Dan Watches the Watchmen – a Review

45452108Having just come from seeing the film, I thought I’d share my thoughts – I will try my best to avoid spoilers, but if some do sneak in, my apologies.

To begin with – when the ads list this as an R-Rated film with extreme violence, believe it folks – in contrast with the original graphic novel, where the violence was kind of subdued and almost real-life, the film’s violence is over-the-top and bloody, especially with the sound effects – you can literally hear the bones cracking here.

The actors range from the great (Jackie Earl Haley is perfectly cast as Rorschach) to disappointing (Matthew Goode as Ozymandias really didn’t work for me).

As for the film itself – basically it’s a Reader’s Digest Watchmen (abridged) – the main bones of the storyline are there, as is most of the dialogue, but a lot of the subtextual plot is missing, and the backstories are diluted – and in at least three cases it does cause the storyline to suffer, the main one being that the origins of Rorschach’s ‘face’ aren’t explained, nor do you get any sense of his motivation for putting the mask on. However, I’m guessing that may be put into the DVD when it comes out.

Overall, however, a very good adaptation – and highly recommended.

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3 Comments

Filed under Books into Movies, Film, superheroes

3 responses to “Dan Watches the Watchmen – a Review

  1. Doug

    I’m not really surprised by the loss of subplots. Moore packed them into the book and realisticly, unless you’re willing to make a Lord of the Rings length epic there’s just no way to get them all in there. That said, it also means a loss to the overall story as these subplots were, in my opinion, essential knowledge. I’m glad you recommend the movie. I haven’t seen it yet myself and I’m anxious to see how they transated it to the screen. Besides, something had to make up for the video abortion that was The league of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I’m hoping that this erases the memory.

  2. dan

    It is a pretty good translation – as you say, unless you’re going for ‘Lord of the Rings’ lengthwise, you’re going to have to trim, as it is, even as it is, it clocks in at 2 1/2 hours plus. I’ll agree, the loss of the subplots does weaken the story – especially the ones regarding the street-level characters such as the news-stand owner and Rorschach’s shrink – they helped give a more immediate, human element to the final tragedy. BTW, even though it is changed a bit from the comic – the Squid is there, you have to look for it… I’ll also note that the film seems to suffer from the Holywood ‘More is Better’ mentality…

  3. dan

    BTW, I will say that you’re right about essential knowledge – this is definitely a case where reading the book before seeing the movie helps…

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