|Watchmen (DVD, 2009, 5-Disc Set) (DVD, 2009)|
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Let me clear up some possible misconceptions before we go any further.
This film is emphatically NOT a kid's movie. Nor is it a straight-up superhero action flick. It will not appeal to anyone wanting characters along the lines of a certain blue spandex-clad, flying Boy Scout. If you are looking for any of these things, please back away from the "buy it now" button until you've read further.
With me so far? Good.
The year is 1985, Nixon is in his fifth term as President, the globe is teetering on the brink of nuclear apocalypse. Costumed heroes of this alternate reality are normal people who just want to make a difference, but they've been outlawed by Presidential decree. The two who are still free to work are working directly for the government ...in very different capacities. The one truly super-powered being in the whole bunch is a reluctant, accidental hero who is deeply ambivalent about the role that he has been conscripted to play. (Note: he spends most of the movie naked. He's supposed to be. Nudity is a human concern, and when you can see atoms and manipulate them with a thought, you realize that the only difference between air and underwear is how the molecules link up. He is utterly alone in the universe, armored in his increasing detachment from the human race.)
Against this political backdrop is a murder. This is the sequence that starts everything rolling. Don't let the opening scene fool you into thinking that this is a straightforward action movie. As a 95% faithful adaptation of the source material, it veers straight into philosophy, psychology, and other non-explosion-oriented areas. Anyone who is familiar with Alan Moore's work, most comparably "V for Vendetta", knows that he doesn't do simplistic. Moral ambiguity is thick upon the ground, paranoid angst is the mood of the day, and even the good guys can leave you questioning the definition of the word "good"; characters who are far more complex, and flawed, than the usual costumed crimefighter. Bruce Wayne has never mused about the impossibility of compromise, nor has the aforementioned flying Boy Scout ever said "the heck with this" and gone off for an extended sulk on Mars. Alan Moore had his characters do these things, director Zack Snyder didn't mess with that decision, and we get an amazing movie that doesn't spoon-feed the viewer. Can you still call yourself a hero if you're willing to kill a million people to save billions of others? Must one ultimately become a monster to fight monsters wearing human faces? There are no easy answers in "Watchmen".
What "Watchmen" does provide is an intelligent story, dry wit, some of the best choreographed (and disturbingly realistic) fight scenes ever committed to film, grit, ugliness, a twisty plot, beauty, love, and even hope. It doesn't offer a neatly tied-up happy ending, but then, neither does life. It's breathtakingly filmed, with fantastic effects that don't get in the way of the story. The changes in the storyline from print to film don't weaken the finished product. This is not only one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I've ever seen, it has become one of my favorite movies for its complexity and vision. It's not typical Hollywood fare; that this movie was made at all, let alone made so well and faithfully, is -- as Dr. Manhattan might say -- a thermodynamic miracle.
Watchmen stars Billy Crudup (Mission: Impossible III), Jackie Earle Haley (The Bad News Bears), and Matthew Goode (Chasing Liberty).
This is a dark story of an alternate america where a bunch of retired super heros set out to discover who murdered one of their kind. Along the way the discover they are all on the endangered list as someone (or something) wants to rid the world of all superheroes.
The movie is pretty dark in that it has a lot of adult type situations that may be unsuitable for younger viewers so you may want to pass on this if you have younger viewers who will watch it.
If you are into the comic book superhero type magazines, like The Dark Knight, you will absolutely love this movie as it is entertaining. The only drawback is it is rather long.
Rated 5 of 5
This was one of the best movies of the year besides Harry Potter, and an opening that has captured the best of all mediums, music, art, history. The music selection for this movie is just top notch as well, from Bob Dylan, to Simon and Garfunkel. I love the setting as well, and the little additions to how history has come to pass by means of these super heroes, Vietnam, JFK assassination, etc. Each character is developed in such depth and the story unfolds and comes together in a fascinating and marvelous way. You really get a true feel of humanity through these characters. Although they are super humans there emotions and actions are still human none the less. The difference between this film and some of Franks other work is that there is meaning to the actions and reactions here, not just a blood fest for the masses. Frank Miller has put out some real garbage, but this, this is beautiful.
RATING 5 / 5
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I'm surprised to hear a lot of reviews saying that this is just an action movie for teenage boys; I thought quite the opposite. There was much less action than I expected, the movie centered mostly on emotions and ideas conveyed through dialog, narration and character flashbacks. The action scenes were all fairly short, though when there was action it was delightfully innovative. There were a lot of nasty and unexpected twists like limbs snapping, guts sticking to the ceiling, bones audibly crunching... Every time something violent happened, they made it interesting and shocking rather than recreating the generic ho-hum violence of every other movie. (And there was no obligatory 30-minute-long final action scene culminating in the conclusion of the plot... oh joy! Those get so boring.) Plus, many of the scenes were rather bold for a mainstream film, and showed certain things that are normally hidden off-screen or completely avoided. The only example I feel I can give without spoiling anything is the full frontal male nudity, something that is rather conspicuously hidden in almost every Hollywood movie. This movie isn't concerned about hiding little things like that, just as it isn't concerned about hiding certain subjects that most movies wouldn't show.
This movie definitely isn't for everyone. People expecting another Dark Knight will be disappointed, as this movie is completely unique. People who want an action movie and don't want all that talking and thinking will be disappointed. But to those looking for a long, complicated, deeply moving epic that will really make them think about the very concepts of right, wrong, and heroism (and who haven't read the book, which based on other reviews seems to ruin it): Do NOT miss this movie!
I was excited when Watchmen - 2 disc Director's Cut/Special Edition finally arrived, I'd never seen it before, never read any of the comics, didn't know what to expect but knew instinctively that I would like it. I wasn't wrong. My wife was concerned with the length but I didn't care. It took me a little bit to figure out what was going on (I'd read reviews and story plotlines before watching it so we wouldn't be completely in the dark, but still...), but once I got into the story, I didn't want to let go. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, I'd like to watch it again but it'll be awhile before my wife will want to see it again and I don't like watching movies by myself. This movie stuck with me, made an impression on me for several days after we'd watched it, not too many movies do that to/for me. It definitely appealed to both the adult and the little kid in me. You really need to pay attention to what's going on but the payoff is great. I'm glad I bought this movie, and this version of this movie, I was most definitely NOT disappointed. -kd5-