Review: Watchmen

The Comic book: Watchmen is the critically acclaimed and wildly popular graphic novwatchmenel/limited series comic book written by Alan Moore and was published in 1986-7 and is set in alternate history where superheroes emerge in the 1940’s and 50’s, US wins the Vietnam war and Richard Nixon has been elected for a third term. It talks about various issues plaguing the society in the 80’s like the fear of nuclear holocaust and detriment of morals in the society and also the angst and troubles of retired and active superheroes especially the wrath they face from the people they set out to protect. The novel is multilayered and very complex in all its essence ie the plot, narrative and themes. It was called unfilmable by several people including the author himself. Its movie adaptation has been in the pipeline right since it was published and finally materialised in 2009.
The Movie: With huge resources and lots of budding talent at hand, Zack Snyder(who made 300) finally got the Watchmen project off the ground and played to his forte of brilliant visualization and loyal adaptation of source material. The first worked perfectly and the second was his undoing. He started out brilliantly with the titles sequence which was very innovative and crucial part of the movie laying the background story for the ‘Minutemen’, the original superheroes and the childhoods of the current generation. However when he cut out the parallel stories running along with the main one(he put em in a direct to video release named Tales of the Black Freighter) and ignored some events due to the crunch of time and excess complication for an average movie-goer the plots loses its lustre and seems trivial and still remained very confusing for lots of people.For Zack Snyder, the Watchmen was like a loaded gun which he lifted and aimed well but miscalculated the firing intensity and range which led to the movie veering out of control by the time second half started and ending on a confused note with hardly any fizz at all.

The problem: The portrayal of Rorsach and the Comedian were brilliant and also they were the only genuine superheroes people are used to seeing, the others being weak willed, confused and resigned to their fates. This was captured well in the comic but the weak direction and acting which was shallow and pretentious, just misguided everyone who dint read the comic. The casting was bad and most performances were flaccid. Flaccid was what Night Owl was when he tried to make love to Silk Spectre in his place. That showed his insecurity and lack of confidence without a suit on.There is a background story giving the reason for this in the novel and also this was supposed to be understood when they finally do it on the top of Archie in the Sky. Snyder totally lost it and audience were clueless about what is happening and they had to endure an atrocious sex scene. This is what happened through out when he left off the fine details which gave strength to the central plot. The sound track too was entirely made of all time hits and was very cheesy. And why the hell were you playing the Sound of Silence during the burial of Comedian?
The Solution: I am no big shot movie producer or script writer but the Watchmen is not unfilmable. It is just cannot be condensed into 2 or 3 hours. What should have been done is a two part movie or a 6 part miniseries with nothing edited out including the actual mind bomb and the Black Freighter. All its ugliness the book portrays and the goriness which ensues by the end, which was hard to be read on print if reproduced on the big screen in its relevance would have made a cinematic masterpiece and I believe Snyder is still the best man to do it, just not in the one film captures it all medium.

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