Saturday, 19 September 2020
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 00:00

Watchmen PosterHot on the heels of countless comic book to film success stories comes Watchmen, but these aren’t your typical, colorful superheroes like Spidey or Superman. The Watchmen are something different altogether and the message they deliver isn’t exactly one of hope for a happier, shinier future.

Watchmen is based on the extremely successful graphic novel by Alan Moore, who is the first ever comic book author to win the prestigious Hugo Award. He’s also responsible for penning graphic novels The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell, both of which were adapted into big budget films. Unfortunately Moore has disassociated himself with this particular film adaptation, as have some die hard fans of the comic although the high expectations of some people never fails to amaze me. I’ve never read the source material, but I felt the film treatment was nothing to be scoffed at.

Watchmen takes place in an alternate version of 1985 – one in which Nixon is still President, corruption runs rampant, and the Doomsday Clock is set at five minutes to midnight. Costumed superheroes have become an accepted part of society, but their glory days are over due to government interference. When a former costumed crusader is brutally murdered, it is up to the remaining heroes to reunite and prevent their own extinction. But it is possible that the threat comes from within their ranks and trust seems to be a rare commodity among those who wear masks.

I thought it was very interesting that these superheroes don’t really have any special powers - they are simply regular citizens who decided to make a difference for better or worse. There’s The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), an aging but tough as nails psychopath who seems to simply be in it for the glory. Nite Owl (Stephen McHattie) is about as close to the Batman as this film gets. He has retired his costume for a simpler life but reminisces about the glory days. Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman) is her mother’s daughter, having picked up her pseudonym and knack for crime fighting. Ozymandias (Matthew Goode) is exceptionally wealthy, after making his true identity public. Rorschach (Jackie Earle Hayley), his face covered by a strange hood, may seem to be unstable but he is set on seeking justice and bringing the heroes back to their former glory. Perhaps the only one with true superpowers is Dr. Manhattan, a nuclear physicist and the victim of an accident that essentially killed his human form but left behind a radioactive superhuman. He was then used as a weapon and employed by the government and eventually wonders if life on earth is worth protecting. These are the characters in a nutshell. To all you Watchmen readers out there out there I apologize if I haven’t done them justice!

New WatchmenI thoroughly enjoyed this gritty and visually incredible film, and I didn’t lose interest despite the fact that it runs a little long at nearly three hours. I even managed to keep my eyelids open past 11pm. The movie is not fast-paced and not action driven, but personally I found this to be a strong point that sets it apart from other comic book films. It’s thought provoking. I was especially interested in the concept of superheroes aging, retiring, going mad because of what they’ve seen and done. They were once revered as celebrities and now society shuns them.

Visually this film is a real treat, and I’d especially like to mention that I was blown away by the opening credits. Those retro looking scenes alone are worth the price of admission. Also, the soundtrack is worth mentioning. Although it was sometimes a little distracting, the score and song choices were very emotional and effective.

In my opinion Watchmen deserves a closer look!