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March 07, 2009

Comments

john

What happened to Captain Metropolis? he was not at the Watchmen meeting, he was the one who brought everyone together for the meeting, not Adrian, I think that a big let down.
Also, the death of Hollis wasn't in the movie, that was one of the saddest moments in the novel, it would've been a powerful scene in the movie. Hopefully it will on the DVD release.

they were the only two really really disappointing things in the movie for me

I need to see it again though,

Mark Engblom

I'm just glad they worked Hollis into the beginning of the movie. As sad as his death was, it certainly wasn't imperative to the story to keep it in there.

Captain Metropolis did appear in the Minutemen flashback photos, but could easily be eliminated in order to better set up the conflict between Black and Veidt.

Not to minimize the stuff that genuinely bugged you...just explaining why they didn't personally bug me.

Al Bigley

Speaking of the music used, anybody else notice the placement of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" muzak during the Veidt assassination attempt in his high-rise office?

Interesting how 20 years passing now lets filmmakers use the 80s in an ironic contrast, as opposed to the GN, which was commenting on then-current events...

Al Bigley

Mark Engblom

Great catch, Al. That's the thing about moving to a live action movie...it allows for NEW kinds of WATCHMEN minutia the comic book never could have featured. I'll have to listen for that during my second viewing.

Matt

Missing Captain Metropolis bugged me too. I understand WHY it was done, but I thought it made Veidt look a little more naive than he did in the book (I've always thought Metropolis' utter patheticness was important to the sequence, too).

I wasn't crazy about the actor who played Veidt, either. It seemed to me that the actor was going for Veidt's charming arrogance, but I thought that it just made it more obvious that he was the villain.

Mark Engblom

I actually didn't mind the actor who played Veidt. I'm not convinced someone who's never read Watchmen would think it's "obvious" the Veidt was the villain. Some of the same feints from the comic book version were in there (such as the assassination attempt on Veidt), so I don't think his true identity was spoiled.

As for Veidt looking naive, re-reading his origin you see that he made a decision to "bring the teachings of the ancients" to the modern world through a costumed identity....obviously a rather zealous, idealistic (some may say naive) start to a path that turned decidedly darker, starting with when the Comedian lit the map on fire (the idea for his massive scheme began when the Comedian joked they were "trying to save the world").

So, I still think it worked well enough.

Bear Carson

I must say that I was not looking forward to this movie, fearing that it would either be a slavish shot for shot of the navel (al la Sin City) or a broken sloppy copy like most of the Harry Potter Movies. What I got was a story that was both faithful to the original story and incorperating the strenghts of movies. I loved the opening as well as the extended action scenes. I thought the use of special effects, music and stunts all added to Moore's very psylogical story rather than distracting you from it. Also almost all the things they deleated from the movie I didnt mind (such as the monster and the pirate story) I did miss some of the exserpts from Hollis' book. There were some things I didnt like such as the rather uncomfortable sex scene in the owl ship, the rather bland performance of Veidt, also Billy Curdups voice as Manhatten started to grate on me about halfway thru his origin story but maybe that was just me. All in all a very good movie.

PS on the night that me and my wife went to the movie I saw no less than 6 young kids (15 years and under). Two of them were under the age of six! Do people bother to look at raitings anymore?

greyman24

Had the same thing here. A woman and her daughter (11? 12?) walked out during the scene where the dogs were chewing on the girl's leg.

I had one (very, very) minor quibble.

This is so small as to be beyond insignificant, but one line I always loved from the book--a line that resonated with me significantly for some reason--was changed in the movie.

It's when Sally is talking to Laurie about California and how it never rains...about how it's like a kind of utopia. And then she says, "It rains on the just and the unjust alike...except in California."

It just evoked that idea of the American dream to me. And how out west is the golden land of redemption. It seemed so wistful and nostalgic, but with a tinge of sadness...hinting, in a way, at Sally's own sadness.

In the movie, Sally still uses the "rain" line, but no mention of California. Kind of missed it.

Overall, it was an amazing effort. Very well done.

Steve C

Really good, I agree, especially about the music, acting, and intro sequence.

My minor quibble. I sort of felt shorted on the apartment rescue, which in the novel captures exactly why Dan loves being Nite-Owl. He helps all those people out of the building and all that tinkering pays off because Archie's got all the right gizmos. It's the one scene of pure heroism where it's not brutally voilent, or even aggressive. It's fun and sweet. He gets to plug the steering column in on the roof. He makes everyone coffee.

I get cutting it for length. You can't include everything. But in the film they replaced Archie's fire extinguishers with machine guns. Why? Then the sex was porny and too long, and made me embarrassed to be in the theatre.

suedenim

I loved the movie, with quibbles - but really, the quibbling is part of the fun when a movie gets so much right.

I'm surprised that I *do* like the movie's soundtrack, because a fair number of the songs are almost too on-the-nose. You know, like how "The Times They Are A-Changing" or "Sounds of Silence" *always* show up in bad movies about how the Baby Boomers were the absolute bestest people in the history of humanity, playing over the montage that shows how all the main characters were at Kent State, at Woodstock, etc.

It's like on one level they're *bad* choices, but in this movie that works, because it highlights what's *different* - in a "This ain't The Big Chill, folks" way.

And then a lot of the music is delightfully *un*expected, like "99 Luftballons," one of my favorite cheesy '80s songs for all its overwrought-and-naive bounciness.

I actually liked Sally's old-age makeup, which had a "too-much-plastic surgery" vibe to it. Which seems better than the usual method, which would be slathering the still-young-and-beautiful Carla Gugino (Hey, maybe we'll get a "Karen Sisco" DVD set out of all the Watchmen hype?) with prosthetic wrinkles.

It *is* a bit of a different take, though, as Gibbons drew Sally as an old lady who's more or less comfortable with the aging process.

Mark Engblom

Responses to various comments:

"...also Billy Crudup's voice as Manhatten started to grate on me about halfway thru his origin story but maybe that was just me. All in all a very good movie."

This is a case where I'm happy to have caught an interview with Crudup before seeing the movie. He explained the use of the very soft-spoken, gentle voice as something Manhattan uses to put the humans around him more at ease in his presence...which made alot of sense to me. Since I was ready for it, and supported it, the voice didn't bug me at all...though I can see how it would for some.

"Two of them were under the age of six! Do people bother to look at ratings anymore?"

That's sick...bordering on child abuse (I'm serious). It's sad how so many "parents" are on autopilot...and just don't think things through or investigate what they're exposing their children's young minds to. Shame on them.

"It's when Sally is talking to Laurie about California and how it never rains...about how it's like a kind of utopia. And then she says, "It rains on the just and the unjust alike...except in California.""

That was a great line, suedenim. I think it also works as an allusion to Veidt's plan (godlike in its arrogance) and how it affected so many, just and unjust alike (as we saw from the newstand characters getting wiped out).

"I sort of felt shorted on the apartment rescue, which in the novel captures exactly why Dan loves being Nite-Owl."

Really? I thought Dan's joy in being Nite-Owl was made perfectly clear in so many other ways (and no, I'm not just talking about him "getting it up"). Yeah, the machine guns caught me off guard, but overall I think his competence and professionalism during that scene were crystal clear. As for serving coffee, I seem to remember Laurie putting away styrofoam coffee cups following the rescue...so you may get the coffee service in the expanded version!

"You know, like how "The Times They Are A-Changing" or "Sounds of Silence" *always* show up in bad movies about how the Baby Boomers were the absolute bestest people in the history of humanity..."

LOL! Exactly! I cited "Forrest Gump" in my review, but I wish I had remembered "The Big Chill". Two perfect, nauseating examples of Boomer self-regard.

"I actually liked Sally's old-age makeup, which had a "too-much-plastic surgery" vibe to it."

Hmmm. Interesting. I hadn't looked at it that way...which definitely helps diminish my problems with the look. Thanks, suedenim!

Mystik Tomato

I agree with the Captain Metropolis cutting. The two times I saw him in the movie, he was flirting with Hooded Justice... Seems unfortunate that they practically made him a one-note character in the film (Albeit a very, very minor one.)

One of the most minor things in the movie that I'm still trippin' out about is when they show Rorschach as a kid, when he fights the bullies. In the book he takes the kids cigarette and shoves it in his eye. Okay, that's violent, butcompared to what he becomes it's not surprising.

In the movie he takes a bite of of his freakin' cheek! That's just so incredibly vicious that it somehow doesn't even seem like Rorschach. Well, not before the kidnapping incident, anyway.

And am I a bad person for finding the scene of Doctor Manhattan in Vietnam with Ride Of The Valkyries hilarious?

suedenim

Hmm, I actually think of the cigarette-in-the-eye business as being *more* violent than biting the cheek. Maybe I'm just more sensitive to the "injury to the eye motif" for some reason....

That reminds me of another slightly irksome thing. It's OK to show Manhattan's genitalia or a guy's arms getting hacked off... but *not* someone attempting to smoke a cigarette! That actually kind of ruins the whole joke where Laurie accidentally activates the flamethrower. I don't "get offended" all that easily, but I do find ruining a good joke to be highly offensive!

Anyway, that makes me wonder if the "Lil' Rorschach" scene was altered not for any artistic reason, but to eliminate the cigarette!

Mark Engblom

"In the movie he takes a bite of of his freakin' cheek!"

I'll have to check, but that's the way I remembered that sequence from the comic. As for his savage behavior, the book made it clear he was an incredibly disturbed kid (from the faux social services report), so as visceral and shocking as it was, it fit with where the kid's head was at.

"And am I a bad person for finding the scene of Doctor Manhattan in Vietnam with Ride Of The Valkyries hilarious?"

Not at all. I think Synder knew the pop cultural cache the tune had from a previous Viet Nam film (Apocalypse Now), not to mention its historical association with Nazism, playing up Manhattan's Anglo-Superman angle.

Not that those associations are funny in and of themselves, but they definitely helped push an already over-the-top scene (a looming Manhattan obliterating Viet Cong) into an uncomfortably comical place.

Joe Lewallen

Great review Mark. Now that I’ve seen it twice, I’m ready to put in my two cents. Loved the movie, thought it was a great adaption of a very complex book. WATCHMEN didn’t get dumb’d down for the regular movie going audience, which would have been the worse thing to happen. I have a few quibbles, but some went away after the 2nd viewing.
On the good points, I agree with most reviews and feed backs that Jackie Earle Haley's performance of Rorschach was the high point of the movie. Rorschach was the backbone of the comic, and if movie Rorschach failed, then the whole movie could have collapsed.  The emotional and visual fidelity for the whole movie was amazing. I came up with the same point as suedenim re Sally’s old age make up. Of course some one like Sally would go under the knife to try to stop the march of time. Especially living in Southern California. In some of the books (Watchmen: Art of the Film, Watchmen: the Film Companion) that I picked up after seeing it for the first time, I got the impression that movie Sally was a little more professionally successful (as a model) that comic Sally. Like Bettie Page if she was a superhero. I also think movie Laurie comes off more sympathetic and likable than comic Laurie.
Music was awesome, listening to the soundtrack as I type this. All Along the Watchtower was very effective musically as the Owlship was approaching Adrian’s fortress.
I have two quibbles that have stuck through two showings. 1) Hollis Mason was my favorite supporting character in the comic. I know we should see more of him in the extended version that will come out sooner or later, but I thought he didn’t come off all that great in his one scene. One reviewer (who I respect, but is unfamiliar with the source material) called him a “drunken has-been”. Ouch. I always pictured Charlton Heston (RIP) in the role. I’m hoping Hollis is redeemed a little in the extended version. Nothing wrong with the actor, it was just how the part was written. Another minor quibble is when Dan breaks into Adrian’s computer, there is a folder named “boys” on the desktop. If that is implying that Adrian has Michael Jackson like proclivities, then I find it a bit of a cheap shot. Nothing in the comic ever referenced that. 
My wife and I brought our 6 month old to a showing yesterday, but I faced her away from screen. She slept through it anyway

Mark Engblom

Wow! Saw it twice already? I'd love to, and hope to find some time soon.
I'm wondering what the reviewer you cited reacted to so negatively about the Hollis Mason appearance. He just seemed like a nostalgic older fella to me. Amazing what different people can perceive from the same scene.

Never saw the "boys" folder and agree it's a cheap shot if that's indeed what Snyder was after.

Your 6 month old SLEPT through Watchmen? Wow....that's a sleepy little girl! Yeah, I think she's safe from lifelong psychogical scarring. ;)

Joe Lewallen

The reviewer was John Nolte at http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/ and like I said, I respect his reviews. You can read the whole thing in context. Nolte was describing the various superheroes and where they where at the start of the film. And it was a mostly positive review.

And I'm plotting how I can pull off one more viewing before I have to start waiting for the DVD.

greyman24

Yeah. You know, now that I read other people's comments, I see more layers to the soundtrack. While I was watching the movie, I just thought Snyder was being contrarian. You know, putting popular songs where many would have put an instrumental score or something that musically reinforced the scene.

But, now that I think about it, I think you guys are right. It seems like he went the opposite way in picking music that already existed in contexts that resonated with that scene.

That's...really smart.

John Trumbull

I agree, they did a spectacular job. It's tough to imagine them making a better Watchmen movie than this.

Things I really loved:

-Rorschach's voice. It pretty much matched what I've been imagining all these years.
-Doctor Manhattan's voice. I had doubts when I heard that Billy Crudup's voice wouldn't be altered, but it really worked against the unreality of his character.
-Silk Spectre's costume. Looked cooler than the comic version.
-The soundtrack. The songs were REALLY well chosen (Although I wish we could've heard Elvis Costello's "The Comedians")
-The opening credits. WOW were they amazing. Adrian Veidt hanging out at Studio 54 is so RIGHT.
-The Owlship. C'mon. You know you want one. That shot of it bursting out of the harbor was PERFECT.

Things I missed from the comic (Minor quibbles, really):

-Young Rorschach putting out the cigarette between the bully's eyes.
-Rorschach's original method of dealing with the kidnapper. SO much more disturbing.
-Comedian's face mask. I agree, even seeing it for one scene would've been nice. Not having it made his scar much less of a big deal.
-"You're My Thrill" during the fire rescue.
-Laurie smoking.
-The scene of Laurie throwing her drink in Edward Blake's face.
-"It rains on the just & the unjust alike... except in California." Why include a setup if you're not going to have the punchline?
-My favorite lines from the comic:
"Nervous?"
"Well, my stomach feels weird and my balls are all shrivled up, so yeah, I guess 'nervous' will do."

Not important lines by any means, but I love them.

John Trumbull

Ooh, almost forgot my biggest quibble with the movie: Nixon's nose. Too caricaturish & distracting.

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