Monday, March 9, 2009

I saw Watchmen on opening night. I really liked it, although I feel it works best as a supplement to the graphic novel. The novel is really full of information and back story that all helps the world come alive and make sense. And the reader can take his or her time digesting it all. Talking to people who have never read the novel but saw the movie, most seem to be overwhelmed by everything that's going on, leaving them confused and then bored.

But, while I did enjoy the movie, I do think the movie had some major flaws in its storytelling... SPOILER ALERT!!!

In the novel, I thought the destroyed New York was really horrifying to look at, and Silk Spectre reacted accordingly. I think this was greatly aided by the fact that thousands of dead New York citizens were scattered around. Truly the act of mass murder. Plus the novel made us somewhat familiar with some of the characters who were killed, like Rorschach's doctor/psychologist guy, the newspaper stand guy, and the comic book reading kid.

But in the film, there are no bodies to be found at all. They've all been vaporized, leaving just broken buildings. When Laurie shows up with Dr. M, she didn't really react in a horrified way for long. It was very quick. Plus, we had no characters to care about, really. The doctor wasn't really sympathized with, since we never met or heard from his wife. We never met the comic book kid or the newspaper stand guy. So a bunch of New York citizens got vaporized and we didn't really have a reason to care, within the film's world anyway. (Supposedly the newspaper guy and comic book kid will be given a lot of development in the director's cut. So that should help a bit.)

I wonder if the lack of corpses has something to do with a combination of factors, such as budget, the 9/11 attacks, MPAA rating, etc. Perhaps it would be too gruesome to see millions of dead innocent people, too expensive to create, and/or too jarring due to the 9/11 attacks.

I also thought Veidt (aka Ozzymandias) was portrayed in too poor a light. In the novel, he came off as a very likeable and charitable guy. Very polite and gentlemanly. But in the film, he has an elitist snob, Lex Luthor quality to him, from the film's beginning to its end. So finding out he's the "bad guy" at the end wasn't much of a twist.

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