Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rick's Movie Review

Watchmen: As Seinfeld Might Ask, 'What's the Big Deal?'

The point of a movie version of a book is to be as faithful to the source material as possible without confusing or alienating those who haven't read it. For example, I've read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Gone With the Wind and I appreciate the movies even while knowing characters were dropped and things were changed because it stayed true to the written page. While I haven't read Oliver Twist or Rebecca, I could follow the plot and enjoy the movies in spite of not knowing what I was missing. The films of these stories were successful because they were handled by expert filmmakers who managed both not alienate the readers and introduce the stories to new audiences.

The same cannot be said for Watchmen. I confess to never having heard of Watchmen until publicity for the movie put it on the map. Now that the movie is out, well, I can only wonder what all the fuss was about.

The film seems an amalgamation of various other films. Visually, you have touches of Apocalypse Now and Dr. Strangelove. Take an element of The Incredibles (superheroes being murdered off one by one), a bit of X-Men (superheroes/mutants being outlawed), throw in some Cannibal Holocaust (very intense violence) and a dash of Gore Vidal's Caligula (a sex scene & frontal nudity that puts the 'graphic' in graphic novel.) Given the reputation of the novel, I'm suprised they didn't have a scene echoing Citizen Kane, given that I was lead to believe Watchmen was something akin to that.

Perhaps the book is a masterpiece--I've been told so anyway. However, something got lost in translation, and at 163 minutes it leaves someone who hasn't read the book in the dark. Ultimately, this was made for the core fans, not the general public. And in that, it can only be a failure.


To read the full review of Watchmen, visit

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