Kevin's Review: Watchmen - Who Watches the Watchmen?
by Kevin Powers
March 7, 2009
There's a poignant phrase that shows up often in Watchmen, simply, "Who watches the Watchmen?" The question has a clear purpose in the story, which is to call attention to the authority enjoyed by the 6-person superhero team. But the same query is surely on the minds of studio execs now that the heralded comic book series has finally made it to the big screen. Who will flock to the theater to watch a two-and-a-half hour journey into an altered '80s reality? And does Watchmen truly deliver? While the film's quality has incited debate, the short answer to this question is that, truly, everyone should watch the Watchmen.
Watchmen was originally published in the late '80s and for the longest time was passed around in hopes of a big-screen adaptation. The story's nuance, complexity and span earned it the long-held title of "unfilmable." It's a common claim as of late, therefore, that director Zack Snyder has done the impossible and successfully brought to life "the greatest superhero story ever told." While Snyder's film is remarkable on many levels, the weight of the novel's acclaim is a polarizing blessing and curse. Most die-hard fans of the printed story will claim it doesn't measure up and is sorely a breezy, faint impression of the original. Virgins of the story will furrow their brow at the odd costumes, the naked blue guy and the eccentric '80s landscape, which seem out of place in these times of Iron Man and The Dark Knight. But for all its unique and adapted flavor, Watchmen is still a wonderful cinematic accomplishment with depths and tones rarely seen in this genre.
Part of what makes Watchmen so intriguing is the parallel universe it portrays wherein these characters play key roles in our own history. The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) assassinates JFK, Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup) helps end the Vietnam War, and everyone is in fear of an escalating nuclear arms race with Russia. The subtle weaving of fact and fiction proves smart and far more grounded than most comic-based tales we've seen. The '80s setting, however, might throw some off. For instance, the costumes are pretty homely and the soundtrack is a veritable 'Hits of the '80s,' the likes of which would cost you $19.99 by calling a toll-free number. It's not exactly what you would expect, but it's faithful to the source material. There's no way around the "period-ness" of Watchmen, so you just have to accept it and move on.
The themes of the film, however, aren't restricted to a specific period of time. Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) is disillusioned, cynical and has found the only way to really stop bad guys is to kill them. The Comedian is selfish and a moral relativist that has no qualms bullying those around him, while Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson) is the exact opposite. And Dr. Manhattan has so much power that he's losing his connection to humanity and begins to see people and life around him in purely objective terms. The struggles and identities of the six characters come to life by way of Rorschach's investigation into The Comedian's death, which proves the proverbial tip of the iceberg to the story. Haley as Rorschach delivers the one true standout performance.
How The Comedian is killed represents the aspect of Watchmen that everyone should enjoy. Snyder does a magnificent job in these fight sequences, slowing down the camera for us to witness every little ass-kicking detail. These scenes are a bit sparse during the first part of the film, but be patient and you'll be pleased. For those just looking for this kind of eye-candy, you'll also enjoy the fairly gratuitous gore. Sure, Steven Segal patented the backwards arm break, but I've never seen the move in such gory detail as when the Nite Owl does it. And don't expect Dr. Manhattan's omnipotent power to be particularly tidy; in lieu of simply making someone disappear, he splatters them like they left the top of a blender.
Some have argued (and will continue to argue) that Watchmen should never have been made into a movie. In fact, the writer of the original comics, Alan Moore, reportedly cursed the production because he was so incensed by the thought of an adaptation. Admittedly, I'm not a huge follower of the source material, but I am exceptionally grateful for Snyder bringing the story to the cinema. The movie is truly one of the most visually unique and unabashedly epic superhero tales I've had the pleasure to witness. It isn't perfect and ultimately may buckle under its own weight, but you should nevertheless head out to watch the Watchmen.
Reader Feedback - 44 Comments
still haven't seen it, going to sneak out during work next week... can't wait!
dRailer on Mar 7, 2009
Very good review.
Daniel on Mar 7, 2009
Your review is a limp re-gurge of what everyone else has already said. Try bringing some originality in perspective. Or just don't bother writing such a half-ass, un-informed review. For example: "For instance, the costumes are pretty homely and the soundtrack is a veritable 'Hits of the '80s,' the likes of which would cost you $19.99 by calling a toll-free number" Bob Dylan? Simon & Garfunkel? Hendrix? These aren't 80s bands, boy-o. They were vocal 60s musicians that embodied the ranged angst of the Cold-War-Vietnam-nonukes-protest culture. And Moore baked their lyrics right onto the pages of the original. Like it or not it was true to the material. Just think before you rant, man.
Cinemassive on Mar 7, 2009
I liked the review too. I review movies (not as a job...) for fun and I saw some things that'll help me.
Tom V on Mar 7, 2009
Having never read the book I wasn't sure what to expect. The final product was very pleasant from that aspect. Not a superhero movie, a movie about super heros who can be as flawed as the rest of us.
Verno on Mar 7, 2009
Galethog on Mar 7, 2009
i had the same reaction as you the first time. but when i watched it the second time it was even better. the first time i was just watching it for the visuals and i was caught up in hype so i didnt see it for what it really was and i was put off when scenes were not included. ( im a huge fan of the book). But when i saw it again, i saw it for what it really was and how deep and complex snyder imagined it. its not the best comic movie buts its damn close. in my opinion first time: 8.5 second time: 9.0
Pj on Mar 7, 2009
i completely agree with the artice...i mean i think everyone by now knows a book will never measure up to a film for the pure and simple reason, theres not enough time... i appreciate the film and the time snyder made making considerations for the die hards and the novel virgins..
whowouldnt? on Mar 7, 2009
ok so i saw watchmen at midnight on thursday. i love the graphic novel and ive read it 3 times so far. going into the movie i was hyped up and ready to witness the spectacle that is watchmen come to life on the silver screen. the first hour and thirty minutes was satisfying. and then, crap. i hated the end so much, that i hated the whole movie all together. snyder's reimagined ending sucks and should have stayed the same as in the novel. screw what the audiences would think, if you dont know what watchmen is then im sure you can run to your local walgreens and pick it up, its everywhere now. the ending RUINED the whole movie! i was so pissed when they said, "Dr manhattan is responsible". omg thats such bullcrap and i wanted to just walk out. i now honestly agree that this should have never been made. PLEASE IF YOU HAVENT READ THE BOOK!!! do yourself a favor and read it, its a trillion times better than the movie will ever be, even if the directors cut has 30 more minutes in it. read the book, dont watch the movie.
ck on Mar 7, 2009
My biggest complaint isn't that things were changed - In most cases this seems to have been done to bring it alive on screen or format a complex source material into the constraints of the medium- but that many of the smaller changes done seem to be done for odd reasons. The squid/Dr Manhattan changed ending bothers me a little, not so much because the squid was great - even Alan Moore admitted its a mcguffin - but because ultimately I think it changes what the ending means philosophically. In the book humanity unites to defeat a perceived common foe not to appease an angered god to prevent further "Sodom and Gommorah"-like attacks. But really this is a matter of nuance and really isn't that big of an issue. Similarly the amped up action even for the characters who, unlike DR. Manhattan, do not have superpowers is a conceit that I'm willing to forgive to get asses in theater seats. Do I think It'd be a better film with out the tacked on action? Yes. Would it be successful in this medium without it? Probably not. So really what bothers me are the changes that seem to be done for no reason. Normally in a film adaptation these kind of smaller changes would really pass unmentioned but in a film where obvious effort was expended to stick to the source these changes seem glaring. For example Rorschach's "origin" with the dogs and their owner. Why was it necessary to have Rorschach kill the man with a cleaver (and brutally so) as opposed to letting him burn? Also why change the scene at the jail with the crime boss and the two thugs? Were these changes made to amp up the gore? If so why is this necessary? Do we need torture porn in modern R-rated Films? Overall I think I fall into the group that accepts that this is about as good a Watchman film as our current film industry is like to deliver. At the end of the day the amount of discussion and debate the film has caused I think in many ways mirrors the impact of the source material, although for different reasons. Its hard to see that as a negative.
James Bradford on Mar 7, 2009
I seem like the only one on the web that thought Watchmen was really bad. The visual presentation was very nice, but nog as good as 300. So then the story... man this was bad. Too long, too slow. It brought little new to the table. It reminded me a lot of x-men (ofcourse not the same, but still). I spoke to a friend of mine who went to the movie before me and he said this movie was easily better than The Dark Night and such... well the with that! In the cinema where I went a lot of the 550-seat theater walked out early. And than, a minute or so before the end allmost the half started walking out, having clearly enough of this crap. I've never seen that before, and I work for 6 years in a cinema now. All of my 6 friends who went with me were deeply disapointed. When talking to the theater-manager (friend of mine) I heard a lot of people talk negativly about the film. So... it seems it IS pretty bad.
Rickmeister on Mar 7, 2009
First of all, i love FS.net. my top choice for trailers/news bout upcoming movies. BUT...how can you write such crappy reviews when this is the movie you were waiting for almost a year? It is so much to be discussed about this particular movie, about its many flaws, about all the things that were in the novel and not in the movie (forget the ending..just feels to me that many of you just looked up a pdf version of the comic book, saw the ending, saw the movie "ah..it ain't like that..screw this"). No, i'm talking bout "Tales of the Black Freighter", "Under the Hood", and so much more. A lot more stuff that wasn't in the movie. I'm hearing rumours about these stories and much more will be added in the director's cut, final DVD, etc. That would make sense, the watchmen we saw in the theaters ran for almost 3 hours. There's stuff to be covered, an extra 2 hours at least 🙂 I've enjoyed every bit of information about the movie, that determined me to read the novel a few weeks before the movie release. And now seeing this movie i understand some choices that were made, and overall, it's worth watching. And if you're dissapointed, say that only when you see the director's cut. I'm looking forward to that. Now, everybody's complaining about the soundtrack. Leonard's Cohen Hallelujah suited that love scene. Aren't you sick in every movies if you see a strip scene-> BANG -> Joe Cocker-you can leave your hat on...for example. It's different, it's not your regular sex scene, it's supposed to be funny in a way, considering night owl couldn't get it up the first time, and then it happened, so..Hallelujah 🙂 And there are so many things that were funny, the folder "Boys" Veidt had on his pc, the fire button silk spectre accidentaly pressed when she was making love to night owl, Dr.Manhattan's impressive blue...thing hanging here and there..EVERYWHERE :)) making Veidt in the final scenes staring for some time at it, (oh yes, he's gay), then looking up at manhattan's face. (tho in the novel, his "thing" was depicted small for a good reason) I mean, it's all there, the dark, the bloody, the sexy, the action... the movie you were expecting. Just that i can't give it a full 10/10 cause of things i've mentioned above. 9.2/10 my mark. So, my suggestion for a Watchmen fan is...see the movie, accept it the way it is with flaws. It's better than V for Vendetta or other shitty comic novel turned into a movie. The story helps i guess.
Jim on Mar 7, 2009
easily the best novel to film adaptation (by loyalty and consistency) love the music. ALL of it. great film. (i even like the films "end" better)
Josh on Mar 7, 2009
This is the first movie I can't figure out if I liked it or not. The story was slow but still held my interest. The hero's had more issues then my X. This movie is worth seeing just because it is not the same for everyone. I like stories that make you think only of the movie. This film did that for me. I was into it for the whole two and something hours. I don't know if I liked it or not but I do feel I did not waste my money or time going the see it on opening weekend. I will have to see it again to come up with a better opinion.
600RR on Mar 8, 2009
Very well said! Bang on! And to all the rest of your negative commenters... shut the fuck up... sound like a bunch of cry babies, it was too long, it was too slow, I didn't like this or that, I didnt' like Synder's new ending. My god... stop! I love FS and usually enjoy reading and posting some comments from time to time but I'm getting sooo sick and tired of all the negativity. It seems that some people just want bitch and complain about anything and everything. I guess to each their own, it's not for everyone. Anyway... I saw Watchmen yesterday and was absolutely blown away! I've read the graphic novel, beit a couple years ago, and I think Zach did an amazing job. Bringing a book, let alone a graphic novel to the big screen is not an easy task but HE DID IT! I was glue to that screen like a teenager looking at his first Playboy. The intro was amazing, love the choice of Dylan. And S&G during the Comedian's burial, brilliant. Love that tune! I had no issue with the soundtrack, unlike a lot of others. Could he have perhaps choosen a better, different song... yes... but it is what it is and I very pleased with the outcome. The enjoyed the explaination of all the characters, the action scenes and yes even the ending. The people that say it was too slow... you can't have a movie completely of action, especially when it this complex. You need to slow it down, have the dramatic sequeneces that develop the backstory and characters and I didn't mind one bit. I thought they were all very well done, didn't get bored for a single minute. It is sooo refreshing to see a dark, multi layered, complex superhero flick!!! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the action, cheese type superhero flicks, I loved Ironman and Hulk. DK was a bit more thought prevoking and complex but Watchmen is in a league all it's own. In my opinion it's something that will go down in cinematic history. Rorschach was absolutely amazing! I'm still in awe how good he was, easily as good if not better than the Jokers performance. In my opinion worthy of an award but that will never happen because it's a hard R rated character. Comedian, Dr M, Nite Owl all very good. A lot of people didn't care for Silk II or Ozzy but I thought they did a fine job. I'm sure I could rant on but I'll cut it short. I would recommend everyone go see Watchmen, maybe it will be your think or maybe not but I truly believe this is an important film and it needs to be seen. It's something completely different that anything that has come before it and probably be a long time until it's matched or outdone. Mr Synder, THANK YOU! Can't wait to hear more about Sucker Punch.
K on Mar 8, 2009
The movie was great, I liked it a lot. That being said, can you people stop complaining and comparing the movie to the book? Everyone knows that no movie will ever live up to it's original source and people will always have different opinions, so stop it with the comparisons already. Just enjoy the movie for what it is, and stop trying to compare every single scene of the movie to the book and you just might enjoy the movie a lot more. I've read the book about 10 yrs ago and loved it, but remember that these are two different mediums and they'll never give you the exact same experience. My wife went and watched the movie with me with no prior knowledge of the film or book and she also liked it. Best Superheroes movie made so far....
Omega728 on Mar 8, 2009
Like a lot of people I've talked to, the end is still the most contentious for me. I had no real issue with losing the squid, but what bothers me is the loss of personal tragedy that so afflicted the reader in Chapter XII of the graphic novel. There's just pages and pages of dead bodies everywhere, and many are people you can recognize from earlier in the story - i.e. members of the gang that attack Dan and Laurie. I can still remember the first time I paged through that last chapter, literally on the verge of tears - and I doubt I'm the only one. In the story, Veidt's choice felt so much heavier, carried so much more weight, having been forced to see the human remains of his decision. In the movie, we get destruction that focuses almost *entirely* on buildings collapsing under CGI power. I am happy they retained that terrifying moment just before the detonation, a moment very much like the first nuclear bomb dropping on Heroshima. Keeping that moment true to the graphic novel did lend *some* personal tragedy to it, but overall that whole sequence passed far too quickly; it was just too sterile and clean. I agree with most of what was said in the review. FS continues to be my primary source of movie news. But...PLEASE...don't call it the "Owl Ship." It's Archimedes. Or Archie. That bugged me a lot for some reason.
Zach on Mar 8, 2009
I saw this movie and was disappointed. Given I am a comic movie fan and NEVER read this comic, that might have something to do with it, but I was expecting something else, something more. I can't for the life of me see how Alex can call this Brilliant, I can see how someone might call The Dark Knight Brilliant, but I cant see this one Alex. Anyway like I said I never read the comic but I dont think that necessarily makes me unable to appreciate a good movie or a bad or confusing one. I never read 300 either, I knew the history behind it and I loved that movie, one of my favorites to date. Let me start off with what I did like: the beginning was one of the most beautiful and interesting montages that I never saw in a motion picture, it set the tone perfectly and was almost epic in its styling. I liked the CGI, it was flawless for the most part, Dr Manhattan was done awesome, the set and the period feel of the film was spot on, the music was fantastic, I loved that they didn't pull any punches and made this R, the violence and sex was just about right to get the point across and I feel weird that with all these things going for it, for me, that I still didn't enjoy it all that much, for some movies for me, that's all it takes but I think with all the hype surrounding this I was expecting something better. Oh yeah I also like the Comedian, I thought from the commercials he was kinda a good guy, but he was bad, evil, and he did it very well. Heres what I didn't like: Are these guys super heroes or just super ass kickers? I dont understand why Rorschach's face moved, doe she have powers? Does maybe he just think that its moving in his own mind because hes kinda crazy? Is he a parkour master or a ninja? I need more info here, it was confusing. The NightOwl, (also hero or super agent or what?) why is he so wussified in his alter ego? If you can stop like 20 Asian gangsters in a alley, you dont go into puss mode after that when you go home, you have to have at least some bravado/confidence out of costume, he was more geeky then Peter Parker and Clark Kent combined. I think they took that one a step too far. The Silk Specter (also hero or super agent or what?) I didn't believe her performance, for some reason I didn't connect with her on any level, she seemed too fake to me, like Cameron Diaz or something. Dr. Manhattan, Um I guess I didn't buy into him either, if hes a God he seemed pretty easily swayed one way or the other, has weird urges and does awesome things but then cant do other obvious easy things. His decision to save us and be utterly tricked etc, seemed weak. Cant he go back in time and undo his fuck-ups after all he said times relative. The Pharaoh thing? Maybe my brain was on overload at this point but what did that guys (I dont remember his name, the smartest man in the world) plan have to do with Egypt and why did he have a fake ass looking tiger thing? Couldn't they have used a real tiger and made it that color with horns through CGI instead of doing the whole thing in CGI? Hollywood is getting lazy when it comes to animal in films. Why couldn't Dr. Manhattan just go back in time and stop this? The main thing I think that I didn't like and disconnected me from the movie was the fact that they did this outstanding job recreating people and places from our US History and then completely fucking changing US History. I think they should have either made things happen to reflect what really happened in history (or what the general public "perceived" happen). OR they should have had this story take place in current time where I can let my mind wander and believe that maybe this COULD happen in the near future, but making it happen in our past when it clearly DIDN'T makes for a very disconnected movie that's hard to get into and let your mind wrap around. I tried to see the big picture but there was too many little things nagging at me. Maybe I was just expecting something else, I dont know, I dont think this will go down in movie history, I think I WILL like it more upon subsequent viewings but I dont think its Brilliant, that's for damn sure. I'm gonna read the comic, then watch it again on blu-ray and maybe I'll feel differently, but maybe not. IF anyone can give me some insight I'd love that, what happens in the end in the comic? Maybe I'd have liked that better, but anyway it was a great movie that I came out of with less then great feelings about. PS Rorschach kicks ass, easily the coolest guy in the movie even tho I dont really get his powers and stuff.
Richard on Mar 8, 2009
the movie is fucking great,i loved it,every comic fan must see it,i don't know where to rate it in best comic book movie so far(1.the dark knight 2.x-men 2 3.sin city 4.superman 2 5.spider-man 2 6.300 7.batman begins 8.superman the movie 9.hellboy 2 10.blade)probably between 2-6.it's darker than the dark knight,people will pick faults with it because it's not 100% faithful to the source material but nor was the lord of the rings trilogy and that was excepted.watchmen maybe the greatest comic book story ever written,but watchmen may not be the greatest comic book film ever made but still pretty fucking good.go & see it,you know you want to.overall 8 out of 10(will probably get a 9 when directors cut comes out)bring on the blu-ray.
zetsu on Mar 8, 2009
#18: *Spoilers* The characters in this movie are "superheros" who used to help people until the President passed a bill that banned these costume heroes. Rorschach, hes quite an interesting fellow. His upbringing was already tainted by corruption and hatred; his mom was a whore and he was hated by everyone because of it. Thus he turns into a 'psychopath,' but believes that the way he fights crime is the right way. He does not have super-powers, none of them do except Dr. Manhattan. His mask changes because it conveys his current state of emotion; its a way for the author of the graphic novel to convey his emotions to us readers in a unique way; and these 'ink blots' are referred to in real life as - The Rorschach Test. Niteowl is a retired super hero that misses his old days of crime fighting, but on the other end is hesitant about being a super hero. The authors made him to be more like Clark Kent, and if you read the novel you can understand better about his mentality. Silk Spectre, yes i agree with you. I didnt feel like she pulled of the character that well, and some scenes like when they fight the thugs in the alley was unusual, like when she kills that guy with the knife. I can go on about this actress but ill just say that i was yearning for a better performance. Dr. Manhattan, to my knowledge he cant travel back in time and change history. This character is actually complex, and the editing of the film i think made him more confusing and harder for the audience to relate to him and the ideas he talked about. Again i recommend reading the graphic novel if your actually interested in this. The Pharaoh thingy - His name is Ozymandias. He was inspired by Alexander the Great and looks up to the civilization of Egypt and its Pharaohs. Thats why you see him build his fortress after the Egyptian pyramids. And his tiger, is a genetically enhanced lynx. I liked how it was CGI because it looked like it was pulled right from the novel, but yea it would be interesting to see how it would have looked if it was real. I wouldnt call it lazy for them not to use real animals, i think it was more effective for them to convey the expressions of the lynx through CGI, and it was a treat for Watchmen Fans. The Ending - Yes he changed the ending of the film. In the comics a Giant Squid is created by Ozymandias and his scientists, and his plan is to teleport this creature into NYC. Since teleportation in the novel wasnt fully achieved, the living things teleported where killed after they were teleported. So what happens is that the Squid gets teleported to NYC, and dies right after which causes a shockwave killing people in that city. The point of this was that it would convince people that they were attacked by aliens, thus the world would have to 'come together' to fight this alien enemy more greater than them. In the film he believed people would think that idea was either bs or unbelievable. So instead Zack decided to make Ozymandias teleport these orbs in all major cities and kill everything nearby, thus putting the blame on Dr. Manhattan. I liked the original ending better, i have to watch it again to see how i feel about this film fully. I loved Rorschach in this film, the voice, the actor and felt they did a good job on portraying him. Still bummed that many parts where left out, hopefully it will be in the DVD/Blu-Ray. The opening credits though were probably the best i have ever seen in a film but the ending credits were a typical Hollywood ending. I felt that the first 2/3 of the film was great but the last 1/3 was rushed and it made the new ending that less satisfying. Overall though i love the film and i give so much props to Zack Synder for actually tackling this project and trying his best to convert the comic book panels to real life, he did a fine job on that! I think this movie was basically intended for the fans, and im not sure how the public is going to view this film. Its already easily in my favorite top 3 comic book films.
Nikhil Hariharan on Mar 8, 2009
#18 They are not superheroes, at least in the modern sense of the term. Watchmen is a re-imaging of a parallel United States in the 40s-80s, in a time when ordinary men and women, fueled by a quest for justice, donned costumes. When the story takes place, the Keene Act has been passed, which outlawed masked vigilantes following riots in the street as people began to feel that these Watchmen had been given too much power - Dr. Manhattan and the Comedian both worked under government pay to put an end to Vietnam. As is evident, the Comedian abused his power. The Watchmen were originally called the Minutemen back in the 40s and 50s, and Laurie (Silk Spectre) is actually the second iteration of the Silk Spectre; her mother was the first (she fought crime during the Comedian's hayday and was later impregnated by him, resulting in the birth of Laurie). Dan is also the second Nite Owl; Hollis Mason was the original Nite Owl - he's the man Dan is seen speaking with briefly at the beginning of the film, reminiscing - but retired with the passing of the Keene Act to become a police officer and later a mechanic. Rorschach's face persay isn't moving; it's a recreation of a Rorschach ink blot test that shifts to replicate his mood and emotions. The mask's origin is never fully explained, but he did spend some time working with the actual fibers of the mask and the ink; this of course isn't grounded in anything scientific, but one merely accepts it, like many elements of many comic books and graphic novels. He isn't a parkour master OR a ninja; he's merely a guy who knows martial arts. Parkour as a concept wasn't around at the time of the writing of this story, and he definitely isn't a "ninja." Nite Owl (or more precisely Nite Owl II) lost a lot of his confidence with the passing of the Keene Act. When he and Laurie have sex for the first time and he mentions his needing a couple minutes, in the book he actually asks her if they can do it with the costumes on. His self-worth, his confidence, comes from his alter ego. It's very common, to a lesser degree, among ordinary people. For example, I need to look my best when I go out in public; if I don't, I lose a lot of my confidence when talking to other people. Silk Spectre is, agreeably, one of the less developed characters. Her past, however, is something she tries to hide and avoid. Her mother had a reputation approaching whore-ish (she took pride in being featured in porno comics), and when Laurie takes on the mantle as Silk Spectre II she has a lot of baggage, courtesy of her mother. She and Dr. Manhattan begin a relationship before she's even of legal age, and the weight of her own decisions adds to Laurie's mental issues. Again, she's not a superagent; she just knows how to fight. You couldn't just dress up and fight crime without a strong knowledge of defense and fighting. Dr. Manhattan was originally Jon Osterman; although Snyder didn't delve into Osterman's history as thoroughly as the book does, it's very clear he was once an ordinary man. He doesn't become a god; he merely gains an extraordinary ability to shift, create, and destroy matter. He doesn't have the ability to change history; he's a bystander to the past AND the future. He doesn't stop the Comedian from shooting the woman in Vietnam, because he can't change will. He isn't God. He's just a man, and many of his human emotions and desires are still thoroughly intact. The Pharaoh, as you put it, or Ozymandias, never employed Egypt in his plan. The Egyptian artifacts and motifs you see on his properties are because he fancies himself a new world leader. He borrows heavily from both Rameses II and Alexander the Great in his quest for world domination and peace. Bubastes, the tiger you see, is the result of his work with genetics. Should they have used a real tiger and used CGI to turn him into a hybrid? I think this question is moot, because he's in the story for so short a period of time. In the book there's more lead-up to his appearance, and he helps you understand Ozymandias/Veidt a little better. And again, Dr. Manhattan ISN'T God. He can't change the past. He couldn't stop Kennedy from being assassinated and he couldn't stop Veidt from blowing up half the United States and Russia. As for your last, main point as to why you disconnected: this isn't a retelling of American history, it's a re-imagining of it. What IF there had been superheroes working the streets for several decades; what would've been the impact of events? They stay exceptionally true to American events, just retelling them as they saw it if there had been masked vigilantes changing history. If we had a giant blue guy who could destroy stuff with his mind, we WOULDN'T have lost Vietnam. If we had guys like the Comedian and Rorschach running around, there probably would've been a lot of rioting in the streets eventually. The biggest change to the story is the ending of the comic, as you mentioned. Rather than using energy to kill fifteen million Americans and Russians and blaming Dr. Manhattan, Veidt engineers and then sets loose in the heart of New York City a giant alien squid, which is compared on the news to a bee setting loose its suicide stinger. They surmise that it pierced earth's atmosphere and something went wrong, causing it to kill itself and in the process three million people in New York. Fearing an impending alien invasion, Russia pulls out of Afghanistan and commits to peace with the United States.
Zach on Mar 8, 2009
I didn't bother reading every comment here because they mostly all annoyed me. #11 is an idiot. #18 should have read the graphic novel. #20, and #21 did a fairly poor job explaining the graphic novel to #18. #21, Rorschach's mask isn't explained in the graphic novel? I think you missed something. I really liked the film, but I'm so over all of this discussion. It was a great film, and a wonderful adaptation of the graphic novel. That's it, end of discussion. If you disagree you are wrong, and you probably have not read the graphic novel. So go read it, and then feel free to comment.
Chris on Mar 8, 2009
#22, fairly poor job? It was basically just the summary of each character. Theres no need to get into detail since no one gives a shit. So instead we just gave him an idea of who the characters were.
Nikhil Hariharan on Mar 8, 2009
The movie wasn't much more than average. Worth seeing, but not worth all the discussion. The filmmaking itself was average at best. I've been on the limb with Zack Snyder. Dawn of the Dead was great to me and 300 was really enjoyable, but with this film, I wouldn't say he did a bad job, it was just really mediocre. Looked like a music video director (not bashing music video directors cause McG looks like he's doing a fabulous job with Terminator), but it seems to me like Snyder would rather make something look really really cool, rather than actually engaging the audience in the story. The movie was never bad to me at any point, it just never made me care. I didn't care about the characters or their struggles. I didn't care at the end. I just never cared throughout the film and that bothered me. The production was good, but it never engulfed me. The soundtrack wasn't terrible, nor great. The film just never wrapped me up in the universe it tried to portray. The movie was average. If it hadn't been for Rorshach the movie would have been very passable. I don't blame anyone for it, there was just too much going on to really become invested in any of it. Go see Slumdog Millionaire again instead.
shaun on Mar 8, 2009
I should check it out when it's out down here.
Fisherr on Mar 8, 2009
I guess I took for granted my forknowledge of most comic movies and their own lack or ay real answers to why things happen they way they do. Honestly I decided not to read the comic because I wanted to see something cool and original, looking back that might have been a bit of a mistake, Im gonna go ahead and get the novel and then the bluray so I can appreciate it the way it was intended, you guys gave me enough confidence in that idea.
Richard on Mar 8, 2009
the second time is so much better 1st time i could not be relaxed but the 2nd time is magic people go and see it again
jono on Mar 8, 2009
i read the comic and saw the movie...and yet i was disappointed...idk it might have been me but i just couldn't get into it. the movie was amazing truely one for the books, but i knew what was going to happen. i knew the ending and i was dissappointed about the squid not being in there. I understand that they just used Dr. Manhattan but that just feels like they cut corners. Having the squid in there showed that the human race came together to fight an alien race, not a Godlike figure. not only that but they just put gore in there just for the heck of it..like in the prison, and rorshach just broke the guys fingers and tied them together...in the comic the guy slit the guys throat, not chop off his arms. i just think it would have been more true to the story and less gory that way..but thats just me and my opinion.
j.stag on Mar 8, 2009
First I want to say that I haven't read the book yet but I probably will soon. I went to the theatre last night with high hopes and left completely, 100% satisfied. I love watching movies, especially movies with badass action scenes, blood, gore, cursing, and most importantly, titties!(Dr. Manhattan's weiner was kind of disappointing to see haha). I really f*cking hate when people come on here and piss and moan that it wasn't word for word like the book. This film isn't the book, it's an adaptation of the book. It's a plus that for the most part is stayed true to the source material, but it's not the end of the world. For example, I loved reading the Harry Potter series but there is no way they can have everything that I enjoyed from the books in the films, which sucks but whatever. And for that reason I look at the films as a compliment to books, nothing more than that, just another chance to expierence the story. My point is that even though Watchmen wasn't exactly like the book, the film kept me entertained the entire two and a half hours and was worth my $8.50 and will be worth the 20 some bucks when it's out on dvd.
Faust on Mar 8, 2009
I agree with #10. I did like the movie and it was pretty true to the source. I was not really put off by the end as much as how they played up the violence and really lost some of the heart that made the book so dynamic. The sex and violence seemed real in the book but to me it was not the focus of the story. In the movie theater there were parts that really made me squirm (even more than Sin City or 300). There were a lot of things that the movie did REALLY right though. So I can't say that I did not enjoy it I just think the graphic novel is better.
BlueM on Mar 8, 2009
Oh and BTW *Spoilers* 18, 20, 21: Rorschach's "face" the mask IS moving. When he is talking to the psycologist he tells him about when he worked in a garment factory. A girl orders a dress made from "Dr. Manhattan spin-off fabric. Viscous fluids between two layers of latex, heat and pressure sensitive" The girl never gets the dress because she says it is ugly. He likes it and thinks it is beutiful and takes it home and learns how to cut the fabric. Years later the girl is on the front page of the news paper murdered while people watched. He ends up using the fabric to make his mask. I am pretty sure that this is what #22 was trying to say but did not feel like typing. I just figured I would lay it out there to clear that up. That makes me want to add also that the guy that played Rorschach was dead on but the writing and re-imagining made him much less of a tragic hero. When I read the book, despite his insanity I felt like crying when they pulled his mask off and revealed his identity. He was flawed but he was true and taking his "face" as he said was like parading him down the street naked for ridicule.
BlueM on Mar 8, 2009
I rarely read comic books, but I have read Watchmen and I really did enjoy it. The movie on the other hand relys too much on the audiences good will for the book. It doesn't stand on it's own. The movie was nowhere near brilliant. There are a few good performances(Wilson, Haley and Goode) but there were far more terrible ones; Carla Gugino apparently doesn't know the meaning of subtlety and Malin Akerman was so out of place, so out of touch with her character, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who had his good scenes here and there, but really inconsistent. Richard Nixon's role in the film really ruined it for me, he belonged on a MadTV sketch. The music was terrible. Not the songs themselves but the use they were put to. Very uninspired. I think the problem with the film was that it stuck so close to the novel in look and atmosphere but not in message. One of the problems I have with Zach Synder is that he doesn't have a voice. His films have no interpretation, no adaption, they're panel for panel copies.
adrian on Mar 8, 2009
Yeah Adrian #32 that's a good point. I AM a comic book fan but not an every comic fan and after watching the movie, knowing the story now and seeing the art that's its based on, not sure its my style, not sure I would EVER have picked it up and read it, no matter what TIME or whoever says. It just so happens that my soon to be brother in law is in Huston for firefighter training and I think got the watchman graphic novel i hardback book form so I'm gonna give it a try when hes back to see if I ca get into the comic, not sure I will tho.
Richard on Mar 8, 2009
I cant stand the art for the watchmen or for 300 or for any of the comics snyder has turned to film, but nontheless his movies are truly unique. watchmen was astounding and a true masterpiece, I was blown away by its depth and how far it chose to go. it is morally abrupt and and a huge movement in the way of superhero movies, as Im sure the comic was when it came out aswell but the way this film looks and delivers its melodramatic view of life to the viewers will hopefully change the way that all comicbook films are made from here on out. that and it kept me more than enthrawled for the entire 2 hours and 40 some odd minutes. loved it and will be seeing it many a time over.
s on Mar 8, 2009
honestly i thought the movie was amzing! it was such a good translation from the graphic novel (besides the ending)....although i thought the movie ending was alot better than the book and really tied everything together nicely. overall was very good. would have much rather watched it onmy couch with a blanket and pillow 3 hours was a long time in those chairs. but i loved it.
history repeats on Mar 8, 2009
I think he makes an excellent point, in talking about the 80's feel, and how it threw people off. If this had been made in that time or early 90's, it would have been a more sensible film to me. It probably would have been held as one of the greatest ever. I thought it was okay.
Brian on Mar 9, 2009
i liked the movie but this review is just cowardly hiding in its inoffensiveness
twispious on Mar 9, 2009
I think that, considering the source material, Snyder did an excellent job with the movie. There is only so much you can put into a movie and make it watchable. A four hour long movie would have been brutal, even for a huge fan of the novel. I think the hardest thing with this movie is that if you don't have any familiarity with the novel some things seem very confusing, such as Rorschach's mask and Dr. Manhattan. I enjoyed the movie very much and may go see it again. My biggest complaints were with the music and Ozymandias. I think an original score would have been nice. A lot of the pop music seemed out of place and, at least for me, sort of cheapened the movie and in some places made it a little more lively when it should have been more raw and gritty. Even though I've read the comic and new that Ozymandias was the "bad guy" in the end I felt that the movie let the audience see it coming where as in the novel you had no idea until near the end.
S on Mar 10, 2009
Cause a times... they are a changin... http://www.rowthree.com/2009/03/08/finite-focus-no-more-masks-watchmen/
K on Mar 10, 2009
# 18 -Richard -- well first of all you should read for most of your questions answered, such as the material R's mask is made of, the reason NiteOwl II's alterego being a wuss out of the costume when the story started, etc etc but in case you take your time and want an immediate answer; here are two: > R's mask is a special fabric developed to shift color due to change in heat signature and blood pressure (in this case worn on the face, the fabric shifts color where it touches the edges of the face, mirroring the emotion R is feeling) > and since supercapering was forbidden and supercapers were arrested or lynched or hospitalized the remaining heroes were to attract no special attantion on themselves. hence the wussy appreance of NO II and to add to this, NO II is quite sad that he had to hang his cape in the closet, there for he is constantly revisiting the goodold days via his conversations with NO I. and on and on and on to say a few things regarding the movie. well i liked it. i liked it a lot it was very true to the Grafic Novel. it could have been more true but did it actually needed to this surely delivered the message a few things changed / sacrificed for the good of storytelling and pacing were ok by me this comic is too intensely written and has a comlexly intervined story that not a three hour movie but only an atleast 6 to 8 houred TV serie could tell. so i give it two thumbs up and a 9/10 well done guys cheers PS: #31 has done an excellent job of remembering the exact origin of the fabric 😀 but i am too lazy to erase mine 😀
burak "daequitas" on Mar 19, 2009
the movie sucked. too long. too much boring in between all the good. spent too much time on the characters. waste of time and money. though i did like Rorshach's character. and btw, what was with Dr. Manhattan's blue dick flippin and floppin all over the movie? not sure why they felt a need to show that. the least they could have done was shown Silk Spectre naked a few more times. i mean it's only fair, and she is MUCH nicer to look at.
chad on Mar 23, 2009
I love dick, whether it's blue, pink, or flesh-toned. That big blue dick was about the only part of this movie worth seeing. I wanted it to fly out of the screen and into my eyeball so I couldn’t see anymore of this worthless screen manure. Who even cares how accurately it played to the graphic novel? You know, the one that the rest of the normal world didn’t even know about until they made this shitbag movie. Let’s break it down. The story is about a bunch of wannabe superheroes that have been banned and now they are grappling with their responsibility to the world. Wow! How deep. Who gives a rat’s ass! What exactly was so mind-blowing? You are the same bunch of homos that went crazy for the chiseled soldiers flipping around in slow motion in 300…another over-rated, closet gay film. If you want to see blue dick and half-naked hard-bodies dressed up as soldiers, just rent a porno. Just stop pretending you’re into the deep stories because there aren’t any. Come on out. Remember the inpiring story in MILK, just was missing the blue dick and balls for you guys.
Jimmy Pniss on Mar 24, 2009
I can't wait to see another one like this
jojo on Apr 8, 2009
well like #18 stated. i to found it a wierd movie. i expected more of it also. but as #18 i never read the comics. btw. wy does dr. manhatten needed to be like 70% naked in the movie 🙂 it was wierd watching his huge.... hanging there. it looked like a weapon itself 😀
yowsaman on Nov 17, 2009
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