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Reviews Comments: The Movie Watchmen whole series review by maninahat

Half of it is shot in slow-motion, the other half is flashbacks, and the opening credits is both at once. The constant camera tricks get a little repetitive to say the least. The violence is excessive to the point where it ceases to be both shocking and candid as the film intended, becoming perversely indulgent instead. The characters are well realised and the performances are excellent, with the exception of Nite Owl and the Silk Spectre. Their characters are supposed to be the closest things to "ordinary" people, but their wooden dialogue taken straight from the comic looks awkward and unbelievable on screen. It is Rorschach who steals the show; haunting and dangerous but also cruel witted and darkly charismatic. In short, he is everything that the fans of the comic could ever want. Whilst the movie is (excessively?) faithful to the comic, the changed ending is warranted and makes far more sense. I have no idea why they bothered to keep Ozymandius' pet tiger thing in the picture; it only confused those not familiar with the comic. Also confusing, was Rorscharch's mask. The film could have at least explained what the deal behind Rorsharch's mask was. it would have only taken 30 seconds to explain it for the sake of those who hadn't read the comic.

I've seen Watchmen twice now, and To this day I still can't work out whether the film is good or bad. I really can't, so I'll leave it at that.


  • Guessmyname
  • 7th Aug 09
Same. I have to agree with this here; many parts of the film came across as indulgent and attempting to force how cool a scene was on the audience. And the pacing was shot to hell; what works for comic books does not necessarily work for film.

The best part of the movie was by far the opening titles. The slow motion there gave you time to think about the implications of what you were being shown, and is even used narratively; notice how the snapshots slowly speed up as things start getting more and more out of control.

The action sequences too feel overdone. Supposedly 'ordinary' characters (in this case, the second Nite Owl and Silk Spectre) perform feats somewhat beyond ordinary humans (thinking of the prison riot, alley fight and especially the burning apartment). This is probably why Rorshach comes across as so awesome; he doesn't bother with fancy tricks. Overall, the film gives the impression of trying too hard.

Except for the opening titles, which accurately manages to sum up all the themes and backstory you need in six minutes, and was clearly designed around the song it is set to. That bit is narrative genius. Show Don't Tell in it's purest form.
  • Turtleducks
  • 27th Aug 09
I have to agree and disagree with you and the above commenter. The opening credits were pure genius and are by far my favorite part of the movie. I've watched them on their own at least 5 times, and once with the movie. It's packed full of exposition and historical in-jokes, and the slow motion is beautifully done.

As well, I agree that the gore and violence were excessive, as I had to look away a few times during the movie because it was far too much to handle for one such as myself. And keeping Bubastis (who is a genetically modified lynx, by the way) while at the same time not explaining the mask was a bad move on the filmmakers' part. Not to mention that Silk Spectre II really needs some acting lessons.

However, the movie itself, when looked at from the perspective of just a movie and not a comic book adaption, I found the movie to be beautiful and thought-provoking. Also, I found the fact that it was adapted so perfectly to be stunning and a great thing, as I was watching the movie with my copy of Watchmen at my side and checking which panels had been perfectly recaptured and generally fangirling. All in all, this is one of my very favorite movies to date.
  • unitedfruit
  • 2nd Sep 11
Yeah, the constant slow-mo sucked. Note to future filmmakers: slowing down a hot-blooded action scene that could be cool makes it SLOW. Therefore, rather less actiony. Unless you want to show us something really important, like the bad guy suddenly pulling out a glittering knife and the hero having only a split second of reaction time, the constant speeding-up slowing-down only distracts the audience.

Another annoying visual thing was that Doc Manhattan was blue and pulsing and shifting. In the comic he was just blue and gave off a slight, slight glow but in the movie he has a solid aura that blanks out anything within like a foot of him. They couldn't even get the blue reflections from the blue cast light right. It looks terrible; I'd call it one of the the best damnations against CGI in movies.

On to the movie itself: Watchmen, the comic, had a sudden, twist ending. It wasn't about the plot, it was about the interesting world the characters lived in and all the interesting background stuff that happens. That's really hard to do in a movie and they didn't really try. I'm not talking about cutting The Black Freighter, which was (deliberately) icky; where are all my BG newspapers?

As to the increased violence, I'll be generous and say they were trying to recreate the shockingness of the violence in the comic and just ended up being gratuitous.

Essentially they tried to adapt it with some people being over-enthusiastic and some being lukewarm and none in the middle and messed it up almost completely.

Except for the opening titles. Everyone agrees those are excellent. Hell, I didn't enjoy the movie much at all, and I've watched them more than ten times by themselves.
  • maninahat
  • 9th Mar 12
I watched it again just the other day. Now that the hype has died down and the dust has settled, I'm prepared to say it entertains, but I'm tempted to say it is kind of stupid too. Some of the dialogue (again, taken straight from the comic) sounds corny and, well, awful. "The sirens screamed like an abattoir full of retarded children" says Rorscharch. "What happened to the American Dream?", asks Nite Owl, mugging to the camera. "This is it. We're living it." Like the violence, what is supposed to come off as compellingly frank and gutsy, ends up sounding overwraught and indulgent.

I think Moore is to blame as well. I complained about it in Hell Blazer; the guy doesn't know when to shut up and let the images tell the story. There tends to be excessive exposition and unbridled, fluffy narrative that constantly distracts from the scene. The role of the Comedian, for instance, isn't permitted to quitely serve as a metaphor for human savagery. No, we need Rorscharch to explain to the audience what the Comedian represents, in extreme detail and through tortured similies.
  • Tuckerscreator
  • 11th Mar 12
I agree. To me the film's the best when it's letting the characters grow and exemplify what they represent, and it's worst with SLOW MOTION and crazy violence. And even though changing the dialogue was too much of a sacred cow for the makers, it does sound worse onscreen then in a comic. Rorschach could get away with overwrought statements because he's talking to himself, but in conversations the comic's half exposition of ideas/half dramatic statements was too corny to allow for the film. So yes, it's bad when it indulges, it's good when it just presents. And that's a lesson both Snyder and Moore could learn.
  • PurpleDalek
  • 16th Mar 12
I agree about the dialog. What sounds good and works for a comic book won't necessarily work for a film and I think the filmmakers needed to realise that.
  • tublecane
  • 22nd Mar 12
"Watchmen, the comic, had a sudden, twist ending. It wasn't about the plot, it was about the interesting world the characters lived in and all the interesting background stuff that happens."

Which twist are you talking about? Because I found Ozymandias' perfidy heavily foreshadowed and the imminent war heavily, heavily foreshadowed. That is, not in that Rorshack would be the cause, but in that the Comedian's private joke and the Doomsday Clock's ticking, among other things, led me to easily predict it'd have a Dr. Strangelove ending (or an implied Dr. Strangelove ending). The fake alien invasion threw me, but I knew the scientist on the island was up to something big, though not precisely what.

It may be that the comic's popularity was "about" character and detail, since you don't generally look to comics for intricate plotting. Nevertheless, it was intricately plotted (for a comic). And much if not all of the "interesting background stuff" either was important for developing the plot (cf. "Under the Mask") or cleverly paralleled the plot (cf. the pirate comic).

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