On Saturday, PJ and I went to see Watchmen with a couple of our friends. We’d been looking forward to seeing this movie since it was first announced. The graphic novel would seem almost unfilmable, so I was eager to see what Zack Snyder would do with it. Here’s the trailer:

Watchmen is based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. It is set in an alternate universe in the 1980s, one in which Richard Nixon has used the Cold War to achieve reelection to the presidency several times. A group of citizens had donned costumes and begun to fight crime on their own, but eventually a law was passed to outlaw such vigilante activity, leaving these Watchmen little to do.

The movie starts with the assassination of The Comedian, one of the most controversial members of the Watchmen. Another member of the group, Rorschach, is convinced that someone is killing “masks” and tries to convince other members of the group to be on guard. All of their lives become increasingly complicated just as the world inches toward nuclear war. Only one member of the group, Dr. Manhattan, a scientist who’s molecular makeup had been transformed during an experiment, giving him god-like powers to manipulate time and space. The fate of the Watchmen and of the world seems to lie in his hands, but he is becoming increasingly detached from humanity.

Overall, I thought Watchmen was a good movie — nothing terribly earth-shattering, but good. It didn’t feel as long as it was; the action keeps moving and the movie is definitely a visual treat. The special effects are especially amazing.The plot is a little more complicated than it sometimes needed to be, but I didn’t really mind that. My only big criticism is that I never felt emotionally engaged by the film. It creates big ethical dilemmas, but I never felt invested in them. I wish it had found a way to move me emotionally and not just visually.

Not the least of these effects is Dr. Manhattan, a CGI character based on and voiced by Billy Crudup. Crudup has long been one of my favorite actors (he’s especially great in Stage Beauty). His Dr. Manhattan spends most of the movie either naked or dressed in a little loin cloth. I quickly became fascinated by the idea that Dr. Manhattan mostly chooses his shape, which means that his penis size is chosen rather than given. He’s chosen what I assume most men would choose: being well endowed. Becoming obsessed with his big, blue penis is, I think, unavoidable whenever its on screen.

As long as I’m writing about body parts, I should also mention Patrick Wilson‘s ass. As all gay bloggers know, Wilson’s ass has quite a following on the Internet. He’s a good actor and does a great job in this movie playing a semi-washed up former superhero (think Mr. Incredible from The Incredibles), but he’s known as much for his physical perfection as for his acting ability. I’m starting to suspect that he has a clause in his contract that requires him to show his ass in every movie he’s in. We get a couple of views of it in Watchmen. I just have one thing to say: even when he’s playing a schlub, his ass is perfect.

My favorite part of Watchmen, however, was Jackie Earle Haley‘s Rorschach. His is the memorable performance in this movie. He’s part narrator, part moral conscience (in a warped way). Haley is great in this movie. This is only the second film I’ve seen him in (Little Childrenanother great Patrick Wilson movie–being the first). These two movies definitely make me want to see more movies with him in them. I also think he’s kind of hot.

Overall, I enjoyed Watchmen. Its vision of the threat of nuclear annihilation was incredibly relevant when the novel first came out. It’s difficult to capture that same relevance twenty years later, but the movie makes a good effort. Whether you like special effects or are just gay, this movie offers a lot to see on screen. It’s definitely worth seeing.

Advertisements