Ok, so I had not seen the Watchmen movie prior to this for reasons.
1. I was kind of over it.
2. We were broke when it came out.
3. An awful lot of people were panning it.
So, on NYE, instead of the Hammer fest I had planned, I decided to watch Watchmen since it came up on my Amazon Prime Video account.
It wasn’t near as bad as I had been led to believe.
Honestly, it wasn’t bad at all.
It was a weird combination of shot by shot re-creation of the comic, with several changes that actually made a lot of sense.
Trust me, I am not a Snyder fan. Which was another reason I did not go to see it. Because even just the synopses of a lot of his films make my punching muscles itchy.
But he did a really great job with Watchmen. The casting was good. I really liked the actress who played Laurie Jupiter. Jackie Earle Haley is not ugly enough to play Rorschach, but otherwise did a fantastic job. And I was a little iffy on the guy they cast as Ozymandias, because I remembered the character being a little bigger in the comic, but honestly, regardless of whether I’m mis-remembering or not, I like what they did with him being very slender, but his costume gives him the giant shoulders. It fits with his arrogance. And Henry Dean Stanton is always good, but his performance as the Comedian was fantastic.
The fight choreography was pretty amazing. We watched The Hitman’s Bodyguardthe other day, and while the fight choreography in that was pretty good, there were a couple of places you could see where blows did not actually land, even though the “recipient” acted as if they had. I didn’t see that in Watchmen.
It’s well shot. I did have to increase the brightness on my iPad to really SEE anything in most of the scenes. But, it is beautifully shot.
The big beef most fans of the comic have is with the ending.
Since the comic is over 30 years old and the movie’s been out for about a decade, I’m not going to worry about spoilers.
In the comic, it ends with what looks like Cthulhu-esque giant squid monsters teleported suddenly into at least New York, also several other cities if I remember right. This gives the world a common enemy so they don’t blow each other up with nuclear weapons and gives the masks/vigilantes a reason to exist.
The movie ends with Ozymandias framing Dr. Manhattan for the destruction of several cities, giving the world a common enemy, and the question of a reason for the existence of heroes is a bit more up in the air, but it’s mostly the same end result.
The graphic novel ending just would not play in a film meant for a wide release. If this were a small indie flick that would be shown mostly at festivals like the HP Lovecraft Movie Festival in Portland, OR or on the SF/F convention circuit, then, yeah. Go for it.
But it just wouldn’t work for mainstream release.
A. You, and I, and nearly everyone who has ever attended an SF/F or Horror convention knows who HP Lovecraft is, but most people have no freaking idea, so the reference is lost on them.
B. The entire world loses their shit because of giant squid? Honestly, most people are not likely to think “Alien gods from another plane,” and are more likely to think, “Dang, that must have been one hell of a waterspout.”
Also, I just don’t see the CGI being up to the task. I mean, yeah, CGI effects in general have gotten pretty amazing, but… And I just don’t think that having that tangible thing instead of the threat of the “all-knowing” Dr. Manhattan looming over you works. No one would know what squid aliens can do. EVERYONE knows what Dr. Manhattan can do.
Not to mention, for people from my folks’ generation and mine, we grew up under the constant threat of nuclear war. CONSTANT. The movie The Day After scared the living shit out of me when I was 12. So, yeah, I can completely see how with a movie set in the 1980s, the threat of nuclear annihilation via Dr. Manhattan would scare the daylights out of everyone.
So, yeah, I think Snyder did a pretty great job. He captured the pervasive paranoia of the time period, some of the most iconic scenes were recreated incredibly faithfully, and all in all he held to the source text.
I cried when Bubastis died.
This movie has introduced me to a genuinely novel experience: enjoying a Zack Snyder film.
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