By RHCPfan24 10 Comments
The forums are already clogged as it is with these, so I will just post this to my profile. Give it a gander if you oh-so please. It is going to be in my high school newspaper.
Based on the infamous graphic novel by Alan Moore and directed by Zack Snyder, the director of "300," Watchmen definitely has some hype surrounding it. Pleasing loyal fans as well as appealing to newcomers is a must, considering the film’s massive $120 million budget and the possibility of tainting one of the most revolutionary literary pieces of the 20th century. The end-result is a movie that should please both groups, and it is an excellent film overall.
To start, Watchmen opens with two excellent scenes of their respective type. The movie begins with The Comedian's murder (played with humor and menace by Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and it is one of the most impressive action scenes in recent memory. The room the action is filmed in is dark but remarkably well lite at the same time, balancing the night setting and the comic book feel perfectly. Each punch and crack is given another dimension due to the remarkable sound design and seeing this movie with proper surround sound is a must. The scene (and whole movie for that matter) follows closely to the comic but has its own flare that makes it familiar, though fresh and original at the same time. Subsequently, the title credits come up, and it is, at least on my humble opinion, the best opening titles I have ever seen. A montage of past Watchmen lore using slow motion techniques and recreations of past historic events (notably one with JFK) blew me away. It is a remarkable beginning to a remarkable film.
Okay, there is more to this movie than just the introduction. In fact, this movie is quite lengthy, clocking in at about 2 hours and 43 minutes. The story still abides closely to the novel and could have used editing here and there, but, for the most part, it flows and moves in a way that does not seem unnecessary or overbearing. The great sound and visual techniques employed in the beginning carry on, and the result is one of the most technically impressive films in years, catching the 300 vibe while not overdoing it to the point of nauseum. Clearly, a lot of time, work and money went into this one.
The performances, with few exceptions, are top-notch. The aforementioned Jeff Dean Morgan does a great job with his brutal, joking character. Malin Akerman is also very good at her role, Silk Spectre II, and she is the lone hot chick in the superhero crew (with a brief exception). Patrick Wilson is fine in his role of Nite Owl, even if his physical build is much more picture friendly than the somewhat portly version of the character from the novel. His post-superhero life is shadowed in early retirement, and he joins in on the action again quickly. He eventually falls for Silk Spectre II, and then, hijinks ensue. Billy Crudup also executes his role as Dr. Manhattan rather well, even if it is a boring character in nature. Still, he performs the emotions (or lack thereof) perfectly and is a real contrast to the rest of the dynamic crew. His origins story is also a highlight in the film, giving the static character some much needed humanity. However, the real standout here is Jackie Earle Haley, the man who plays Rorschach. His role is the standout performance of a film already bursting with talent. He completely becomes Rorschach, mask on or off. He adopts a late Eastwood-type growl and has great body language to go with his dynamic character. He is menacing yet lovable, and he becomes the character you root for until the very end. The only exception to the excellent cast is Matthew Goode, the man who played Ozymandias. The script somewhat skewed the original approach the novel took on him and his character is a bit annoying as a result, as his motives aren’t fully clear. Also, I was honestly annoyed by that haircut of his throughout the film, even if that may be an artistic choice and nothing else.
Another aspect of Watchmen worth noting is its content itself. For starters, there is a lot of violence and it I was shocked to see children under 5 years old walk into the theater. I am sure the high school crowd can handle it, but your little brothers and sisters won’t gain much out of this. Zack Snyder seems to love amputations of every sort. Another thing Snyder loves is sex. The pervert clogged 300 up with liberal amounts of unnecessary intercourse and, unfortunately, he does it again. Though not as much or as blatant as the aforementioned film, Watchmen still sacrifices plot development for some useless sex scenes that do not progress the film in anyway. However, as I said before, the high school crowd won’t mind one bit.
However, those are the only cons I can bring up about this film. In the end, Watchmen is a tight, well-executed movie that should please both newcomers and veterans of Alan Moore’s masterpiece. Technically, this film is near perfect with its visual and audio design, and the acting is sublime. The story does not deviate far from the source material (a smart choice), and, for the most part, the plot progression flows well, even when the runtime approaches 3 hours. Overall, with films like The Dark Knight and Iron Man filling theaters and pleasing critics, Watchmen continues this newly found tradition: the rebirth of the comic-book movie.
Hopefully you enjoyed this review and there were no problems with formatting, hehe.