Who Watches the Watchmen

For nearly 3 hours I sat, in the dark, with this beautiful woman, a woman I waited years to be with… and then she proceeded to give me a hand job, a hand job that, while technically proficient failed utterly at its true purpose, and failed in giving the intended conclusion.

No Happy Ending

I just described my experience with the film “WATCHMEN”. It was gorgeous to look at, and in the end had little heart in what it was doing. That is not to say there weren’t moments I enjoyed, it just didn’t truly fulfill on its intentions or promises.

What did I like…

James Earl Ray as Roarshach – given the most to act in this movie, he did really embrace the character. He was quite convincing as the hero turned psychopath – and his story, more than anyone else’s survived the transition to the screen with minimal disruption, though I missed the details of his origin and his connection to the true story of Kitty Genovese. More importantly also missing was his discovery of his “face”, finding the fabric…

Jeffery Dean Morgan – as the Comedian – I think his task was far more daunting, to play this truly despicable person, and make him someone we have to care about. It was uneven at times, which I actually blame on David Hayter’s screenplay, which almost slavishly followed the letter of the graphic novel on which it based, but some how missing the heart.

Visual/Art Direction… Much like his previous comic adaption (300) Zack Snyder again took his cues directly from the source material, recreating several key images from David Gibbons original artwork. The fight choreography, particularly in the brutal
prison riot, was a ballet in carnage,p and the final showdown was a sublime as it was savage. But what Mr. Snyder has in technical skill, he lacks in subtly. The images in the original graphic novel had to be so striking, because they didn’t move. Each frame has to do the job of hundreds of individual movie frames. But when moving, and 60 feet wide on the screen, the come off over the top and cartoony.

What I didn’t like..

Pretty much the rest of the movie. This is not to say I thought the actors were bad, just poorly cast, and not given all the colors their characters had in the comic. (well except maybe Matthew Good as Ozymandias, he just seemed so blah, but then his back story was the one least explored, who knows what may lie on the cutting room floor and that we will see in the directors cut DVD someday)

The screenplay, was clearly written by someone with a great admiration for the book, only changing what had to be for time constraints and clarifiction, even the major plot change in the final act works, and makes sense, and I didn’t have any great sense of “how could they have changed..” this or that, even the alteration of the ending didn’t bother me, I almost wished that he had taken a little more liberty. Cause I think more of the heart of the story could have been served. But this movie was beng made by people who were well aware of Alan Moore’s (the writer of the original comic) feeling about adaptation of his work, and Hollywood’s poor track record. (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, anyone?)

Some stories are just intended for their medium. Alan Moore created a dense, complex world in an alternate reality, he used parallel story telling, and supplemented his story with additional character pieces, news reports, all done in different styles reflect the 40+ years of history and these segments do not necessarily translate all translate well (though the tv interview Wally Weaver was successful, and I enjoyed the inclusion of stories from Hollis’ book “Under the Hood”.

Was anyone else bothered by the vamped up attention given to the Silhoutte lesbian story, but complete ignoring the gay relationship between Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice?

The thing is, there was plenty in this movie to like, but sadly it was not greater than the sum of its parts, which is something that a great story is. After all that, I do recommend seeing this movie, if only to see how great it could have been. Also to deliver to the studios the message that we want movies that take these kind of chances, and hopefully someone who has never picked up a comic book in their lives went to see this movie, and was intrigued enough by it to go and track down a copy of the graphic novel, and see what it really was all about.

One Response to “Who Watches the Watchmen”
  1. We found the Watchmen squid hidden in the movie!

    It is really in there, just very subliminal:


    Good times.

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