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Saturday, March 14, 2009

I watched the Watchmen

So, Watchmen came out, opened big but then negative word-of-mouth seemed to set in and caused a big drop-off and that's likely to be even bigger on the second weekend. It seems largely that the mainstream audience(non-fans of the book) hate it but fans of the source material are divided. Some love it, some hate it but everyone seems to have an opinion.

As for me? Normally I emerge from a cinema, blinking into the light my opinion fully formed- I will turn to my viewing companion and declare "that was awesome!"", "that was awful" or "that was OK". After Watchmen, I just didn't know. Both the 'for' and 'against' columns had plenty of entries. For everything that was done really well, another thing really annoyed me. A real blend of the 'ace' and the 'arse' Now, having had time to mull it over and hear the opinions of others, I have come to realize that the things that i enjoyed generally come directly from the source material, whereas the things I hated were largely down to Snyder- the way he directs violence really rubs me the wrong way.

At the end of the day though it was far from the disaster I feared. The film is a genuine love-letter to the book, and many of the little details are just perfect. It is one of the most faithful adaptations of any material ever, arguably to the point where it's impenetrable to those unfamiliar with the material. It's made by a director with all the subtlety of a breeze block, but you can't fault him for commitment. When it's released on DVD (and shiny shiny Blu-ray) I'll watch it again and maybe I'll be able to forgive the things that annoyed me so much.

For the curious here's a (completely inexhaustive ) round up of the good and the bad (in my opinion)
Ace: set designs, the performances of Rorschach, Night Owl, the Comedian and Dr Manhattan, most of the soundtrack, the opening titles, the effects (mostly), all the little references for the fans

Arse: the action, the slow-mo, the new ending, the performances of Ozymandias, the guy who plays Nixon and most of the bit-parts, Ozy's pet cat-thing, the virtually pornographic depiction of violence, the rest of the soundtrack and that sex scene.

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