Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Movie Review - "Watchmen"


I was looking forward to "Watchmen". Personally, I am a huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy movies (my dog is named Obi-wan). So I eventually land up watching most sci-fi movies and liking many which others absolutely detest (Waterworld, Alien vs Predator to name a few).

I read "Watchmen" last year and was amazed by the creativity, blown away by the plot and, quite frankly, a little bored by the speed at which the story moved. Even to a naive film critic like me, it was apparent that capturing the essense of such a progressive, creative and complex story on screen would be tremendously difficult.

Director Zack Snyder manages to do that, to a large extent. Through his signature semi-slow motion fight sequences and the camera technique that were present in "300", he creates the fantasy world of 1980's USA with President Nixon still in power after winning the Vietnam War with the help of the Watchmen. It's easy to draw similarities between Christopher Nolan and him despite their distinct styles.

But the sets, photography and special effects are the not the 'meat and potatoes' of this super hero flick. The characters and the story is the most important part of this movie. I suspect that this is one of the main reasons for a lukewarm response by audiences that expected to be wowed away by action sequences, special effects and invincible superheroes.

Let's get to the crux of the movie - the characters. The acting of Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Comedian) is exceptional. Haley, in particular, was outstanding.

Crudup (Dr. Manhattan), Ackerman (Silk Spectre) and Wilson (Nite Owl) are ok - with some good moments and some bad moments. According to me, all three of them were miscast. I am certain there are other actors who would have portrayed these characters better.

I have always liked Carla Gugino in all the little roles she does (and she rarely does anything of consequence). Goode as Ozymandias is the weakest link of the movie. It would be unfair to call his acting terrible but he fails to deliver the critical punch that the movie requires to attract more people to the theatres.

All in all, I came out of the theatre entertained. The movie was not exceptional but contrary to what others have said, I think it is much better than "300".

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