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WATCHMEN by Zack Snyder


The critically acclaimed “best graphic novel of all time”, Watchmen, has finally arrived on the silver screen. It’s an alternate history story where masked vigilantes are a reality, though they don’t have any real superpowers with the exception of “Dr. Manhattan” (Billy Crudup), who has developed god-like powers after a freak accident but lives more and more in his quantum world and loses touch with humanity (“The worlds smartest man poses no more threat to me than the worlds smartest cockroach.” “A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles.”). With the help of Dr. Manhattan, the USA have won the Vietnam War, Nixon is President, the Cold War is still going strong, and the Nuclear Doomsday Clock stands at five to midnight. The death of the “Comedian” (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a former masked vigilante now working as a mercenary for the US government, leads to a return of the retired masked avengers as they try to uncover a conspiracy to kill former Watchmen which turns out to be much bigger. The fate of humanity lies in the hands of the Watchmen, but not only do they not possess any real superpowers, they also lack the ethical values of a Superman – murder, rape and fascism are not unknown within their ranks.

More than 20 years have passed since 20th Century Fox first acquired the film rights for Alan Moore’s Watchmen, and numerous studios, directors and actors have been involved in various attempts to adapt the graphic novel for the movies, and Watchmen was declared “unfilmable” by no lesser than Terry Gilliam.
Now Zack Snyder has done the impossible – and he not only filmed the unfilmable, he has done more. Watchmen the film doesn’t look like an adaptation, it looks like the graphic novel has come to life and jumped right on the screen. The cast, makeup, costums, production design, even camera angles – everything looks exactly like in the graphic novel. The plot also follows the storyline of the graphic novel, flashbacks and all, except the ending that has been changed (no giant squid in the film), but the new ending works perfectly.
Comparisons with another “unfilmable” piece of literature are allowed – The Lord Of The Rings. While in The Lord Of The Rings Peter Jackson managed to visualize the readers’ imagination in a brilliant way, Zack Snyder mereley copied and animated already existing images (albeit in a brilliant way). And where Jackson introduced changes in pace and story (e.g. Elves in Helm’s Deep) that worked really great on the screen, Snyder doesn’t dare to mess with the structure of the story that worked so great in the graphic novel but ain’t perfect for a movie and therefore leaves a lot to be desired in consideration of pacing.
The best scenes of Watchmen are the flashbacks, highlighted by a bold but remarkable choice of music (both the flashbacks and music are evoking memories of Forrest Gump – and i mean that in a good way.)
Technically perfect, but lacking the courage for necessary changes to make the story more cinematographic, and with less than a handful of emotionally engaging scenes, Watchmen is a worthy adaptation but altogether fails as a movie. Nonetheless, i’m still looking forward to the Extended Version DVD.

Watchmen - The Comedian  Watchmen - Rorschach 
Silk Spectre and Dr. Manhattan - Watchmen  Watchmen - Silk Spectre and Nite Owl 

Watchmen Movie Trailer

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