Monday, March 9, 2009
 Rassilon's Watchmen review 
**** 4 out of 5
Can the Watchmen as a graphic novel and work of literature be translated into a film, yes! Is it the same piece of art/literature/media as the graphic novel? No, they are different mediums and each has different tools they use to bring us a story. What pieces of work do fully survive a change in medium?
Should it have been done? For some, maybe not? As a fan and consumer of cinema... sure... bring it on and give me more... from average pieces of work to masterpieces there is always a risk of becoming another dud in a sea of lameness, but is this different than any other medium? In the case of Watchmen this didn't happen, Zack Snyder did a commendable job bringing the graphic novel to life.
The acting ranged from decent to the superb work of Jackie Earle Haley in the role of Rorschach.
I enjoyed the film's score which had a cleverly restrained modern take on 80's style electronic film scores, i.e. Jean Michel Jarre. An excellent soundtrack was applied with the humorous use of Tears for Fears "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" as elevator music in Adrian Veidt's corporate headquarters and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" during the sex scene in Nite Owl's ship "Archie" to Jimi Hendrix's version of "All along the Watchtower" and Nena's "99 Luft Balloons". The comic book style of the graphic novel was well translated to moving visuals as Snyder did with "300". The cinematography lent itself to the melancholy world of the alternate 1980's presented in the graphic novel and generally, the script adaptation was very good. This was a well pieced together work of film.
However, I did some have some concerns...
I didn't mind the removal of the squid, I think it might have been too "corny" for the general film audience. However, I am not sure I am happy with the squid's replacement, Dr. Manhattan was not a plausible enough threat to bring a lasting peace to the world. The fear of a potential alien invasion… I think that would have lingered much longer. Dr. Manhattan's "event" lacked the carnage and visceral fear the squid left behind.
The threat of nuclear war didn't seem to create the dread it did in the book.
Although I think this had more to do with the limits of adapting the graphic novel into a film… it just didn't have the room to fit every aspect of the atmosphere created by the book.
And... not so much a concern but a comment. While I did not mind the Black Freighter being left out of the story, I feel it would have either cut a lot of meat from the commercial theatrical release of the film or made it impossibly long. A "Directors Cut" with the Black Freighter is eagerly awaited. Perhaps it will bring another star to this rating?
In the meantime...
**** 4 out of 5.