Property review: Watchmen (film)


Warner Bros., 2009

Who watched the Watchmen? Sadly, not many

When you have a successful and highly regarded graphic novel as a basis for a movie, there shouldn’t be problems with the resulting product. And yet, Watchmen didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Maybe the movie-going public is or was tired of superhero flicks at the time, but “Watchmen” should have done better at the box office because it’s a fantastically made film.

The color choice and set pieces are amazing, and the atmosphere of slowed violence in motion will make your jaw drop. It’s visually striking in just about every take and coupled with smart, tight writing, the movie moves along at a decent clip. It is slightly too long but at least the story told within will more than keep your interest. This is a film that needed to be experienced on the big screen, and thankfully, that’s how we learned about it.

The tale of an alternate timeline of costumed superheroes, the continued Cold War and Richard Nixon managing the White House through the ’80s is a fantastic one, and we couldn’t help go in curious as to how it would all work. Having never read the original Watchmen graphic novel, we reserved judgment until after reading it and seeing the movie. It’s easily become one of our favorite comics since and with good reason: It’s smart, it’s gorgeous and it’s believable. The movie continues in the same vein and had most of the tools to succeed such as recognizable names attached to the project and established story.

The acting and casting isn’t necessarily the draw here but it’s serviceable. Everyone gives the same vibe off: They know their character and how that person or being fits into the larger scheme of storytelling. In particular, we salute the acting chops of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who played The Comedian, for his ability to steal the scene in all of his appearances. He is one of the true draws here, and he gives you your money’s worth and then some.

There’s several minute changes overall that mostly the diehard fans will immediately notice, but to the standard moviegoer, it’s nothing that will make you stop watching. If you know nothing about the graphic novel, the movie will, if anything, create some curiosity for the original. Much like it’s earlier-reviewed brethren “300,” “Watchmen” lifts nearly every scene directly from its source material.

Some people have an issue with that, as it doesn’t exactly inspire creativity on the part of the director, but we disagree. This is one of the few instances where we’d rather have the graphic novel told directly with little to no changes than the translation screwed up (see: most video game movies).

If you’re looking for something a little different than the Dark Knight or mutants solving world crises, we suggest looking at the tale of non super-powered heroes who are just fighting for the right to exist. This one’s a gem.

How we grade

We score the properties in three categories: Casting (or voice acting in cases of animated), plot and similarities to its source material. Each category receives points out of the maximum of 10 per category and 30 overall. The percentage is the final score.

Casting: 8/10

Plot: 9.5/10

Like the comics?: 9.5/10

Overall rating: 27/30 or 9.0


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