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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Watching the Watchmen (no spoilers)

Saw Watchmen last night. I liked it, and I'd say it was the most faithful adaptation of an Alan Moore work on the screen yet. A no spoiler review follows.

For one, it looked just great. It looks just like the graphic novel, and there are all sorts of moments that are framed exactly like in the GN. Rorschach's mask was just amazing to watch, and they had the whole 80's look down (with vintage TV ads). As for the acting, Jeffery Dean Morgan as the Comedian was the real stand-out in the cast. As handful_ofdust said, he's got this whole "Gotta love me!" vibe going the whole time he's doing one reprehensible thing after another. Jackie Haley as Rorschach also nailed it. Billy Crudup's Dr. Manhattan was at first too soft-spoken for me, but it grew on me, especially in the second half of the film. Everyone else was .... OK, with frankly the Silk Specter II (Malin Akerman) being the real weak link, she just came across flat to me.

They keep the original plot with only a few revisions (mainly to aspects at the end) but they absolutely stayed true to the spirit and ideas of the original work without wimping out, which I was really afraid they would do. Of course, some of the subplots and tertiary characters got excised, even at a running time of 2 hours 40 minutes there's a limit to how much they can fit in. But even for a film that long, it never dragged, they kept the pacing going bang bang bang throughout, which is quite an achievement.

And there's a lot of big songs used in it as well (two of Leonard Cohen's), I'd like to know how much all the music rights cost.

Finally, the opening credit sequence, which was a history of super-heroes in this world from their start to the present day (1985) was almost worth the price of admission alone. Because they was so serious about following Moore's plot, it was the one place the film-makers could really cut loose a bit themselves, and it shows, it's great.

There was some clunky dialogue, and some too-tight editing, so if I hadn't read the GN I might have had problems trying to get from point A to B, but that's nitpicking. While what we really wanted was a 4.5 hour mini-series version with a 200 mil budget, for a single feature film I do think it would have been tough to do much better.

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I love seeing this picture in Toronto because this is the only town in the world where a Leonard Cohen song on the soundtrack during a love scene gets a lot of inappropriate laughter.

Depends on the median age of the audience, I think. When I saw it yesterday it just got me, going "Yay, Leonard Cohen's version of Hallelujah and not a soppy cover version!"

I was very glad of that too, and Darwin knows Leonard needs the money.

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