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 Watchmen (2009)

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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: Watchmen (2009)   Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:20 pm

Alan Moore first wrote Watchmen for DC Comics back in 1986. When he first started writing it, the comic book was to have features characters from Archie Comic's Mighty Crusaders. However, as time went on, Moore found himself writing some new characters for the proposed comic, and it became an original comic in it's own right. Moore employed Dave Gibbons to illustrate the comic, which would last for only 12 issues. When originally published, it became a cult phenomenon. Straight away, Hollywood came calling, producers Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver had a contract at 20th Century Fox at the time, and they wanted to make a film of it, and got an option. In 1988, one of the first people attached to make Watchmen was Terry Gilliam, who had a stab at it, but the scale of it put him off, and the recent failure of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen had put Hollywood off working with him on big projects. Gilliam was attached on and off for the best part of a decade, even thinking of it being a TV mini-series at one point, before stepping down. Other directors and studios came and went. Darren Aronofsky, hot off Requiem for a Dream, was once attached, again nothing happened. Paul Greengrass came close to doing it in 2005, before Paramount Pictures got jittery over the budget and pulled the plug. It seemed that Watchmen would never get off the ground, but then entered Zack Snyder, who had just done 300 for Warner Bros. who had optioned the film. "He could do it!!" They thought. And Snyder was a fan of the original comic book, which was a bonus. When 300 proved to be a record breaking success, Snyder was signed on to do it. 2 years later, his version of Watchmen is now out for all to see. It's as faithful as it can get, the odd tweak and change has been made here and there. But, is it any good?? Yes, but only just. Watchmen the movie is a brilliant visual epic, an alternative take of the old comic book superheroes, and this one is for grown-ups. Well done Mr. Snyder, you've succeeded!! Very Happy

For all it's epic scope, when you strip all that away, Watchmen is a simple whodunnit detective story. It's set in an alternate 1985, where Richard Nixon is still in the White House as President, and the threat of World War 3 between America and the U.S.S.R. is imminent. The film begins with the murder of Edward Blake (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who was once known as The Comedian, a costumed hero, once part of the Minutemen, and was employed by the government to help fight in Vietnam. When the police investigations draw a blank, enter masked vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), who investigates further. Turns out the Comedian was once part of a group of superheroes called Minutemen back in the 1940's, and he wasn't particularly in favour with them, not after he tried to rape Sally Jupiter (Carla Gugino), who was then known as Silk Spectre. Rorschach believes that there is a conspiracy to try and kill off the costumed heroes, who were outlawed by the U.S. Government in 1977. He explains his theory to other retired superheroes, The Watchmen, Dan Dreiberg (Patrick Wilson), who was Nite Owl II, Laurie Jupiter (Malin Akerman) who was Silk Spectre II, the daughter of the original Silk Spectre, and Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), who has genuine superpowers, after a scientific accident in 1959. After The Comedian is killed, also killed is one of the original Minutemen Moloch the Mystic (Matt Frewer) is killed and Rorschach is framed for it, plus there's an attempted assassination of wealthy businessman Adrian Veidt (Matthew Goode), who was once Ozymandias, one of the original Watchmen. Who is behind this all??

Of course, it would help if you read the original comic book before you go and see this film, so you have a sense of what's going on and who's on what side. It's a complex story, and it will be hard for virgins to the Watchmen universe to follow. But, if you are aware of the story of Watchmen, you'll know what's happening and all. It's faithful to the original comic book, and you'll be pleased to know that Snyder hasn't toned down on the violent content of the comic book, and it looks all the more gruesome and violent on the big screen. It's a visually stunning work, and Snyder directs it with great confidence and does the original comic book a great service. It's not perfect, but it'll do. Snyder has recreated some of the panels of what goes on in the comic book scene for scene, and that does it good justice for this version. However, to give any newcomers to Watchmen an idea of who these people are, we are treated to a title sequence montage of the Minutemen and Watchmen and any other characters we see in the film, to give us an idea of who they are and their history, all done to the tune of Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin. It's a good introduction to the greatest graphic novel of all time's film version, and for the next 2 hours and a half, you're sucked right into this hyper-real and grim vision of 1985.

It is a very violent and savage film. From the opening murder of Edward Blake done to the tune of Nat King Cole's Unforgettable, (which will NEVER sound the same after you see it this way), it grabs your attention, and it never lets go. It's a visually stunning piece, and Zack Snyder was a perfect choice for making this film, he came to attention with his remake of Dawn of the Dead (2004), then he was employed to do 300 (2007), which was a shot in the arm for the tired old historical epic, and was an enormously successful film for all it's violence and big topless warriors. He had a huge task ahead with adapting Watchmen, and it wasn't going to be easy. But, he succeeds, changes have had to be made to speed up the story and the ending was changed too, (which was the right thing to do, as the ending in the original comic book wouldn't fit the tone of this film version.) It employs some quite stunning special effects to create this world, even if certain parts look a bit campy in places, that's the point. Even the costumed heroes of the original Minutemen look like something out of a fancy dress party, but it adds to the mood of what's coming, and hopefully, Snyder's 191 minute Directors Cut, out this summer will explain alot more, especially about the original Minutemen, including the original Nite Owl (Stephen McHattie) which only get a brief look-in.

Cast wise, Snyder didn't go with a big A-List cast, and went with character actors, which seems like the right way to go. The original comic book was a reaction against the cliques of superheroes, and Snyder goes the same way. There are some very good performances within this film, but the stand out is Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, whose character is a masked psychopath who keeps a journal, and he knows how to put up a fight. But, once the mask comes off and we learn about who Rorschach really is. This is a damaged human being from a broken background who has got lost behind a mask and become someone else. It's a tough part to play, but Haley is a perfect choice and he gives a good druff narration throughout and does brilliantly in the action sequences. Haley's co-star from Little Children, Patrick Wilson makes a good Nite Owl II, a technical whiz who invested his money well, who on first appearance, looks nerdy in big rimmed glasses, but once he gets the suit on, he KICKS ASS. Billy Crudup and CGI/Motion Capture help make up a thoughtful, philosophical Dr. Manhattan who exiles to Mars, in flashbacks, Jeffrey Dean Morgan has a ball as the Comedian, who is violent and patriotic but a boorish animal when you get down to it. Oh, and once you see Malin Akerman in costume as Silk Spectre II, you'll be in love!! Very Happy

It's an excellent way to pass 2 hours 40 minutes, that's if you can stand violence for that long. But, it's faithful to the original comic book, and it is blessed with a good soundtrack and it is technically flawless. From Larry Fong's sublime cinematography to Alex McDowell's perfect production design. It captures the spirit of Moore and Gibbons' comic book perfectly, and Snyder has done well at adapting this to the big screen, once seen as an impossible challenge, he's succeeded. It's not 100% perfect, but it's good enough. It's visually compelling from the word go, and it's long running time just flies by in no time at all. It really is that enjoyable to watch, and it'll make you want more.



Give yourself over to this film, it's been a long time coming, but I can tell you it's been well worth the wait. Snyder has a perfect eye for visuals, and even if he does employ slo-mo alot, it adds to the mood, and he knows the content of the comic book. Many felt it was impossible to make a film version of Watchmen, as it's plotting and multi-layered story would cost over $200 million as a film, and it would have to be at least over 3 1/2 hours long for any justice to be done at all. Well, Snyder has had a go, he fleshed out little bit from the comic book, (the comic within the comic, Tales of the Black Freighter, is getting a DVD release as a seperate film, although it will be edited back into the film as a seperate DVD release, as is chapter's from Hollis Mason's book, Under The Hood.) It's cast are very good, unconventional choices but inspired ones, nontheless, and Snyder has emerged as a true cinematic artist, he's done the impossible and succeeded. It'll be good to see what he does next, as he's had a good time making this one!! Watchmen was a comic book for all time, and it's now produced a comic book movie for all time too. It could have failed, but Snyder has ensured it would work!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Watchmen (2009)   Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:50 am

Excellent stuff, Don! I really want to watch it right now after reading that.

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Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: Watchmen (2009)   Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:05 pm

S'an awesome awesome film - loved it!!

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PostSubject: Re: Watchmen (2009)   Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:45 am

Despite the film not exactly living up to expectations at the box-office, Zack Snyder has said the Director's Cut of Watchmen will still be released!!

YAY!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Watchmen (2009)   Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:29 pm

Hopefully with Tales of the black Freighter interspersed throughout the film, according to IMDB. I could quite happily watch a lot more of Watchmen and would definately buy the Director's Cut without hesitation.

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PostSubject: Re: Watchmen (2009)   Mon May 11, 2009 9:08 pm

Here's some more news on the DVD release, and it looks like it won't be just a DVD release!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Watchmen (2009)   Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:18 pm





Now, will the UK get it??
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PostSubject: Re: Watchmen (2009)   Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:32 pm

Looks like the 5-Disc edition is Region 1 only. No
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PostSubject: Re: Watchmen (2009)   Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:20 pm

But wait!! According to this months new Empire, they say that the Director's Cut of Watchmen will come over here by Christmas!!
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PostSubject: Re: Watchmen (2009)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:35 am

Should be good! I'm looking forward to see the Black Freighter.

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We renounce our Maker.
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We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: Watchmen (2009)   Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:57 pm

Here's what the 5 Disc Ultimate Edition has to offer!! How's that for a Christmas present then!? Shocked Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Watchmen (2009)   Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:05 pm

My Region 1 Director's Cut came today!! Very Happy And already it's looking good, the sex scene is indeed longer!! Very Happy As well as more of Dr. M's big blue willy!! Razz
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