Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rewatching the Watchmen

WatchmenWorth Watching!

I just realised that I never wrote a review of the film version of 'Watchmen'. Can't understand that as I had it all composed at the time. Having watched it again tonight, I repeat what I would have said (!), that is this is one of the most faithful film adaptations I have ever seen.
I watched it initially literally a day or so after finishing the graphic novel, so that first viewing was taken up matching scene with scene, making it difficult to appreciate it as a film in its own right. I was impressed though. Everything from the excellent casting (in particular Patrick Wilson is a perfect Night Owl, while Jackie Earle Haley just is Rorschach) to the design conspire to faithfulness. Dr Manhattan's creation scene is as good a genesis scene as any comic book movie has ever achieved. Even the one major departure the movie makes (and you who have read the novel and seen the film know what I'm referring to) is, in my view, a very beneficial one.
The thing is just being faithful to a great literary source does not guarantee a great film. 'Watchmen' is not a great film, but it is a very, very good one. There were times when I felt a director less slavish might have brought some new insights to the story, turned it into the cinematic event it might have been. However, the original work is such a hallowed text that to remain faithful and create something cinematically original is a task nigh on impossible and one which would require the very greatest of directors (and even then...). Zach Snyder, a director I would not have had much time for after his '300', achieves something admirable in its own way and I for one am not going to criticize him for not being Kubrick. His was a difficult job done exceptionally well. Alan Moore, who has disowned every adaptation of his work ever made (usually without watching it), should be honoured by this particular attempt.
As you can tell I have a lot of affection for this movie. When I read the novel the final image of Rorschach screaming at Manhattan stuck with me. It is the highest praise I can give to say that now when I remember that scene I see Haley's battered face.

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