book. Nothing felt rushed or crammed together or hurried or clipped. In fact, the only way that I noticed the three hours were nearly up (aside from knowing where we were in the storyline) was that my Cherry Coke was nearly empty.

I would recommend seeing this if you are at all a fan of the genre. If you're not necessarily, but you still would like to see it, maybe wait for the DVD. I still recommend reading the book first, just so you can follow along a little easier. I don't think it's necessary, but it might enhance your enjoyment of the film.

To top the evening off last night, I came home to find my wife laying on the bed reading my copy of the Watchmen. Talk about instant chub...

15 comments:

Jidai said...

Looking back, the guy who played Nite Owl, did a fairly good job. The problem was the girl who played Silk Specter was so bad, she distracted from the small nuances of his performance.

I'm also glad to see that I wasn't the only one that had a problem with Dr. Manhattan's voice. It had too much... emotion.

Scope said...

Since it's based on a comic book, and it has people in costumes, it must be fine for me to take my 9 year old nephew to, like Spiderman, right?

With all the gritty realism (Dr. Mannhatana aside) the book ending always bugged me a little, even though the clues are in there.

I have to get to this soon.

Anna Russell said...

No vagina squid? I want a vagina squid!
I'm going to see it on Friday and I'm trying not to be too fanboy about it. I figure given the complexity of the story, they can only do their best with it and they're going to have to miss some things out. I didn't expect them to change the ending though.

Great review. One of the more balanced ones I've read.

Jon said...

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing- I wasn't sure if the movie telegraphed the bad guy, or I just knew it was coming.

Good review.

Sassy Britches said...

Comics have never been my interest, and I never thought I'd see this movie. However, I read this ENTIRE post; that's just how much I like you. Now, I am feeling compelled to see the movie. Who knew?

Chemgeek said...

Cherry Coke is my movie theater drink of choice.

TishTash said...

I can't read this post. I want to see the movie and I'm afraid of spoilers. That is a more rational fear than a fear of spiders, I think.

Pfangirl said...

I say we form the League of Vagina Squid haters! :)

Thoroughly enjoyed your review, and yes, mine is finally up.

I think the bad guy bit is obvious mostly because the character, who is supposed to be a complete golden boy, reveals himself to be a total loon so early on. In the book this character's nutty backstory is only revealed right near the end.

Moooooog35 said...

I like Moog's review the best.

His talent?

Unparalleled.

But then again, I'm a little biased.

Kimizzy said...

hahahaha... instant chub!

I'm glad you liked it even though it came from a book. Hardly ever do I enjoy a movie from a book I loved. Such as the Harry Potter movies, in which they left some of my favorite parts out. I'm still not over it.

Frank said...

I have yet to see it, but I've heard a lot of people complain that they thought it was going to be some kind of action shitfest like Fantastic 4, with lots of explosions and asskicking and whatnot. Instead, they said, "There's a lot of talking and shit, and it's all depressing."

Hearing that makes me want to see it more.

Bob said...

I thought I read that Moore doesn't except any payments from hollywood to protest the film industry's 'lack of respect for IP'? Is this not true? :(

Fancy Schmancy said...

I guess I'll wait for the dvd, then...

Dave Perrey said...

Hey Matt, nice review!

I saw the movie yesterday and was similarly impressed. Did you really suggest to watch this on DVD? You'd miss the scale of some of those scenes!

Plus, there was a trailer for Wolverine...Marvel in a DC movie?! That's like matter and anti-matter!

Soda and Candy said...

Haha, I finally read this post because I went to see Watchmen last night!

Great review. You make a good point about Dr Manhattan's voice although I still think he was a bit too emo.

Plus, there was an awful lot of animated blue peen in this movie. I mean a lot. Maybe I just don;t go to R-rated movies that often?