For years in limbo, this year we were finally treated to the movie adaptation of the much celebrated Watchmen, a graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Thankfully the movie--barring a bevy of minor complaints--foremost accomplishes it goal of adapting the unadaptable novel, against Moore's better judgment. While I don't believe Moore was completely incorrect, I do believe the movie exceeded both his and many fans expectations. And really folks. Did you see The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? The man has right to complain!
The movie opens with The Comedian / Edward Blake (Jeffery Dean Morgan) is made street pizza, setting events into motion involving the pasts of not only himself but many of his costumed comrades, some of which are dubbed “The Minute Men.” The opening montage deals with most of there fates in a brilliant fashion. The movie deviates from the source few times with rather hit or miss results but here, it's a sure hit. Animating many scenes only mentioned in the book and serving to save my ass from the already demanding 2 hours 47 minutes. However, I was entertained threw out, so this Is a complement not a complaint. This coming from the guy who took a nap during the later part of Peter Jackson's King Kong.
Served with the task of figuring out why the sidewalk has a Blake shaped dent is the new generation of heroes, all of which aren't so new anymore being they were outlawed in 1970's during Nixon's third term—I'm not making this up. Rorschach (impeccability performed by Jackie Earl Haley) never quit , he first catches wind of Blake's death, discovers he is in fact the brute known as Comedian. Thinking someone is getting rid of costumed heroes, Rorschach speaks with former hero Dan Dreiberg
/ Nite Owl (plagued with perpetual hemorrhoids by Patrick Wilson), who no longer practices the fine art of going out with your underwear inside out at 3AM and doing something stupid. He is instead content to gain weight and attempt fornication with yet another former hero Silk Specter II (Malin Akerman) who plays Laurie Jupiter. She wasn't in the comic but Laurie Juspeczyk was. I'm gonna call whoever Malin Akerman's playing “Laurie Lite” being Jupiter is much much less bitchy than her comic book doppelganger. She serves as the biggest miss when it comes to adaptation and casting. She is merely a hot body fulfilling a fan boys dream with none of the characterizations the comic book imbued her with. While Laurie Lite's newfound kindness makes Dan's life easy, it makes for a boring movie. Dr. Manhattan (played with high effective neurotic bordem by a digitally blue and naked Billy Crudup.) used to put up with her, but is now too busy being the only super powered being in the movie. Capable of near anything, warping time, matter, giving cancer, Dr. Manhattan would rather make reservations at a nude beach than save the world. The plot thickens as he no long wishes to serve as the centerpiece of America's security and casual leaves for Mars.
While Armageddon looms, the movie busies itself exploring these very human characters rather than action. Least the book did. Many action scenes were left in while dialog and characterization is cut and streamlined. This lends the strange effect of being needlessly vulgar, when the book generally had good reason for it's extremes. Dr. Manhattan's nudity being the prime example. This, I can't really blame on anyone besides the movie business as a conceptual whole. If all the detail and plots from the book were left in, the movie would bristle over at about 4 hours on a good day, resulting in both fans being content and casual viewers being bored, leading to box office and critical hemorrhaging.
Without going into spoilers, I believe fans will find some of the changes jarring but understandable. The casual movie goer may find themselves confused and dumbfounded but none the less intrigued in the dense tale they've just been hit with. None the less, director Zac Snyder has said his goal is to introduce more people to the graphic novel and please current fans. I believe he has succeeded in both respects. My suggestion agrees, please watch the movie first, then read the book.