Sunday, March 8, 2009
Okay. By now any comic geek worth his salt has seen Zack Snyder's The Watchmen. But for those of you who haven't, I'll toss out the short short spoiler-free version of my review here and put the spoilers after the break.
Short and Sweet:
This is as close to Alan Moore's comic vision as a film is likely to come...ever. Alan Moore has famously been quoted as calling The Watchmen "unfilmable" and, in a respect, I'd have to agree with him. There is a LOT missing from the book here. Many...nay most of the subtle sub-plots have been tossed aside in favor of keeping this epic film under the 3 hour mark. However, Zack Snyder was fairly adept at culling what was the most important elements to the central story and what is here is almost panel-by-panel awesomeness. Yes. As I'm sure you've read elsewhere, things have been changed. Most notably the ending. But it works within the context of the film and the feel of the ending is held in tact. So...will you like it? I would normally say yes but reviews seem split down the middle thus far so it's hard to say. I nearly loved it. I may put it in my top comic films once the DVD comes out with the extended "Black Freighter" cut that is rumored to plug some of the comic's side stories back in. Obviously readers of the graphic novel are going to take more from this film than the non-initiates out there but I went with my lovely wife and she enjoyed it having not yet read the book.
So that's it. I'll post a cool image and then go into a hopefully brief bitch-fest about some more spoilerific gripes that I had with the film. You have been warned.
Here There Be Spoilers:
There's not a lot to spoil since, as stated above, this is nearly a direct translation of the novel. However, a few changed scenes stuck in my craw that I will take a brief moment to complain about. I'm a comic fan and this is my blog. What did you expect?
Change #1: Laurie no longer smokes. Obviously this change was made to make the PC folks happy that one of the less-insane heroes isn't smoking. But this is The Watchmen, folks! How un-PC a film did you expect!? There's rape, murder and brutality all around and Laurie still has latex covered superhero fetish sex with Nite Owl but she can't smoke? It makes her setting off Archie's flame thrower in Dan's basement seem like she's an idiot rather than giving her a legitimate reason to be pushing the huge red button with flames on it while looking for the lighter.
Change #2: Rorschach's infamous flashback scene with the child murderer has been changed. In the comic, Rorschach handcuffs the crook to his stove, tosses him a saw, sets the place on fire and then watches it burn. In the film, Rorschach, in one of the most graphic and gasp-inducing scenes in the film, simply takes a cleaver to the pervert's head. Okay. Since seeing it, I've come to terms that this was probably changed to not have Rorschach look like he was taking a page from the book of The Saw film's Jigsaw. Fine. It's a cool death scene.
Change #3: The ending. (Insert ominous organ music here.) Yes. The squid is gone. This will probably...scratch that...This will be the most talked about change that Snyder made in this translation. But, to his credit, I don't think the squid would have worked. I mean it could have been done but what we have in its place works much better in the context of what is actually displayed on screen. The new ending blames the destruction of New York on Dr. Manhattan. Trust me. It actually works.
END OF SPOILERS
The Watchmen is good. I give it 4 out of 5. That's it. I've had my say on The Watchmen movie for now. I may post a review of the extended DVD once it's available. Until then, I recommend those people I mentioned at the start of my review to get out there and read the book.