So I saw the Watchmen film last night. Being a fan of the comic book (and having read it twice) and really enjoyed the trailers I was looking forward to the film. Ultimately, I thought it was pretty decent – good but not great.
First off, I have to say that most of the actors were excellent and perfectly cast. The Comedian, Nite Owl and Rorschach were utterly amazing and felt like the living embodiment of the comic book characters. I’m so glad Zach Snyder (the director) decided to go with unknowns because casting big name actors like Ben Affleck (*cough* Daredevil *cough*) just for the sake of it is always a huge mistake. Their costumes were also fantastic and, where modernised, blended in without notice to the overall style of the film.
The music was also something I thought was great and well judged. Being tone deaf, it’s not something I usually notice but from the moment the opening credits rolled, the score to Watchmen was highly enjoyable and fitting. And speaking of opening credits… wow. The music, the montage, the slow recap of the world’s history was truly engrossing.
So what didn’t I like about the film? Well, a minor thing to start with: Ozymandias. I just really didn’t like the actor. To me, he didn’t suit the role, didn’t fit the part and is it just me or did he appear to have a tiny little head mounted onto some gigantic muscle suit? I also really disliked the Nixon actor. The makeup was terrible and he just seemed to come across as some sort of comedy characteur that might have been funny in the ’80s but now just seemed lame and dated.
My biggest gripe with the film, however, was probably the fact it stuck too closely to the comic book. Ironic, I know. By being so perfect and so faithful, Zach Snyder almost managed to lose the uniqueness of the film. It was exactly like reading the comic again. Which is great… unless I’ve you’ve already read it a bunch of times. And it kinda begs the question, “why bother making a film version of it then anyway?”. I can see Alan Moore’s point. I think that’s the big difference between films like The Dark Knight and Iron Man – they are tellings of new stories with new perspectives and interpretations. Watchmen, however, is an exact copy (arguably imperfect in comparison) of something which already exists.
My final negative point isn’t really a problem with the film but the re-telling of it in general – I just don’t think the Cold War setting and threat of nuclear war works in today’s world. Whereas the comic book manages to remain timeless, the film seems kinda dated and bit old fashioned when it shows Nixon talking about the Russian and the threat of global nuclear war. Hard to describe and maybe it’s just me.
Overall, it’s a good film and you’ll definitely enjoy it regardless of whether you’ve read the comic of not and likely in a different way depending on that fact. One and a half thumbs up.
Oh, yeah, my girlfriend didn’t like the film much at all although she did find Dr. Manhattan’s blue penis amusing.