another misAdventure

"We are all of us living in the shadow of Manhattan."

Friday, March 06, 2009

Quick, spoiler-free, Watchmen review

I saw Watchmen tonight.

It looks great. And it is a reasonably faithful rendering of the graphic novel. Probably as good or better than anyone could have expected.

But, it still has to deal with the limits of a motion picture, and of a reasonable length for a film. So, it sacrifices a lot of the depth. Everyone should read the graphic novel either before or after seeing the movie. Probably better before, or maybe both!

The acting ... was not great. It was pretty stiff at points. Malin Ackerman looks perfectly like Laurie Juspeczyk, and is often pretty adequate acting, but has off moments. Jackie Earle Haley does a very good job as Rorschach. I always like Matt Frewer (Moloch) and Danny Woodburn (Big Figure). Others aren't quite so good, seemingly reciting more than acting a lot of the time.

The production values were terrific at times (Rorschach's mask in particular, and Archie, and Blake' apartment), and cheesy in a few others. In particular, some set pieces (doors in particular) don't seem very substantial, like they are the foam pieces that they probably are rather than anything with weight. Bubastis wasn't a convincing as he could have been. And the Nixon nose prothesis was a bad joke, but may very well have been intended that way.

They did keep the meat of the story, though, and it more than carries the movie. I think it's well worth a watch for anyone, but again, read the graphic novel sometime in there as well.

I look forward to the planned extended version on DVD as it sounds like it will restore a lot of the bits that are sorely missed (in particular, the newstand scenes), and fold in "Under the Hood" and particularly "Tales of the Black Freighter".

2 Comments:

  • We agree on some of its strong points, but not so much on the weaknesses... it wasn't perfect, but on the whole I think I enjoyed it more than you did. I've got a detailed review up at my own blog...

    By Anonymous Chris Miller, at 3/07/2009 3:53 AM  

  • I saw it tonight, and was very pleased by it. I found that I enjoyed the movie ending much, much more than the graphic novel's. What was cut was done understandably so, but it'll be great to see those in the DVD (especially the newsstand scenes). I didn't think the acting and set pieces were that bad. Not Oscar-winning, but serviceable.

    I think they were as faithful as they could've reasonably been with a film adaptation. I would've liked to have seen the on-screen origin of Rorscach's mask and Bubastis, though. Some of the people I went with that hadn't read the comic had questions.

    I do think they went a bit over -the-top on some of the fight and sex scenes (notable the alley fight with Laurie and Dan vs. the gangsters - that was unnecessarily much more violent in the movie), but my quibbles are small.

    The film's a good companion piece to the graphic novel, and turned out better than I expected.

    By Blogger Cody, at 3/07/2009 7:58 PM  

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