Who watches The Watchmen?
Every once in a while a story is written that grabs the readers by the short hairs and doesn’t let go. The Greek and Romans had their wars between the Gods and the Titans. Theatre had Macbeth and Othello and the 1986’s had The Watchmen. The Watchmen is a graphic novel for the ages, ranked as one of Time magazine top 100 best English novels from 1923-present. Written in 1986 The Watchmen continues to hold a huge fan base in both the comic book world and beyond. That being said how could something so loved and acclaimed be created into another summer blockbuster and still hold its luster? I recently added this film to my collection on Tuesday and haven’t put it down since. Usually these reviews are done about films that have recently been in theaters or are still showing, but with its release this week I thought it was appropriate are timely.
The Watchmen starts off with a band and though the film is 190 minutes there are few slow parts. The action filled first few minutes is then followed up with one of both the greatest opening credits and prologs that you will ever see in a film. The decision to use Bob Dylan’s song The Times they are a Changing as the back ground song to the opening credits was nothing short of brilliant. Zach Snider, the director of the film made sure that every scene was both visual to the eye and mind. Vibrant ultra violate colors resonate through the cold dark setting of an alternate 1985 world. With a cast of characters both as dark and yet colorful as the streets they try and protect. Without giving too much of the plot away I will say that this pre apocalyptic world is a, what if for the ages. What if President Richard Nixon wasn’t impeached and used his victory in Vietnam as a platform for his third term election and ultimate victory? What if the Cubans and the Russians never stopped arming their missiles? What if a person was subject to a horrific scientific accident and became as powerful as a God? These questions and much more in the next paragraph of this week’s Film Reviews; The Watchmen.
Zach Snider along with the rest of the cast spent a few years bringing to life a world that asks these vary questions in The Watchmen film. I personally have never read the graphic novel and though I consider myself a comic book fan had never really heard too much about The Watchmen. I went into this film not knowing what to expect which I think made this film even better of an experience. I watched a world in complete distress and yet it was like looking into a mirror. Only one person in the film had what comic books would consider super power. Dr. Manhattan is a God like entity that hovers over a world that he himself has no stake in. By not having any stake in our world Dr. Manhattan has no reason to safe it. It is thought that he has the power to stop the nuclear arms war that threatens man’s extinction but it his words, “Why would I”. The rest of the cast are made up of what the film calls masked vigilantes trying to solve the mystery of why crime fighter are being killed off. Not much should be said about the rest of the cast they all have their own parts to play, but there is one that stands out. The character of Rorschach is what you would call the anti-hero. His job is to destroy the wicked. He lives in a world of black and white and has no problem with it.
In all I felt that The Watchmen tells a story all too real to our own. The film was well done and though long had a lot to tell. The costumes were realistic and the sets were great. It looked like an American city pushed to the brink or destruction. The realistic portrayal of the president, military and their actions adds to the feel that this is more of a documentary than a graphic novel. I think this film brings to life a novel that everyone said could never be made and did a great job in doing so. I give it a nine out of ten.