Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Disclaimer: I hated the idea of making this into a movie. I hated the idea of Zack Snyder making this into a movie. I hated the fact that it had to trim out the Black Freighter story from this movie. Otherwise I’m rather shocked to say not only is Watchmen not an utter travesty but it’s actually a rather good film. But how good?

Well let’s start with the casting. Not a foot wrong. The casting in Watchmen is just unbelievably good – where you’d expect a studio to demand a big name to play Rorschach they instead choose Jackie Earle Haley (who I last saw brilliantly play the paedophile in ‘Little Children’) and I can’t stress enough how perfect this casting is. His journals sound like Batman from the Nolan movies, but genuinely psychotic. The kind of man driven mad enough to fight crime in a mask… but not have the lucky reserve of a butler and a billion dollars to keep him on the right side of society. In fact Jackie Earle Haley delivers my favourite line of the movie when his character finds himself behind bars: the cons that he himself had put away approach him and try to scare him but Rorschach simply turns and screams, “You think I’m stuck in here with you – BUT YOU’RE STUCK IN HERE WITH ME!!!”. It’s air-punchingly brilliant.

Also wonderful are the actors playing The Comedian (his look of joy as he burns Viet Cong with his flame thrower is stunning), Silk Spectre (II) and Dr Manhatten (portrayed by Billy Cruddup with the largest screen time for a big naked penis I’ve yet seen) however Patrick Wilson (also from Little Children) as Night Owl (II) gets the harder job of a more subtle and Everyman role and through this succeeds fantastically (especially as I felt the theatrical cut didn’t really explore his character enough).

And this is where it’s time to start bashing the movie. Yes it’s rather unfair to start complaining stuff is missing from a story I felt was unfilmable due to the massive amount of information within its pages but I couldn’t help[ but feel some really important stuff was, indeed, absent. Yeah the Tales of the Black Freight was sadly missed by us lovers of the original, but for those who haven’t read Alan Moore’s opus then I suspect you won’t notice the space it left. Nor is it the hugely in depth history of the Minutemen (the original crime fighters) that is only present through a 30 second montage under the opening credits. No it’s the important missing links to the actual main plot that become rather apparent in the last act where the ‘heroes’ fight their way to the villain’s lair and undercover the dastardly plot. Suddenly the viewer starts to ask themselves why they are here, who this villain is and why we should care. When the final revelation is upon us we rather wish we could go back with Rorschach to kicking butt in the prison.

Regardless Watchmen is a real triumph. All the beautiful imagery is in it (from frames taken painstakingly perfectly from the art work of Dave Gibbons) and the brilliant visual parallels between watches and smiley faces that really need to be seen to be understood. The violence is shockingingly uber-violent and the direction of Zack Snyder actually, to my surprise, sits really well (with his slow motion spins and use of super close ups) within the feeling of the original story. Most importantly though, and in contrast to other Alan Moore Hollywood adaptations, Watchmen gets the point of the original text and sticks to it and that was the biggest surprise and triumph of all.

4 big blue cocks out of 5

2 Responses to “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

  1. “sad sociopaths, deranged pseudo-intellectuals and brutalised, immature men of all ages.”

    Which one are you opting for then?

  2. The Count Says:

    Haven’t decided yet but when I do it’s going on my resumé..!

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