Rating: For the Fans
The movie Watchmen isn’t like other movies based upon cherished works. If a Harry Potter book fan is going to see a Harry Potter movie, they should arrive with tempered expectations and doubts of the film living up to the book’s righteousness. The opposite is true with Watchmen. The movie is so faithful to Alan Moore’s and Dave Gibbons’s graphic novel of the same title, it never successfully creates its own identity. Anyone not familiar with the story and characters may very well find themselves unable to greatly enjoy it.
The biggest change from a paper to screen is sound, and music. Watchmen fails to take advantage with this, choosing a frequently odd and out-of-place soundtrack in lieu of a score. With such an epic story to be told,
a powerful score would’ve been instrumental in better separating the movie from the book interpretations.
That isn’t to say the movie doesn’t do anything well for itself. The visuals are gripping as would be expected for such a large budget movie with a pre-existing art direction. The characters Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) and the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) are handled very well, which is important for both fans and random moviegoers alike. Both are the two most accessible characters in the story. The leads, Nite Owl (Stephen McHattie) and Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), are fairly well represented, but the character of Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), despite his detachment, sounds as though he’s on the verge of tears with half his lines. In fact, most characters have scenes where the acting isn’t quite believable, such as the Comedian’s breakdown.
Overall, this film should be seen by any fan of the graphic novel. Anyone with no prior Watchmen affiliation might need to steer clear of this extremely reverent adaptation of a story that isn’t the most accessible to begin with.
That is, if you can resist.
Watchmen is currently in theaters.