Joined: 05-30-2008 14:48:59
The fan boards have gone nuclear about the new Watchmen movie. This is the Big One. This is the movie that separates the nerds from the herds. Well so far, the nerds seem to love it while the herds are withholding judgment. It kept me mesmerized for two and a half hours. It’s been fifteen years since I read the book but the movie did a much better job of telling the story. They had to jettison a lot of lovable bits, but you can’t release a four hour superhero epic.
Snyder achieves a sinister tone throughout, making something new: superhero noir. The opening frames, staged in three dimensions (we are there when the iconic pics are taken) sets the stage. The tripod over the corpse in a seedy hotel room is pure Luc Sante. The one film that came to mind while watching Watchmen was L.A. Confidential. Both stories deal with the corruption of authority and the cynicism that rules daily life.
The story opens in 1985 with the brutal murder of the Comedian. Jeff Morgan fills the Comedian’s shoes with ease. The look alone is superhero sleaze. Although he appears in flashbacks throughout the film I was sorry to see him go. I only wish he’d got off some zingers. ‘Cause the Comedian wasn’t very funny.
Jackie Earle Hayley is outstanding as Rorschach and probably deserves a best supporting actor nod. That ain’t gonna happen. Driven, furious, focused, Rorschach makes your hair stand on end. The others are equally impressive. Heard some grumbling that Patrick Wilson’s Nite Owl looked like an accountant, but that was the point I think. It’s refreshing to see someone with a normal physique deliver bone-crushing blows to a gang of psychos for a change.
Malin Akerman is a convincing Silk Spectre II and looks like Silk Spectre’s (Carla Gugino) daughter. Matthew Goode is especially good as Ozymandias, and his final fight with Rorschach and Nite Owl is a blur of beautifully executed martial arts. No fight choreographer is credited, by the way.
Naphic grovel purists may complain that the filmmakers changed the ending, but the ending they feature achieves the same result. Seeing this morality play on the screen made me realize how insane is Ozymandias’ scheme. Not worth it. I liked the giant squid better. But I liked this movie a lot.