I went to go see Watchmen on Friday and have been digesting it ever since. I know that I have things to say about it, but I don’t have the words to describe the awesome that poured out of the screen into my face. There was a moment in the middle of the movie that I actually stepped outside of myself to realize I was sitting in a theater watching Dr. Manhattan on a 50-foot screen and I had a very meta moment.
I’m extremely disappointed in the reviews coming from the Internet, but I think that many reviewers are attacking the game to stand out from the rest, make a point, or garner attention. There are plenty of movies I’ve seen that I gave a free pass because of the source material, but in this case I didn’t need to do that. The movie was so wrought with the source material, it was almost as though the pages of the comic were woven into the fabric of the costumes and the celluloid it was filmed upon.
That’s not to say that the movie was perfect. The actress that plays Silk Spectre II is not nearly as talented as the rest of the actors on the screen and she’s on-screen a lot. But everyone else shows a great deal of understanding of their characters during the film.
A big thing about the movie that really made me happy was how the director was able to take a graphic novel that had very little action actually depicted (most action was resolved in a handful of frames and takes mere seconds to read), he managed to create a compelling action movie. The meaning of the novel is not lost in the struggle, either. The futility of war, the meaninglessness of death, the struggle for the human race to survive in the face of certain desolation is all there. But even better, most scenes in the film take something from the comic and make sure it’s visible on-screen as a frame of reference. Gorgeous pieces of artwork are placed up on-screen as still images set in motion.
As I said, i don’t have the appropriate words, so I hope that what little I could speak of here will encourage you to see the movie if you’ve read the graphic novel. And if you haven’t, then go see it anyway. If you can, borrow it from the library first and read it, or check out the motion comics on iTunes. Be warned. This film is NOT about heroes saving the day and being shiny and perfect. It’s gritty, it’s dark, it’s violent, and it’s brutal: just like life. There’s still a bit of romanticism to be found, but mostly it’s just a keen view of what our world might be like had the presence of a certain few influenced it.