March 3rd, 2009
10:26 AM ET

Three observations on 'Watchmen'

I'll save the reviews for CNN.com's Tom Charity and our colleagues at Entertainment Weekly, but having seen a screening last night, here are three things you can expect from "Watchmen":

1. Two setpieces are highlights: The opening credits, which play out like brightly lit, live-action versions of comic book panels out of the 1940s and '50s; and the creation of Dr. Manhattan, in which Billy Crudup's minor-key performance shines through the special effects. (Though Jackie Earle Haley wins the film's acting honors for his Rorschach.)

2. If you want the grit of New York street corners and apartments that existed in the graphic novel, you won't find much in the movie of "Watchmen." Even the darkest scenes appear highly buffed, with every hair in place, every crinkled piece of paper just so.

3. It's amazing what they can do with computers nowadays.

Have your own thoughts? Send us an iReport - this person has already - or comment below.

- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer


Filed under: movies

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Jason

    When the credits rolled, myself and a few friends all looked at each other (we've all read the comic) and agreed: "I approve." This is not a perfect retelling of the comic book, but it is true enough to the source material, without making the movie 4+ hours.

    It really is a great movie, and sadly I think it will be lost on the vast majority of the populace. Don't worry, there's always High School Musical 42 (or whatever we're on) for the rest of you.

    Afterthought: Though I hope many many parents take their young children to see this. I hope, if nothing else, it reminds them what "R" means

    March 17, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dino

    Boy oh boy, what a huge disappointment. I am a staunch Watchmen fan, so I never really expected the iconic, troubled characters or storyline(s) to translate well to the big screen.

    But jeez! I never expected that boring send-up either. Granted, Mr. Haley's performance as Rorschach was great, and the opening sequence was truly awesome. But the rest? Very, very, VERY weak.

    Guess I'll just keep waiting for "Star Trek."

    March 17, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Theresa

    If Watchmen is the worst thing you have EVER seen, you must not have seen these gems: Battlefield Earth, Warlock: The Armageddon, Batman and Robin, Baby Geniuses or SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2

    March 17, 2009 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sprout

    @mark:

    you pretty much hit it on the head. only dr. manhattan (the blue guy) had any powers. the rest were all just people that for one reason or another threw on a costume and decided to fight crime.

    most of their reasons are gone into more detail in the book (which if you liked the movie i definately recommend.)

    March 17, 2009 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jediyw

    WATCHMEN is the worst movie I've ever seen! I go to the movies once a week. You do the math!

    March 17, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mark

    Okay I enjoyed the movie. I had never heard of Watchmen before this, and I am still confused about origins. I followed how "the blue man" got his powers, but I got lost on the origins of the other heroes. They just decided to wear costumes and became heroes? Maybe I didn't pay enough attention.

    Who the hell let's a child watch an R rated movie? Morons..

    March 17, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Timmy

    Personally, it dragged a bit and I could have used less male frontal nudity and more female frontal nudity. It wasn't that the lack of the latter was important or frustrating, it was just that the sheer volume of the former seemed to put me off balance and prompted feelings of inadequacy. After all.... I couldn't rearrange matter. And, if I could, perhaps that's the first matter I would rearrange...

    March 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Peter

    Watchmen movie Zach Snyder nailed it
    Bottom line is if you read the book you will like the movie. I felt like I was watching the comic come to life and that is exactly what they did. All the criticism is obscene with to many comic book geeks thinging they could do better and of course could not.
    I saw the movie twice the second on IMAX.

    March 17, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Carl

    I did go see the movie and was disapointed. It was not what I expected or what I believe was potrayed in the media previews. The movie was near the line of being X-rated. The movie could have been just as good without the full nudity, sex scenes, and extremely graphic violence (not conveyed in the media previews).

    March 17, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Shan

    saw it on opening weekend. did i think it was the best movie of all tiem? no. did i think it was worth the 12$? yes. will i buy it when it comes on dvd? yes. i'm not one that put it HIGH up there, but i was excited to see the movie after seeing a number of previews. i thought it was as well brought out from the graphic novel as possible. i thought it was even better for the fact that they pick so-called no-name actors/actresses to play the parts. these days movies are only seen or even like because of the stars, not because of the plot/storyline. i think those that liked/will like this movie, is because they are true to storytelling, not for the FAME and GLORY of what a movie can bring to the stardom of HOLLYWOOD. this is a hollywood movie yes, but it is not another HOLLYWOOD plot. go see it. it's worth it if you dare to open your mind.

    March 17, 2009 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. Andrea

    Worst movie i every saw....best part of the movie...Pre-movie previews, Opening credits and the naked blue man ...very disappointed :'(

    March 17, 2009 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mike D.

    Saw it last night at a midnight showing, for the most part the movie is not bad, it's somewhat true to the book in allmost everyway. Then thing go wrong! and when you see it, you'll know what I'm talking about. But having said that, I'll still go and see it again.

    March 6, 2009 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. DJ

    I'm pumped to see this movie, but I think I may wait a week or ten days until all of the morons who read, "Based on a comic book/graphic novel..." and immediately think, "Hey! Let's bring the kids!!" have had sufficient time to express their shock and horror at how "innapropriate and/or immoral" the subject matter is for their 9 year-old's eyes. Seriously people, when a film is rated R, it is given said rating for a reason. If you fail to heed the warning and decide to bring your child, you deserve what you get.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lewis

    Just remember people, it's "Watchmen" not "The Watchmen". 🙂

    Yes, the book is NOT for kids. If they'd softened it up for kids for the big screen it might not do so well. While action packed and intense at times, the story is not about explosions and the like. It's about asking yourself some pretty deep questions. Would you do what some of the characters did in the story? What kind of person does that make you? I hope that's put across in the movie. If not, then it's pointles.

    That's the #1 thing the movie MUST convey.

    March 5, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sean

    My wife saw a sneak preview of Watchmen this past Tuesday. We're hardly "conservative", by any definition–and she's really very adventurous in terms of what she'll go and do or see (has to be, since she's a freelance journalist!). To say that there is "sex" in Watchmen would be to say that there is water in the ocean, or perhaps a cloud in the sky. There's enough sex in this movie to qualify as a porn flick. Unless you enjoy watching porn with large groups of strangers (hey, to each their own), you might want to give Watchmen a miss. And DO NOT bring the kids!

    March 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  16. HG

    If perfect hair and not-as-gritty-as-expected streets are the worst complaints, then I agree- I may finally dare to hope for this one.

    March 5, 2009 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  17. dick

    Can't wait for Wolverine. This Watchman film seems too complex for comic book characters and a blatant copy of Marvel's Defenders comic book. It will tank big time as well.

    March 5, 2009 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  18. T

    No offense to the Carmen, but why on Earth would you bring your child to see an adult movie such as Watchmen? You figured ti's about superheroes so it means it's for kids? The trailers suggested what it would be. I complex adult mystery just like the graphic novel. If none of you thought you won't be bringing your kids back to watch then you are a good parent. I can't believe once someone becomes a parent they can't see the social commentary that exists in films and songs that exist for them to process versus them only seeing what they're kids will interpret. Just means instead of evolving as an adult human being intellectually, it means your regressing so meet the level of your kid. Not bad because you need to protect them but there is no reason you should digress while they are progressing. Think of reviews based on what you think and see and not based on what you want your kids to see. Otherwise the only "art" you will be enamored by is Sesame Street and Elmo. Wow, what aworld that would be of they are the intellectual stimulous we are attached to.

    March 5, 2009 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  19. dancing mad

    eh. its either see this movie drunk friday night, or stay at home and re orgainize the mannequins again....

    March 4, 2009 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Jay

    You actually could have saved the whole column you wrote. I'm just saying....

    March 4, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  21. A Fan.

    Don't worry… no spoilers what so ever.

    Here on Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor, Washington…on Saturday they had a sneak preview of the Watchmen on base.

    First and foremost, any of those who were/are sceptical of the outcome… worry no more. The movie was amazing 100 times over. The characters were portrayed brilliantly and very, very true to the comic by the wonderfully chosen cast. Zack Snyder was able to bring the characters from the comic/ graphic novel to life. The imagery was amazing… of course, the storyline was awesome… The special effects were so unbelievable I forgot that they weren't actually happening. The transition from being 100ft tall to 6ft was smooth and realistic.

    The movie just added more to my overwhelming adoration towards Alan Moore's comic. Although I am sure that Moore will still be disappointed as he always is… regardless, there is no reason anyone who loved the comic shouldn't view the WATCMEN. Like Sincity and The Dark Knight, this movie should be watched in theatres and on blue-ray as many times as your wallet can allow you to do so.

    If you were looking for a summary in one word that isn't 'incredible' or 'amazing' or something else that could never explain Alan Moore's reconstruction of what was the typical superhero make-up… well I don't really have one…

    WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN? The millions upon millions of movie-goers who will have spent money on a ticket that is worth more than every penny.

    March 4, 2009 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  22. John

    Vince: When a movie is shown on IMAX and regular screen there is no real difference in the visual clarity of the movie. It is the same picture, all it does is show the movie bigger, but, the sound on an IMAX compaired to a regular theater is hands down much better.

    Now the Dark Knight is different...Christopher Nolan actually for the first time ever filmed certain scenes with an IMAX camera, this is the first time a full-length motion picture has ever done this. The reason it isn't done more often is that they are too expensive to use and too heavy to move around from location to location. Chris has stated though that one of his goals is to film an entire movie in IMAXA

    March 4, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  23. John D

    WATCHMEN, the comic, is a piece of art. But after 9/11, the ending proves just not to be part of human nature. The unity will last for about a week before people revert to form. Don't know how they "alter" the end in the film, but if it remains similar to the book, it might appear a reach for someone of Ozymandias' supposed intellect. That said...man does Rorschach look cool.

    March 4, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  24. WEBlack

    If you want to read a decent knowledgeable review go to http://buncheness.blogspot.com

    March 4, 2009 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  25. Tandile

    I am from South Africa and so a lot of material arrives late for example, the whole hype about how good the comic is, is not felt at all here not because it's not good but because we have just not had the kind of exposure that you guys in the States have had yo it.I have seen a glimpes of the trailer and it really looks good.Can't wait to see it.

    March 4, 2009 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
  26. Theresa

    Not every movie is for every person. If parents would do a smidgen of reading to see what movies are about, they would see that no, Watchmen isn't for kids.

    The director can't be faithful to the story–which was very–dark and make it for kids.

    I am going to be part of the Midnight showing and I am cautiously optimistic. There are changes, we KNOW that, but the look is so close to the graphic novel, I'm excited!

    March 3, 2009 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  27. blofeld

    I can't figure out the casting of Laurie Juspeczyk's character. Too bad Lucy Lawless wasn't 15 years younger, she would have been great. I loved the book, but I think the movie is going to end up being a campy soap opera.
    Sigh... I'm sure I will probably end up seeing it on opening night.

    March 3, 2009 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Julie

    As a fan nothing makes me happier to hear that these earlier viewers are disappointed.

    Not suitable for young children? Neither was the book! I had to hide it from my mother when I read it. (Plus it's rated R!)

    Nudity? Fantastic. Dr. Manhattan is supposed to be naked and I am relieved they didn't try to get cutesy with it or turn him into a Ken doll with a bulge. (Plus it's rated R!)

    Sex? Get out of town! (This isn't Spidey and Mary Jane) Yes – they had sex in the book. (Plus it's rated R!)

    Now if only there was a complaint about some tying together corpses to sail a ship, I'd be in HEAVEN but I can wait for the DVD for that!

    March 3, 2009 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Scott Veteran

    The Watchmen, for those of you who are students of philosophy, is about much more than a high adrenline action story. It is a story about the flawed and human nature of our heroes, and the extent to which the worst parts of ourselves will travel, in order to survive the most extreme circumstances.

    For those of us who have considered the past 8 years to be one significant mess, this movie is the catharsis we need to put the Bush era behind us. And the same can be said for those of us who served under his misguided watch overseas.

    ....Needless to say, The Watchmen is not about action or violence, but about the nature of the human experience. If you are planning on watching a film with high adrenline, lots of guns blazing and a transparent, two-dimensional story, you are watching the wrong film.

    March 3, 2009 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Malkntnt

    This will be mind-blowing, just like the book.

    Pat: Yeah, you're right. "Gone With The Wind" should never have been mad into a movie. Pull yer head out man!

    Don't wanna see it? Then don't! It was not made for you anyway. So shaddap.

    This movie is the pinnacle of comic-book movies. Nerds rejoice!

    March 3, 2009 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Chis

    Hey why dont you just go see the movie and make your own opinion if you liked it or not. For those who have read the Novel, always remeber this is hollywood and it will add or take away something from the Novel.
    I mean after all they coulndt create Marvel Secret Wars to really explain Venom in Spideman 3 right?

    March 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Carmen

    If my opinion matters since I am not a major comic book fan, but was looking forward to the action that the trailors seemed to show. I was able to see a free preview through the military and I have to say for sure it is not a movie to bring your kids to. From constant genitals from the blue guy to the over emphasis on the love making scene (lasted long and was as close to porn as you could get with male butty thrusting and very visual body melding) it was not at all the action focus I would have expected. After speaking to my son and because he knew of the director, I should have expected the darkness of the movie. All the people that went with me were very happy to have not paid for it and would not recommend it.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  33. dominik

    you have to concider the fact that this movie is actually taken from a comic book and therefore the flawless images and appearance of all characters. However i do agree that in some scenes things appear to be too perfect, but what isnt these day... Remember this is super hero stuff and people do not want to see their heros fall and come to any damage. The "real life" scenes are still very recognisable like New York city and many other small details making this movie still very respected and "real"...
    With respect to Mr. Leopold's coment I will have to disagree on ll his 3 points, based on where the original idea whas taken from... the comic scene.

    March 3, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  34. curtis martin

    The only comic book adaptation I can think of that I'm anticipating less is Richie Rich 2. But then I stopped reading comics around 1977, so I guess I 'm hardly the target audience. But I can say that I've read the recent reprint of the Watchmen graphic novel....and I wasn't all too impressed with either the art or the story. I'm unclear on the supposed clambor for this film adaptation.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Armando

    Pat
    "Maybe some day people will make movies based on original ideas again. This story was meant to be told in a particular medium, why can’t we leave it at that?"

    Original ideas are great but, since day one, most movies are based on books/plays or other published work.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Bob

    i read the graffic novel a long time ago shortly after it first came out. As a comic book reader (unfortunately not a collector) I was estactic to see the movie coming out. Watchmen was a masterpiece that when it first came out, few could appreciate. I look forward to friday to see the movie first hand. My wife doesnt know what to think, but likes that my four year old son can relate to cartoon super heroes with his dad.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  37. vince

    Did you see it in a regular theater or in the Imax version? Does anyone know what the difference is between the two movie styles? I am trying to decide which version to see it in for Friday.

    March 3, 2009 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Pat

    Maybe some day people will make movies based on original ideas again. This story was meant to be told in a particular medium, why can't we leave it at that?

    March 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  39. MM

    Read the book, loved it, Zach Snyder is a fantastic and some what new director. If the movie is as close to the book as he says it will be. Then I have no doubts that this movie will be amazing. Zach Snyder is definately proving how talented he is.. The Watchmen movie idea has been passed around from studio to Studio for 20 some years. Snyder seems to be the only one with the stones and know how to make it. My hat is off to him and I would love to meet him. Also, I read a review that claimed that the ending was rushed and was too true to the book. That is exactly how it should be.. How many times have any of us seen a movie based on the book and stated " Well, the book was better"??? And as for the ending...well thats how the book was and I was fine with it.. I dont care about reviews. They are worthless to me. I make up my own mind

    March 3, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Eric

    No matter how good this movie is....the book is better. This should have stayed a book and not been translated into film. This story is already in the perfect medium for it, a Graphic Novel.

    March 3, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  41. bryan

    Over hyped, saw the sneak preview....waste of money and definately not of kids under 18!! Made American Pie and Van Wilder look Disney.

    March 3, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Scott

    I can't wait to see the Black Freighter parts!

    March 3, 2009 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Jonathan

    This movie had better be incredible. If not your going to see millions of screaming geeks out in the streets breaking things like thier IPhones. (i'll probably be one of them)

    March 3, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Joe in Boulder

    I'm glad to hear the "perfect make-up and hair" complaint, because it one of the biggest reasons I will pass up on movies... so I'll pass, thanks.

    March 3, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Simon

    It is strange the things people are picky about. It must be a great film as alex has stated, those are the negatives? This is a comic book film about the ulimate comic. You can't do a sequel, I am shocked any studio would touch a stand alone movie. Everything I have seen so far has been awesome. I am going at Midnight Thrusday and any other showing I can get to this weekend.

    March 3, 2009 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  46. Alex

    If "perfect make-up and hair" is the biggest complaint people can come up with, then this film must be very good, indeed.

    March 3, 2009 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  47. Aaron

    Im so excited about this movie. I can't wait to see what they do with the story and how they play it out. I have been happy with a few of the comic to movie remakes in the past and really really sad about others. Please let this one be good.

    March 3, 2009 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  48. Luis

    The New York scenes in the graphic novel actually did not look gritty or dark at all. It is supposed to be a very different yet recognizable alternate version of the real New York; one with less pollution caused by the advent of electric cars. So I think Mr. Leopold is missing the point on that regard. However, the fact that everyone appears with perfectly combed hair and in perfect makeup is indeed a minus. Again, the New York from the graphic novel is supposed to feel different but still recognizable from the real one.

    March 3, 2009 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |

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