I got to see last night a showing of the long-awaited Watchmen movie by Zack Snyder.
Unfortunately, there is no IMAX over here so I had to see it in a shitty movie theatre with an awful screen, horrendous sound and since it was packed, I had a lousy seat at the back. Given the fact that the screen was extremely small already, this didn’t help at all.
I almost fell asleep halfway through, although that might have been because I was tired.
Spoilers galore, so beware.
The acting wasn’t bad at all, even though none of them had no real ground-breaking material to act. I still think Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Comedian is above the rest.
Matthew Goode’s Ozymandias was also good.
The forced Batman-style voice by Rorschach is truly painful to hear though.
The sex scene in Archie between Silk Spectre II and Nite Owl II was really bad I thought.
It was described as “classy” by the actors but the scene just felt gratuitous and utterly ridiculous. The actors over-acted the actual sex scene and then there was a bad version of Hallelujah (not this one) playing over it. Literally.
Continuing on the music side of things, the soundtrack was described as revolutionary and fitting, but, well…
I’ll just use one word: cliché.
There’s the Hallelujah song of course, yet that’s far from the only example.
We also have the Ride Of The Valkyries playing over the Vietnam war sequence. Yes, seriously.
And there’s also The Sound of Silence for the funeral scene.
Let’s not forget All Along the Watchtower.
Its use was heavily borrowed from the end of Battlestar Galactica‘s Season 3, to say the least.
Think Mars instead of Earth and you get the picture.
The shot may somewhat be in the graphic novel, but the way it was handled in the movie suggest rip-off to me.
All in all, far from revolutionary music choices and not really inspired.
I also thought the score was underwhelming at best. Not much of an effort on Tyler Bates’ part.
Regarding the movie in parallel to the graphic novel.
For starters, half of the original graphic novel got taken out, such as all the story about the news stand, or the snow-ball stuff on Mars. Probably nitpicks, but considering what has been left and how it was filmed, the movie suffers.
The Black Freighter will get its own animated film though, so I’m not too troubled by that.
Still, I clocked the movie in at under 2h30 even though a 3h+ version is expected to land on the DVD.
More should have been added to the theatrical release.
The first part of the movie felt rushed as we quickly moved from one scene/storyline/plot point to the next, skipping pages worth screen time and lingering on pointless ones.
Nonetheless, for what it’s worth, the attention to detail (with the props, costumes, etc.) is extremely present in the movie, for the better.
I understand stuff getting cut/shorten out to make for a much simpler narrative, but some questionable choices can be observed as to what made the cut and what changed, like the ending over in Antarctica.
Veidt’s vivarium was changed into pyramids. Again, quite ridiculous and less significant.
Him poisoning his servants was as well much more subtle, shocking, and riveting in the graphic novel than the way it is portrayed in the movie (who didn’t see it coming a mile away?).
As expected as well, the movie was riddled by pseudo-cool slow-mo shots à la Snyder which really dragged out the movie. In the end, that means that we have more time for “cool” visuals than for the actual story; ludicrous considering the original product.
And I haven’t talked yet about all the gore.
Sure, it’s uncensored et al, and it somewhat stays true to the original novel, but it’s still some unnecessary gore for the sake of it, let alone all the useless fight sequences (like in the prison).
For instance, Larry in the prison gets his hands tied behind Rorschach’s cell’s bars. In the graphic novel, he gets finished off by having his throat cut. Quick, simple, bloody. In the movie however, an actual hacksaw enters the picture and his arms are literally cut apart from his body for no reason whatsoever (since they need to cut through the bars, what about all the other ones that aren’t currently being occupied by two arms?).
And this is just one of many examples.
I don’t get why change Rorschach “first kill” from turning his back on a man burning alive to him axing halfway down that man’s head.
More blood? Really?
And since we’re on the subject, why not show us all the bloodied corpses in New York (hell, it’s in several pages of the novel), yet show arms being ripped apart, compound fractures and blood everywhere?
Some of those changes just do not make sense to me. At all.
The film is also full of over-done meta jokes.
I laughed at a couple of them.
Not because they were funny, but because they sucked.
Case in point: At the end, when Ozymandias exposes his evil plan, and Nite Owl asks when he is going to “do it”, Ozy scoffs, saying that he is not some “comic-book super-villain”.
Not particularly subtle.
As for the ending.
Well, first, I called (in my mind at least) the movie’s end way back when the first trailer came out.
Talk about a spoilery trailer!
The nuke(s) story was less ridiculous than I thought it would be but it still doesn’t equal the original ending with the squid.
I don’t want to leave you on such bad notes.
Don’t worry, I enjoyed the movie and some things in it.
The two highlights of the film were definitely the montage during the opening credits setting up the alternate History, as well as Dr. Manhattan’s backstory.
Overall, despite all that you’ve just read, I didn’t feel disappointed by the movie itself as I basically knew all the negative points before-hand, so no letdown on my part.
I am sure though the movie would have had a greater (positive) impact on me if I had seen it in IMAX instead of in some crappy theatre.
Seeing the 3h+ version in HD will most likely be much more satisfactory than the theatrical version I saw last night.
You are right about the soundtrack. For me that was one of the real bummers of the film because it kind of ruined the scene.
But the Director’s Cut will probably be the ‘real’ Watchmen film, so we will have to see that when it comes out.
Rorschach was an especially well developed as a character; i hope the actor that played his role is nominated for some kind of an award (when that season comes around again)