I Watch(ed) the Watchmen

by on Mar.08, 2009, under comics, movies

I’ve been an on again off again comic book fan – never a die-hard, but always an appreciator of the form in the least.  And while I like many of the DC heroes, I tend to read more in the Marvel universe – there is a gritty realism there that the DC realm sometimes lacks.  One glaring exception to this rule is the mini-series arc from the 1980’s entitled Watchmen by Alan Moore.  I personally only read the series sometime last year around the time that I first learned there was a film being adapted from it.  It was dark, visceral, and exposed and exploited many of the flaws and brutalities of humanity and through all that it was beautiful and well crafted.  And yesterday I saw the film … in full IMAX glory.

The film adaptation of the graphic novel was brilliantly executed – there was little if anything that die-hard fans could take issue with.  There was almost nothing left out (at least nothing essential – and that which was will likely be on the DVD).  Almost nothing was edited or toned down or added  And as such, the movie fit together well and was masterfully written.  It was over 2 hours long and I could easily watch it again.

From a non-comparative stance, the casting and cinematography couldn’t have been better.  All of the characters seemed realistic and none were over-shadowed by the talent that portrayed them.  The special effects were fantastic and the backdrops all felt authentic.

For those completely unfamiliar with the graphic novel, here is a basic synopsis:  it is the year 1985 in an alternate version of our world where non-powered costumed vigilantes became common and accepted in the times following World War 2.  And due to their intervention (as well as that of one true superhero), the US won the Vietnam war in a short time and Nixon went on to serve several more terms on a cold war mandate.  The film opens to one of these costumed heroes – long since retired – being attacked and murdered in his apartment.  The remainder of the movie follows the investigation of this murder and on the way explores the past and secret lives of many of the super heroes who knew him.  And every one of them seems to have flaws as great as their strengths.

Despite my ringing endorsement, this movie is not for the squeamish.  Do NOT take your children to see this movie.  I didn’t even take my wife and I think she is probably glad I didn’t (if she did go, she would likely have enjoyed it but regretted it).  This movie starts off with violence and ends with violence and there is no shortage of it in between.  Plus there is sex and questionable behavior … and a glowing blue dude who rarely wears pants.  I myself would have been happy to see significantly less of the blue member.  So with those warnings put forth, if you are still interested then please go see it.  It was well worth the cinema experience.

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