The End Is Almost Nigh
by David N.
So this past Wednesday I was one of a few lucky people to be invited to the MTV Spoilers screening of Zack Snyder's WATCHMEN. So naturally a friend of mine and I made the trip to the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. The place itself was not a place you'd picture for a movie premiere. I could only describe it as cozy. Picture the smallest theater you've ever been in and cut it in half. The aisles were worse than getting through to get a hot dog at Dodger Stadium. This would insure that MTV would not get anyone walking up during the movie. Also, I've never been in a theater that didn't allow or serve food.
As you can guess, the line to get in was a mix of rabid fan boys and douches that just go to things that seem popular. This became apparent when we were still waiting to get inside and two cute production girls were trying to get people in line to sing My Chemical Romance songs. At that point those ladies lost their appeal. Overall, not including the third world hunger I got after about 5 hours of MTV holding us hostage, it was a unique movie-going experience.
But let's get to the main course, the film itself. Coming in at about 2 hours and 40 minutes, Watchmen is not for the stamina challenged (like the owner of Infinite Et Cetera). Luckily there are very few parts that drag on. There's two ways of looking at this movie; those of us that over zealously read the graphic novel and those of us that have never heard of Watchmen before. This reporter is the ladder, I've read this book twice in my life, loved it both times but was only mature enough to appreciate it once. If you'll remember, I placed this at number two on my top ten all time list. With all the trailer, panel and previewmania we all went through in the build up, it is needless to say I had high expectations.
So, does the movie deliver? The short answer is yes in that what it delivers is intended to be a short adaptation of Alan Moore's epic masterpiece. By that I mean there are certain parts you won't see in the theaters that are some of the best of the book. For example, Hollis Mason's death scene was one of the more tragic moments of the book, but you wont see it on March 6 (luckily Zack Snyder filmed this scene and it will be seen on the DVD release). While the subtle differences from the book to the movie were a deterent for me, (I think Rorschach's prison scenes should have been longer, and some Mars dialogue is left out), Zack Snyder does an amazing job of expanding the fight panels from the book. It's like going from Mortal Kombat in the 90's to the Mortal Kombat games we have now, taking beautiful violent images into something more artistic. (The best one being the Nite Owl and Silk Spectre alley fight)
As for the controversial ending to the movie, while others have said the overall ending is not lost, while others have said it's better than the book. I disagree with both; through the movie there was always the tone of the original book dialogue. The moment you see where this new ending is beginning, it takes a 45-degree turn away from the book. While the ending does do the job of leaving you with the moral question from the book. You can almost tell where Moore's dialogue ends and Snyder's compromise begins. The reason I have a small problem with the end is because the movie was done so well that with a few more dollars Snyder could have done an astonishing squid and made it relevant. I think changing everything to nuclear destruction was taking the easy way out. The inclusion of Nite Owl in one of the death scenes was a good directors touch though.
The acting…well some performances were astounding, other's felt like they were just there. For the most part, it really felt like Silk Spectre was just there; her performance even made Nite Owl less of a standout (exception being the alley fight). Dr. Manhattan, while the character is supposed to be void of emotion, Bill Crudup even dragged this out the moment on Mars when he's suppose to reconnect. If you don't believe me compare the movie to the book, in terms of the Mars scene. The truly standout performances were from Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian and Matthew Goode as Ozymandias. Perhaps it was because Snyder overdid it in making these characters badass.
Overall, it's a great movie experience but it doesn't deliver the epic scale that Snyder teased for the last two years. Ultimately it suffers because it's no Dark Knight in the way that Lost Planet is no Gears of War. It's not as though Lost Planet was a bad game, but it's curse is that it came out 3 months after Gears of War had just set the bar for how stunning Xbox games should be.
So, if I didn't know what Watchmen was about before, would I recommend this movie? Yes, without a doubt. I can't stress enough that this is a great movie! You will enjoy it, everyone will. Fan boys and the non-alike. Watch MTV on Feb 21 at 8pm to witness the reaction to the cast as it was well deserved because you can't find better actors for these parts. What disturbed me the most was during the directors Q and A was that it seemed like everyone was ready to link Snyder's name to Watchmen more than Alan Moore. It was a 20 minute brown-nosing session. No one bothered to ask about having such well fitting music during the movie only to be followed by My Chemical Romance covering a great Bob Dylan song during the end credits. Do I think Alan Moore would like this movie? No. At some point in his life when he puts it in his Insignia Blu Ray player I'm sure he won't like this interpretation. That's my main problem with the movie; it's just not Moore.