21 May 2009

Custodio ipsos custodes

//My film review of Watchmen has been sitting in an unfinished state for a good long time, pushing 2 months; time to wrap it up.//

One of my first acts on arriving home for the Easter break was, naturally, to go see the Watchmen film. This post won't be a linkage affair, as the overload of wiki was covered in this previous post. So, like with 007 Quantum of Solace, here comes "Dobblesworth does Movie Reviews: Watchmen."

The cinema in Newcastle was rather empty when we went; but this being a Monday evening a week after general release, I suppose there wasn’t much of a market for that showing. Loading up on my traditional choice of a large Coke and tub of Maltesers, we settled down for 3hrs of “yet another Marvel/DC Comics movie adaptation”. Sadly we were in a rush leaving for the cinema, but I would have liked to have brought my copy of the graphic novel with me, to read along and compare dialogue, camera shots & plot; I had read that Snyder had essentially used the book as his film’s storyboard and draft script, which critics have either warmly praised or coldly derided.

On the whole I thought the adaptation was done well. Overall Snyder did follow the source material in a faithful manner, and he certainly pulled out a great film as a result of it. It certainly deserved that 18 rating; cinematic violence probably equals or surpasses 300, and that’s saying something. 300 could counter that with a more joyous heroic plot, whereas this is just down-and-dirty vigilante heroes of the 80’s. I suppose seeing Dr. Manhattan’s blue wang a good deal of the time has its effect, but in the majority of shots it’s neither frontal nor showing his lower anatomy in any case.

Rambling thoughts...

- Exclusion of “Tales of the Black Freighter” didn’t bother me; the film was a good enough standalone item.

- There was a slight divergence from the source material to give a plot twist at the end. The “psychic apocalypse squid” was a crazy addition to the initial graphic novel and an actual bomb device is a bit more fitting for the post-9/11 modern age. Gives a more apt reason for Doc Manhattan to bugger off rather than simply being a tad bored and disenfranchised with Earth.

- Wonderful opening cinematic. Nice combo of “Now these times, they are a-changing” with the flashbacks of ‘how the times change progressively from when masked vigilantes take up arms until they are eventually killed off or forced underground’. Good addition of character development for the various previous ‘Minutemen’ members. Can’t remember them directly, but I remember The Lesbian, The Insane Dude who got shipped to an asylum, and The Caped One who was legitimately pwned after getting it stuck in a revolving door.

- Noticed an omission of Alan Moore from opening credits. Mentioned “original source graphic novel by Dave Gibbons”, but no Moore, as to be expected I suppose.

- Prison corridor fight scene was particularly [EPIC]. One of the particular points where the Snyder influence was glaring, with the parallel camera motion, exaggeration of combatant blood loss, and the clever slow motion fluctuation. Seeing some goon’s femur break in 26 places is four times more satisfying when it’s half as fast.

I’m not enough of a critical reviewer to give a more expanded judgement, but on the whole I was impressed. A concluding point I’d like to make: I don’t know whether I should embrace or cower from the fact I was semi- lip synching the film script that had been copypasta’d from the book...

... Embrace it I reckon!

1 comment:

Diamond said...

My only real complaint with this film, having just seen it - is that I suspect I would have enjoyed it a bit more had I read the original material. The film was not altogether forthcoming about who exactly these guys are, why some of them seem to have superpowers, and others seem to be dudes in suits kicking ass.

The conclusion I had to come to was that everyone except Dr Manhattan, and 'The most intelligent man in the world' was human and just well trained and exercised.