I custodiet ipsos custodes.

(The translation doesn’t quite work, but I got tired of trying to find the right one.)

WARNING: Spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and do not wish to have any clue or hint revealed unto you, don’t read this post. Also, go read the book.

I wonder how many people who knew nothing about Watchmen brought their kiddies, thinking it was just another superhero movie. I would hope that the “R” rating would discourage morons form bringing their six-year-olds, but you never know.

I knew I’d be at least a little bit disappointed. I knew that the “Black Freighter” story-within-the-story would not show up in the theater. I knew that the ending was going to be different. I knew that there was no way they could have packed everything from the comic into a two-and-a-half hour movie.

But the movie looked awesome from beginning to end. The costumes, the settings, the toys and trinkets were spectacular–either totally true to the comic, or updated with just the right hints of the originals. Finally watching a Watchmen movie made by someone who so obviously loved the book (even if he strayed from it from time to time) was exhilarating.

The look and music were great (although I thought they shouldn’t have used “99 Red Balloons” when they did–it distracted from an important scene). I loved the “McLaughlin Group” introduction and I loved the opening title sequence. Rorschach was great. Doctor Manhattan was great. The Comedian was great. All three were just as sociopathic and just as humane (in their own little ways) as their ink-and-paper counterparts. The other actors ranged from okay to pretty good. But there were a handful of scenes that were so unemotional, lightweight and full of line-reading instead of acting that I felt like I was watching a re-enactment in a documentary about the Watchmen rather than a Watchmen movie.

Like I said, I was disappointed at times and exhilarated at others. I was exhilarpointed. At the end of the movie, I was shaking my fist at the screen, angry-old-man-yelling-at-kids-on-his-lawn style, and beaming. The great moments were great, but there was so much left out that I felt jilted. A six-hour version of this film might not be long enough. Hopefully, five or ten years down the road, one of the cable channels, say HBO, will put together a 12- or 13-part miniseries with the whole story in it. We’ll see.



9 March 2009 6:02 pm

I walked out of the theater not really sure; I was hoping to see a bit more dialogue to elucidate the relationships and character motivation. This is speaking as someone who has read the comic multiple times and know who does what and why…I kept thinking how those who had not read the book would be quite confused at times. The villain’s story and ultimate reaction to events got so diminished that it took much of the power from the ending. Then again, Rorschach was note-perfect and lived up to comic. The Nite Owl / Silk Spectre II relationship was not really fleshed out (ha ha) enough and needed some more to sustain a chunk of the latter half of the movie. Then again, the Comedian was almost more hardcore than in the comic. Doc Manhattan was ok…to me he is the least interesting of the characters anyway. The look of the movie was very slick and the fight scenes were sufficiently fresh. The music was very 80’s; The ‘Tears for Fears’ in the background during Ozy’s Alexander spiel…awesome. Awesome to the max.

I will definitely be lining up for the 4-hour (I think) director’s cut that has the Black Freighter story intertwined…I hope that the additional footage will round out the movie the way it deserves.


15 March 2009 6:02 pm