Comic Reviews and Opinions For The Rest Of Us...

Review: Watchmen – Derk's Take

In On Film on March 9, 2009 at 11:45 am



After what seemed like a nonstop barrage of ads invading television and other mediums, the film adaptation of Alan Moores’ 1986/1987 graphic novel is here. Was it worth the hype? Did all of talk and anticipation culminate in a nearly 3 hour epic like we’ve never seen? Well, in a word, no.

Let me say up front that unlike a lot of reviewers out there, I have read the comic from front to back. I was familiar with the material prior to watching the movie. Let me also stir the pot a bit here and confess that I am apparently alone in thinking the comc wasn’t as grand as what I had heard.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t fall in love with it like so many other comic fans did. It was probably due to this that I went into the film with very small expectations. I wasn’t expecting an epic and I wasn’t expecting this to be the film of the century. Even with all of that, somehow, I was still let down by the movie.

If you’re a reader of this site, you’re familiar with the plot/material, so I’ll spare you having to read through another rundown. The movie is extremely faithful to the comics. I honestly don’t know if I’ve saw a comic film AS faithful to the source material as Watchmen was. That’s a good thing, right? Well, no, not really. If you’re unaware of the comic, you’re more than likely going to deeply hate this movie. There’s no way around it. You’re going to find yourself lost and frustrated because you have no idea what’s going on. So yeah, while most of us will piss and moan when a film strays from the original material, I have to say this film would have benefited from doing so.

I thought all of the actors did a fine job with their roles. Just like in the comic, the star of the film is Rorshach (as a matter of fact, he’s the only one I cared about in the film, and the only thing that saved me from utterly hating the movie). Jackie Earle Haley hit it out of the park with his portrayal. But all in all, I can’t say that I hated any of the performances, the exception being Carla Gugino’s portayal of Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre I. Her acting was garbage, plain and simple.

A lot of people discussed the length of the film being an issue prior to its release. I can say, for me and a couple of others I saw the movie with, it WAS an issue. This movie is downright boring in the first hour. I wanted to scream at one point when I looked down at my watch and saw that only an hour had passed. So yeah, maybe for the huge fans out there this wasn’t an issue, but I thought this was one of the key elements that helped to bring the enjoyment level way down.

One utterly wretched thing about the movie was the music. The placement and choice of the music in the film does nothing but induce groans and makes the film look really campy. The music during the infamous sex scene was extremely terrible. The only time I thought the music fit was in the opening credits. Other than, honest to God, worst score I’ve heard outside of Troll 2.

The fact that the squid wasn’t in the movie bothered me a bit.  I thought that having Dr. Manhattan destroy New York instead of the squid really lessens the impact of Veidt. But this is certainly isn’t the thing that really brings the film down. What does that is the extremely boring first hour and the “way too loyal to the comic” nature of the film. Maybe I wasn’t into the comic enough to really “get” or enjoy this. Like I said previously, I didn’t hate the movie…but I would never watch it again. It’s one of those situations where you go, “alright, I’ve saw it. That’s that.”

Sleep well, Christopher Nolan. Your film is still the gold standard in comic films.

Final Grade: C-

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