An interesting film littered with C grade actors most of whom you might remember from failed sitcoms or guest appearances on 'Grey's Anatomy.' As most of the world knows by now, 'Watchmen' is based on the limited comic book series and graphic novel by Alan Moore published originally in the mid 1980's. The film version has been wrapped in controversy and at one point its actual release was in question.
It is a dark movie and rightfully deserves its R rating. 'Watchmen' isn't the sort of film that is rated R due to language, in fact I don't even remember any harsh language, but it has violent images galore and some graphic sex so don't take the kids thinking that they are mature enough to handle an R rating based on the clichéd costumes of the superhero Watchmen; this is far from a kiddy film. I chuckled when the ticket agent wouldn't sell a lone ticket to a teenage girl who didn't have ID to prove she was at least seventeen, I wasn't chuckling after seeing the movie.
Further, 'Watchmen' is three hours so consider it an investment of an evening.
I am still pondering about my recommendation for 'Watchmen.' It definitely is an event movie in that everyone is talking about it and it made a bundle last weekend at the box office. The special effects were superb. The storyline is decent and the characters are each well defined. For me what didn't work is that none of the characters were likeable and when you are sitting through a three hour movie you do tend to notice that.
Granted, the character of Dr. Manhattan is interesting, as well as his back story. It was neat to spy Jackie Earle Haley, as Rorschach/Walter Kovac playing the type of individual you always thought his 'Bad News Bears' character would grow up to be. Oh, and there is a small side story that included the dwarf who was Kramer's sidekick in some 'Seinfeld' episodes - at one point, when I desperately wanted some comic relief, I almost yelled "Where's Kramer?" but didn't because that would have ruined the nihilistic mood of the film. I found Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl II too hair challenged (I'm afraid his hairline is on the endangered list) to be sexy in the way I would hope the producers would want the audience to consider him as, especially when he is involved in a big sex scene. Speaking of sex, Malin Akerman portrays Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II and as an actress she sounds like Cameron Diaz, looks like Diaz's not as pretty sister, and seems to take the roles Ms. Diaz doesn't want; which more often than not include a no clothing clause.
Overall, I'm glad I saw the film in the theaters because now I know, or at least can debate, what all the fuss is about. I wouldn't recommend 'Watchmen' if you have no interest in the darker side of superheroes. In fact, if you thought 'The Dark Knight' was too film noir for your taste, then you will drown in the darker messages of 'Watchmen.' Even the so-called miracle that causes one of the characters to reconsider his initial ennui about saving humanity seems less Hallmark friendly than sending a greeting card after someone is arrested for a DUI.
In the end it comes down to your perspective, if you are into comic books (I'm not) or like action films (I do) then you might enjoy 'Watchmen.' I did appreciate Zack Snyder's direction of the film (he also helmed '300' as too many of the 'Watchmen' movie posters note with a proclamation of him as "visionary") and feel that the script by David Hayter and Alex Tse was coherent, yet I just feel neutral about 'Watchmen.' See it if you like the before mentioned genres. Miss it if you do not.
Westerfield © 2009