I am one of those who believe that Watchmen is one of the most incredible novels ever written. It might be a graphic novel/comic (or whatever you wish to call it), but it is truly a work of true brilliance by Alan Moore (the writer) and Dave Gibbons (the illustrator).
So I was a little hesitant to see the film. Will it be a disappointment, will it be true to the book? Questions, Questions....
Yet, I was lucky enough to get invited to an exclusive gathering at Paramount to see the movie pre-release. A huge thanks to Rachel Clarke on twitter, for pointing me in the direction of the pre-showing. Thank you to Dan Light of theppc for organising the showing and for convincing Paramount that it would be a good idea. He turned it round in 24 hours, so that was pretty impressive! Thanks also to Paramount for being kind hosts.
Here we have someone taking it upon himself to organise something for
others, and drawing upon a tight community to spread the word and
support the cause. The film will now be reviewed by those who attended
in their blogs/tweets and elsewhere. Note how the brand owner did not
drive this project, but someone who is a brand advocate. Always good
for brands to look after their advocates. You never quite know how far
they will go to help.
So how was the film?
Within minutes I was hooked. It was if I was turning the pages all over again. The first half an hour was just incredible.
Then the story condensed the book storyline, but still did a pretty good job with it. Being a bit of a Watchmen nut, I could pick faults with elements of the story being dropped almost completely. There are pieces that will not make sense for someone who has not read the novel, There are also some parts where character development has been lost, most probably, to the (digital) cutting room floor, and the film fails to fully flesh out the backstory at times. It felt that the filmmakers were balancing a highwire between keeping true and keeping within the time constraints of how long an audience will watch for.
At almost three hours long, one could argue that it is too long. I would argue that the film is too short. In fact, what might have been a more powerful route would have been 12 one hour episodes, but hey I am the fan!
I will definitely recommend the film to others. Well worth it, but I will also recommend you read the novel too. Be warned though, there are some incredibly violent scenes that were shocking, even though I knew they were coming. This is not a film for kids. This is not Shrek.
It is an incredible achievement to get this novel on to the screen. Many have tried to find a way to get this to screen and failed.
Visually it is stunning, and you feel the hand of Dave Gibbons all over this.
However, whilst it is a visual feast, I am disappointed with how the movie sounds, and it has been bothering me all day. I have posted a comment about this over at citizensound.
Am off to re-read the novel...then on to Miracleman
By the way, I have also noticed that Rachel has posted her own review over here