Movie mini review: Watchmen

Earlier today I finished reading the last issue of Watchmen. This is the second round I do so, and it makes so much more sense now. Not that it didn’t the first time, it’s just that it is filled with such nuances and hidden clues that you could probably read it five times and still get new aha!-experiences.

This evening I watched the movie. I’ll try to keep the review spoiler-free and mainly focus of what isn’t in the movie instead of what is.

What I disliked:

  • I found that Carla Gugino was completely wrong casted as Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre (I), at least when older. She didn’t look like a 67-year old, but just like a 35-year old with bad makeup. And I missed the hair.
  • Matthew Goode was also bad as Adrian Veidt for two reasons. First, he is way to young. In the comics, Adrian appears to be in his late fourties. Matthew Good is born in 1978 and has yet to turn 31. Second, he is too thin and wimpy, not at all the build or features of his drawn counterpart. The gay flirting for the character was a bit too much as well.
  • The ending. Even though similar results was achieved the way it was done, it was not to my liking. I miss the squid! I disliked Dan’s behavior after that, which is the complete opposite of that in the original.
  • The added dialogue of Dr. Manhattan. There is so much he says that is simply fantastic in the comics. They don’t keep it in the movie, but instead add other things that to me seemed out of place.

I can understand why they had to shorten the story. The original graphic novel is 12 numbers filled with graphics and text, and to have all that in the movie would add another few hours. Still, I hope for an extended version that spans over 4 hours. That would be enough time to explain why Laurie moves in with Dan (aside from what is shown in the movie), the Island, a lot more from what Manhattan is trying to show on Mars (along with a rough grasp of his understanding of time), the significance of the watch, an explanation of the Keene act, Rorcshach’s mask, coffee and music on archie, the newsstand, the open dome with the butterfly, Ozymandias history and a full explanation of his behavior.

What I liked:

  • Uncensored. They didn’t seem to skip of the violence or the nudity shown in the graphic novel. And they not only showed Dr. Manhattan’s junk – they made it about twice the size of that in the comics (which was a bit disturbing). But what can you expect from the man who’s last project was 300? 😉
  • The casting for Rorschach, Comedian and Nite Owl II. Spot on. Dr. Manhattan is a bit on the stiff side (looks animated/dubbed when he speaks), but I liked his gentle voice.
  • Footage was good and the effects were nice, as was the soundtrack.

Final thoughts:

As usual when I look forward to a movie that I have earlier read in comic or book form, I tend to get my hopes up. I expect that the movie version should be at least as good as the original, and hope that all my favorite scenes will be there, shot in the same way as I’ve imagined them when I read the original. When I then see the movie, I am a bit dissappointed even though the movie might actually be good. It’s just that the comic/book is so much better.
This happened with Watchmen. As it happened with The Dark Knight, Let the right one in, Spider-Man 3, Alien Vs. Predator and many more.

Should you read the graphic novel before watching Watchmen?
I’m not sure. You will probably understand a whole lot more of the movie if you do, but it won’t nessecarily make you enjoy the movie more – the opposite is quite possible.

In what order I cannot say, but you should definitely read the graphic novel – at least twice.

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Rick Boyer
15 years ago

I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!