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Monday March 9, 2009 10:14 am

Watchmen Review

Posted by Todd Matthy Categories: Movies, Reviews, DC Comics,

Silk Spectre

Since its trailer debuted with “The Dark Knight” we have all been waiting patiently for the big screen adaptation of the greatest graphic novel of all time. So, does it live up to its hype? When I first read Watchmen over the summer before my junior year of high school, I thought it was very cinematic and would translate well into a film. Obviously edits would have to be made, but still in the right hands it would be good. Zack Snyder is the right hand. Snyder’s adaptation is extremely faithful to the source material, some might say too faithful at times. Some scenes are lifted directly from the comic book, while others, though faithful, have some modifications. But I’ll get to those later.


First I want to talk about the acting. Jackie Earle Haley is Rorschach. He nails the Rorschach voice perfectly along with the mannerisms and body language. Haley also makes Rorschach sympathetic, you really feel for him when he makes his last stand. Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan is emotionally distant as you would expect Dr. Manhattan to be. My only complaint was I felt his voice wasn’t deep enough. Next there is Malin Akerman as Laurie Juspiciek/Jupiter (I’m too lazy to get my copy of the comic) aka Silk Spectre II. What can I say? She’s hot and, yes, she gets nude. As an actress though, she doesn’t do it for me like say a Reese Witherspoon would, but she’s adequate. I did think she had good chemistry with Patrick Wilson who played Dan Dreiberg AKA Nite Owl. Wilson’s portrayal of Dreiberg is like Haley’s portrayal of Rorschach - spot on. He had to have studied Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of Clark Kent and Superman as two different characters. As Dreiberg, Wilson is shy, lonely, and reserved. A man who wants to let go of his past, but can’t. But, when he puts on the Nite Owl outfit he becomes strong, commanding, heroic, and takes down the girl. He doesn’t need people making decisions for him, he makes them himself. But when he takes off the mask he goes back to being plain old Dreiberg. And that’s the character. Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian was okay, not phenomenal. The real disappointment in the cast was Matthew Goode as Ozymandias. He was flat the whole time. I expected more emotion when his plan comes to fruition.

As for omissions, we aren’t going to talk about the squid because we already know about that one and it’s been talked about to death. What upset me the most was the omission of Captain Metropolis in Ozymandias’ flashback. His comment about, “someone has to save the world” as his flow chart for the team goes up in flames was what set in motion Ozymandias’ plan. Without the crying ideals of Captain Metropolis to balance the cynicism of the Comedian, the meaning of the scene is lost.  I wish Snyder would’ve included it. I also wish the snow globe was included in Laurie’s flashbacks. But then again, there is that ultimate DVD release that will be coming out so it might be in there. I also wish the scene where Rorschach kills the child molester was truer to the comic book. Unfortunately, the filmmakers would be accused of plagiarizing “Saw”. Although Alan Moore came up with the idea first. (He should sue).

The main problem of the movie is this, it’s so faithful that if you’ve read the comic a bunch of times (or written papers like I have) you feel like you’re counting the scenes toward the conclusion. The only concern you have is how the scenes are dramatized or what is omitted. And that’s not how I should view a movie. I guess I’m getting the feeling most book readers get when their favorite novel is translated to the big screen.

Overall, I enjoyed Watchmen. It keeps the spirit of the graphic novel alive. It’s only flaw is its reverence, but then again isn’t that what we want? 



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