Watchmen MAG

April 14, 2009
By Simon Watts BRONZE, Fredericksburg, Virginia
Simon Watts BRONZE, Fredericksburg, Virginia
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I discovered the graphic novel Watchmen a year ago, when it was recommended by a friend. From the first page, I was hooked, and within 12 hours I had read it front to back. Simply put, I was blown away. Watchmen is a perfect example of what any quality work of fiction (comic or novel) should be.

Watchmen is a world all its own and begs to be read again and again; with each read you discover something new. Alan Moore's characters are magnificently complex, while Dave Gibbons' stunning imagery never fails to impress with a unique color scheme of purples and yellows. It is rare that a book has significant literary merit while also being a vibrantly entertaining narrative. Watchmen is a true masterpiece.

I was excited when I heard that director Zach Snyder (“300” and “Dawn of the Dead”) was going to direct the movie adaptation. Many fans were skeptical of his talent as a director, questioning his ability to adapt the allegedly unfilmable Watchmen to the screen. But Snyder, like Peter Jackson (“Lord of the Rings”) and Christopher Nolan (“Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight”), has a true love of the source material, which makes all the difference.

“Watchmen” in the Imax format was one of the most visually impressive displays I have ever seen. When the lights went out, the theater went dead silent. You get your money's worth in the first five minutes. The movie begins with the brutal murder of the nihilistic former superhero known as The Comedian, who is hurled from a skyscraper window.

Snyder's controversial slowed-down action sequences are reminiscent of comic book frames that allow the audience to take in tiny details. The stylization is beautiful and carries the feel of Gibbons' art on screen. All the characters are perfectly cast, but the top performances come from Jackie Earle Haley (as Rorschach) and Jeffery Dean Morgan (as The Comedian), who deliver dark, disturbing portraits with traces of social commentary.

If you are going into “Watchmen” expecting an over-the-top action flick like Snyder's others, you will be disappointed. While the action scenes are memorable, most on-screen time explains background information through flashbacks. It's overwhelming, so I would recommend reading the book first. This is a future classic and that makes it a must-see. If “The Dark Knight” was “The Departed” of comic book movies, then “Watchmen” is the “Apocalypse Now,” a comparison few could disagree with.

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