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The adaptation of the graphic novel (English is missing a good name for this kind of "comic book"; the French "bande dessinee" is a better fit) "Watchmen" into a movie is famous for a number of reasons. Its author, Alan Moore, refused any credit for the movie, and "The 'Watchmen' film sounds like more regurgitated worms. I for one am sick of worms. " (The illustrator of the graphic novel, Dave Gibbons, is credited on the movie. ) The idea of making a movie from the "Watchmen" comic series worked its way around Hollywood for years before finally making it to the screen, but not before a high profile lawsuit between eventual co-distributors Warner Brothers and Paramount Pictures. Its director, Zack Snyder, made waves with the distinctive look of his previous comic book adaptation "300". And it features a glowing blue nude dude. I have not read the graphic novel or comic books or whatever it should be called, and after seeing the movie I am not inclined to do so. But I'm not a fan of comic books and would never have even heard of Watchmen the book were it not for the movie, let alone have read it. It is certain that the readership of "Watchmen" will increase as a result of this big budget movie. This makes Moore's principled stand against movies ironic, to put it charitably. The movie has some undeniable visual flair, but in attempting to remain faithful to the source material, Snyder and his screenwriters David Hayter and Alex Tse have rendered a movie that is overly long for the story at its core. The back stories of the Watchmen (more on them in a second) are told with more detail than necessary to serve the story and the characters. Jackie Earle Haley's voiceover is so long and gravelly in the first act that it is hard not to tune it out. I liked the premise of superheroes being flawed heroes, and that is the basis of the alternative history of "Watchmen". They are an informal group of crimefighters built on the model of Batman: no superpowers in principle, but effectively superhuman in strength and speed and an arsenal of nifty weapons and vehicles. Unlike Batman, though, they have messy personal lives and not all are possessed of Batman's unwavering sense of moral clarity, with the exception, perhaps, of Haley's Rohrshach who wears a nifty ink blot mask but is most entertaining when he is kicking ass as an unmasked inmate. In spite of his slight build, Rohrshach beats men twice his size in hand to hand combat. The real Batman lookalike is Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson), who is a real do-gooder, but also kind of lazy and not very confident. It's a cute premise. Thrown into this mix of all-too-human masked men and women is the truly superhuman and unmasked man, Dr. Manhattan , a superhero with a more traditional comic hero origin story featuring [] an accident and radiation. His evolution away from humanity is one of the more interesting aspects of the story. Less compelling is the actual story itself which deals with the threat of nuclear war and someone killing the now-retired Watchmen. It loses a bit of relevance perhaps due to its alternate history setting where the U. S. and U. S. s. R. are enmeshed in a show of saber-rattling that only Dr. Strangelove could appreciate.


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