“The world will look up and shout ‘save us’ and I’ll whisper ‘no'”
Enthusiastic Applause/Fervent Cheer
Ahh Watchmen… Yes it is only March but out of every film to be slated for release between January and May, I was looking forward most to this film. I am very excited about the Wolverine movie and VERY psyched about Transformers 2 but to be completely honest since 2003 there has not really been a year chock full of exciting action flicks, maybe with the exception of 2007 which had Spiderman 3 (booo), Pirates 3 (liked, but could have been better), and one or two others.
ANYWHOOOO!! One thing you must know about me is that I love film and LOVE seeing movies opening day. The feeling of being in a sold-out theater for a movie I’ve been waiting eagerly to see is GREAT!!! Watchmen, however, has taught me to be more thorough in deciding which theater to go to. I work in Times Square and liked the AMC 25 until last Friday when I discovered that this theater is often frequented by a less than desirable crowd. Enough said… ON TO THE SHOW!!!
I am not familiar with the graphic novel which is the source material for the movie Watchmen. I’m sure a lot of people like me who went to the movie did so because the trailer featured some pretty awesome visual effects. I also am very particular about the music used in a film’s promotional material as well as in the film itself and the music in the Watchmen trailer was very intriguing to me. Now, the first ten to fifteen minutes of the movie I thought were awesome. Pretty flawless, especially the brutal opening murder scene scene. Very Zack Snyder in terms of direction – reminiscent of 300. The opening scene (a fight between a then unknown attacker and the coarse gruff washed up vigilante hero “The Comedian”) was amazingly choreographed and though intense, was topped by Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” which was pure perfection. This scene transitioned into the multi-purpose five-minute opening credit scene which provides the viewer with very necessary information. First scene + opening credits = best I’ve seen in years, if not ever.
After the first fifteen minutes however the story seemed to branch out in way too many different directions. In Sin City there were several different story lines that intersected in the end but were each told as one clearly defined chapter, per se. In Watchmen, each story was told in a somewhat confusing overlapping manner. The love triangle between Night Owl II, Silk Spectre II and Dr. Manhattan started off as a strong story line but soon began to fizzle with the introduction of the other story lines. I wanted to know more about the histories of both Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach (the fedora wearing baddie with the ink-blot gauze over his face) but what information they provided was somewhat lost among everything else going on, and there was a lot! By the nearing of the film’s end I (and many others it seemed) found myself not really caring who wound up with who and just wanted the credits to come. 2 hours and 43 minutes of any film of this nature is a bit too long, especially at 1AM.
I didn’t dislike this movie though. I may have been confused through large portions of it and was continuously reminding myself to suspend disbelief, the visuals were truly stunning. Though I expected a bit more action the magnificently crafted and directed action and fight sequences that were present were great. Finally, a movie with fight scenes that are not edited within an inch of their lives. You could see the technique that oozed from each action scene due simply to the fact that they were comprised of longer shots (both camera angle and time wise) instead of closer quick cuts. The opening Comedian fight and Rorschach’s arrest scenes stand out in my mind as being particularly memorable.
The CGI of Dr. Manhattan never got old and while I must admit, seeing him fully nude in all but three or four of his scenes was a bit distracting, Billy Crudup’s portrayal of the jolly, erm, blue giant, though monotone, was still personable and filled with emotion. I also really liked the effect of Rorshach’s “face” of the continuously movie ink-blot but I would have liked to have been told how it occured in the universe of the film and why it was to begin with. C’est la vie. Jackie Earle Haley played the hell out of Rorschach and was the highlight character wise for me. Having seen him in the intense but great Little Children seeing him in this was a very pleasant surprise and very different for him, to me. Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian I thougth was great. You despised his character for most of the film and then felt sorry for him by the end. I truly felt for him and while I wasn’t meant to condone his early behaviors by ANY means, his expressed remorse was touching and asked for forgiveness, which I was willing to give.
I thought Patrick Wilson as Night Owl II was great alongside Malin Åkerman as Silk Spectre II whom I did not like. I didn’t recognize her as the wicked crazy wife of Ben Stiller in The Hearbreak Kid, which is the point, but her performance wasn’t memorable and bit too comic-bookey for me. She was great and committed to the action sequences but seemed not to fully understand the character nor the world in which the character existed. As the only female lead I was a little disappointed though she did play off Patrick Wilson pretty well. The character of Ozymandias, played by Matthew Goode, was initially interesting but became more of a caricature as the film progressed.
Speaking of the two of them, there was an obligatory Zack Snyder stylized sex scene. In 300 it was a bit awkward but worked. Here it seemed to be filmed specifically for comic relief. It was EXTREMELY long and verged on porn. The audience burst into laughter because not only were both characters fully nude, they were shown climaxing while Leonard Cohen’s cover of “Halleluah” played in the background. AWKWARD!!!!!
All in all I wanted to LOVE this movie but in the end only really liked it. The audience was very vocal (which I HATE) about their distaste and confusion with the film and yes I was confused throughout several parts of the film but the visual aspects of the film coupled with it’s great soundtrack and very fitting score by Tyler Bates were enough to make me happy. If you’re not familiar with the source material you will probably find the intersection of stories hard to follow and by the end will probably be somewhat excited to see the credits roll. With the exception of the final “twist” the film follows the graphic novel pretty closely, a fact which fans will GREATLY appreciate. The music (both the score and soundtrack) were great and like I mentioned before the visuals were astounding.
I would see this film again with a different audience so I could focus more on the story and understand better what was happening. This definitely is a film I’d buy on DVD because the bonus disk would be worth it alone. Some people have no desire to see the film but for those that have even an inkling, I say go see it because it is entertaining, but go in with an open mind thinking that anything is possible in the universe of the film. Zack Snyder delivered another visually stunning film that is worthy of your $12.50 and three hours of your time.