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Watchmen [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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Everybody's favourite graphic novel comes to the screen (after years of rumours and false starts), less a roaring work of adaptation than a respectful and faithful take on a radical original. Watchmen is set in the mid-1980s, a time of increased nuclear tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, as Richard Nixon is enjoying his fifth term as president and the world's superheroes have been forcibly retired. (As you can probably tell, the mix of authentic history and alternate reality is heady.) Things begin with a bang: the mysterious high-rise murder of the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a masked hero with a checkered past, puts the rest of the retired superhero community on alert. The credits sequence, a series of tableaux that wittily catches us up on crime-fighting backstory, actually turns out to be the high point of the movie. Thereafter we meet the other caped and hooded avengers: the furious Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), the inexplicably naked Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup, amidst much blue-skinned, genital-swinging digital work), Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman), Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson), and Ozymandias (Matthew Goode). The corkscrewing storytelling, which worked well in the comic book, gives the movie the strange sense of never quite getting in gear, even as some of the episodes are arresting. Director Zack Snyder (300) doesn't try to approximate the electric impact of the original (written by Alan Moore--who declined to be credited on the movie--and illustrated by Dave Gibbons) but retains careful fidelity to his source material. That doesn't feel right, even with the generally enjoyable roll-out of anecdotes. Even less forgivable is the blah acting, excepting Jeffrey Dean Morgan (lusty) and Patrick Wilson (mellow). Watchmen certainly fills the eyes, although less so the ears: the song choices are regrettable, especially during an embarrassing mid-air coupling between Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II as they unite their--ah--Roman numerals. In the end it feels as though a huge work of transcription has been successfully completed, which isn't the same as making a full-blooded movie experience. --Robert Horton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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!
Its a movie where money was no object so they were able to film any scene no matter how small.The opening credits are over scenes that must have cost millions just to film but it all works in setting the context/history where film is set.
No idea how much it cost to make but who cares ,its out there for ever . Loads of money of course does not equal a good movie.The list of big budget Superhero or Fantasy movies that are just ....... is long .This is not one of them.
If you compare to ,a Comic movie made with few $$$, Dredd 3D then you can see both extremes. Dredd of course is fantastic 90 mins of total glory. ( gory as well )Most fans of Dredd and Watchman will enjoy these movies no problem. I envy anyone who now sees Watchman for the first time. Just sit back and wallow in its stunning gigantic scenes,story and Yep CGI splendor.
But don't forget Dredd, its a blast ( Make another one for cliffs sake ) Like all fans of Dredd I will be in the queue at Cinema when the sequel is out .
However as I said, this movie is superb. It is perhaps (in my opinion after reading the GN) the perfect homage to a superb Graphic Novel.
I cannot say enough good about this movie without spoiling it so my advice is to simply watch it.
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