Friday, March 6, 2009

Watchmen (2009)

[This is not the movie poster used locally, but I'm going with 'cool'.]


Watchmen is based on the most acclaimed graphic novelcomic book of all time (it was on Times Magazine's 100 Best Novels Since 1923 list), and is set in an alternate 1985, where costumed heroes once existed, but is now outlawed. When one of their own gets hurled out of a window 30-storeys high, his former comrade investigates his murder, and uncovers a much more sinister plan of global proportions.

I totally loved the movie, although I think I'm slightly biased because the movie looks EXACTLY like the comic book in most instances, and I'm a fan-girl. Plus, each scene is stuffed with an ass-ton of Easter Eggs that Watchmen-readers would be able to identify, and that's just pure awesomeness in my book. I didn't mind the parts that were different from the comic book; just the ending I hated. Over the past few weeks, I read rumors that the alien 'squid' (I guess 'Cthulhu' was too difficult to pronounce) was out, but the events and outcome of the ending are basically the same.

They're not rumors. The "How" of events IS different.

In the comic book, a giant monstrous creature is teleported to New York, and is genetically engineered to (massively!) explode on death (which is what teleportation does to you unless you're Dr. Manhattan), and the world unites, thinking that aliens are upon us. In the movie, a bomb is detonated not only in New York, but other major world cities as well, and is engineered to look like the Silver Surfer has visitedDr. Manhattan had chosen to create huge-ass craters in the middle of those cities. The world unites as one, fearing that ONE nation cannot hold off against Dr. Man's wrath.

Thing is, Dr. Man is an unwitting pawn in the movie's scheme.

In both mediums, all that death and destruction was engineered by Adrian Veidt, fellow retired hero. In both mediums, Veidt's machinery generates tachyons to cloud Dr. M's visions of the future, so that he cannot interfere in Veidt's ultimate plan: to unite both the US and the Soviets, and to push far back the possibility of nuclear annihilation at the height of the Cold War.

[Can't cook an omelette without breaking a few eggs.]

Yes, the movie's outcome is still the same, the world is united, bla bla bla, but I feel that Veidt is MORE underhanded than originally. It's not enough that he gives Doc Man's former acquaintances cancer (and blames Doc Man for it, by the way), but even goes to the extent of bringing him in as an accomplice without his knowledge AND framing the guy for the deaths of millions of others. Granted, nobody can touch Doc Man and he himself doesn't give a rat's ass what other people think of him, but it just doesn't feel right to me.

[And besides, the Soviets could always say, "Haha. And you thought Superman was on YOUR side," even though Kremlin's population was also reduced by a crater-full.]

On a brighter note, visually, the movie is fan-bloody-tastic. It's like 300 minus the chroma key, and more dialogue. The slo-mo is a bit awkward at times, but otherwise it's just fine. The movie doesn't have much violence, but it REALLY doesn't hold back when it does (and you can pretty much hear every bone-breaking punch because it's so loud in the theatres). I enjoyed the violent bits, although I feel that they could've reduced the violence (basically to "when necessary") and increased more coverage on the backstories. Rorschach's was severely underused, here.

Speaking of Rorschach, Jackie Earle Haley was awesome! He's really Walter Kovacs brought to life, and I would really loved it if there was more screen-time for him (like Dan going to see Adrian in the beginning instead of Rorschach, since Rorschach had taken it upon himself to warn all remaining costumed heroes). Was rather looking forward to hearing the, "Possibly homosexual. Must investigate further," line in the movie. Also, the movie made Rorschach's death more tragic and personal, as Nite Owl sees him getting obliterated, after which he goes in and beats the crap out of Adrian, unlike in the comic book where Dan just lays Laurie and everyone forgets about poor Walter.

Another neat item of note is how Veidt changes accents, American in public, and European in private as well as with his fellow costumed heroes. I thought it was a very nice previously-unmentioned aspect to his personality (according to Matthew Goode, the actor playing him, Veidt may've been a German immigrant whose parents were Nazi-sympathizers or something, so he's kind of hiding who he actually is in public. Hence, the American accent.), although, if I hadn't read interviews, I would've thought the directing/acting was inconsistent.

The opening credits at the beginning is fantastic, and way better than I thought it'd be. They've woven the Watchmen universe with ours, and you can see many familiar faces and historical incidents in the montage. The Bob Dylan song was kinda annoying, though, but nonetheless, appropriate for the credits.

[You can see the opening credits here or here.]

As I've mentioned before, I'm a fan of the comic book, so my estimation of the movie is rather biased (for me, the awesomeness is WAY off the charts! ;D), so only go for the movie if you've read the comic book, and for those unfamiliar, only if you're patient, since the violence doesn't happen often. The four people next to me left after the first hour.

9/10. Would've been perfect if not for the ending.

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