Saw it this morning at a matinee($4).Not a masterpiece but better than average for this kind of film. Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach was the best thing about the film. Certainly much better than the directors previous film-300.
I’m slightly disappointed. It had some great moments and it was exciting to see the characters brought to life but I don’t know if I’d reccomend it to someone who hasn’t read the graphic novel yet. I think it works nicely as an appendage and the action sequences were very well done but it lacks the grace of the novel. The music choices in particular I just didn’t get.
Well, so far so good. Nobody has said that it was absolutely horrible. (which was a possibility)
Not horrible, just pretty tedious. The comic book is 95% exposition, and translated with considerable fidelity to film (though without much fidelity to tone), the movie is a long slog. Steve is right though, casting Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach is spectacular.
I reviewed the film here
I didn’t hate it, it was better than 300. It started out good I felt but dragged on throughout the middle. It was very long. I’ll probably wait till it’s on TV to watch it again, if I ever do.
I got into a serious argument with a couple of fanboys over not liking this film. I gave it a 4/10 because the only thing that kept me interested were Jackie Earle Haley and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The soundtrack was way too obnoxious and confusing (Hallelujah during a sex scene??) It’s basically an exact duplicate of the graphic novel and that’s why I have issues with it. The graphic novel is hard to adapt because it’s all over the place, the story doesn’t flow.
Whatever, I don’t feel like going into it again, but I wasn’t a fan.
It had alot of problems with tone and acting but there were enough wow moments for me to consider it a serviceable adaptation.
Its no Dark Knight, thats for sure.
“Its no Dark Knight, thats for sure.”
This makes me actually want to see it.
Anyway, stumbled across this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDDHHrt6l4w&feature=channel_page
I think it may be the best adaptation of Watchmen we’ll ever see.
Damn you My Chemical Romance! That video is a nutty turd!
zzzzzz can of worms…let’s move on…
Horrible narrative issues in the first half, due to rigidly sticking with a structure that only works with panels, pages and chapter breaks. And, like glemaud said, this movie may have the single worse soundtrack I’ve ever heard. Nonsensical pop songs placed onto images and sequences that they don’t fit with in any way, shape or form. In most cases, actually ruining the scene in question.
To me, the soundtrack is actually the smoking gun pointing to Zack Snyder being a man truly deprived of any artistic talent. There are no cues for these songs built into the novel, so he isn’t choosing them to “stay true to the source.” He chose them on his own, he placed them onto scenes they don’t belong, and the studio paid millions to get the rights.
It may seem like I’m nit-picking, but I’m not… it really is that much of a hindrance to the film. It’s would be like scoring Schindler’s List to Yakety Sax, and not understanding why those two things don’t mix unless you’re looking to make a comedy.
On the positive side, Billy Crudup/Dr. Manhattan is great, and Jackie Earle Haley’s performance is goddamn unbelievable.
I’ll stop now before even getting into how wrong the changes to the ending are.
Brandon-I agree that the songs are out of place but to refer to recordings by Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Leonard Cohen as nonsensical pop songs?
Oh, don’t get me wrong… I love each and every song used in the film, Steve. It’s their use in the film that’s nonsensical.
Never have I cringed at Leonard Cohen, until Watchmen. Never have I cringed at Hendrix, until Watchmen. Never have I cringed at Simon & Garfunkel, until Watchmen. The use of Dylan in the opening credits worked, however, since the entire point of setting up this universe is that history as we’ve known it is “a’ changin”
But everything else seemed like Snyder looking at whatever song came up when he hit shuffle on his iPod, and cutting it into the film haphazardly, destroying any emotional depth of the sequence.
And his childish homage to Apocalypse Now via the use of Wagner deeply undercut the weight of what should of been an awe-inspiring sequence of a god taking part in modern warfare, and made it downright silly.
The only music that worked within the film itself was Phillip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi score, which we already saw work so well in the trailer. If he had stuck with that, plus an original score, things would be much better off.
Oh god, it’s 166 on IMDB’s top 250
I just came back from seeing this. I didn’t hate it but it was so underwhelming and I completely agree with the musical choices being totally wrong. The wrong juxtaposition of those songs and images really ruined moments that could have been something exceptional. Matthew Goode was absolutely wrong for the role of Ozymandias. In the novel he was this guy who did something purely evil but honestly believed that he was doing something great for the world. The way he was portrayed in the movie was like a total monster without even a little bit of the naivete he had in the book. And I got the vibe that the character of Laurie was just there for some eye candy. It’s sad because I really liked her character in the novel.
More than that, Maria, but the alterations made to Ozymandias’ grand plot completely took away any sense that he actually is “the smartest man in the world”. In the book, his plan was absolutely insane in it’s genius. For him to simply use Dr. Manhattan as a scape goat in the film is the most obvious and garish idea in the world. Who couldn’t of thought that scheme up?
Not to mention the fact that blaming Manhattan simply doesn’t work. He’s an American citizen, who works for the US government, and fought in the US military as an ultimate weapon. Why would the enemies of his nation automatically assume that he went rogue, as opposed to simply continuing in his work for the United States, and destroying their major cities.
My biggest complaints(includes spoilers):
- Dans impotency became a total joke instead of being treated as a melancholic inability that lit up Dan as the most emotionally relatable character, Instead he is now a older version of peter parker. Which is a shame, because under the missteps in the characters scripting, you can truly see a good performance in Patrick Wilson.
- Laurie was useless and felt like the audiences whore.
- Ozymandias was an atypical villain. Ozymandias is NOT an atypical-villain.
- Bubastis, The Bernies, Knot Tops.
- The climax really has no impact when the Malcolm Long, Two Bernies, Lesbians, and Squid subplots are subtracted. We need to know the victims of Ozy’s grand scheme in order for it emotionally resonate.
- The comedian lacked the humanity he had in the book, due to the scene of him confronting Moloch being cut down & the lack of the scene at the dinner party.
I have to say though, I partially enjoyed the film up until the end of ‘Watchmaker,’ After that the hollowness of the film is truly exposed due to Snyders weakspott for ‘AWESOMENESS’
The exclusion of any real scenes involving the Bernies is only made a thousand times worse by the lingering shot of them hugging each other as they lift off the ground at the end, Kurt. It just comes off as random pap, when it could of been a touching moment.
Oh, and we can’t not mention the shot of the World Trade Center being the only monument to survive the events that took place in NYC.
Holy Jesus, I almost threw up a little when I saw that.
@Brandon: I totally agree with you. In the novel, the ending was so effective because Ozymandias brought in an outside force to cause the destruction. I get that filmmakers want comic book movies to be taken seriously and that’s why they changed the ending but I think that if Ozymandias had been characterized properly in the movie, the ending with the squid would have worked out fine and the revision would have been unnecessary.
I agree with everything said thus far. Did it also not annoy people that the great ending line of Doctor Manhattan is said by Laurie at her mother’s house to Dan? They completely flubbed the ending in terms of the tone, message, etc. I thought everyone played their roles very well, but they weren’t given much to go with. Snyder kind of messed up the execution of a lot of important moments for each of them, as was pointed out by Kurt Walker when he talked about Dan’s impotency. It was moments like that where you knew that Snyder didn’t have a firm grasp of the graphic novel. Also, I never thought I’d say it but I think he was way too faithful to the graphic novel in some ways. He threw in Bubastis with no explanation at all. He did this with quite a few things in the movie. Overall I still liked it and just seeing these great characters brought to life by some fine acting was as much as I could have expected.
I thought it was bananas, i have to watch it again. I saw alot of symbolism in it, i dont have a full grip on it all after one viewing, my rough thoughts…..the “comedian is dead” really got me, theres no more humor, and the line about him “paradizing”, hes described as a nazi and they show him shooting kennedy in the opening sequence…..and the fact that Silkgirl is his daughter….lot of sad irony….I have to package him more the second viewing….the quantam man seemed to represent something like the pursuit of all knowledge, hes used by humans in vietnam (“god is _________ and he is american”), loses touch with humans, drives the silkgirl to Night Owl, the end he says he can change almost anything but not human nature …….and Adrien being the world’s smartest man and the worlds biggest sellout, it was like he had a godlike shrine to himself in antarctica…..he has the ultimate remedy for mankind, night owl says he deformed the human race………I dont know what I think about Rorschack(?) yet…..him and his morphing inkblot mask……..
I liked just about all of it, can only see it getting better the second viewing……
Hell is a locked movie theater with Watchmen on an infinite loop.
Hell is being locked in a room with Zack Snyder for eternity as he talks about how awesome the movie is, and you not being able to respond.
I thought hell was a planet in which movie executives keep giving Snyder tons of money to make mediocre overhyped crap.
@ Jeff, I think you would enjoy the book alot more.
it was actually very well put together for turning a graphic novel into a movie, just as 300, from hell, and V for Vendetta were. For those of us who love the books and novels, you can never expect a movie to live up to the expectations of a book. and the reason for that is simple, our imaginations are much more flexible and creative than any produced and live scene can be, a similar limitation between cartoons and live action. everyone would of course enjoy the book more, as long as you enjoy reading. but the fact of the matter is that not everyone enjoys reading, and that is a product of societies obsession with television. you all here are even discussing films on a movie forum (as do i, so i am in no way expressing some sort of superiority), but really, we need to keep these things in mind. the purpose of turning the novel into a movie is another way for Alan Moore to cash in on the public’s willingness to shell out $8-13 for going to a movie, and all power to him for that. the movie was much better than i thought a movie adaptation of a graphic novel masterpiece could be. maybe you all had too high of expectations, but i went in knowing that any book will always be better than a movie and left the imax very pleased with how i spent my 2 and 1/2 hours.
lastly, i think i remember hearing that zach synder was not too happy with his film having to be cut down to around 160 minutes, which took out a half hour of footage. so perhaps when the dvd comes out and we can see the director’s cut, our minds will change a little. agreed, not as good as the book, but what film ever is?
Alan Moore has disowned the adaptation for a long while. He’s also not taking in any cash from it, he told them to give his share to Gibbons.
Also, did anyone find the scenes they added with Richard Nixon to be completely unnecessary? Instead of putting him in the movie, focus more on Rorschach’s past or Doc Manhattan’s or even have the Bernies be more than background characters.
when it comes to comic books and superheroes my knowledge and attention is fairly lacking. i have a historical love affair with captain america and a bunch of other marvel superheroes, and have a good grasp of the universe they exist in and the industry they are a part of. i am not an unreasonable man. i understand the technicalities that come with any adaptation, be it comic strip, tv show or prose novel, therefore i have never been one to bemoan the changing of aspects of a particular piece of source material to suit its newfound cinematic audience. with the unveiling of watchmen though, for the first time in my life, i found myself in the rather worrying predicament of acting a bit like a fanboy. i felt as though i had a god-given right to act as if the source material mattered enough to me so much that i had an opinion. ‘’this isnt like iron man, or batman" i thought, those films can exploit 50 plus years of history to their benefit, origins can be manipulated, scenarios can be changed, they do it in the comics so feel free to do it within the realms of film. with ’watchmen’ though it was different, very different. the puzzle like nature of the book dictates that if a single ingredient is missing then a disaster could be afoot.
first of all changes to the ending were announced. many exclaimed blasphemy, whereas i wasnt hugely fussed. as long as they kept the message, the subtext if you will, then i will be happy. the second major negative mark against the films production was the employment of my chemical romance, pop-punk emo-supremo’s to provide the films “theme-tune”. not only that but it was a cover of one of my most beloved of songs, bob dylan’s ‘’desolation row". “desolation row” provides what i feel to be one of the key inspiration points for the original ’’watchmen’’ book, in the shape of the line "now at midnight all the agents/and the superhuman crew/come out and round up everyone/that knows more than they do’’. indeed the song is credited in the book, and the line is used to bookend one of the issues of the original comic that was collated to make up the now famous graphic novel. now my big problem doesnt lie in the fact that the song is one of my favourites, nor does it lie within the fact that my chemical romance are a terrible band (following record label ethics that surely contradict the message within ‘watchmen’?), my problem lies in the very fact that zack snyder chose this band and this version of the song for his film. in his artistic opinion, this was the best he could come up with? really? the third and final negative pre-release woe came in the shape of the 30 second clips that were unleashed upon the internet just a few weeks ago. knowing full well that i would be seeing the film i didnt particularly want to check out the clips, for fear of spoiling the one aspect of the film that i didnt already know, but in the case of one scene i buckled. it was the scene involving nite owl 2 and the comedian on “crowd control” duty. in less than 30 seconds of footage i learnt 3 things. well i say i learnt 3 things, only 2 of those were new, whereas 1 was a confirmation of an earlier worry. the first piece of information was the confirmation that snyder really cant choose music. the scene in question, in which civil disruption turns into carnage at the hands of the comedian, features a riot, and is set in the 1970’s. now whatever gave snyder the impression that ‘im your boogie man’ by k.c and the sunshine band was the soundtrack of choice for the keen rioter in the late 1970’s i do not know, but it was a ridiculous decision, and indictive of his other musical choices, of which i will get to later. secondly, for all his good intentions, snyder just didnt get the look of this scene right. there was an ominous red glow involved in the original composition, and one which i always took to be a parallel with the scenes on mars. alas it wasnt replicated here. finally, thirdly, and perhaps most obviously was the apparent overuse of slow motion. in this one 30 second segment there were two uses of the damn technique. now im not exactly against the use of slow motion, but if ever there was a technique that required it be used in moderation then this is it.
so the run up to ‘watchmen’ wasnt particularly positive.
having seen the film this afternoon im actually confused as to how i felt about it. there were some great moments, and the film has a lot going for it, but i cant help but be ultimately disappointed by it.
as a literal translation of the comic strip-based action of the book then it worked fine. i was particularly impressed with jeffrey dean morgan as the comedian, and didnt find any of the performances especially lacking. the sidelining of ‘moloch the mystic’ and ‘hollis mason’, the first nite-owl was particularly annoying, being that they represent an area of the graphic novel that i found to be particularly of interest; the roots of the demistification of the superhero if you will. the pacing, obviously a victim through circumstance more than anything, really didnt work. the film didnt feel epic, as much has been made of it on various reviews, it felt slow, and lacking any kind of real heart. the all important subtext, without the contextual background provided within the book, didnt really exist. sure there was a mythology in place, plenty of opportunity for those who would like to seek out more to seek something out, but the subtext and message that were inherent throughout the source material is all but missing. a point that really got to me was the fact that the key point within the book that spells out the comedian and ozymandias’ fate isnt in the film. there’s a scene in the book whereby the comedian gives the young ozmandias. its a fleeting moment, but the nature of the assault mirrors the image of the opening section of the film perfectly; the roles are reversed and there was something rather poetic about the whole encounter. quite why the comedian fights back is again, beyond my comprehension. he has already accepted his fate by the time his killer strikes. for him to fight back (in the film) reaks of the filmmakers attempt at shoehorning action in. the fact that we lose the wonderful little bit of mirroring with the earlier (in the time frame of the narrative) event just adds salt to the wound.
the music, both score and found was awful, with particular woe being aimed at the use of leonard cohen’s ‘hallelujah’ throughout the most embaressing sex scene i have seen in quite some time. seriously its just incredibly lazy filmmaking when you rely on such well known songs to project a feeling upon the audience. add in the use of ‘the sound of silence’ during the funeral march and you have something that i would expect from a student film.
one last negative – richard nixon? what on earth went wrong there?
as i mentioned above, the film translates the literal image of the book onto the screen in a very faithful manner. at times it genuinely does feel like the book has come to life, yet at others it feels like a shoddy rip off of the product it claims to be. the overuse of slow motion does wear at first, but after a while it blends into the edit and isnt especially noticeable. it would be nice to see snyder lay off on the slo-mo a bit tho, the final fight in particular would have benefitted from a bit of speed and realism, especially considering the nature of the participants attire. and while its the negatives that stand out the most, the overall experience was fine, just not necessarily alan moore’s ‘watchmen’; it wasnt great, but it wasnt awful either. it was just “ok”, which is probably the most disappointing thing of all.
As a huge fan of the graphic novel, I walked into the theater already cringing but I have to say, I enjoyed myself. I didn’t find it tedious at all, I found many of the most important scenes left intact and I thought the casting was great. Jackie Earle Haley was brilliant as Rorschach, which had much to do with my overall satisfaction. However, there were some omissions and additions that just made no sense. The most obvious is the Bernies. In my opinion the newsstand is the center of the city and these two characters represent the paranoia and escapism that defines our complicated central characters, at the most basic human level. A simple substitution of this extremely important subplot for all the Nixon stuff (which really began to annoy me) would have done so much for the story. It’s a story driven by themes and characters, and there’s no way around that. The ending bothered me too, for the simple fact that it sold Ozymandias short. I can even understand needing to change the ending a bit (although Maria Bazhlekova makes a very good point) but I don’t see going from Ozymandias’ genius plan to one with so many holes. To bring about cooperation and “peace” between opposing nations, it makes so much more sense for an extraterrestrial encounter to be the cause, rather than an attack from someone (human or not) from one of the nations. There are certainly small changes that I didn’t get or that I thought dumbed the characters down a bit (Rorschach hacking the pedophile in the head for example), and I guess there are other things that I would have like to see more/less of but those are my two big complaints. If we all had sat down and scripted this, I’m sure we could have come up with a more pure script than Snyder. Still, it is what it is and I enjoyed it. It was a good time at the movies, good casting (I actually thought Malin Akerman pulled off young Laurie Jupiter quite well) and special effects that did the story justice. I’ll buy the blu-ray.