Watchmen (18)

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Fantasy films

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Thu Feb 26 2009

The most celebrated graphic novel ever written, ‘Watchmen’ takes place in an alternate 1985 teetering on the brink of nuclear Armageddon, as a group of retired superheroes reunite to track down mysterious masked assassin. The graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons was a self-reflexive comment on the entire genre and explored the fine boundary between the masked vigilante, the dirty civil servant and the dictatorial fascist. It has long been thought unfilmable: a direct translation, it was argued, would be overlong, punishingly bleak, bewilderingly convoluted and wildly uncommercial.

Which is exactly the film '300' director Zack Snyder has delivered. With the exception of an altered (and, it must be said, slightly improved) denouement, Snyder and his screenwriters have changed almost nothing from the original text. Costumes, sets, visual effects, the framing of shots and sequences, all the choicest lines of dialogue, even the music selections come directly from the novel. With all of these decisions taken out of the director's hands, what's left for Snyder to do?

Snyder's biggest impact is felt in the action sequences, which are also the film's weakest scenes: overstylised, repetitive and pornographically violent. Violence is the major theme of Moore’s book: it’s questionable efficacy in solving global problems, the conflicted, animalistic thrill of crushing one’s enemies. Snyder rides roughshod over such subtleties: 'Watchmen' may be the nastiest blockbuster ever devised. It luxuriates in snapping bones and literal explosions of gore. It's here that the gulf between comic and movie becomes most clear: Gibbons's drawings were often shocking, but they served a purpose. Snyder employs violence for the rush, and while this approach is sometimes brutally effective, it's also deeply crass.

The casting throws up mixed results: Patrick Wilson is agreeably vulnerable as Nite Owl, while Jackie Earl Haley makes for a supremely effective, unsettling Rorschach. But these two seasoned professionals stand out in a cast chosen for their physical similarity to Gibbons's drawings. Thankless female figurehead Silk Spectre demands an actress of real grace and vulnerability: Malin Akerman’s bland, soap-opera performance barely scratches the surface, while Matthew Goode's vacuous portrayal of the power-hungry Ozymandias suggests annoyed playboy rather than World's Smartest Man. But they can hardly be blamed: Snyder repeatedly fluffs the film's emotional peaks, blundering through on his way to another action setpiece.

But, try as he might, Snyder can't sabotage the sheer majesty of the source material. The breadth and grandeur of Moore’s globe-spanning narrative still astounds, and to see Gibbons’s iconic images writ vast and messy across the screen packs an undeniable sentimental punch. Like the book, there’s an impressive visual and narrative density here, cramming a bewildering amount of information into already overloaded scenes. The characters may be undermined by Snyder’s glib, hasty approach, but they still resonate, as do the overriding themes of power, corruption and human frailty.

But 'Watchmen' is still going to be the ultimate tough sell: there will be those who view the film as a bewildering mishmash of underexplored themes, thinly sketched characters and noisy, excessive violence. They're probably right: any work of popular art which demands prior knowledge must be deemed a failure. And yet, there’s something admirable about the entire enterprise: its ungainly size, its unrelenting weirdness, its willful, challenging intensity. Neophytes should probably steer clear, but for longterm fans of the source work this will be a hugely pleasurable, if ultimately unenlightening experience.

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Release details

Rated:

18

UK release:

Fri Mar 6, 2009

Duration:

162 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:29
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|85
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Dave

You are all clearly wrong one star review people. This film is amazing!! If you like nothing else about it, the fiery cum shot is worth 5 stars alone. I laughed so hard I pooed a bit.

Dave

You are all clearly wrong one star review people. This film is amazing!! If you like nothing else about it, the fiery cum shot is worth 5 stars alone. I laughed so hard I pooed a bit.

Andy S

Waited a while before seeing this...tried the graphic novel but got too bored. This was ok. The most interesting character was Cameloen really. Dr Manhatten was a bore but liked the idea of how Superheroes might have shaped US history. Overall? Glad I only paid £3 for the dvd!

Thomas Noctor

This film was ok, watchable, it would have been way better if 'Doctor Manhattan' wasn't a character. If it was all humans who are basic super heros it would have been better, like Kick Ass for example, which was way better! That being said it was dark and interesting at times. The midget scene in the bathroom created a laugh for Me! Did Doctor Manhattan need humans with him in Nam? Why didn't he save the pregnant woman? Would a woman sleep with a man who beat her and almost raped her? I really doubt it! Wouldn't watch it again, this one is for the 'ok' pile. Nothing bad nor not a great film! Watch it and be your own judge!

Syd

I believe that most of these people who thought that this movie is boring, have no complete thought about it what so ever. I think that if you actually TRIED to pay attention and TRIED to get to actually know what's going on in the movie, you'd enjoy it. But, from my personal opinion, you really have to read the comic to REALLY enjoy it. I have not read the comic but about one time, but my girlfriend had told me that she was a fan. So I shelled out 10$ for her and me to go see the movie. I sat there, and for the first, let's say...hour or so it was quite boring. But as I sat there, and I thought about what was going on, and thought about the complexity and characters. It started to get more and more interesting. Though it was three hours, by about half-way into the movie it was AWESOME. Rorschach (for all those idiots out there who don't know how to spell it cause you were too busy explaining to your boyfriend/girlfriend how much you want to leave so you can make a move on them...) was one of the most complexing and difficult characters to understand, and for me, the whole hour story of how he was meant to be WAS appropriate. But, to me, you have to know the whole story and the background of the story to be interested in ANYTHING. It just seems that most of the reviews on here were from people who won't take their time to pay attention to anything except themselves. I myself am not that patient either, (I have ADD) but i still sit there for three hours. But, boring is just what you don't like. (or in my opinion) Boring is just what you don't want to think about.

Syd

I believe that most of these people who thought that this movie is boring, have no complete thought about it what so ever. I think that if you actually TRIED to pay attention and TRIED to get to actually know what's going on in the movie, you'd enjoy it. But, from my personal opinion, you really have to read the comic to REALLY enjoy it. I have not read the comic but about one time, but my girlfriend had told me that she was a fan. So I shelled out 10$ for her and me to go see the movie. I sat there, and for the first, let's say...hour or so it was quite boring. But as I sat there, and I thought about what was going on, and thought about the complexity and characters. It started to get more and more interesting. Though it was three hours, by about half-way into the movie it was AWESOME. Rorschach (for all those idiots out there who don't know how to spell it cause you were too busy explaining to your boyfriend/girlfriend how much you want to leave so you can make a move on them...) was one of the most complexing and difficult characters to understand, and for me, the whole hour story of how he was meant to be WAS appropriate. But, to me, you have to know the whole story and the background of the story to be interested in ANYTHING. It just seems that most of the reviews on here were from people who won't take their time to pay attention to anything except themselves. I myself am not that patient either, (I have ADD) but i still sit there for three hours. But, boring is just what you don't like. (or in my opinion) Boring is just what you don't want to think about.

Treborus

I dont know..mybe its me but from all the gen u get before a film hits the screen u know if its ur "Thang" well in in advance , u might be let down 4 various reasons but in essence its why u go & shell out ur dosh ...so I cant grasp why any wud go & moan in the most gormless brain dead way ...more fool u for not usin ur " brain" , ur eyes , ur ears before going ...such revues are are waste of MY TIME

Treborus

I dont know..mybe its me but from all the gen u get before a film hits the screen u know if its ur "Thang" well in in advance , u might be let down 4 various reasons but in essence its why u go & shell out ur dosh ...so I cant grasp why any wud go & moan in the most gormless brain dead way ...more fool u for not usin ur " brain" , ur eyes , ur ears before going ...such revues are are waste of MY TIME

miles

besides all the studio hype and all the made up good reviews -a miserable blue turd which has bombed badly in usa -not even recovered its cost -much less the marketing expenses and it is a total loss when it comes to any entertainment or artistic merit -just one big yawn-even the silly marley and me is better than this crap

Johnny

You only need to look at the other reviews listed here to know this is a love it or hate it film. The movie mirrors the source material so closely I can't believe any fan of the graphic novel won't enjoy this. I am (a fan) and I thought the film was great. Anyone else will probably wonder what the hell is going on. If you have not read the comic, don't expect 'The Dark Knight' or 'Spiderman'. The violence in this film is not quite as disposable as in those super hero movies you might have become acustomed to. Go and watch the movie - keep an open mind and you might even enjoy it.

Johnny

You only need to look at the other reviews listed here to know this is a love it or hate it film. The movie mirrors the source material so closely I can't believe any fan of the graphic novel won't enjoy this. I am (a fan) and I thought the film was great. Anyone else will probably wonder what the hell is going on. If you have not read the comic, don't expect 'The Dark Knight' or 'Spiderman'. The violence in this film is not quite as disposable as in those super hero movies you might have become acustomed to. Go and watch the movie - keep an open mind and you might even enjoy it.

Ross

I loved this film, i've never read any of the graphic novel and had never even heard of the film until it came out, my girlfriend is a HUGE fan of the graphic novel and was chomping at the bit (that means getting excited, for all you moron's and chav's out there) to see this film and we both thought it was fantastic. watch it in an IMAX cinema too as it's even better that way.

Ross

I loved this film, i've never read any of the graphic novel and had never even heard of the film until it came out, my girlfriend is a HUGE fan of the graphic novel and was chomping at the bit (that means getting excited, for all you moron's and chav's out there) to see this film and we both thought it was fantastic. watch it in an IMAX cinema too as it's even better that way.

Treborus

From word of mouth to watching the promos , with increasing interest I read the extremes of view - love , hate - rarely indifference - I went with mixed feelings to see it - well - what ever I was expecting out of the usual super hero genre - I saw the unexpected - a very interesting attempt at a very unusual story , which kept me intregued to it,s end . I,d like to see it again & await the extended Dvd . I recomend it .

Treborus

From word of mouth to watching the promos , with increasing interest I read the extremes of view - love , hate - rarely indifference - I went with mixed feelings to see it - well - what ever I was expecting out of the usual super hero genre - I saw the unexpected - a very interesting attempt at a very unusual story , which kept me intregued to it,s end . I,d like to see it again & await the extended Dvd . I recomend it .

T

This film drag on unnecessary, it was too long and extremely boring. A lot of people left the cinema before it ended and when it did end I heard a lot of people, if not, everyone that walked passed me on the way out, say how awful the film was. I wouldn’t recommend it!

Liam H

This film is excellent. Sure, it requires a bit of thought but frankly, I'm dissapointed by some of these reviews. It was always going to polarise opinion but I found the sex and violence appropriate, especially when explaining why Rorschach is the way he is. This film deals heavily with political philosophical problems, such as the worth of human life, the nature an worth of power, the anarchic notion of society and how possibly to cure them. It created brilliant sociological considerations such as how we view what is essentially a God and how it views us. The fighting was great, if a little matrix-esque, and I'm sorry, but the first 20 minutes of this film make it clear that this is not the world we know without the condescending need to clarify it explicity - perhaps because this film assumes people aren't thick. This film verges on a nihlism at some points and sure, its not the most happy of films.But then this is a film that challenges that area of grey, in such an environment it was unlikely there would be concrete disney style endings. But the film left on a good note - that if we forget our differences we have the potential for sympathy, compassion and even peace. The fact this peace is forced upon the world is just another interesting talking point relating to peoples freedoms and their value. Go see this if you like a damn good film and have the IQ and concentration level required to get absorbed in such a marathon film with technical, muddied points

Liam H

This film is excellent. Sure, it requires a bit of thought but frankly, I'm dissapointed by some of these reviews. It was always going to polarise opinion but I found the sex and violence appropriate, especially when explaining why Rorschach is the way he is. This film deals heavily with political philosophical problems, such as the worth of human life, the nature an worth of power, the anarchic notion of society and how possibly to cure them. It created brilliant sociological considerations such as how we view what is essentially a God and how it views us. The fighting was great, if a little matrix-esque, and I'm sorry, but the first 20 minutes of this film make it clear that this is not the world we know without the condescending need to clarify it explicity - perhaps because this film assumes people aren't thick. This film verges on a nihlism at some points and sure, its not the most happy of films.But then this is a film that challenges that area of grey, in such an environment it was unlikely there would be concrete disney style endings. But the film left on a good note - that if we forget our differences we have the potential for sympathy, compassion and even peace. The fact this peace is forced upon the world is just another interesting talking point relating to peoples freedoms and their value. Go see this if you like a damn good film and have the IQ and concentration level required to get absorbed in such a marathon film with technical, muddied points

Rachel

I really enjoyed this film. Having never even heard of the Watchmen before this film came out, I came into it expecting nothing but an action film-the majority of me went and saw it because my fiance wanted to, with a bit of curiosity on my end. However, I left the theater very satisfied. There was a lot of violence, and I do think the sex scene was longer than really appropriate (although the spout of fire coming from Archie was pretty funny). However, the story of Watchmen drew me in and left me thinking. The characters in the film also struck me as complex-I appreciated the backstories given for each character because it made me appreciate their personalities and ideals even more than if it had not been there. And I think it was these backstories that drew out the film and made it hard for people to sit through. Overall, it was a good film. If you have the time, I recommend taking a look at the themes of the film and applying them to actual history (like the attack on New York compared next to Pearl Harbor). Maybe it will be more appreciated in that light.

Rachel

I really enjoyed this film. Having never even heard of the Watchmen before this film came out, I came into it expecting nothing but an action film-the majority of me went and saw it because my fiance wanted to, with a bit of curiosity on my end. However, I left the theater very satisfied. There was a lot of violence, and I do think the sex scene was longer than really appropriate (although the spout of fire coming from Archie was pretty funny). However, the story of Watchmen drew me in and left me thinking. The characters in the film also struck me as complex-I appreciated the backstories given for each character because it made me appreciate their personalities and ideals even more than if it had not been there. And I think it was these backstories that drew out the film and made it hard for people to sit through. Overall, it was a good film. If you have the time, I recommend taking a look at the themes of the film and applying them to actual history (like the attack on New York compared next to Pearl Harbor). Maybe it will be more appreciated in that light.

songsforthedeaf

Surprisingly, of all the things to think while watching a superhero film, I found myself very bored. The film seems directionless, the characters uniteresting and lacking depth (apart from maybe Rawshack) and ultimately the decisions and actions they take lacking explanation (which I am assured the comic does). My friends who've read it love the film. I think this is becasue they have the character and plot development in their heads that this film really doesnt have. As a result, the set pieces/ action sequences just washed over me. Its too long. Its a fanboy film. I really wish Id gone to see Gran Torino instead.

keith ifield

I totally agree, this is one of the worst films i have ever seen . I feel like i wasted 3 hours of my life.

Will

I really didn't enjoy this film. The first posting by Santino is correct; this film has no direction. I even fell asleep at times, because it got so boring. I rate it a 5/10 film. Some of the film is excellent. There IS however too much, unnecessary sexual scenes that DO NOT add to the story. Remember T1 when Sarah Conner bedded the soldier from the future --- that had a point to it. In this film, there was no point in the sex scenes and they were very boring. Some of the fighting is ace; again though, it seemed pointless. There is not enough of Dr.Manhattan, a man with unlimited power and to all intent and purpose, a God. The film doesn't make clear that this is a parallel world, though you'd figure as much from some of the early suggestions, i.e. political wins etc., It starts off well, then there is a bit of fighting [pointless]; then there is an excellent piece about Vietnam, then there is an hour of yap, yap, yappity boring yap, followed by some excellent scenes on Mars and a pointless, disappointing ending. I wouldn't recommend this film, unless you love science fantasy; if you prefer sci-fi. like me and consider Aliens, Predator, The Matrix, X-men, Pitch Black etc to be good films, then I think you will find this film a let down. It had such promise, but it really lost it's way. It's also a very dark film, with no hope and nothing but the evil nature of Human reality. I say avoid this film. It made me depressed and wished I hadn't been born!

Gordon

Enjoyed it. One of the best comic based films I've seen. Highly reccommended.

Gordon

Enjoyed it. One of the best comic based films I've seen. Highly reccommended.

Marc

Looking at some of these comments it seems quite obvious that they should have required people to have an IQ of at least 60 before letting them see this film.....idiots need not apply as this film does not contain a simple 1 dimensional plot and words containing only 1 syllable. So in summary awesome film if you have half a brain and don't need everything spoon fed to you...not so good if your a friggin retard with the intellectual capacity of your average root vegetable.

Marc

Looking at some of these comments it seems quite obvious that they should have required people to have an IQ of at least 60 before letting them see this film.....idiots need not apply as this film does not contain a simple 1 dimensional plot and words containing only 1 syllable. So in summary awesome film if you have half a brain and don't need everything spoon fed to you...not so good if your a friggin retard with the intellectual capacity of your average root vegetable.

Tim

Poor ! What was the crystal sculpture on Mars .. like most of the film it had no point. Comic loving wannabe-intellectuals have probably found something to like.. but really ! such a disjointed film in quality and style .. with an unnessesary sex scene too! and lots of silly nudity - this film tried hard to tick a lot of boxes and just ticked people off instead. Interminable Waste.

paul elliott

there were flaws with the film, but it was perhaps too faithful to the source material in terms of pacing and execution. the stylised violence was needlessly, but effectively, brutal and some of the acting was poor. On the plus side, it was thoughtful, didn't stint on backstory, had a better ending than the book, and by sticking to source material so closely contained some effortlessly brilliant lines from rorshache (who totally wons both book and film). all in all, glad it was made, enjoyed most of it, look forward to catching it on dvd and certainly better than the recent batman film :)

paul elliott

there were flaws with the film, but it was perhaps too faithful to the source material in terms of pacing and execution. the stylised violence was needlessly, but effectively, brutal and some of the acting was poor. On the plus side, it was thoughtful, didn't stint on backstory, had a better ending than the book, and by sticking to source material so closely contained some effortlessly brilliant lines from rorshache (who totally wons both book and film). all in all, glad it was made, enjoyed most of it, look forward to catching it on dvd and certainly better than the recent batman film :)

Pete

An excellent film, thoroughly enjoyable - and didn't get dumbed down for the kids. Too many films now get stripped of their realism to appeal to the younger (or less intelligent) viewers - not this one. Probably why there are a few idiots that don't like it.

Pete

An excellent film, thoroughly enjoyable - and didn't get dumbed down for the kids. Too many films now get stripped of their realism to appeal to the younger (or less intelligent) viewers - not this one. Probably why there are a few idiots that don't like it.

Cappybear

My wife and I enjoyed the book and thought that, as film adaptations go, this was better than most. Like Tom Huddleston, we thought that the characterisation of Ozymandias was a bit weak, but all in all, good stuff. Go read the book, if you haven't already.

Mickf

I haven't read the original graphic novel, so I've got nothing to base anything on, but I really enjoyed the film. I thought the acting was fine and the action was exciting. It was a bit long, but it kept my attention to the end. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants see something a bit different.

Lambert Simnel

Good, but not great. I disagree that changing the end was an improvement (perhaps that makes me a fanboy) - this story change then requires that John is working for the benefit of humanity even though he has obviously become significantly detached from humanity and life in general for quite some time. Oh well. I think it was done as well as it could have been.

KC

Walked out of this film after 10mins,couldn't stand the wooden acting & that guy wiv the weird stocking on his face just made me want 2 slap him,his voice just finnished it off 4 me. Avoid this crap at all costs.

neilc

the worst movie i've seen in years! the acting was no good, and the storyline was less than interesting. i found myself looking at my watch more than watching the movie.

John

This movie reminded me of a DJ Shadow song. Perfectly selected samples re-arranged into harmonious, melodic, poetic bliss through a multi sensory medium. It effectively brings you back and looks forward all at the same time.

John

This movie reminded me of a DJ Shadow song. Perfectly selected samples re-arranged into harmonious, melodic, poetic bliss through a multi sensory medium. It effectively brings you back and looks forward all at the same time.

hannah

This was such a weird and strange movie, i have never seen anything lie it. i fell asleep through most of it what the heck was it about????? please do not waste your money, its ridiculosly confusing and looooong. DONT WATCH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kinglouie

Very close to the GN, kept me glued & my wife who as never heard of Watchmen let alone read the GN. Dark, witty & in your face when necessary. A job well done.

Kinglouie

Very close to the GN, kept me glued & my wife who as never heard of Watchmen let alone read the GN. Dark, witty & in your face when necessary. A job well done.

david hanger

I don'y know what cinema you went to, but nobody left the packed out one here in Brighton. why can't folk just enjoy the film instaed of going and ripping it apart. i am not a follower of the comics, but i was very impressed with the whole feeling of the film. As a gay man i was also turned on by the Computer Generated Dr. Manhatten and i am sure my fellow puffs would agree too....people see different things in a film...just enjoy and don't take things so seriously.....i loved the film cause it left me leaving the cinema thinking about stuff. to give a film a no star rating is sad and over the top, so get a life i say!!!!!!

david hanger

I don'y know what cinema you went to, but nobody left the packed out one here in Brighton. why can't folk just enjoy the film instaed of going and ripping it apart. i am not a follower of the comics, but i was very impressed with the whole feeling of the film. As a gay man i was also turned on by the Computer Generated Dr. Manhatten and i am sure my fellow puffs would agree too....people see different things in a film...just enjoy and don't take things so seriously.....i loved the film cause it left me leaving the cinema thinking about stuff. to give a film a no star rating is sad and over the top, so get a life i say!!!!!!

SmackedUpToddler

Frank, do you call every sarcastic joke? nice work on picking out the joke though, you must be a hit with all the guys at war hammer club. and i bet all that pussy you get must be too much to handle sometimes. Frank wets the bed.

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