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Review: "Watchmen"

In On Film on March 8, 2009 at 7:12 pm

watchmen-final-posterWhen “Watchmen” became a comic back in the 80’s, it reinvented comics. By shrugging off the archetypes of super hero comics, viewers were given a brand new look at comics. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons masterpiece redefined the super hero genre, and still has a lasting effect and impact on comic books today.

Now, over 20 years later, “300” director Zack Snyder has taken a stab at doing what has been previously been deemed undoable: a filmed adaptation of “Watchmen”. Did he do it? More or less, but he still falls a little short. The biggest flaw is that “Watchmen” was designed exclusively and specifically for the medium of comic books. Translated to film and existing as a moving, breathing medium, there’s definitely something about this that feels off. But hey, maybe that’s just “Watchmen”.

In regards to the characters, its pretty much nailed. Its obvious that Snyder’s favorite character is Rorscach: the narrator and mystery man retains the majority of his existence from the comics, and is played to pretty much perfection: Jackie Earle Haley just looks like he would kill you with a pneumatic grapple gun. The remainder of the characters, while still obviously the characters that existed in the “Watchmen” universe, are modified more heavily, with changes made and bits left out in order to accommodate the story better. The film is still essentially a translation, panel for panel, of the comic. The first hour especially is a series of shots in which you can pick out and remember your favorite panels.

There’s no denying that the filming looks fantastic, and all those rumors of too excessive slow motion were unfounded. Yes, there is a lot of it, but its not as bad or as noticeable as you’ve been led to believe, especially after the first hour. Zack Snyder has created a film that neither exceed or falls short of your expectations, it just is. This is a passable, decent adaptation of what is considered by many to be the greatest graphic novel of all time. If you don’t want to spend the money in the theater to this one, its at least worth a rental, or perhaps even a purchase, but do go in with an open mind; this is most definitely not the “Watchmen” you grew up with.

Final grade: B