Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Vulcan Stev’s family movie review: Watchmen

Malin Akerman …  Laurie Jupiter / Silk Spectre II
Billy Crudup …  Dr. Manhattan / Jon Osterman
Matthew Goode …  Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias
Jackie Earle Haley …  Walter Kovacs / Rorschach
Jeffrey Dean Morgan …  Edward Blake / The Comedian
Patrick Wilson …  Dan Dreiberg / Nite Owl II
Carla Gugino …  Sally Jupiter / Silk Spectre
Matt Frewer …  Edgar Jacobi / Moloch the Mystic
Stephen McHattie …  Hollis Mason / Nite Owl
Laura Mennell …  Janey Slater

Synopsis from IMDb: An adaptation of Alan Moore’s landmark comic book series, “Watchmen” is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the “Doomsday Clock” – which charts the USA’s tension with the Soviet Union – is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion – a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers – Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity… but who is watching the Watchmen?

Reviewers: VS, PIT#1, PIT#2, PIT#3.  Mrs VS stayed home as she KNEW she wouldn’t like this movie, she was right.
*Note* PITs 1&2 are teenagers, PIT#3 is 10 and had Daddy’s permission to come see this movie as long as he sat next to Daddy and did not object to having his eyes covered at parts Daddy deemed to excessive.

VS: – 1.75 pointed ears
FIrst let me state that I am not some rabid fanboy worshipping at the ‘holy writ’ of Alan Moore.  I have read the graphic novel and enjoyed it immensely.  Was Watchmen a groundbreaking comic for its time? yes.  Was it unfilmable by the technology at the time? yes.  Did Zach Snyder make an equitable film adaptation of the novel? yes.  Will it appeal to the average filmgoer? probably not given the way it was advertised.

There were changes obvious to anyone who has read the graphic novel.  To anyone who has not read the comic the changes do not detract from the storyline at all.  If, as I clearly indicate, I think that Mr. Snyder pulled off what many deemed as impossible, just why did I give it the rating that I did?

First the violence, although present in the source material, was overdone for my tastes.  We did not need to see bones breaking, hatchets cleaving, and bullets penetrating to make this movie.  The comic has these events occuring outside the panel borders.  Clever angles and editing could have conveyed the violence without being quite so graphic.  Second, Dr Manhattan’s well …ah anatomy.  There was, to my recollection, ONE scene that showed full frontal in the book and Doc M. was not so well endowed, clearly average in the book.  It was distracting.  Third, the soundtrack.  I realize Mr. Snyder was trying to provide generational hooks by using songs from the appropriate era depicted, but seriously 99 Luft Balloons?

As I write this I’m also reading a news story that Watchmen’s box office earnings have dropped 71% from opening weekend.  Our experience bears this out, the theater was 3/4 empty when watched the 2:00pm show.  Why?  in my opinion it’s because the studio mis-marketed this movie.  Audiences not familiar withthe graphic novel were lead to believe they were getting this year’s Iron Man or The Dark Knight.  What they got was a over-violent murder mystery set in a world with costumed adventurers.  I blame the studio system for this.  Audiences did not get what they were lead to expect.  The fallout is that Hollywood is going to blame the director, script and source material rather than themselves.  The suits are not going to see this as a marketing failure but rather, “We listened to the director about sticking to the source material and look what happened.”  As a result we’re going to see more “Hollywoodized” adaptations in the future.

What did the director get right?  Cutting out the annoying ‘comic-within-a-comic’, losing some of the subplots and the change to the ending although criticized by some was entirely believeable and served the same purpose.  Zach Snyder did the best job he could without making a 5-hour mini-series.  His attention to detail was obvious, I’m looking forward to the director’s cut. 

PIT#1: – 1.9 pointed ears
Dad tried to give us a background tutorial into the Watchmen without revealing the plot twist at the end.  He had read some reviews were people stated that they had a hard time following the story plot-line.  Dad’s explanation confused me, the movie did not.  This movie requires you to pay attention.  You are not spoon-fed the plot you are required to think.  Kudos to Zach Snyder for not caving to studio demands.

Was the violence excessive? yes in my opinion.  To much was shown graphically that didn’t need to be shown.  I won’t reveal what but if you’ve seen the movie you’ll understand which scenes I’m talking about.  This movie is not for the squeamish.  It’s not a hack-fest like Friday the 13th but the violence was still too over-the-top.  The sex scene made me uncomfortable.

PIT#2: – 1.7 pointed ears
Dad confused me as well with his explanation.  After I saw the movie I understood what Dad was talking about but I had no trouble following the movie.  If you’re expecting a standard Super Hero flick go rent Iron Man.  If you want to watch a whodunnit with plenty of action then go see Watchmen.  The violence got out-of-hand at times.  They could’ve easily shot this movie as a PG-13 without changing one bit of the plot.  All it would’ve taken was a few judicous edits.

PIT#3: – 1.7 pointed ears
Daddy tried to make me cover my eyes at the icky parts.  I did see the man’s arm break and that was disgusting.   I closed my eyes when the kissing and sex were on the screen.  This is NOT a super hero movie.  It’s a mystery that has heroes in it.  This movie would’ve been nicer on the small screen (at least for me).  I enjoyed the movie and I’m happy Daddy took me, but the director could’ve left out some stuff.

7.05 pointed ears out of 8
Be forewarned that the violence in this movie IS excessive.  Only you can determine what is appropriate for your family.  Be forewarned that this is NOT a super hero movie in the tone of Iron Man, Spider-Man, or even The Dark Knight.  This is a murder mystery set in a world of costumed adventurers.  Pay attention when watching this film you can’t be mindless with this flick, the story does not take you by the hand.

Watchable (with reservations).  I plan on buying the Director’s cut DVD.

March 16, 2009 - Posted by | Comic Books, DC, Movie Reviews | , , , , , , ,


  1. […]Vulcan Stev’s family movie review: Watchmen – 03/16/2009 Starring: Malin Akerman …  Laurie Jupiter / Silk Spectre […]

    Pingback by Posts about DVD News as of March 16, 2009 » DVD Newsroom | March 16, 2009

  2. I’m planning to get back to something I started over a year ago, and with Watchmen out now, it seems like a good time to kick start it again. I’ll let you and the rest of the Paladins know about it as the time gets closer.

    Comment by Hank Harwell | March 16, 2009

  3. @Hank Ooo, cryptic. Can’t wait. BTW as you stated you were waiting for the family’s take on this flick what did you think?

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | March 16, 2009

  4. Did you find the squid in the movie?

    We did:

    Good times.

    Comment by fullbodytransplant | March 16, 2009

  5. I hate to think you’re right about Hollywoodization, but I think the drop in box office has more to do with there was a niche market for this movie to begin with. To even imagine that this movie was going to be an early summer blockbuster is just absurd. Just about everyone who is going to go see this movie… Has gone to see this movie at this point. Done. Yawn. If you aren’t someone who has read the GN, I recommend staying away from the film. If you weren’t interested enough in the material before, you won’t be interested because they cut the pirate bits (thank Kirby).

    The source material is probably the second most over rated comic book series or graphic novel of all time after Dark Knight Returns (incidentally, THAT’S how you brig the Joker back for the next Batman). When I read the GN I did so straight through trying to imagine what it would have been like to read in twelve monthly installments. And let me tell you. It would not hold my interest. Just because you’re all dark and brooding and cynical first, doesn’t make you an innovator. And, have I mentioned how much I don’t think I’ll miss the pirates when I finally RENT this movie?

    Comment by drcheckmate | March 16, 2009

  6. Y’know, Stefan. You really should learn to say what you mean. You shouldn’t hold back like that. It’s unhealthy.

    I thought it was interesting cinematically. Some of the shots were beautifully done (I’m thinking of the swinging bathroom door, specifically).

    @Stev: I love your kids. I think I would have a blas going to movies with them (and you).

    Comment by Hank Harwell | March 16, 2009

  7. @Dr.C I honestly think Watchmen would’ve done better if it had been marketed correctly. Folks went expecting a superhero movie and got a murder mystery. I’m not gonna argue whether Watchmen was overrated or not, it’s a good comic book. The all time best? YMMV It’s a COMIC book not Shakespere.

    @Hank Actually I think you’d enjoy watching a DVD at home with us more. We’re constantly trying to keep ourselves quiet in the theater…
    “Daddy did you see Mad Max on Ozmandyias’ TVs?”
    “Dad was that Max Headroom playing Moloch?”

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | March 16, 2009

  8. Was it Max playing Moloch? Because if it was that makes it a must see.

    “YMMV It’s a COMIC book not Shakespere.” Amen. This concludes the sermon.

    Thanks for the concern Hank 😉 My blood pressure is naturally on the low side of normal, so I have a margin for error, but I do try to not hold back, “Tell us how you really feel,” as one of my old bosses used to say.

    It’s an awesome story. Don’t misunderstand me. But, I meet so many, many people who just refuse to see its flaws and want to have deep conversations about what would you have done in Dr. Manhattan’s position (stay the hell on Mars) or Night Owl (What the heck could he do) or the moral/ethical implications of Ozymandius’ philosophy (no witty line).

    Comment by drcheckmate | March 16, 2009

  9. To answer the question, yes. Matt Frewer, Edison Carter/Max Headroom hissownself was indeed Moloch. I wish he’d had a bigger part.

    Comment by Hank Harwell | March 17, 2009

  10. Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

    Comment by RaiulBaztepo | March 28, 2009

  11. […] in the Universe of… The Watchmen Watchmen as reviewed by the […]

    Pingback by Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen « Vulcan Stev’s Database | April 20, 2009

  12. […] in the Universe of…. The Watchmen Part 4: Nite Owl II The Watchmen as reviewed by the […]

    Pingback by Gaming in the Universe of…. The Watchmen Part 4: Nite Owl II « Vulcan Stev’s Database | April 24, 2009

  13. […] in the Universe of… The Watchmen: Part 5 Silk Specter II The Watchmen as reviewed by the […]

    Pingback by Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen: Part 5 Silk Specter II « Vulcan Stev’s Database | April 28, 2009

  14. […] in the Universe of… The Watchmen Part 6: Ozmandyus The Watchmen as reviewed by the […]

    Pingback by Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen Part 6: Ozmandyus « Vulcan Stev’s Database | April 30, 2009

  15. […] in the Universe of… The Watchmen Part 7: Rorshach The Watchmen as reviewed by the […]

    Pingback by Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen Part 7: Rorshach « Vulcan Stev’s Database | May 1, 2009

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: