Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day Seventy: Watchmen (2009) - Rank 4.5/5


This is the first film I can recall in quite some time that has left viewers so divided. There is one contingent that finds the movie nothing short of intolerable. This group is primarily comprised of two types of individuals. People who are completely unfamiliar with the graphic novel and walk in expecting another "Spiderman," "X-Men," and the like, only to be sorely disappointed, and diehard fans of the graphic novel who can't accept the fact that changes were made. The second contingent loves the film, and I do happen to be a member of the latter.

Zack Snyder has "filmed the unfilmmable," not only flawlessly recreating panels from the novel with scenes in his film, but also making practically every shot gorgeous to behold. The complex, three-hour film explores a number of themes, primarily about the ambiguity of "right and wrong" in the grand scheme of the world's workings. The cast is superb and the special effects are stunning. Even the soundtrack stands out, ranging from exhilarating to satirical at times (I love the use of Philip Glass pieces from "Koyaanisqatsi" for Dr. Manhattan's origin story). While many deride the film for its length, I felt it could have been another hour in length (which, as I've been informed, is an opportunity that will be available once the film hits DVD).

The problem with any adaptation is many fans of the original story are absolutely dogmatic about what they expect to be covered and addressed in the film. Any time I become embroiled in such a discussion, I have to make two points. One: not everything in the original story can be translated to the screen and Two: not everything needs to be translated to the screen. Form my standpoint, I am content with a film as long as it captures the basic spirit and essence of what the source material was about, a goal that Zack Snyder easily hit within his film. So many individuals forget that a film adaptation is always an interpretation of the director. That director has the right to percent the story in whatever manner he/she chooses. I have great respect for Snyder after watching the film because it's blatantly evident that he endeavored to make as loyal of a cinematic recreation of the novel that he could. Furthermore, he is a director that has tackled three "touchy, fanboy domains" with his initial films - George Romero scripts, Frank Miller and Alan Moore. As a result, he's both one of the most lauded upcoming directors, as well as one of the most despised. In all honesty, I've been impressed with what I've seen thus far, and I curious to see what his future projects have in store for theatres.

Watch the Trailer

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