Author Topic: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)  (Read 3774 times)

FerriswheelBueller

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Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« on: March 26, 2021, 12:39:10 AM »
It’s dead fucking good, why is this a 65% on rotten tomatoes?

Yes, it’s highly stylized and a bit silly at times but no more so than your average superhero film and I massively prefer the nihilist realism to the escapist fantastical “ooh everything’s alright in the end” stuff of other films in the same genre. Give me gritty reality in my fictional nonsense story any day.

It even has a satirical and broadly left wing critique of political and institutional power, along with the best use of The Times They Are A’Changin’ in a film opening that I’m aware of. I thought it was great when it came out and upon this rematch haven’t changed my mind.

More proof that film people are idiots.

Dex Sawash

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2021, 01:45:49 AM »

I find my awareness of this film enhanced by this thread. Praps I will look to see if I could watch it by tapping on my tablet just a few times.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2021, 01:55:28 AM »
I find my awareness of this film enhanced by this thread. Praps I will look to see if I could watch it by tapping on my tablet just a few times.

It took a fair few taps for me, but it’s been worth it. Takes itself a bit seriously at times, but a genuinely enjoyable flick.

Matey playing Rorschach is excellent.

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2021, 02:16:47 AM »
I enjoyed it. Haters can fuck off. It was as faithful an adaptation as you could get given the constraints of a movie. Much more faithful than V for Vendetta.

The sex scene between Nite Owl and Silk Spectre was cringe and went on too long, and some of the subtleties around Sally Jupiter's and the Comedian's relationship were lost. But I understand why they went with Dr. Manhatten as the external threat rather than try to fit in all the clues about the fake alien.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2021, 02:27:09 AM »
Faithful adaptation is definitely the phrase, I don’t think there’s much they cut out. Fucker’s nearly 3hrs long. I’m calling it a day at the 2hr mark, might finish it up tomorrow.

It’s bloated and silly but orders of magnitude better than all those Avengers ones my wife likes and I end up sitting through with bryl-creamed cunts doing snappy Sorkin-lite dialogue and overcoming all odds to save the day.

With ~45mins cut from the runtime, it could have been a stone cold classic but the story is too big (and too good) to give short shrift so here we are. Have they done something to the music in it? It sounds super vibrant and clean, not sure what I mean by that but it’s true.

Anyway, I’m off to bed. Night!

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2021, 02:34:44 AM »
Yeah I remember it being pretty decent as well. I enjoyed the comic though it was never close to my heart, maybe if I was a bigger fan I would have found more to object to about the movie. I seem to recall it was a pretty straightforward adaptation and that it was interesting and solid in more or less the same way the comic is.

I also recall people saying the original worked because it was a metacommentary on superhero comics, not films, but I don't see why the film couldn't work in the same way for superhero films.

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2021, 07:06:52 AM »
I think it's a perfectly watchable film that would be better thought of if the comic didn't exist or wasn't as loved.

However, I do think the film tries too hard to be faithful to the comic and loses something as a result. Not through the stylisation or slo-mo or anything like that, more the shot-for-shot recreation of the novel. It was unnecessary and a better film would've remained had they trimmed things down. I can understand why they didn't, because there'd have been plenty of negative reaction from some fans to whatever was cut out, but I think that's a large part of the reason for the middling reviews.

And I also think the ending, whilst again an understandable decision, did detract from the overall message of the story.

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2021, 07:29:12 AM »
I'm guessing Alan Moores attitude to DC and adaptations is probably a significant factor in why it wasnt liked more, there did seem to be a predisposition for fans to hate it akin to the recent Ghost in the Shell film.

I spose somewhat relevant to recent CaB in whether the sex and violence is viewed as "ironic" being an issue? it does kind of inhabit the middle ground were you question whether its poking fun or just enjoying those aspects although I felt the sex scene at least was more deliberately silly.

The Comedian and Rorschach I felt were both very played indeed.

Povidone

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2021, 08:37:42 AM »
Nah, it's mediocre at best, remember being underwhelmed by it in the cinema. The performances are fine everyone is a well cast simulacrum of their comic book counterpart (although Malin Åckerman looks a bit lost) and I'd agree that the change to the ending makes sense.

It's just a bit of an over stylised nothing beyond that, doesn't do anything to elevate the source material and the only additional flourish added is a tonally wrong and utterly embarrasing sex scene. Standard Zack Synder innit, down to the trite music cues. Have no desire to see it again when i could just read the graphic novel.

I know I seem to have a bee in my bonnet about Zack Snyder and from what I can tell he seems like a fairly decent guy but his films have only ever solicited anything between boredom and outright disgust from me. Should probably just stop watching them really.

I am surprised this has such a low rating though, I'd always thought it was generally well received.

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2021, 08:44:17 AM »
I really enjoyed it, despite not really getting on with the revised ending.  The casting was excellent, especially Rorschach and Doctor Manhattan.  I love his calm, dispassionate, softly-spoken voice.  The whole Doctor Manhattan origin sequence is particularly good. 

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2021, 08:48:41 AM »
along with the best use of The Times They Are A%u2019Changin%u2019 in a film opening that I%u2019m aware of. I thought it was great when it came out and upon this rematch haven%u2019t changed my mind.

More proof that film people are idiots.

I really agree with you on that point. The The Times They Are Are a-Changin' intro is potent stuff. Deeply moving as well as incredibly effective in terms of conveying the back story. Gives me shivers just thinking about it.

I think 65% is about right tbh. It didn't really need adapting at all (and if they really had to, it should have been smarter and more in the spirit of the book - an in-world documentary about the Minutemen or something) BUT it's not bad like a lot of people say and I have more time for it than most superhero movie rubble.

Oddly enough, I've just started watching the series. That's probably for another thread though, innit? Burp!

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2021, 09:10:46 AM »
I found it well made but ultimately unengaging and I am not sure why. I think it is partly because I don't really like the style that Snyder established with this film and continued with his DCU stuff. At least with this film the morose tone is justified by the source material.

Isn't the much-derided sex scene meant to be ridiculous? Or is it still risible even given that?

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2021, 09:16:04 AM »
Is it fair to say that Zach Snyder isn't a director of great vision, but he's a very competent adapter of comics to the big screen? I enjoyed 300 as well, although I can see why people take issue with it.

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2021, 09:54:34 AM »
I think part of the problem with Snyder is that he is a stylist who thinks he is a visionary

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2021, 10:15:39 AM »
I really agree with you on that point. The The Times They Are Are a-Changin' intro is potent stuff. Deeply moving as well as incredibly effective in terms of conveying the back story. Gives me shivers just thinking about it.
I've read people really hating on the intro, but I definitely think it's close to the best bit of the film. It's an obvious song, but sometimes the obvious works really well, especially as most people don't actually listen to early Bob Dylan, they just absorbed the song through snippets. So actually hearing the whole thing, with those images, is very powerful.

In terms of the film, it does a nice job of displaying superheroes as morally bankrupt assholes. It doesn't do anything very profound or moving, and you could argue that it would be more effective if there was less bloat and slow-mo and more focus on the short sharp shock and the human, but it's certainly not a bad film. I'm currently watching Amazon series The Boys, which does the same thing with similar levels of violence, but isn't really any better, because it's hard to sculpt a moving human drama about crazy guys in funny suits.

The ending is problematic because while it's a neat idea, it is so bizarre and out of the blue, it does destroy the impact of any of the smaller-scale drama earlier in the film.

But in retrospect Watchmen was one of the first films to be killed by angry fanboys, and deserves a place in Hollywood history for that, if nothing else.

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2021, 10:38:13 AM »
Which ending do you mean? The ending that was in the comic, wherein Adrian's plan all along was to kill millions of people and blame an external godlike force so that the nations of the world would band together?

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2021, 10:44:02 AM »
I haven't seen it since it came out but I remember really liking it. I also haven't fully read the comic though, which probably helps.

robotam

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2021, 10:57:30 AM »
The other day everyone on twitter was going on about how the Snyder Cut is surprisingly good (haven't watched it, can't really be bothered with any new superhero movies).

I wondered if this might end up getting a reevaluation. It's good!
I got the ultimate cut which includes the comic-within-the-comic adaptation and it's good too.

I enjoy slow motion as a way of recreating comic panels. With a good comic you sometimes want to just stare at the art for a while. Much better than all the wizbangs and what not you have in lots of these iron mans.

It doesn't really do anything better than the comic but sometimes its just easier to watch a movie. You can sit on a comfy chair and shovel crisps into your gob. Not a worry about staining pages with weird salt and vinegar chemicals. This is, of course, the best reason for any movie adaptation to exist.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2021, 11:32:22 AM »
I liked it but don't generally like comic book films and watched it before reading the comic (which I kind of regret really).

Bad Ambassador

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2021, 11:51:39 AM »
I was the only one in the group who saw it together who didn't like it. The others have since come round to my way of thinking.

Shameless Custard

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2021, 12:52:39 PM »
Not seen it in ages, but count me in as another fan. I really love the book, but this was about as good an adaptation as I think it'd be possible to get, with slight changes that made sense.

I do find it strange how Snyder was so slavish to the source material for this, but managed to get the likes of Batman and Superman so wrong just a few years later

The telly series is a sequel to the book, and is excellent. I'd happily place it alongside the film on the shelf, if DVDs were still a thing. Lindelof is involved, but don't let that put you off

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2021, 01:15:48 PM »
It's...okay, I guess, but as an adaptation it's very surface-level. It pretty much just skips over any deeper themes going on in the original, particularly with Rorschach, who in the film comes across as a pure anti-hero rather than the damaged, deranged individual he is in the comic. Did Snyder not understand that the character was supposed to be a critique of objectivist thinking, rather than an affirmation of it? I don't think he did.

The film also spoiled one of the great moments of the story, when Rorschach's mask is removed and he's revealed to be a complete nobody, just some unhinged gawky weirdo. Jackie Earl Haley plays him(without the mask) too much like an obviously Clint Eastwood-like tough guy, so the impact is lost. This also affects the scenes in the prison later - comic Rorschach despatches those cons with chillingly cold detachment, but the way Snyder shoots those scenes we're clearly supposed to be pumping our fists and going "WOO YEAH! FUCK THOSE GUYS UP RORSCHACH!"

I'm still disappointed we didn't get Paul Greengrass's version to be honest. Or Terry Gilliam's.

Mister Six

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2021, 01:34:50 PM »
Aside from the Dylan intro (which is great), all the good stuff comes from the comics and all the shite stuff is new. It's kind of incredible though - a film that manages to be a near panel-to-frame re-enactment of the comic AND totally fail to understand the heart and purpose of the original story.

The problem, of course, is that Zack Snyder is a thicko Randian US libertarian sort who worships physical strength, and Alan Moore is a beardy magical anarchist who wrote book as (among other things) a critique of Randian politics[1] and Might Makes Right.

The TV show is good though.

Because it's not made by someone who's a moron.
 1.  Rorschach is a pisstake of Mr A and The Question, both created by Objectivist loon Steve Ditko.

Blumf

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2021, 01:45:30 PM »
Did Snyder not understand that the character was supposed to be a critique of objectivist thinking, rather than an affirmation of it? I don't think he did.

To be clear, he is an Ayn Rand fan. So no wonder he failed to understand the meaning behind Rorschach (or much of anything in his career)

And yep, a good looking, but ultimately hollow adaption. Misunderstanding so much of the source; The Comedians death being glamorised, the rape of Sally Jupiter being eroticised, the death of Hollis Mason turned into a heroic last stand, and pretty much everything about Rorschach (although fans had gotten the wrong end of the stick on that before the film) being some stand out bits.

Having said all that, it's still an enjoyable film, just not as good as you'd like.

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2021, 01:51:25 PM »
Rorschach is a pisstake of Mr A and The Question, both created by Objectivist loon Steve Ditko.
Though I would say the take on the Question by Dennis O'Neill from the late 80s was great. Was a nice meta scene where Vic Sage picks up a copy of 'Watchmen' to read during a plane trip and being inspired to take on the style of his fellow masked avenger - but ending up in a bloodied heap and concluding "Rorschach sucks".

Mister Six

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2021, 02:37:59 PM »
Ha, funny. I've heard good things about that run. Yeah I'm not writing off the Question completely, and really Mr A was where Ditko's Objectivist philosophy really got dialled up to 11. But it bears pointing out in this context (especially as, in Moore's original pitch for the old Charlton characters, Rorschach would actually have been The Question).

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2021, 05:25:19 PM »
I got the ultimate cut which includes the comic-within-the-comic adaptation and it's good too.

Is that an extra feature or is it actually cut into the film?

The problem, of course, is that Zack Snyder is a thicko Randian US libertarian sort who worships physical strength, and Alan Moore is a beardy magical anarchist who wrote book as (among other things) a critique of Randian politics[1] and Might Makes Right.
 1.  Rorschach is a pisstake of Mr A and The Question, both created by Objectivist loon Steve Ditko.

I think you might have nailed it there, Sixy. I stand by my 65% "entirely watchable" recommendation but this totally the problem in  a nutshell, you're right.

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2021, 05:41:50 PM »

The TV show is good though.

Because it's not made by someone who's a moron.

I enjoyed the TV show because it's it's own weird thing rather than an adaption. It's pretty amazing that it even got made, since it's specifically a sequel to the comic, which the overwhelming majority of the TV audience won't have read. You can't even really fudge it as a sequel to the film because it references the comic ending so much.

Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #28 on: March 26, 2021, 05:46:14 PM »
I enjoyed the TV show because it's it's own weird thing rather than an adaption. It's pretty amazing that it even got made, since it's specifically a sequel to the comic, which the overwhelming majority of the TV audience won't have read. You can't even really fudge it as a sequel to the film because it references the comic ending so much.

Yes! It's impressive how it doesn't give much of a shit for leaving people behind. It's not one of those 'something for the fans and something for the newbs' shows. No idea how this would go down if you hadn't read the comics.

D-Lind's involvement almost put me off. But it's good so far. On ep4.

bgmnts

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Re: Re-evaluating Watchmen (2009)
« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2021, 06:05:06 PM »
Thought it was a bit crap but I really liked the comic book so who knows.

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