Watchmen

Spoilers, so the whole post goes below the fold (kudos to TP for inspiring me to write this).

I was really ambivalent when I saw Watchmen, and the more I think about it the less I like it.  Though damn, it was pretty.

I think it does not fare well as a standalone movie (i.e. one has to understand the novel to get much out of the film), though part of me is OK with that.  Some specifics:

1) They skimped on a lot of stuff – Black Freighter, the New Frontiersmen, the psychiatrist and Rorschach, etc.  Ultimately it would have been better as a miniseries on HBO, because they would have had more time and space to develop the backstory and include the details that were in the graphic novel.

2) Zach Snyder should be banned from directing for the fight scenes*.  They are stupidly brutal and violent, not at all in the tone of the novel.  Further, the way Dr. Manhattan kills people was waaaaaay out of character and unnecessarily over the top.  As much as the stupid frat boys loved the mindless violence, I think it detracted from the more important points of the movie.  Though I hear it was reminiscent of the 300, which was not surprising.  (I never saw 300.)

3)  Speaking of which, I feel like the movie didn’t get to the most important part of Watchmen:  The deconstruction of the idea of the superhero.  I say this both because of the short length (see #1), the things that distracted the frat types (see #2), the audience reactions (the biggest applause/noise came when Rorschach dumped oil on that guy in prison and told everyone they were locked in there with him, which suggests that the stupid mouth-breathers in the theater would have been happy watching UFC and/or that they identify with sociopaths) and….. just because it didn’t.  I came away feeling like that part of the movie got completely lost in all the shiny, pretty visuals and crazy violence.

4) Viedt.  HORRIBLY miscast with possibly worse acting.  He was a straight villain with no depth and no real character development.  And they didn’t explain Bubatis at all, which left one person I was with confused, because they’d never read the novel.

5) The Soundtrack.  I loved the opening music, but I think the use of those songs, as nice as it was to hear them, does not fit with the world Moore was going for.  They weakened the movie.

I did, however, like the prison scene overall, as well as the opening montage (probably my favorite part of the movie), the building rescue scene with Nite Owl and Silk Spectre and the jobs done by the actors who played Rorschach, Nite Owl and the Comedian.  All three did very well, and for the most part, I think their roles were written well. (Viedt and Silk Spectre, not so much.)  Also, I didn’t actually think it was too long or, as others have said, felt like it was dragging on.  I was pretty entranced the whole time.

I think I want to like it more than I actually do, meaning I don’t really like it very much at all. I just can’t stop thinking someone should just go and make a 12-part or so miniseries on HBO and dump a bunch of money in to it.  It’d be a source of profit for whoever did it, and provide a better translation to the screen than can be done in three measly hours.

The ending made little sense, either, separated from the GN.  So:  I can’t really dislike it (I think there is probably a lot of good content in there based on a close viewing), but I am left with a bad taste in my mouth nonetheless.

*Unless there are mortal kombat movies in the works.
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