Saturday, March 7, 2009

Watchmen Review

"An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us."

On July 25, 2008 I was sitting in a packed theater ready to watch The Dark Knight. A preview for a film came on that was set to the tune The End is the Beginning Is the End by Smashing Pumpkins. The words "Most Celebrated Graphic Novel of All Time" appeared. It was a trailer for Watchmen. Now I had not read the graphic novel but from the trailer alone I was greatly anticipating this film. Flash forward March 6 2009. Still haven't read the graphic novel (I know...).

Anytime a film plays around with the film company logo (in this case Paramount), it gets points. It opened up with a sucker punch like many good films have done in the past. The opening credits set to Bob Dylan' The Time Are A Changin is one of the most inventive sequences I've seen used in film. As someone who is fascinated with the historical period covered within the sequence I was very amused at the whole take on it from the Watchmen angle.

The use of music was one of the most effective things here other than the visuals. Probably the most effective use of it is Philip Glass' Pruit Igoe and Prophecies which was originally part of the Koyaanisqtsi soundtrack. That sequence in the film was seamless and really stood out.

The visual aspect of the film was absolutely amazing. The author of the graphic novel Alan Moore said that Watchmen is unfilmable. Now I don't know if he was talking about the complexities of the visuals but if he was then Zack Snyder pulled this off very well. I was not a big fan of his last film 300 but this film has redeemed him for me. Jackie Earle Haley (Rorshach) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan's (Comedian) performances were among the best in the film. However, Malin Akerman's performance as Silk Spectre II did nothing for me. I feel that Janey Slater was better in terms of female performances.

I did have an unpleasant viewing experience. My friend and I arrived at the theater and it was on one of those ultra screens. However, the theater was packed and we ended up having to sit front row. Hopefully, when I see it again I'll have a better experience.
Now I have read that the original director's cut was 3 hours and 10 minutes and the Zack Snyder intends to release that cut in July in theaters in New York. In addition to that, he plans to release an Ultimate Cut with "Tales of the Black Freighter", a 20 minute animated short that will be incorporated into the film. Making it a total running time of 3 hours and 30 min.

I'll add to this review when I finally get my hands on the graphic novel and am able to compare the two and see how faithful it was and what sacrifices were made in terms of cinematic adaptation.

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