Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Writing credits: David Hayer, Alex Tse, Alan Moore
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Plot: Vigilante Rorshach is investigating the murder of The Comedian, a costumed hero employed by the US government. It appears that there is a conspiracy to kill a number of other retired costumed heroes, but this only the beginning...
Review: One of the perks of working at I-Mockery is that on occasion, we’re invited to early movie screenings. I admit I’m not the biggest fan of Watchmen, but I did read the comic in anticipation of the movie. In retrospect, that might have been a bad idea.
Fans of the comic have been passing speculations on whether or not the movie will be true to the comic or not since it was announced over a decade ago. Already, the producers have admitted that the “giant squid” has been removed for being too weird, and that the “Tales of the Black Freighter” side plot has been removed because test audiences felt it sounded a tad racist. What surprised me, however, was the number of changes to the source material that were not mentioned at all.
For the most part, it was a lot of little things. The decision to give Dr. Manhattan a Brooklyn accent, I felt, really undercut his aloofness. Also, in deference to the omitted “Black Freighter” segment, a number of scenes feature extras in pirate outfits in the background. In the long run, changes like that don’t ruin the movie, per se, but they did seem a tad unnecessary.
The thing that really struck me as odd was all the changes to the character Rorshach. In the comics, he’s portrayed as a merciless crimefighter living on the fringe of society. In the film, however, he receives a considerable makeover. For example, whereas the comics had him acting as a doomsayer wandering the streets, the movie has him working as a pastry chef, solving crimes at night and then sneaking back to his bakery early in the morning. His living arrangements have also been changed so that in the movie, he is roommates with Dan Dreiberg (aka Nite Owl II). Also, and this really threw me for a loop, he adds a sort of trilling sound (“like a dove,” one of the characters explains) to the end of sentences that contain his superhero name.
Those who have read the comic will recall the scene when Rorshach was captured by the police. It was a great scene where he wards off SWAT team members with an improvised flamethrower, lights an apartment on fire, and jumps out of a window, only to injure himself and land in police custody. The film, however, changes this scene considerably. Rather than being caught while investigating a possible lead, Rorshach is caught when, while watching a news report on a TV in a window display, he accidentally smashes the window with a frustrated headbutt. He gets away from the police initially, but then the police spot him peeping out of his hiding place inside a post office dropbox. It was all too much, especially the following scene where they simply airlift the entire mailbox directly to the police station.
If you can get past changes like that, you’ll still enjoy the movie. The good news is that they got Danny Elfman to do the score. The bad news is that they couldn’t afford to pay him for new music, so they had to reuse the score from Beetlejuice. Still, I thought it worked well for this movie. I thought the actors were well-suited to their parts, although the one portraying the Comedian looked like a poor man’s Robert Downey Jr.
Looking back, the whole script kind of reminded me of that movie, Mystery Men, and not just because of all the heroes with no superpowers. I guess you’ve got to go with what works. It’s worth noting that this is the first film adaptation of his works that Alan Moore has officially approved of. Normally, he prefers to skip the movie and post a rant about it on his beard lovers message board, but this time, he actually watched the film AND gave it the thumbs up. When asked, he explained that, “it was just nice seeing the characters up on screen without me having to explain to an artist exactly what they’re supposed to look like.” And when he was asked about the treatment as a whole, he admitted, “look, I’m finished with Watchmen. If someone else wants to take a crack at it, I say more power to them.”
If that doesn’t count as a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what does.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
|the movie has him working as a pastry chef, solving crimes at night and then sneaking back to his bakery early in the morning. His living arrangements have also been changed so that in the movie, he is roommates with Dan Dreiberg (aka Nite Owl II). Also, and this really threw me for a loop, he adds a sort of trilling sound (“like a dove,” one of the characters explains) to the end of sentences that contain his superhero name.|
And Proto, I'm sorry but "The times they are a-changing" as a song to show the transition from the 60's to the 80's? Mmmm, that's not a perfect choice, it's the obvious choice, like choosing "Unchained Melody" for a transition from clay to pot!
The stated reason is that he believes he'll be needed to help guide humanity to a lasting peace and prosperity. If he became the villain, even if he united the world against him he wouldn't be able to do the necessary reconstruction work afterwords.
|That's why he needs a false threat too. It needs to be something people are afraid of but can't really fight against, if he was the villain people really could send armies against him. And since if he died the threat would be over and everyone would start squabbling again, he'd have to battle back against the armies and then his plan for peace is shot. If he died, without his genius to help the world would immediately go back to war with one another.|
|But the second, and heavily implied reason is that he wants the world to view him as a great man and not a villain. That's why he projects an image of perfection to everyone. In one sense it's good for his cover, but he clearly is obsessed with going down in history as a famous man for the 'right' reasons. He wants to destroy the current world order and rebuild it, but he wants to be remembered for the rebuilding, not the destruction.|
I don't remember either the flamethrower going off or a romantic kiss at the end happening in the comic. I will have to double check now. I just felt those where not necessary and sort of needlessly thrown in for "laffs" and "awws". About the penis, it was gigantic (thanks IMAX) and blue it didn't really need to bark to get attention. Not my attention anyway. Could be that I have issues outside the scope of your help.
Dr. Boogie: I really wish I hadn't loaned my copy of the book to a friend after seeing the movie so I could check but... if memory serves he talks about helping guide the world towards peace right after the 'I DID IT!' panel. But basically, either way, I always viewed him as a big full of himself jerk who figured if he was the only one who could stop everyone fighting he was the only one who could make the world a better place after.
|Spoilers!||Ok, I'll try to keep this short.
I liked it. I felt it was a bit rushed at times but enjoyable none the less. In fact i pretty much agree with protoclown's assesment although Nixon's nose didnt bother me all that much. The "Hey, its the Watchmen!" thing? Yes.
The only other things that I didn't really like were all at the end actually, starting from the point of adrian's revalation. Dan running out to see rorschach die and the following "NOOOOO!" was a bit darth vader to me. The following scene with manhattan kissing Laurie as he says goodbye and Dan being totally cool with that, especially after the "NOOOO!". Didnt like that much.
I suppose the essential scene there that was sidestepped was the tearful "love me!" sexing/spooning scene where Laurie and Dan come to terms with everytihng thats happened.
Most importantly however, they completely missed out on Manhattan dampening adrian's victory with the whole "I did the right thing didnt I?" chat and the mushroom cloud image his exit leaves over the model solar system. This I felt was the only point Adrian feels doubt and possibly regret over whether he's done the right thing. It also completes the parallel with the black freighter with that final realisation.
|Spoilers!||They ditched the sex scene at the end because it was just weird. The heroes are completely defeated, and they decide to have sex in the villain's lair?
And they gave Veidt's victory dampening over to Nite Owl, presumably because they thought it would be better coming from someone who actually cared about what was going on. Plus, Manhattan's kissing Laurie before he left made it look like there was some continuation of the feelings that were starting to reemerge back on Mars.
|Spoilers!||I see what you mean about the comment having a deeper impact with Manhattan because of his near-omniscience, but I think the idea was that the doubt came from Veidt himself. That he had these concerns about what he was doing, but it took just the right words from someone else to make him really doubt the sincerity and effectiveness of his plan (Nite Owl saying "you're crazy" isn't that effective, but saying that Veidt has deformed humanity has a greater impact).|
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