WATCHMEN - Movie Discussion and Grading (SPOILERS)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Dream, Feb 28, 2009.


Grade the movie

  1. A+

  2. A

  3. A-

  4. B+

  5. B

  6. B-

  7. C+

  8. C

  9. C-

  10. D+

  11. D

  12. D-

  13. F

  1. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 3, 2006
    I'm hovering around a B or a B+. I enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun to see this story brought to the big screen.

    -The opening. The opening of this film kicked ass. The death of the Comedian was awesome and they did a great job constructing a fight scene that was both brutal and completely one-sided. This was followed by an even better credit sequence which showed the history of the heroes through the decades. That sequence was worth seeing the movie alone.

    -The performances. I thought the standout here was Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian. He was the character. He made a character who was completely vile and evil still come across as awesome. He even managed to pull off the crying scene. It's a shame he wasn't in more of the movie.

    -Haley also perfectly embodied his character and brought it to life. His scenes without his mask work just as well as when he's actually wearing it. Patrick Wilson was also very good as Night Owl. He definitely gives the character more of the human feeling and pulls off that whole impotent, bored persona well. I didn't expect Manhatten's voice to be so wimpy too but Billy Crudup and the character were fine. Definitely pulled off that whole distracted thing well. I didn't think the actor who played Veidt was as bad as some people though. I think he needed more of a physical presence but he pulled off the whole meglomaniac thing well.

    -The weakest performance was Malin Akerman as Laurie. Her acting was not that good and she didn't pull off the dramatic scenes so well. In all fairness, they gutted a lot of the Silk Spectre's storyline. Laurie's character was defined by her mommy issues (basically being forced to follow in her mother's footsteps) and her hatred of The Comedian defined her character. Snyder virtually eliminated these crucial elements of Laurie's story and as a result, the payoff (learning The Comedian is her father and forgiving her mother) has very little impact. It also results in losing a great scene from the comics, where Laurie confronts Blake in Washington in 1974. Laurie's character is just not that interesting in the movie.

    -I'd give the film three out of four stars. The comic book is better and some things didn't always translate well. The movie moved as a leisurely pace, something that works a lot better for a comic series. I think that's what's keeping me from giving it a higher grade.
  2. ElScoob

    ElScoob Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 28, 2001
    30th Century Metropolis
    On balance, I was pretty pleased with the film. It wasn't perfect, but it was a lot better adaptation of the book than I'd hoped to see (even after seeing some stuff in the trailers and such that amazed me with its visual faithfulness).

    Haley all but stole the show. He was absolutely note-perfect. I don't know if I've ever seen a character so perfectly brought to life out of the comics. Tremendous job, especially considering how much of the time he had to work through a mask.

    The rest of the cast varied from excellent to tolerable. Matthew Goode and Malin Akerman do come across as weak links, but I question how much of that was a matter of their acting and how much of it was a matter of the writing and direction. DarthPipes pointed out that a lot of Laurie's story and character from the comics got gutted, and I have to concur. Akerman didn't have a lot to work with, really, and she didn't particularly bother me with what she did get to do.

    In the case of Goode as Ozymandias, well... the way the character was handled in the structure of the film as a whole was very unsubtle. Goode may as well have had an "I'm the bad guy" sign hung around his neck from the word go. I can only assume that, as part of his overall vision of the film, that Snyder directed Goode to act the way he did--that what we saw was the performance Snyder wanted from him. I don't know if Goode could have done better with a character that wasn't being so obviously cast as the villain of the piece... but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    (His weird accent was a bit distracting to me, though.)

    Similarly, I thought the Comedian was played a bit too sympathetic. I could have done with him being a little bit more ambiguous.

    On the whole, the film lacked the subtlety and elegance of Moore and Gibbons' version. It wasn't disappointing, but it does fall a little short of the admittedly high bar the comic set. I do honestly think this is the most faithful filmic rendition of the comic we could possibly hope for, though.

    What I'm really waiting for is the big super-extended DVD cut. I'm very curious to see what got cut out of the theatrical release, and to see if the extended version maybe does the comic even a little more justice (especially in terms of Hollis Mason's story, the prison shrink, and the newsvendor and the boy).

  3. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 7, 2003
    At my IMAX showing we got only one trailer and it was Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

    I seriously do not see how people are giving this less than a C. :wtf:
  4. Michael Chris

    Michael Chris Admiral Admiral

    May 11, 2001
    The 'Querq, NM
    I gave it an A+. Amazing film, even if it made me want to throw up a little afterwords.
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Commodore Commodore

    Sep 2, 2008
    I give it a C or C +

    I think the movie exposes that the actual story was never Watchmen's strength. It was a style that was a first for that time . A very finely crafted subtly. Which this movie has none. It actually feels very much like most of the other comic book movies of today.
  6. Psion

    Psion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Oct 19, 2001
    Lat: 40.1630936 Lon: -75.1183777
    I gave it an A- even though the film gave me a raging migraine.

    But that was an issue with the sound in my showing, I think.

    Overall, it delivered a faithful reproduction of what I remember from the story, recreating some scenes from the comic well enough to evoke a goosebumpy case of deja vu. I'd say the worst flaw in the adaptation is the lack of development of Laurie. That and the excessive, grim cynicism -- but that was characteristic of the original. Technically, I found the makeup disappointing; it drew attention to itself. Maybe scenes were reshot too many times and the old age prosthetics worked themselves loose or something, but Sally Jupiter's neck folded wrong every time she turned her head. Next time, use gelatin or fix it digitally in post-production, people!

    I liked the film's climax better than the original. I think the new threat that unites the planet made sense and tightened the story up quite a bit.

    And then there's Rorschach. Haley's take on the character was dead-on. Cold, cynical, but dedicated -- like Batman pushed too far. Not a single scene, not a single line came out flat, and every time he was on screen, my eyes followed him.

    Personally, one of the other themes in this movie was Nostalgia. Not only did the characters onscreen indulge in it quite a bit, but I found the resurrection of faces, personalities, conflicts, and even commercials I hadn't seen in twenty-four years set me to thinking about my own past. Maybe that's why I was so harsh on the makeup: don't show me a man in costume pretending to be Nixon ... show me NIXON.

    I wish I hadn't read the original so I could measure my surprise at the resolution of the mystery, but this one's definitely getting added to the movie collection.
  7. LutherSloan

    LutherSloan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 18, 2008
    Doing the Federation's dirty work

    This was pretty much what I had been hoping for when the idea of bringing 'Watchmen' to the screen came around.

    The movie absolutely FELT like I was watching the novel come to life. Especially scenes of NYC at night, earlier in the film. It was spot-on the original material, with some slight modifications.

    + Haley's performance was AMAZING. He brought the character to life perfectly. I haven't seen such perfect casting in any film I can recall.
    + Much the same way with Haley, J.D. Morgan was perfect as The Comedian. He had it down to a science. Unfortunately about 1/3 of the way through the film, he's basically done. That's alright, since I expected as much because of the story.
    + Patrick Wilson IMPROVED on Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II. As others have mentioned, the character had a lot more life on screen than in the novel. He felt like an actual person this time.
    + Despite all of the claims that the ending was going to suck because they would drastically change it from the source, this was not the case. Besides changing the source of Veidt's plan, everything else was the same (although I'm pretty sure Veidt dies in the novel, but not here).
    + The costumes were great, although Veidt looked too much like Robin from Batman & Robin. Nite Owl II's costume is better this time.
    + The visuals were incredible

    - Hollis Mason has basically no role at all in this, and he doesn't even get his death scene from the novel
    - Mason looked too young to me in the present scenes. The same goes for Sally Jupiter. I didn't like her age-makeup either.
    - The actor playing Richard Nixon's prosthetic nose was REALLY DISTRACTING. You could tell it was really fake. I was also surprised to see so much of Nixon here, when in the novel he had about 2 appearances on two pages total.
    -All of Veidt's background was cut out, except for a brief mention of his childhood. This really hurt the character a lot in my view, and he comes off a lot more like a villain this time than in the novel, where he is somewhat more sympathetic.
    -Silk Spectre II needed more background.
    -Matthew Goode (Adrian Veidt) needed to either bulk up a LOT more for this part, or should have been replaced with an actor who could. He looked TINY compared to the rest of the cast, when he's supposed to be the biggest one.
  8. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 3, 2006
    You're absolutely right about this. The movie contains none of the books subtlety in regards to Adrian Veidt's character. It's pretty obvious early on that he's behind all of this and that was another flaw in the film. Same thing with Blake being Laurie's father and how that was practically given away in the beginning. But they gutted that storyline so much that it had no dramatic impact.

    Another thing I didn't care for was that I liked the end conversation between Manhatten and Veidt in the book and they completely altered and changed that around. That was a good scene that didn't need to be changed but Hollywood needed Manhatten to speak to his bitch before leaving.

    Hollis's death was one of the last things deleted from the film. The scene is in the Japanese trailer and will be included in the extended edition DVD. Liked the peformance of the actor who played him. Hollis is easily the most normal and likeable of the various heroes.
  9. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Commodore Commodore

    Sep 2, 2008
    Audience reactions -

    I went to a 7:45pm showing. Teens and 20-somethings. Mostly silence through the whole thing. With an occasional laugh, usually at a Rorschach's lines. But there were quite a few unintentional laughs. At awkward dialogue and at all the sex scenes.

    At the end it was just numb silence. I heard a couple different guys in the lobby say to friends variations on "Sorry, I didn't know it would be that long."
  10. LutherSloan

    LutherSloan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 18, 2008
    Doing the Federation's dirty work
    Leaving my theater I heard several comments along the lines of 'I never read the comic, but I enjoyed it'. I was glad to hear that.
  11. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 3, 2006
    Count me as somewhat disappointed with the Mars scene. It wasn't bad, don't get me wrong but the conversation was too short and I would have liked to have seen more of Mars. That sequence is great eye candy in the book.
  12. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 6, 2001
    Sac, Ca
    While I don't revere the graphic novel like most people here, I have always greatly admired it. And I have to say... it just didn't feel to me like the movie captured the spirit of the book that well at ALL.

    Yeah there were some sequences that worked really well -- and I don't deny there were some truly BADASS action scenes in there, or that the characters didn't look cool and sexy as hell doing their thing. But then, that's kinda the problem.

    In the book, these characters were just a bunch of flawed, screwed up human beings in silly costumes, who felt truly powerless in the face of the coming nuclear armageddon. Yeah you still rooted for them, and wanted to see them kick some ass and save the day once again, but you knew they probably didn't have a chance.

    The movie however glorifies these characters to such a degree, and makes them look so damn cool and superheroic in every single shot, that it basically felt like I was watching just another superhero movie. Instead of the nuclear threat overshadowing everything else like in the book, it almost feels like an afterthought here-- as if it were nothing more than a plot device to let us watch these characters run around and look really cool in their sexy costumes (of course the campy and ridiculous Nixon scenes didn't make that threat any easier to take seriously).

    And then there was stuff that was just plain ODD, like the brutal violence and gushing blood that Snyder inserted everywhere. What the hell was that about? Or how he gave us a sexy closeup of Sally's cleavage... during an attempted rape scene. Huh?? :wtf:

    Snyder definitely did a lot of cool stuff here, and I suppose on it's own terms it works fairly well, but it doesn't feel like the Watchmen book I read at all. Ultimately it's just too much of a damned superhero movie for that.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  13. Jim Steele

    Jim Steele Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 2, 2004

    Very much enjoyed it for the most part.

    First 30 mins: :rolleyes:

    Middle: :D :techman:

    Last 20 minutes: :wtf::scream::vulcan:

    Waking up the next morning, on reflection: :)

    Visually, it's a masterpiece. Zack Snyder really has way too big a hard on for sloooooow motion though. The best thing about it? They utterly NAILED Rorshach. Fell in love with that character all over again.

    No wait, the best thing about it was Dr. M's swaying blue cock. Brilliant.

    I have to agree with this. I'd say he was probably the most miscast character too.
  14. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 3, 2006
    -Thought the actor who played Night Owl/Dan Drieberg looked a lot like Richard Dreyfuss from back in the day.

    -I said this before but I really did love the Veidt/Comedian "fight" in the beginning. They did an awful job hiding Veidt but it was just fucking brutal. That was a good expansion of the action from the book.
  15. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

    Jun 20, 2001
    Yeah, something was missing, but I didn't know how to say that because I did like the movie version of Veidt anyway.
  16. Bad Bishop

    Bad Bishop Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 23, 2001
    The Land of Fruits and Nuts
    So you've seen Watchmen...

    ... or maybe you really haven't seen Watchmen? :confused:
  17. Caligula

    Caligula Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 26, 2001
    Knoxville, TN USA
    Whoa! I hadn't even noticed that. :wtf: Good eye!
  18. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Mar 8, 2001
    Eliminating the fucking squid turned out to be a smart thing to do - the change elevated and focused the thematic aspects of the ending. The literal squid functioned mainly as a distracting - and disappointing - parody of superhero comic story telling, which was fine in a comic book but useless in a film of this kind.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  19. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Oct 30, 1999
    Anthony Lane, the film critic of The New Yorker, did an outstanding job of describing my feelings regarding Watchmen (and Moore's stuff in general).

    To summarize, superhero stories are always going to fundamentally be adolescent power fantasies. The best way to handle this is represented by the Iron Man movie - just admit it, don't dwell on it, move on and tell a story. You might have a worthwhile thought or two on the way, and you'll definitely have fun.

    Or you could end up with this:

  20. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

    Mar 4, 2004
    Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
    Well, both Lane and you have missed the point of Watchmen completely (and the broader implication, that comics can't be a vehicle for dealing with complex and series stories, is nonsense).

    Also, a big roll of the eyes to Lane for gratuitous condescension and stereotyping of the audience.