The table is not round and we might not be sitting around it. But here are some thoughts about the Watchmen movie from the lethal legion of RevolutionSF co-conspirators anyways.
I watched the movie and did what I said I was going to do, I went in alone. Watchmen means a lot to me, I've gifted the collection several times, thought about the potential for the movie a bit. I read these as the comics came out. I was a kid of the 80s, Watchmen and Dark Knight redifined what we were reading as young comic nerds. So the movie?
I feel the movie hit all the tropes the comic did in the space of time they had. Could there have been more? Certainly. but did it give the message of the comic' I think it did 100 percent. I wish it was a bit longer. -- Matt "KaosDevice" Cowger
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I came away feeling disappointed. It was a fairly literal translation of the comic from page to screen but that is not enough for a great movie. The stuff that has been cut has ripped the heart and soul out of the story for me leaving a hollow experience when compared to reading the book.
While I was never a fan of the space squid in chapter 12, the new cataclysm doesn't work for me. And there was no emotional context. The cataclysm happened but so what we had no connection to the people that it affected. -- wgk33
I think Snyder really nailed it. The new ending doesn't bother me at all. I LOVED Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach. I loved how they snuck him in unmasked as an extra before you knew who he was. It's one of those details that pays off on subsequent readings of the book and should pay off for the film as well. The line he has in the prison cafeteria got a huge response from the midnight crowd I saw it with.
Rorschach steals the show. I love how his "no comprises" attitude sees him succeed in getting the truth out there through the ending implication that it will be published in The New Frontiersman.
I enjoyed the little details like the Gunga Diner blimps and Veidt Industries (and Pyramid) stuff occupying screen space for those that will look for that sort of thing.
Snyder nailed the Comedian's murder, the Watchmaker on Mars scene, Nite Owl and Comedian in the Owlship taking on rioters and Ozymandias taking out his would-be assassin. I find the new ending easily acceptable. It raises the stakes by making the devastation occur beyond merely New York. We still get Antarctica and the mutated tiger thing.
I missed revisiting the street corner and the newsstand. One of the things I enjoyed about the book was gradually becoming aware of and learning the consistent geography of shops and streets around the newsstand. But I certainly understand that all those scenes with the newsstand, the vendor and the kid reading Black Freighter just could not make it into a film adaptation.
The shot of Comedian falling backwards through the window and, later, Rorschach perched on the sill are both very faithfully realized straight out of
The most pleasant surprise for me was probably the music. Dylan, Hendrix, Simon & Garfunkel. All war protest songs, I guess. I thought they were very wise choices for the movie. -- DefDave
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I think it is a masterpiece. Overly long in a few spots. But the totality of the thing is just amazing. The transition moment when the movie went "off-script" from the comic was extremely noticeable and jarring to me, and for a minute or two I feared that everything that had been accomplished in the 2.5 hours prior to that point was about to go down the drain.
But then things clicked right back into place -- and I felt the revised climax made more consistent, logical sense than did the old ending, because it came more organically from the characters and story up to that point than did the old climax. -- Van Plexico
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SOME small dialogue pieces came off as a bit clunky BECAUSE they were too faithful to the book. Casting: Spot-on. Spot-filking on. The acting? I only really complain if it detracts from the movie. Matthew Goode gave Adrian Veidt some sort of vaguely European affectation which I never associated with the character, but that's just personal preference. Malin Ackerman had a hard time delivering some of her lines convincingly, but her body lines made up for that.
Even at the end, Rorschach makes it plain that he WANTS someone to end his torment for him.
Fight scenes: Excellent choreography, loved how they slowed parts of the fight scenes down. I am SO FILKING GLAD they didn't use that "shaky camera" thing to cover up poor choreography, or go crazy with "wire-fu" Kill Bill shit. Some of
the jumps and leaps were beyond the ability of an Olympic-level athlete, but you sort of expect that a superhero would be at or beyond peak human facility.
The embrace of the newsstand vendor and the "Black Freighter" kid during the explosion near the end. I haven't checked the book, but I'm willing to bet the pose is EXACT.
Good soundtrack choices and no complaints, but thinking on it now where was "War" by Edwin Starr' Seems an obvious addition in retrospect.
Sex and Violence: I'm glad they left the nudity/sex scenes in the movie. Popular Hollywood has always promoted violence and tabooed sex in its movies. It's to the point where audiences don't even blink at a guy getting his arms cut
off, or a cleaver in the head. But they don't know how to react to seeing a blue guy's dork throughout the movie, or they are vaguely uncomfortable watching an extended and intimate scene on the owlship. I think it's a sad indicator of a society that it accepts hate (violence) on others more so than it will love (sex). I'm glad this movie showed the one equally with the other.
Also glad they left in the rape and child murder scenes, because they were important character pieces and gave an indication of what this society was like in general.
My biggest complaint: I didn't FEEL the impending nuclear missile crisis as that big a threat. They gave it enough screen time, to be sure. It just doesn't seem to have much emotion behind it.
Not that I hate Lee Iacocca or anything, but I love how he just stood there and his glasses parted while Adrian was the complete opposite, doing everything in his ability to not get shot. It really drove home the point that he was indeed one of those rare "super" people, just as the magazine cover proclaimed. And it added a big punctuation point onto Adrian's conversation that he had just completed with Iacocca, about his worldview versus theirs. Brilliant. -- Brian Zavitz
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I'd love it if Haley got at least an Oscar nomination for Rorschach. I have no delusions that it'll ever happen, but it would be sweet if he got the nod and/or won for it.
I really didn't like Goode as Veidt. He was okay, I guess, when judging the overall performance, but he just didn't translate as well as the others for me.
I liked the mix of protest songs with period piece music. Even those were used somewhat as a protest, specifically "99 Luftballoons." I also liked how they used "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" while Veidt was giving his spiel to Iaccocca and his group. A very subtle hint about Veidt's role for those who didn't already know. Nice.
It was interesting to hear the comments in the theater when we first get to see Manhattan go full-frontal. Lots of joking and laughing, mostly from the men. By the end, however, there was nothing. It was also interesting to hear the group reactions to the over-the-top violence. One of my minions, er, assistants from work was sitting with her fiance a couple seats over from me. I noticed when Rorschach split the guy's head open she had covered her head with her jacket, and the rest of the theater was sort of shocked into a brief silence. It was obvious that most of the folks in attendance had expected cartoon-type violence from a comics adaptation. I think this movie will further change the general public's perception of the comics genre. -- Kell Carpenter
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Jeffrey Dean Morgan gives a good performance as The Comedian, which is good for the film since Rorschach and The Comedian are the two most interesting characters in the novel. Billy Crudup is a good actor, but it's hard to see much acting behind all that CGI. I didn't find Dr. Manhattan all that interesting or believable, but I didn't find him that interesting or believable in the book, either. Matthew Goode is horribly miscast as Ozymandias (who, along with Silk Spectre gets the worst translation from book to film) although he does a decent job during the big reveal. Malin Akerman is just really, really bad.
They didn't bother to set up the whole New Frontiersman thing and Rorschach's loopy devotion to it, so having him send his journal to a tabloid doesn't make any sense. Why not just have him send it to the reporter who looks like Donald Sutherland since we had already seen him twice? Rorscach and the New Frontiersman thing is one of the humorous parts of the book that got left out or taken way too seriously. A lighter touch in certain spots would have served the movie well. The Nite Owl/Spectre tryst could have been a little sexy and a little funny, rather than softcore porn (I suppose Akerman was hired for a reason, though).
It was worthwhile to see the book faithfully reproduced on the big screen, and I'd probably watch it again. It's just that Watchmen, the book, is a metatextual deconstruction of the superhero genre, and because of that the characters are less living, breathing creations than ciphers used for it's specific purpose. That doesn't translate well to the film, where the focus returns to the plot rather than the subtext.
Snyder nails it too severely. If you're a fan of the graphic novel, there are no real surprises other than to see what got left out, and if you aren't, you get treated to a lot of two-dimensional characterization and clunky pacing and dialogue. I would liked to have seen a little more imagination from Snyder; more of a movie and less of a cinematic copy of the text material. I liked the opening montage set to Dylan and the Ozymandias/Comedian fight. Both were imaginative, well-executed derivations that served a purpose. The film could have used a bit more of that improvisation.
The change in Ozymandias's plan worked for me; I didn't think it was brilliant or anything, but it simplified things for a movie audience and made sense. The "real person" cameos and constant reminders that it was 1985 were fun and occasionally distracting (Snyder must really hate Chrysler for some reason, huh?).
The music was intrusive and some of the choices were bewildering. "The Times They Are A Changin'" works fine for the montage, but "99 Luftballoons"? "The Sound of Silence"? "All Along the Watchtower"? Why? -- Mone Peterson
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One song was the worst part for me. I have never been able to abide Leonard Cohen's version of "Hallelujah," even though he wrote the filkin' song. So that part took me right out of the film, and it being during the Skinemax-flavored sex scene didn't help. I'll grant you, I didn't time it, but it didn't last ten minutes.
In my viewing of the film, every bit that was changed was done so in order to streamline the movie, to make it fit in three hours instead of 10 or more, and I found the few changes to major plotlines and characters was absolutely understandable and well-executed. Any points that I saw strayed or resounded wrong were counterbalanced by something else that made me overjoyed in its perfection.
I was moved close to tears at several points during the film. If you'd have told me this week that I might almost cry during Watchmen because I was enjoying it so much, I'd have laughed at you.
I grabbed the book when I returned home and showed my friend -- who hadn't read the comic -- and glowed as he embraced the movie even more than he had as a "regular" moviegoer. He was floored by the detailed artistry the film displayed as I showed him the same sequences from the comic. -- Lloyd Allen Woodall