Hero Inc.

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The unfilmable graphic novel is finally filmed.

Watchmen was written by Alan Moore (V For Vendetta) and he hates you for going to see this movie.  Really, he does.  He’s a purist and believes that his creation should never be reproduced in a different medium other than it’s original.  The Watchmen was a story based on a set of characters DC had bought and had no real avenue to use them until Moore decided to use them for his ultimate tale.  According to the wiki, the Watchmen is “set in an alternate reality which closely mirrors the contemporary world of the 1980s. The primary point of divergence is the presence of superheroes. Their existence in this iteration of America is shown to have dramatically affected and altered the outcomes of real-world events such as the Vietnam War and the presidency of Richard Nixon. In keeping with the realism of the series, although the costumed crime fighters of Watchmen are commonly called “superheroes”, the only character who possesses obvious superhuman powers is Doctor Manhattan. The existence of Doctor Manhattan has given the U.S. a strategic advantage over the Soviet Union, which has increased tensions between the two nations. Additionally, superheroes have become unpopular among the public, which has led to the passage of legislation in 1977 to outlaw them. While many of the heroes retired, Doctor Manhattan and the Comedian operate as government-sanctioned agents, and Rorschach continues to operate outside the law.”

I was quite worried that this story truly was unfilmable, but it seems that Zack Snyder (300) did the best that he could and the story came together quite well.  Better than expected in some cases.  Both the Comedian and Rorschach were brilliantly cast and I could not ask for better characters.  It almost feels that they were truly lifted off the pages of the graphic novel.

Now the downfall of making this movie great occur in 2 areas for me.  The first is a combination of gratuitous violence and sex.  I don’t normally mind both of these items in a film as long as they are truly used to move a story forward.  On both accounts, I felt that neither helped the film.  It was just over the top and I didn’t need it.  The second area was the music.  A real soundtrack (actual songs) were used and at time it made the film feel campy and underrated the “seriousness” of certain scenes.  Simon & Garfunkel during the funeral as well as Cole’s Unforgettable worked well, but many of the songs later used (during Vietnam scene, horrible “Hallelujah” cover, and final few songs) made me lose interest in actually listening to what was going on.

Overall, as you can already tell, the movie was good, but not great.  This is another film that proves the book was better than the movie.  However, the changed ending from the film, does work better in some ways than the one in the graphic novel.

[Rating: 3/5]

Posted under Heroes, Movies


David Bethea Says:
March 9th, 2009 at 7:17 am

Well done Benjamin. And yes, I could have done without the exploding bodies, the butcher's knife to the head, the bones bursting through skin, and seeing a man's arms sawed off. Ughh…

Mike Faria Says:
March 9th, 2009 at 8:31 am

I have to agree completely with this review – well, except for the soundtrack. I thought the soundtrack was great, especially the title sequence with Bob Dylan. And that version of Hallelujah was the original by Leonard Cohen, not a cover. But yeah, the violence is what bothered me the most and the storyline was way too jumpy. I saw the movie with a guy who's never read the comic and he said it was all over the place. A sprawling story like that works best over a miniseries or a comic (of course.)

will bramlett Says:
March 9th, 2009 at 6:35 pm

I sat down and read this all the way through in one night about a week ago.

I was plodding through Y: The Last Man on Earth, which I hear may become a movie as well … Until Brittany finally convinced me to start reading Harry Potter (I'm hooked).

What I'm trying to say is that I had already planned to rent this but after hearing about this "gratuitous violence", being already squeamish and loving all things in the name of Ghandi, I'll probably skip this.

(Should I make the obligatory K. Reeves / Dr. Manhattan joke now?)

Benjamin Trice Says:
March 10th, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Yeah, Will you should stay away. Harry Potter becomes worse throughout the series. I can explain better in person. You'll eventually just want to finish books to finish the series.

Sorry for screwing up that musical moment Faria, but there were many other songs that killed the soundtrack for me.

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