Sunday, March 15, 2009

Movies: Watchmen

Want proof that comic books have taken over the multiplex? The mad scramble for superhero IPs by the movie studios has finally resulted in the unfilmable "Watchmen" being filmed:

Ah...another day, another big-budget adaptation of a famous comic book series. At the helm is director Zack Snyder, who burst onto the scene with the kinetic "Dawn of the Dead" remake and followed it up with the surprisingly successful "300." His movies have a particular visual style - part slo-mo John Woo antics and part schlocky gore - that's on full display here. Every other scene in "Watchmen" features some kind of object falling or moving in slow motion, often toward the camera. It's derivative, but at least it's interesting to watch.

As far as the actors go, they do a pretty good job. In particular, Jackie Earl Haley's portrayal of Rorschach is excellent. He imbues the role with the proper mix of Clint Eastwood "Dirty Harry" absolutism and pent-up childhood resentment. Matthew Goode is woefully miscast as Ozymandias, not due to any major problems with his performance but because Goode's slim build doesn't really fit the character.

So is the movie any good? Well, Snyder has made a meticulous and very faithful recreation of Alan Moore's comic, so how you feel about the movie depends on how you feel about the actual "Watchmen" story. Moore's work has been praised and analyzed by critics, but to be honest, my friends and I have always felt that big parts of "Watchmen" were pretty flimsy, at least as flimsy as the source material which it purports to deconstruct.

Rating: 6/10


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