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So let me come right out and say it, there is a lot of digital blue penis in The Watchmen. Doctor Manhattan, one the stars of the film, is a man made of energy who is naked for almost the entire movie. For a small time he’s in human form, and when out on a mission sports a banana hammock. I’ll be honest that I felt a little uncomfortable seeing a flaccid blue dong on the IMAX screen repeatedly.

Right now that’s out of the way, on to the review.

Based on Allen Moore’s infamous 1986 comic which made Time Magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Novels of All Time. Not bad for a genre that’s supposed to be aimed at kids. I’m a long time comic fan and to be honest have always thought Watchmen was a bit overrated. The more I’ve thought about it I’d equate my feelings to those of a 16 year old watching Citizen Kane for the first time. They would wonder, “What’s the big deal?”. They wouldn’t realize that this work changed everything that followed. After Watchmen, and Frank Millers’ classic The Dark Knight Returns which also came out in 1986, comics would never be the same.

The simplest way to describe Watchmen is that it’s a murder mystery set among the backdrop of the Cold War, and superheroes. Though that is an incredibly simple way of describing it. It has much deeper undertones and reminds us just how crazy America about the Soviets.

There really are no big stars in Watchmen. The cast seems to have been selected more for their resemblance to the characters than for name recognition. This is a sign of things to come. Watchmen’s story is very deep. It features completely original characters, that while heavily influenced by some DC Comics characters. This requires each character to be given a share of the screen time to explain their origins, and each is given their time. This results in a film that is incredibly faithful to the source material, and one that with trailers comes in at around the three hour mark.

The acting is strong, though not memorable. The story is great, but perhaps too deep for someone that hasn’t read the comic. The effects are overall good, though some of the age make-up is a bit inconsistent. After repeat viewing I’m sure that the film will make a lot more sense to both newbie, and veteran alike. To be honest the scene I’m most interested in looking back on is the opening credits. It holds more true to the source material than any other comic to film translation, except perhaps Sin City, but that’s the problem.

Watchmen writer Alan Moore has been very vocal with his disdain for previous adaptations of his work, and after seeing The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen who could blame him. If you’ve read the comic and liked it you’ll like the movie. If you’re a fan of unique storytelling and interesting effects you’ll definitely dig it.

Overall rating 8.5 out of 10

For a different view of Watchmen check out this spoof of it as an 80’s Saturday morning cartoon. What scares me the most it actually seems like something that could have been made.

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  • zohner

    I finally was able to watch this. Granted, it was online and not in a theater, but I still watched the Watchmen. I have to say that this was a great movie. I can understand why the things that changed or cut were left on the cutting room floor. Even with the changes, the film was remarkably close to the source material. Given the graphic violence, this is definitely not one for the kids so leave them home but be sure to take yourself.

  • TardisCaptain

    When I saw it on Saturday, there were people walking out of the theater that did not get it. They thought it was like Superman or Spiderman which was a feel good/superhero saves the day type of film. I had to describe it to some people as a “grabs humanity by the head and drags it in front of the mirror to look at itself” movie.

    In the end I was really impressed of the symbols displayed in the film. The blue penis is something that I could have gone without seeing in my entire life (I hope the Blue Man Group wasn’t horrified). But I understood that with this much power, he didn’t need clothes. Sure he got dressed for public events. But in private around people who knew him, clothing was just another distraction that separated him from his humanity (and he probably didn’t even notice it). There was symbology like this all over the place. It may take several viewings to catch them all (such as the items listed in the credits).

    The big thing I took away from the movie is that everyone has a choice to make. It doesn’t matter if you are a god like being or some slob who is the lowest man on the totem pole at the newspaper. People may force to you make a choice they want or your choice may have no consequence at all. You have a freedom of choice and those who make the right choices will live better lives. The open ending at the end of the movie left that choice in the minds of the audience who got the story behind the movie. This journal is now in your hand. The information contained inside can change the world. You can make it public. What would you do?