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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I Watched the Watchmen

Thanks to Michael and his studio connections, I was fortunate enough to attend a sneak preview of Watchmen tonight. I went in with low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised - this is a reasonably faithful adaptation that does little violence to the source material, even though the


ending has been updated to suit the times. Haunting, beautiful imagery, good performances from little-known actors - there's a lot to like here. It's even a little sexy in parts, never a bad thing. There is some brutality, however, so if you're squeamish, you may want to close your eyes during the fight scenes and one very disturbing rape scene midway through the film.

Rorsach definitely steals the show, but my favourite character remains Night Owl, who does his best to hang on to a sense of decency even in the face of armageddon.

Four bloody smiley faces out of five.


Maurice said...

My sons will be envious. They are looking forward to Watchmen like kids looking forward to Christmas. A very violent Christmas.

Anonymous said...

A redux ending eh? I always thought that the plot-device ending of the Watchmen comic book was its weakest part. Really, just about any plot and any ending (you killed my family, now I must spend 20 years leaning martial arts and kill you) would serve the story. It's the physchologies of the various characters and the lives they find themselves trapped in that I think is interesting in the book, and not the overt plot.

Still, as plot-device endings go, the sort of "The Day The Earth Stood Still"-ishness of the Watchmen book ending always seemed to me rather false, even given all the blood and the 1985 morality.

Bad things happen in New York. Incredibly bad things. The city seems to breed bad things and almost invite cataclysm. As 9-11 seems to bear out, many many individuals are affected profoundly, but the world as a whole is intent to move on to other things.

Maybe the Watchmen is the "Akira" for the new millenium. Strangely, I feel that Akira is becoming more relevant as time goes on, while the Watchmen are less so.

It is said that one man can move the world, if he has a lever big enough. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons tried, I guess, but even with their super-anti-heroic effort, the world rolls on without them.

Anonymous said...

Well, now having seen the Watchmen movie, I feel that it compares very easily with Akira, and in many important ways is roughly equal:

Both come from a dense graphic novel as a source.

Both are too long, too talky, and in spots too ultra-violent and gory.

Both present alluring alternate-reality societies filled with compelling characters.

Both have an arresting and dynamic graphic style.

Both have a huge body count, although much of the mayhem is from what I would call "death by pixels": hyperkinetic animated special effects over any sense of realism.

Both deal with the issues of creating a man-made god, and with creating consenus and order in society through supra-legal and/or violent means.

I now consider Watchmen to be the American Akira. It's more streamlined than Akira, and features an American sensibility in story and setting whereas Akira is unmistakably Japanese.

Both films would make a really crazy double-header, I think, if you had the endurance. The Wathcmen was an interesting and compelling film, especially for fans of the book. I think Earl's review more or less echoes my views.