On the whole, I’m very pleased with WATCHMEN the movie. It reminded me a lot of BRAZIL–not because of the 1985 connection or because it was just as long, but because WATCHMEN was a wholly immersive experience. We made a BOOM! outing of it and everyone went, so if you weren’t at our offices today between 11:30 and 3:30, you missed your big chance to loot the place.
(We were also joined, quite accidentally but quite pleasantly, by Marvel writer Christos Gage, who we could barely make out behind his new mustache.)
None of us came out of the theater walking on air or beaming, but I think we were all glad we saw it. Ross summed it up best when he said, “That’s the WATCHMEN movie,” meaning “If you’re gonna film WATCHMEN, that’s the movie you’re gonna make.” Not an effervescent endorsement, but a good one. I think that, of all of us, I liked it most of all; maybe that’s because I’ve seen more of this stuff than anyone else in our crew and am more appreciative of when filmmakers, succeed or fail, really swing for the fences on comics stuff.
Some brief, spoiler-free observations:
I think the biggest favor the script could have done for the property would have been to be less reverent to the dialogue. Particularly in act one, there are lots of lines that read great on the comics page that were never meant to be spoken aloud–particularly in the first scene between Rorschach and Dan Dreiberg–and I wouldn’t have been offended if they’d been tweaked. (I know from my own experience that when a KINGDOM COME audiobook was done years ago, I cringed at their fidelity to my dialogue, which was fine in the comic but overblown when recited, and in the unlikely event KC ever becomes a film, I’ll beg them to rewrite for the ear all they like.)
I think the “squid fix” was elegant, and for those of you who miss the squid, there are at least two nods–Veidt’s big project is called S.Q.U.I.D. (though I forget what the acronym stands for), and during Dr. Manhattan’s origin the squid’s also visible as a design on Jon Osterman’s necktie a split-second before he gets Manhattanized.
Casting Dr. Loveless as Rorschach’s prison enemy was brilliant.
The psychiatrist looked so jaw-droppingly like a Dave Gibbons drawing, right down to the slickness of his face and the lighting on him, that it was almost distracting.
There were two moments of Fan Service that set my teeth on edge because neither now belong in the story: Bubastis and the “Outer Limits” reference. Man, I hate Fan Service. But I’m nitpicking because, overall, I liked the film a lot. I think it does the original source material as much justice as any adaptation could.
And like most everyone else in comics, I couldn’t think of a nicer, more deserving man to be receiving all this attention and royalty money than Dave Gibbons.