Saturday, March 14, 2009

First Review on the new site: Watchmen ::Potential Spoilers, but I hope not::

Did you really expect the first review to be about anything else? The hype (not to mention the mountains of litigation) surrounding this movie made many geeks, including myself, wary of this film. Then, tack on the fact that the source material is probably the most revered comic of all time. Sounds like a pretty hard mountain for the filmmakers to climb.

Despite my own skepticism coming into the film, the film is fairly satisfying. Most importantly, the film does a fairly good job of capturing the atmosphere of the book. Without handing out spoilers to those of you who haven't read the comic, the depression, despair, alienation, and fear which permeated through the book translated quite well onto the screen.

The film also captured the characters nearly flawlessly. This is especially true of Dr. Manhattan. Billy Crudup accurately portrays the aloof and self-centered yet deeply lonely nature of the former man turned god. The portrayals of Ozymandias and Rorschach were also particularly strong. The point/counter-point that these characters represent was vital to the comic, and the actors portraying these costumed heroes did a fantastic job of transposing that dynamic into the film.

One major complaint about the film by many critics pertained to the movie's score. Personally, I don't have any problem with the music choices. The inclusion of songs like "All Along the Watchtower" and "99 Luftballons" merely added to the paranoia inherent in the story, while providing a concrete link to some of the time periods (albeit from an alternate timeline) referenced in the film.

My main complaint is with the change the screenwriters made in the ending. I plan on making this blog a spoiler free zone, so I won't get into great detail about the changes. However, the conclusion of the master plan only presents us with a huge logical disconnect. Wasn't the supposed instrument of the plan in the film a known American? How would that be a means of uniting the planet? As far as I'm concerned, it would only make matters worse, by creating an environment of animosity against the United States.

Finally, as with any film adaptation of a literary work, there were numerous side-stories and plot details that had to be left on the cutting room floor. I was disappointed that very little was done with The Minutemen, especially the hypocrisy in the expulsion of Silhouette, when Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice were still members of the team. As the relationship between Metropolis and Hooded Justice was completely neglected, those who had not read the book were cheated out of a very deep and moving aspect of the story.

Despite these concerns, the movie has probably done the best job it possibly could have in capturing the comic. In fact, this is unquestionably the most faithful adaptation of any Alan Moore comic. For that reason I recommend this movie to anybody who enjoyed the book. If you haven't read the book, I think you would be best served to get a copy of the book and read it before you see the film

Final Score: 4.25 out of 5