Watchmen Watched

Yes I’m one of those nerds who loves and deems Watchmen the greatest graphic novel of all time. And yes, I’m a little biased in that I already think Zak Snyder isn’t a very good filmmaker. So I was never going to LOVE a movie adaptation. But I’m pleased to report that I wasn’t horribly disappointed. This was no Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy experience for me. Zak Snyder isn’t terribly inspired or original but he knows how to pick source material. Dawn of the Dead is a good story. It didn’t need to be told again but he did and people liked it. 300 is a bloody, violent orgy and, embedded right wing messages aside, he pulled off the violence with flying colors.

It’s like that with the Watchmen. His opening credits are a bit heavy-handed and on-the-nose. Some of his music choices are so literal that I could have sworn McG produced this thing. But if you get a handful of pretty decent actors, you don’t change the dialog and you keep the visuals true to the comic book, it’s hard to screw up. (Filmmakers who’ve tackled the Punisher story, take note.)

One of my biggest fears going into this was the acting. I’d only seen most of the leads in one or two things and no one had ever really stood out for me before. Patrick Wilson was great in Little Children but I had no way of knowing he WASN’T the Prom King, you know? (Incidentally, Jackie Earl Haley was ALSO in Little Children as a repentant child molester so he was the only one I was sure could harness the darkness.) Richard Dean Morgan has made a career of being the dead dad so he already had flashback experience, but could he pull off the necessary antagonism the Comedian required? Apparently, yes. They all could. Everyone not only LOOKED like their ink and paper counterparts, but they nailed the characters. Some critics have said that Malin Akerman’s Laurie is on the stiff side but I always felt that way about Laurie in the book. She IS the eye candy of the group. If she weren’t a masked avenger, she would be finding some other way to get back at her mother and it would probably involve slinky clothing. Even if it was an accident on Akerman’s part, Laurie was definitely Laurie.

So there was no squid monster. I didn’t really miss it. There was no pirate comic. I KIND of missed it, but at two hours and forty minutes, the movie didn’t need to be any longer. All the major points were hit. They didn’t cut any of the Dr. Manhattan story which is my absolute favorite part of the book. They boiled down Laurie’s relationship with her mother (something for the ladies!) to a few shorthand scenes. The essence of Ozymandias was there even if the circumstances changed a little. I was very happy to see Bubastis, his mutant kitty. Even if her presence wasn’t explained, it was a nice nod to the fans.

There were a few places it could have been tightened. There was a tiny bit of flashback review which always burns my bacon. Hello! We can remember what happened 20 minutes ago. While we’re consolidating backstory, Brugos noted that Rorschach’s could have nipped a wee bit for the theatrical release. They could always put it back in for the extended edition DVD. People who have never read the book are probably going to think it’s too long. It’s hard to say what they will think otherwise. It’s dark and slick. It’s probably the most faithful adaptation you can get out of a big-budget blockbuster. The book is better, but when is that not the case? I didn’t want to claw my eyes out and I may even want to see it again. That should mean a lot coming from a comic book jerk like me.

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9 Comments

  1. Thanks for a true review. Have not read the book, but have been drawn to the story and the movie for some reason. It’s good to hear a review from a fangirl..;)

  2. You were also worried that they would de-ball the blue guy. Literally. They did not. Blue pipe was discretely swinging around all day long. gotta give props for that, right? I’m going to see it again.

    • I forgot to mention that! Thank you. One giant leap for peniskind.

  3. I am not familiar with the story/comic book, but will be watching it this weekend with Ryan. So I will let you know what I think, as a non-fan.
    :)

  4. I was not disappointed, which I suppose is saying a lot after almost 15 or so years of thinking “When are they gonna make a movie out of this?” I agree with you: it’s uncanny that not only were they able to find actors who looked the part, but could act it as well. I think the only persn who didn’t look like her drawn counterpart was Carla Gugino, but, well, who cares–it’s Carla Gugino! I wasn’t super enthralled with Ozymandias at the beginning, though, I really felt like he telegraphed his intentions tooo much.

    I have to say that I did miss the layer that the Black Freighter comic brought to the story, but it’s absolutely not necessary to the main narrative. But I still missed it. Maybe if they’d cut down on a few of those blue dong scenes, they might have had room. I’m serious, you saw blue peen, what, twice in the book? I swear, at one point, there were 20 flopping blue dicks on the screen. And I know that shouldn’t be a focus for me, but I can’t even remember the last time I saw ONE HUMAN COLRED PENIS in a movie, let alone 7 blue ones.

    • Did you see “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”? That was the last time for me.

      I honestly wasn’t that distracted by the penises. Which is WEIRD coming from me.

      I’ve heard they might put Tales of the Black Freighter on the DVD!!

  5. I haven’t seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but it’s in my netflix queue. There’s cock in that? Please tell me it’s Jason Segal. I love that guy.

    I think I would not have been so distracted had they not been so…dangly and lifelike. Whoever did the design on Dr Manhattan should be commended, because that CGI blue penis moved just like a regular old penis.

    • Oh yes. Segal cock. LOTS of Segal cock. I found it to be height-weight proportional.


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