movie film review | chris tookey


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  Watchmen Review
Tookey's Rating
1 /10
Average Rating
5.37 /10
Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II - Malin Akerman , Dr. Manhattan/Jon Osterman - Billy Crudup
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Directed by: Zack Snyder
Written by: David Hayter, Alex Tse , based on the graphic novel co-created and illustrated by Dave Gibbons [and written by the uncredited Alan Moore]

Released: 2009
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 161

MIXED Reviews

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Great as a movie. However it doesn't have enough of the background story on each character. The movie was said to take certain elements out to focus on character development but it lack [sic] back story with detail. Each hero is explained in a few words leaving so much out. The movie is missing what the book had in why did they choose to be heroes and want to continue in that path. Most reviews are saying that Ozy was the big lacking point in the movie and was not done well. Honestly i think the actor was just ok, not as bad as most people are saying. I think his story and meanings on what happens with him were left out the most. They donít do enough to make you like the character. Rorschach and Nite Owl 2 were performed so well just there [sic] scenes to me are what made the movie so amazing to watch. The way they are portrayed as a former team and were at one time the best of friends was well done... From the fans i was unhappy with the fact that i was the only person who went to the screening dressed up as anyone. I went to the show as Rorschach and enjoyed doing so.
(Philip Tyko,
Love it or hate it, Watchmen is worth seeing.
(Amy Nicholson, Box Office)
Stumbles and sometimes falls on its top-heavy ambitions. But there are also flashes of visual brilliance and performances, especially from Haley and Crudup, that drill deep into the novel's haunted soul.
(Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)
In the canon of comic-book movies, it's not as campy bad as the Batman starring George Clooney, but nowhere near the caliber of the Spider-Man movies or The Dark Knight. It may have more style, but it's only a jot more entertaining than Catwoman.
(Claudia Puig, USA Today)
Watchmen is neither desecratory disaster nor total triumph. In filming David Hayter and Alex Tse's adaptation of the most ambitious superhero comic book ever written, director Zack Snyder has managed to address the cult while pandering to the masses.
(J. Hoberman, Village Voice)
Snyder may have replicated the narrative faithfully (with the exception of a change to a climactic plot device) and re-created the dark look of the comic books, but the nuances are gone. The film is too busy, too narratively dense, and too awkwardly structured for it to achieve the level of absorption that one can get from reading the books... Watchmen isn't brain-dead, and that's a good thing. In fact, the opposite is true. But the film, as pregnant with ideas as it may be, has trouble standing on its own, and for a movie that's opening in thousands of theaters, that's a problem. For the Watchmen fan, this may be as close to the Holy Grail as a motion picture could come. For everyone else, a sense of frustration and disappointment is not unwarranted. Watchmen is many things but it is not the Next Great Comic Book Movie or the film that will advance graphic novel adaptations to the next level.
(James Berardinelli, Reelviews)
The most eagerly anticipated (as well as the most beleaguered) movie of the year (if not the century), Watchmen is neither desecratory disaster nor total triumph... Although the ending has been somewhat modified from the novel's, let it be said that Watchmen doesn't lack for self-confidence or even entertainment value. Its failure is one of imagination†ó although faithfully approximating Dave Gibbons's original drawings, the filmmakers are unable to teleport themselves to the level of the original concept. Perhaps no one could have, but it would have been fun to see what sort of mess Terry Gilliam (who hoped to make a movie version back in the '80s) or Richard Kelly (who surely took inspiration from Watchmen in conceptualizing his no less convoluted comic book saga Southland Tales) would have made of Moore's magnum opus. Snyder's movie is too literal and too linear. Social satire is pummeled into submission by the amplified pow-kick-thud of the sub-Matrix action sequences; not just metaphysics and narrative are simplified, but even character is ultimately eclipsed by the presumed need for violent spectacle.
(J. Hoberman, Village Voice)
For years, fanboys of every age have demanded that the big-screen adaptation of Watchmen be an act of artistic fidelity on par with the restoration of the Sistine Chapel. In a literal sense, they may feel rewarded by Zack Snyder's teemingly ambitious, jam-packed movie version. A tall tale of fallen superheroes, set against a Doomsday Clock countdown to impending nuclear war, Watchmen, as a movie, serves up all (or most) of the graphic novel's themes, layers, images, backstories, obfuscations, and self-conscious tough-guy pulp-noir mystique. Leaping from the alleys of Manhattan to the pink wilderness of Mars, it also has a feverish and deranged intricacy (which, to be honest, is the nice way to put it), and its key figures are not heroes in any conventional way. A few of them even act like the violently alienated sociopaths they are. Feel free to nitpick what Snyder has left out of Watchmen. It's hard not to be impressed by what he has wedged in... On the page, Watchmen was a paranoid, mind-tripping pastiche of everything from The Incredible Hulk to Naked Lunch. But when characters who are knowing throwbacks are literally brought to life on screen, they can seem more like half-hearted ripoffs. What gave the graphic novel its hint of metaphysical cachet is the way that it collapsed chronology. The '40s blurred into the '80s, the present spilled into a desolate abyss ó and that telescoping of time became a metaphor for the inevitability of nuclear war. A no-future nihilism bled from the very grain of Moore and Gibbons' pop vision of the 20th century. But that's a real problem for the movie, since the Cold War nuclear fears of the '80s never did come to pass. Watchmen isn't boring, but as a fragmented sci-fi doomsday noir, it remains as detached from the viewer as it is from the zeitgeist.
(Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)
Watchmen is the most eagerly anticipated superhero film of all time Ė by its culty legion of fans, at least, and I count myself among them Ė and so it pains me to say that, while scrupulously faithful in nearly every regard (save the ending) to writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons' landmark DC Comics series (which ran from 1986 to '87 before being collected into a single-volume graphic novel), the film itself is bizarrely cold and uninvolving... Snyder's film is, at two hours and 41 minutes, a bit of a snooze. It's beautifully designed, stoically paced in the finest film-noir tradition, and awash in arresting imagery Ė one brief sequence of the towering man-god Dr. Manhattan (Crudup) decimating a group of fleeing Vietcong is unforgettable Ė but it never manages to make the exquisite emotional connection the comic so handily does. The most memorable thing about it is Haley's riveting performance as Rorschach, a borderline sociopath whose black-and-white morality has no place in a four-color world. Watchmen is worth seeing, fan or no, for Haley's squirmy presence alone, and all the other characters are also well-served. But at the end of the day, Watchmen the movie hasn't nearly the impact of Watchmen the comic. The latter was and is apocalyptically challenging in its literary and graphic ambition, breadth, and scope of narrative. The former, despite its desperate attempts to stay true to the heart, mind, and soul of its source, is apocalyptically bland and ultimately unnecessary, an addendum to a world gone mad, a Post-it note on an asylum door.
(Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle)
Fitfully touching on a variety of complex issues, but never entirely satisfyingly so, Watchmen is shockingly devoid of natural narrative pull - a beautifully constructed rocket that never quite gets off the ground.
(Brent Simon, Screen International)
Itís not a bad film. Itís actually coldly, technically brilliant. And it honours Moore and Gibbons only too well. But itís monumental and slab-like, an exercise in cinematic taxidermy, in need of a lightning strike to animate its parts.
(Nick Setchfield, SFX Magazine)
It looks fabulous, this striking comic book fantasy with themes as massive as its extravagant special effects. Set on a backdrop of impending nuclear war in the 80s, the characters are an intriguing collection of troubled superheroes whose back stories we learn in the course of the film's 160 minute running time. Strokes of brilliance are coupled with often garbled storytelling and in the same vein, our interest for the various characters rises and falls like a massive wave about to crash upon the shore... Albeit too long, the film is a wham bam of a cinematic visual effects experience, and storytelling hiccups are partly forgiven in exchange for the mind-blowing visual experience.
(Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile, Australia)
Not my cup of digital tea, but a remarkable film nonetheless, for sheer energy, effort and intensity, as the graphic novel becomes a graphic, violent, bloody, sexy, effects-laden film. Desperate to retain the philosophical and socio-political grunt of its origins (graphic novels tend to seek gravitas in philosophy), Watchmen inserts editorially-ignited slabs of dialogue between scenes of mayhem and carnage as a reminder that there is a point to it all. But that point, in the filmmakers' view, is a dark and derisory view of humanity. We are stupid, violent and chaotic. True. But, and the film does coddle this 'but', we are also capable of great nobility and courage, generosity, etc. For most of the target market (young males), Watchmen will leave a lasting impression as the most excessive of recent films in just about every way. Bone smashing, blood spurting fights, exploding worlds, shattering buildings, sexual activity and visual excitement of every cinematic kind. An effects playroom for boys with e-toys.
(Andrew L. Urban, Urban Cinefile, Australia)
Watchmen, a $150 million adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel, is not here to make friends. It's here to make an impact. It won't be forgotten in a hurry. But many extremely violent scenes earning it an MA 15+ rating will hamper its blockbuster hopes. Sex, politics, a nuclear holocaust, copious blood splattering and bone shattering could make Watchmen's mammoth 160 minutes an ordeal for some. Ferocious flashes of brilliance by wunderkind director Zack Snyder (300) almost match its flaws. Watchmen's admirers and detractors, however, will agree this is the most uncompromising and unorthodox superhero movie ever... If your interest flags in the bloated final act, it's not the actors' fault, that's for sure.
(Leigh Patsch, Melbourne Herald Sun)
Watchmen will be praised and savaged by fans and newcomers in equal measure. It is an often bold, visionary film that tackles enormous themes head-on and without compromise: thereís no fig-leaf for Manhattanís size-ten cock for instance. But it also gets waylaid by the enormous scope of the story, the intensity of violence, and the production departmentís budget. At a million dollars a minute, itís reasonable to want just a little bit more Watchmen offers.
(Colin Fraser, Movie Review)
A mesmerising and brutalising experience, and will be, for some at least, more than worth the wait.
(Kevin Maher, Times)
Okay, it isnít the graphic novel, but Zack Snyder clearly gives a toss, creating a smart, stylish, decent adaptation, if low on accessibility for the non-convert.
(Ian Nathan, Empire)
The ultimate tough sell: there will be those who view the film as a bewildering mishmash of underexplored themes, thinly sketched characters and noisy, excessive violence. They're probably right: any work of popular art which demands prior knowledge must be deemed a failure. And yet, thereís something admirable about the entire enterprise: its ungainly size, its unrelenting weirdness, its wilful, challenging intensity. Neophytes should probably steer clear, but for longterm fans of the source work this will be a hugely pleasurable, if ultimately unenlightening experience... Over all it's not a bad film it could have been much much worse, I mean we've had the Spirit show how to really mess up a promising idea.
(Tom Huddlestone, Time Out)
Based on the Holy Grail of graphic novels, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' story can barely be contained in this long, busy film. It's gripping and eye-popping, with terrific characters for the cast to sink their teeth into. But also feels rather overwrought... There are also some bumps along the way, including dodgy makeup to recreate historical figures (Nixon looks like a Spitting Image puppet) and a couple of wobbly effects among the generally outstanding work there. What's on screen is absolutely amazing, and while the book's fans will probably be concerned with what's missing, nonfans will have the opposite reaction because it's both dense and seemingly endless. It's may be a thoroughly entertaining, deeper-than-most action epic packed with classy flourishes (including a fantastic song score), but at nearly three hours it's a bit much.
(Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall)
A fantastically deranged epic; it might be making a bid for flawed-masterpiece status, except that it is probably more flaw than masterpiece... What a spectacle.
(Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)

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