Sunday, March 8, 2009

I Watched The Watchmen

Out of the gate- I'm a latecomer to the graphic novel. I only read it myself a couple of years ago so I don't have years and years of imagining this film. So all I took into this movie was a love of comics and a love of film.

My my 15-year old daughter read the book this last summer when we were camping and she's become obsessed with the Watchmen, convincing many of her friends to follow her lead. It was really important to her that it was just the two of us who saw the film together. We went to a matinee yesterday afternoon.

(Before I go any further let me just say the new trailers for Star Trek and Terminator Salvation both sent my inner geek on overload. They both sent chills up my spine.)

I don't think I have to post a spoiler warning here. I won't give any details of how this film deviates from the book. If you've read the book then you'll know what I'm talking about.

What did we think of "Watchmen?" This movie was about 90-95% pure genius in our opinion. When it worked, such as during the first 15 minutes of credits that summed up this alternative history through flashbacks to the tune of Bob Dylan's "Times They Are A-Changin'" - it literally kicked our asses.

And when it didn't work? Not all of the acting was up to par. I'm talking to you Carla Gugino. Fans of the book should shrug off some of the klunkier scenes and dialog in recognition that they were included to track the book and for fans of same, not to advance the film's narrative. That seems to be what mainstream critics who aren't familiar with the book are getting hung up on.

They could've cut the sex scene or shortened it. That's not something I'd usually type but there was so much other win in this movie.

But for the most part this film was flat out awesome. Some of the standout stuff-

  • Jackie Earle Haley's Rorschach. He was pitch-perfect and menacing. I hated knowing what was coming for this guy.
  • Jeffery Dean Morgan's Comedian. He sold a very unsympathetic character.
  • Some standout scenes including the opening, Comedian's funeral and Rorschach in jail just before the jailbreak.
  • Dr. Manhattan was very, very well-endowed. I'm glad they did cheat on showing his Johnson but did they have to make him John friggin' Holmes?
  • GREAT special effects which is saying something in this digital age.

Dean and his daughter give this movie two thumbs up.

Dean Wormer


rob! said...

Out of the whole movie, there was only one scene that i thought they ruined--having Nite Owl present for the final Rorshach/Dr Manhattan scene.

There's something so beautifully eerie, the way Rorshach dies, all alone, and to have the scene punctuated with Nite Owl's cheesy Nooooo!! annoyed me to no end.

Overall, I'd give it a B+. And yes, that opening sequence set to Dylan was f**king genius.

Dean Wormer said...


That was a little bothersome. Out of that whole book I think the Manhattan/ Rorshach scene at the end was the thing that moved me the most and left me thinking afterwards.

Still- that actor really sold the "do it!"

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

The whole bit with Carla Guigino worked. It kept the continuity together and it moved the story to it's logical conclusion.

Overdroid said...

Loved it. I agree that Rorsh should have died alone, and the actor did a stellar job.

I actually thought the ending made more sense then the comic ending.

The sex scene was fine in length, of course I wasn't seeing this movie with my daughter. ;)

I though the Comedian WAS sympathetic, both in the book and the movie.

It seemed to me that Dr. Manhattan had a very understated winky. In fact it seemed kind of small. Maybe the size of his package seems relative to the person watching (or the amount of daughter they have in the theatre watching with them). I will say I found myself slightly disturbed by the slight "bounce" or "wiggle" the CGI artists gave it. Not that I was spending a lot of time staring at it.

The soundtrack is amazing, especially for setting up the alternate timeline.

Will we ever reach a time in makeup technology where an actor is made to look old and I don't find it distracting and unrealistic?

There are lots of complicated monologues, which are punctuated by very entertaining visuals (just like the comic), but I did start to find this tiresome towards the end, even though they were obviously shortened. It was like forcing yourself to read the entire comic in 3 hours. Or eating a weeks meals in one sitting.

I waited till the end hoping for an easter egg, but there wasn't one. Guess I'll have to wait till the DVD comes out.

Dean Wormer said...


I think we have pretty much the same opinion about the film.

My irritation with the smurf schlong wasn't jealousy. Really.

It was like forcing yourself to read the entire comic in 3 hours. Or eating a weeks meals in one sitting.

That's a perfect way of describing it. It might be a film that would be more enjoyable on DVD.

Dr. Zaius said...

I haven't seen it yet.

Swinebread said...

I'm gonna see it this weekend

Anonymous said...

Great review - keep up the good work. I saw near you (in Tigard) opening night and thought the cast did a decent job (some better than others). Overall, I'm happy with the adaptation.