Sunday, March 8, 2009

I saw Watchmen and have an opinion

So the day has finally arrived. The unfilmable comic book has made it's big screen debut. Judging by the early numbers and media hype, most of you have already seen it so to say "Spoilers Ahoy!" would be moot.

I am a huge fan of the Watchmen comic/trade/graphic novel. When it came out in the early 80's I was very naive and did not read it until some ten years later. This work, arguably, changed comics since. From the way they are written to the way we read and interpret them, it has never been the same since.

Now, was Watchmen the movie the same genre changing experience? Sadly, no. That doesn't make it a BAD movie, just a flawed, almost imperfect movie.

As mentioned above, I love the Watchmen in it's original format. It was even the book that I used to trick my wife into reading comics. So the original source material holds a very near and dear place in my heart. I knew there would be changes going in and tryed my hardest to avoid them leading up to seeing the film. The changes made in the movie, while necessary, were almost maddening at time.

Not to detail them all here, which I could as that's the type of nerd I am, just some of the main ones:

  • the cut of the newsstand characters is very understandable, as well as the "Tales of the Black Freighter." This is movie that must appeal to not only me and my ilk, but our friends/relatives/co-workers who only know Spider-Man, Superman and Batman. Which leads me to...
  • The action scenes were almost over violent for the sake of violent. I love seeing a gory slasher film or the latest Tony Jaa chop socky flick. I just don't want them in my Watchmen
  • The moving of dialog from one character to another or addition/removal of a character to a scene. With the essential "new" ending, I think it would have made sense to keep Dr. Manhattan in the scene where the riot is quelled before the Keane Act flashback. Or why was it changed to Dan telling Ozymandias about the Mask Killer instead of Rorschach? Or the added scene of Dan attacking Ozymandias after Rorschach leaves us at the end? They were trying to re-create the comic on the screen, so why such subtle changes?
  • Hollis Mason and his eventual fate. What, in the movie he didn't have one? Then why bother introducing him?
  • Nite Owl - leave your goggles on or off. Stop messing with them!
  • The flash of light as Nite Owl and Rorschach approach Ozymandias hideout. Did we need that beat over head of what was up?
  • I don't see why aliens would not have accomplished the same effect as using Dr. Manhattan as the scapegoat. It worked for the movie and could have worked in the comic as well, but still, I guess that was more of a pacing issue.

The above issues would have you believe I did not like this movie. Quite contrary, I did, it's just not the same feel as the original story. It was made to be every other superhero story, which it's not. Watchmen is better than that. So, for me reading habits, I'll take Watchmen over pretty much any Iron Man story, but if I'm going to watch a comic book movie, Iron Man wins.

And lastly, regarding the "Big Blue Wang." If YOU had the powers Dr. Manhattan had, wouldn't you add a little length? He was no bodybuilder before the accident and he was just shredded after! He’s still a man after all.

Definitely check it out and see for yourself.

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