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I admit, I was dubious...
on 21 December 2013
Reviewing Watchmen seems to be a bit of a minefield. Not only is there the question of "Did you read the graphic novel", there's also "Which version do you have?", alongside "Which version of Watchmen might Amazon attach your review to?" (they can be a bit random at times with some products). I will nail my colours to the mast at the start. I recently bought a 2 DVD version & I've just watched a 155 minute version of the film. I hope that sorts out a couple of possible questions.
As for the graphic novel, I'm not a comic book sort of person as a rule, but a couple of graphic novels that I read about 20 years ago (cos someone left them lying around the office, if I'm honest) stuck in my mind. One was a Dark Knight one, the other was Watchmen. I can't remember what triggered me into putting it on my Wish List, but I ordered it for something new to watch over the holidays. Not without a little trepidation, I admit. I am dubious no longer.
This is a really, REALLY good film (please remember, I can't comment on the differences between versions!). My memory of the original novel is slight. But the bits that I do remember are all here. Other scenes had me going "Oh, yeah, that seems familiar". So I'm thinking it stays pretty close to where it should be. The opening of the film, the credits more than The Comedian scene, is a little disjointed. My assumption is that it's making reference to things that I would be familiar with if only I could remember the novel; it doesn't make for an annoyance - if you assume it will be made clear later, actually it is. The direction is terrific. It's a dark, equivocal, unsettling tale in the novel, as far as I recall; the film is just the same. Even with shreds of memory to aid me, the tale holds me; it's not that difficult to muck a story up on film, but I couldn't tell where this was going, and yet always knew why it was were it had got to (if you see what I mean). The production is equally as good. The dark, gritty feel of the world is perfect. Casting? Can't complain about that either; the pick to my mind is Rorschach, particularly when unmasked.
Long review short, what I really want from a film is a good story. Not an all-star cast (none of names here mean anything to me), not SFX (they're good), not a huge budget or a famous director (no idea whether either were presumed to be significant). This film had an excellent foundation in the graphic novel. The scriptwriter, the director, the cast have built on that as the story deserved!