Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rorschach's Journal: October 12th, 1985. Tonight, a comedian died in New York.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

This has been one of the hardest movies for me to review. I actually began writing it as my 200th review spectacular but I couldn't end up getting the words right and Princess and the Frog got that spot. Then in the past couple months I have started and stopped this review at different points almost posting it before ultimately deleting it. But why is it so hard to review?

Watchmen is what I like to (as well as Tom Clift and a lot of other bloggers) a flawed masterpiece. It's the David missing an arm. It's so visually stunning, extremely well written and well acted but at the same time there are problems with wonky visuals, questionably timed scenes and a couple REALLY bad performances. The plot is also almost too hard to describe without spoiling but I don't WANT to spoil it since it's such a good story as well. I feel like Travis from Taxi Driver when I review this movie.

If you're wondering I have seen all three versions of the movie (theatrical, director's cut and extended cut) and each are about the same in quality. For me, who loves to see everything that a movie has to offer, the extended cut is better but the quality of the editing goes down the drain in that one so I'd probably say see the Director's cut and if you want everything else rent the extra part on DVD/Blu-ray.

The basic plot is this: there are a group of superheroes known as the minutemen. They aren't really "super" heroes but do possess enhanced strength, speed, mental capacity and reflex time so in a way there super but not...screw this I'm not going into that argument. But basically one by one the Minutemen are picked off except for four (Comedian, Silk Spectre, Night Owl and Dr. Manhattan ). Soon after however the Watchmen are created and they consist of the same four (but with Silk Spectre being the original's daughter and the Night Owl now the original Night Owl's friend) but also include a man named Rorschach and a man named Ozymandias to round them out. But soon after they are put together Nixon disbands all superheroes and the Watchmen spread out. On October 12th, 1985 however the Comedian is murdered and that is the catalyst that brings the Watchmen back together and facing some of their own past demons that they already have.

That was hard to write without spoiling but hopefully I did well. The acting overall is great. Rorschach (played by Jackie Earl Haley) is brilliantly devious and embodies the character from head to toe. Night Owl (Patrick Wilson) is great as well playing a man who struggles with his own life and his own problems while trying to be the "good guy." Billy Crudup's Manhattan is amazing and almost enchanting to watch and Jeffery Dean Morgan's Comedian is a hard performance to watch but it's so good.

Then you have Matthew Goode, Malin Akerman and Carla Gugino who all bring this film down a few notches. Goode is a pain to watch and comes off as too arrogant. I realize his character is your atypical snooty rich guy but he's going over the top. Akerman isn't horrible but she has about as much depth as cardboard in this role and looks bored half the time. Gugino IS painful to watch because she IS a great actress but she just doesn't give a crap in this film and really brings it down. For those with the extended edition Gerard Butler does a great job as well but that's only for one of the three versions so I wasn't going to mention it before but why not.

The visuals are stunning and a joy to watch. The art style and art direction are brilliant and work well with the film. The soundtrack is brilliant as well and quite touching in some parts. But then you have some songs that are WAAAYY out of place and then...there's the....blue penis. I understand it's necessary for the character's sake but I never wanted to see that much Billy Crudup in my life.

In the end though Watchmen is a masterpiece. Hard to understand at times and sometimes harder to explain the story is well done. The acting sans a few people is well done and the visuals and soundtrack, minus a few are really good. So if you haven't seen it I really recommend you do. You probably won't be sorry.



  1. Have you read the graphic novel? I love the movie to death, but the novel is 1000x better. It's breathtaking. The film is about as good as it can be, given the source material, and that's worthy of praise by itself.

  2. I'm actually an avid fan of the graphic novel. Yes the novel IS better and the squid ending IS better but considering the movie was still pretty damn good.

  3. I generally agree with you. Watchmen is a masterpiece, but I also find it the best film ever made.

    I applaud Snyder for not making compromises and staying true to the source - i.e. leaving Manhattan's blue penis, the sex scenes, violence, etc.

    Oh, and I totally know what you meant by saying this review was hard to write. I ended up writing mine for hours. It's so hard to describe such a masterpiece in a few words.