Sunday, March 08, 2009
Movie Reviews: WATCHMEN
300's Zack Snyder adapts Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' acclaimed comic book Watchmen for the big screen. Set in an alternate universe circa 1985, the film's world is an unstable one where a nuclear war is imminent between America and Russia. Superheroes have been forced to go into retirement due to the government's Keene Act, but the death of The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), an ex-hero commando, perks the interest of one of the country's last remaining superheroes, Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley).
Cast: Billy Crudup, Malin Akerman, Jackie Earle Haley
Director: Zack Snyder
Opened March 6, 2009.
Runtime: 2 hr. 43 min.
Rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language.
Genres: Superhero Film, Science Fiction.
Zach Synder’s Watchmen is complex and entirely engaging adaptation of the watershed graphic novel that deliver most of the good with only a few bumps along the road. Dense, disjointed and, as a film, unfocused this adaptation demands a high level of attention from the audience throughout, threatening to abandon you if look away for too long. Synder creates a mystic almost ethereal tone from the start and maintains it for the better part of the film. A spectacular opening credit sequence sets the stages and covers a large amount of back story in a short time. Synder stays as close to the source material as possible, at times to fault, and recreates scenes almost page for page and gives fanboys plenty to squeal about. Still it’s an imperfect process. There are times when the script feels wooden and forced. Also Synder can’t help but indulge himself by staging action sequences in hyper slow mo that feels painfully out place. These 300 like action sequences take you out of the film so much that you start to wish they’d be over as soon as they start. It’s the type of film that would have benefited from more realistic action which would have been more in keeping with the story’s tone. The cast is an effective ensemble that brings these classic characters to life with wonderful vigor. Jackie Earle Haley is the film’s brightest star and delivers the most effective performance of the piece. His grizzled rasp and dead stares, when he’s unmasked, fit Rorschach perfectly. Patrick Wilson also turns in a wonderfully understated performance, perfectly channeling the character from the page. Equally effective is Billy Crudup as the god like Dr. Manhattan, delivering lines in measured monotone that fits his character’s overall detachment. A truly mesmerizing flashback scene really displays Crudup’s talents. Jeffery Dean Morgan is incredibly effective as the Comedian, giving an adequate griminess to his psychotic character. Sadly, Malin Ackerman misses the mark as Laurie Jupiter aka Silk Spectre II. The role is simply to big for her ability, there are lynch pin emotional scenes that simply fall flat with her delivery. She looks the part but can’t make a connection with the audience once the heavy lifting starts. Still as a group the cast is mostly effective and bring the appropriate gravitas to the proceedings. As the film traverses it’s nearly 3 hour run time, it rarely loses touch with the audience and delivers an engrossing experience. Not perfect but an effective attempt at capturing something as complex and subversive as the Watchmen graphic novel.