Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who's Watching The Watchmen?

I did.

Now it would stand to reason that it's easier to adapt a graphic-novel into a movie than it is to adapt a novel, after all - the visuals are almost pre-planned out for you as opposed to descriptive words on a page. The Crow and Sin City are good examples of how to properly adapt material for the screen; V for Vendetta and Constantine are clearly not. Zack Snyder has enjoyed success with adapting Frank Miller's 300, a magnificent work of art into a Whopper Award winning film. To do this however he had to add in some new plot and scenes not featured in the book as the original materiel was too short for a two-hour movie. For Watchmen, Snyder had the opposite problem; the materiel was far to long and complex and some elements had to be chopped out.

I would imagine it’s more difficult removing elements from such a well crafted story than it was to create and add elements in. Unfortunately, Watchmen’s plot is so complex and interwoven, that anything removed from it negatively impacts the viewers understanding of the story as a whole, especially if they’ve not read the book, which I'd imagine the majority of cinema goers will not have. As Snyder has holds Alan Moore's original work in great reverence, I am left wondering if he didn't perhaps remove enough. I can verify that this, while a significant one, is the movie's only significant flaw.

Extensive dialog aside, Watchmen is an awesome on-screen spectacle melding faithfulness to the comic book artwork of the mid 80’s with the most extraordinary visuals which Hollywood is capable of in the 21st century. The attention to detail is staggering. If one was to examine any frame of film, I'd reckon it would not be too hard a task to identify which panel of the comic book it corresponds to. The acting is superb from the intensity of Oscar nominee Jackie Early Haley as Rorschach to the sweet delicate beauty of Malin Akerman as Silk Spectre. Not even the somewhat laughable absurdity of a glowing blue "meat and two veg" dangling between Billy Crudup's (Dr. Manhattan) legs could spoil such a superb acting ensemble.

I gleefully accepted the completely unexpected level of violence that was presented here. The fight scenes were incredible and expertly choreographed. There was no wishy-washy "implied violence" here - if it happened you saw it - just the way I like it. The powered saw scene was a particular favourite. Kudos to Snyder for keeping this permanently out of reach from young children.

Final verdict: Dr. Manhattan may be too "talkie" for some and if you got lost watching it, I recommend reading the graphic-novel - and then re-watching the movie. I think you'll enjoy it more. Otherwise, the sometimes over-the-top violence and spectacular visuals make this one of the definitive comic-book movies ever.

Colonel Creedon Rating: *****+


The Whitehouse said...

I watched this a few weeks ago, and agree, you couldn;t have got it any closer to the comic if you had tried.. even down to the guy sitting near the news stand..

And bone snappigly wonderful fight scenes...

Constance said...

My complaint: All the barely dressed women you show around here, and you have to choose the one and only photo of Dr. Manhattan actually wearing clothes? Since when was this blog G-rated?

Also, that wasn't a chainsaw, it was a circular saw. I had my closed, but they were open long enough to tell what kind of saw the guy used!

Lieutenant General Creedon said...

@ The Whitehouse: I was told that writing reviews the day after seeing the movie wasn't the best idea as I'm still "on a high" from the violence and this inflates the star rating. So I delayed this review for almost a month and it still gets the highest rating for exactly what you say!

P.S. I gave your wife, Madame Director some Whoppers [Original Malted Milk Balls] to take back to Britishland with her, don't eat them all at once!

@ Constance: "barely dressed" is still "dressed." I've not posted "undressed" women here* and so it's more than extremely unlikely that there'll be "undressed males" - have patience for my autographed photo to arrive to you, you'll forget all about glowing-blue-penis-boy [and I don't want to see a copy of it on Ebay next week either] :)

I've replaced chainsaw with "powered saw". "Circular saw" doesn't sound menacing enough.

*apart from a censored Anna Nicole Smith picture for her obituary - but that was because she wouldn't have been recognised dressed.

Constance said...

Look here Colonel "Whopper" Creedon, I wouldn't be giving Mrs. The Whitehouse any of your so-called "malted milk balls" and then encouraging her to share them with Mr. The Whitehouse. Here I thought you Irish were so repressed. I am shocked!

As far as my autographed photo goes, careful where you put the signature. After all, I have to be able to honestly answer Civvy's accusation of overcompensation. Accuracy in all things, Colonel.

The Whitehouse said...

I have found said Whoppers Malted Milk Balls, and am currently sucking..... nom nom