movies: watchmen

watchmen - justice is coming to all of us. no matter what we do.Most of the time I try to avoid as much information about a movie as possible before I go and see it, and the more hyped that movie is (particularly on the blogosphere), the harder that gets...

And the most hyped movie of the moment is Watchmen, until the next one anyway (I'm guessing that will be Wolverine)... so it's been kind of hard to avoid finding out too much about it.

Watchmen is something of a contradiction... it's a superhero movie without outlandish superpowers (okay, with a couple of exceptions)... it's a comic book/fantasy movie, but it's also a period movie (being set in 1985, albeit an alternate timeline)... and it's an action movie without a ton of action.

I'm going to be frank with you right up front... it was good, but honestly I was a little underwhelmed.

I haven't read the graphic novel yet (thankfully I didn't get all over excited and buy it before I saw the movie... now I think I might see if I can borrow Sugarmonkey's copy first before making a decision), but from what I hear the movie is incredibly faithful to the book... which can be a bad thing on occasion, especially if you're not familiar with the source material. And that could be part of Watchmen's flaw... Zack Snyder could have been a little too faithful.

Don't get me wrong, parts of it are excellent, but I'm not sure if its the length of the movie (163 minutes) or just the general pace, but it does seem to drag in spots... especially during two sets of scenes that are just back to back flashbacks. Yes, one set does explain one of the characters, but the other set just felt like it could have been done without having to go into EVERYBODY'S memories.

There was also a hell of a lot of plot going on... which you get with an ensemble piece, everybody has their own piece of the story and they need to have their screen time to expand on it. There isn't anything off the top of my head that could have been easily dropped (except maybe some of the flashback stuff), but it was very dense as far as plot goes. Yet as I said before, not a whole hell of a lot seemed to happen from an action standpoint. And while I won't give anything away about the end of the movie, let's just say that it felt like it ended with a whimper rather than a bang.

But moving on to the parts that I did like...

First up, the opening titles... incredibly stylish and filled in a bunch of backstory visually.

The attention to detail for the "alternate 1985" time period is pretty damn good... the fashion has that occasionally cool but mostly hideously dated look that just screams that it belongs in the 80's.

The longer I think about it, the harder it is to really pick out particular parts that I really, really liked (not without giving away some plot anyway)... I mean it was interesting and occasionally exciting, but there's no real standout action sequence. Although for "non superpowered superheros", I'll say this for them, they can all take a hit like you wouldn't believe.

If I had to pick one Watchman as my favourite, I think it would be Nite Owl (or technically Nite Owl II)... he's the most human and real out of all the characters, and I think he has the best story arc too. Added to that is the fact that I quite like Patrick Wilson (and have like him in other things), so that didn't hurt either. Plus, hello, buttocks!

Speaking of the actors... I think the fact that the majority of the actors were "unknowns" (insofar as they're not instantly recognisable names) was a good one for this movie, in fact there were only about four actors out of the cast who's names I did recognise. But at least I didn't spend a lot of time going "oh that's so and so"...

Other than Patrick Wilson, nobody really stood out a whole lot... and the two actors who might have (Billy Crudup and Jackie Earle Haley) were basically hidden behind a lot of CGI. By the same token, nobody was really bad either. Which is this movie's problem all over I think... good, not great, but not bad.

Now, speaking of CGI, I have to point out the fantastic work they did on Rorschach's (the aforementioned Haley) mask. I have no idea HOW they did it, but the thing was liquid and natural looking, and even though you knew it had to be artificial, it didn't seem that way at all.

And I've put off talking about it for as long as I possibly can, but there's only so long you can go before you just have to address the fact that the movie features a glowing blue naked guy with a BIG BLUE GLOWING DOODLE (okay, now that's out of my system). You know what, it made sense for the character, I appreciate that they didn't try to hide it or cut around it (mostly)... but since it was a computer generated doodle there just seemed to be something not quite right about it. I can't put my finger on it (and yes, I'm aware of the double entendre) but there was something odd about it.

So, in conclusion, while it's not the worst adaptation of an Alan Moore graphic novel I've ever seen (and although I didn't mind The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, it did have it's flaws), it's also not the best (which would have to be V for Vendetta). It just falls squarely in the good, not great, column.

yani's rating: 2 glowing blue manparts out of 5

4 comments:

Luis Blasini said...

Hahaha! Indeed, Yani - Dr. Manhattan seems to be causing a stir on my other fellow blogger comments on this film. As I left the theater - not very satisfied with the end result (Never read the Graphic Novel and went to see this film knowing next to nothing about it) I left the theater thinking two things, gay supervillian and a big blue glowing gangly thingy. (Several tweenage girls behind me giggled and muttered 'Ew' everytime said member flashed across the screen) Maybe the sequal will be better...

yani said...

No, no, no, no, no, don't say that... no sequels... at least they had the original graphic novel for this one... I don't want to see what they do flying solo.

And you know I hadn't really thought about the whole "gay supervillain" thing... I guess you could look at it that way, but it's a little stereotypical to say that just because somebody has culture and is a little bit prissy that automatically makes him gay.

Fortunately we were in a fairly deserted showing, so I didn't have to contend with anybody's "ewww" at the big blue boondoggle...

Luis Blasini said...

Stereotypical? Being gay myself that made me chuckle. No, kiddo, that was just what I got from the opening credits when they showed him hanging with trannies and twinks at Studio 54. I have never read the graghic novel, but a fellow blogger who is THE number one Watchman fan in the world and will hunt down and destroy anyone that badmouths them, I believe that is the comment he also made of that character. Again, just from the opening montage that was what I got.
And YES! I agree - no sequal!! I attended film school in my salad days and am so distraught over the current hollywood fare of 'more is better'. Life is way to weird to repeat - meaning, new stories should not be hard to come by.
Ta...

yani said...

I was going to argue that he wasn't hanging out with twinks and trannies... but then I realised he was actually hanging out with David Bowie and the Village People (at least I'm assuming that's who they were supposed to be) and I realised that didn't help my case at all... :P

Looking at it logically I can see why people would come to the assumption, but I never got the slightest whiff of "gay" off him... or any of them at all... supposedly there is some inference that a couple of the 1940's heroes were gay in the graphic novel (the guy in the hood who beats the snot out of The Comedian I think), but that's about it.

It always amuses me though when people claim gayness in celebrities, historical figures or fiction characters where no obvious evidence exists...

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