Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

I haven’t posted in awhile, but I figured this was post worthy.

I have seen “The Watchmen.”

[Short Version] It was excellent. If you like the graphic novel, you’ll like the movie.

[Longer Version]

I’m not going to throw in a lot of spoilers, however I’m going to assume that if you are reading this, you are familiar with the story.

The movie is a relatively faithful adaptation of the graphic novel. There were a few changes. Some of the details in the set up for the end were changed. There are no exploding psionic squids, although the basic concept for the end is the same. There is no “Black Frigate” story line. There is no Ozymandias back story. Some of the subtlety of the graphic novel is lost. But on the whole, it was faithful.

The soundtrack is fantastic and sets off the movie very well. Some of the music is very subtle. I almost missed the soft song that was behind Adrien Veidt the first time we see him. There is music from Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Leonard Cohen, among others that are very well matched. The Soundtrack, as available on Amazon, is missing a few songs.

The visuals are also outstanding. Gritty. Surreal. The cinematography was beautiful. All and all, it was what I was hoping for. I loved watching it. Like the music, there were lots of subtle touches (although not as many as in the comic). I want to see it again just to see and ID all the different stuff on Ozymandias’ multiple TV sets. From what I could tell, they all had meaning. Quick hint, look at the screen to the middle right. The World Trade Center is softly noticeable in the skyline and it was slightly disconcerting. The costumes are outstanding. Did I mention the attention to detail? Seriously excellent.

I was a touch disappointed with Dr. Manhattan. He has always had some degree of unreality but it really shows. There are lots of fine details in him, yet he just isn’t quite right when he moves and talks. It goes to show that CGI still isn’t quite there, despite what they did with “Benjamin Button.” And speaking of Doctor Manhattan, he is anatomically correct and that is not hidden…several times.

There was one thing that really irked me though. The “aging” that they did was bad. Really bad. I know that many of the characters have to appear in the present and in the past. They took 20 and 30 year old actresses and cover them in stuffing, latex and make up to make them look old. They look like 20 and 30 years old actresses stuffed in latex. The skin on the neck and cheeks looks especially bad. I had total loss of suspension of disbelief when the older version of Sally Jupiter was on screen.

I was also kind of disappointed by Dr. Manhattan’s watch-like contraption on Mars. It was supposed to look like it was crystalline. I though it looked and moved like it was CGI. It just didn’t look…cool.

Things to note: There is sex and it is graphic. Thrusting, grunting, showing both bodies, no sheets. With a camera angle change it would have been a different type of film. There is also lots of violence. Some of it is very graphic. There are several very brutal killings that, in many movies, would have been displayed by showing the shadows. The killing here is shown with fairly significant gore. Basically, if it was gory in the graphic novel, it was gory in the movie. Again, there is significant attention to detail.

All and all, I liked it. I liked it a lot. I will likely see it again and buy the DVD. I’m not a hardcore comic geek, but I read the graphic novel when I saw the preview for it before Batman. I went with a hardcore Watchmen fan and he also liked it. A couple of people I went with had never read the comic and they liked it. If you liked the Dark Knight, you will probably like this movie. If you want light hearted, puppy loving, everything works out in the end type movie, you won’t like The Watchmen.