Finally saw Watchmen this afternoon, and utterly loved it.
Crucially, the characters on the screen are exactly as I saw them in my head when reading the book, and that was always going to be the main thing for me.
I haven’t made my mind up about the changes to the ending yet. I’ve never been a huge fan of the alien invasion ending from the book, and while the new trick fixes some of the problems I’ve always had with the book it also introduces a whole range of other problems.
Regardless, though, the disappointment with them changing the ending wasn’t enough to spoil the rest of the film, which was pretty flawless for me (other than some dodgy make-up). Loved the sense of ‘place’ in the alternate 80s, the constant feeling of impending doom, all the little details they’d got absolutely right, the love triangle with Laurie-Jon-Dan, the odd friendship between Rorscach and Nite Owl 2…
This, of course, is approaching it from the point of view of a reader. Josh and Tim both seemed to like it as well, but I can only imagine that it felt like a bit of an info-dump of a film – so much backstory and character and plot to get through, without any room to pause, breathe and let it all sink in. I found it emotional because I had the comic to fill in the gaps, which meant I didn’t have to filter through all the information of the unusual world that is presented. For newcomers I imagine it’s so dense that there isn’t really time to get emotionally invested.
All of which means I can’t wait for the director’s cut. The extra 15-30 minutes should hopefully give the film time to pace itself a bit more, and to fit in some more time for the the incidental characters such as the psychiatrist, the newsvendor & comic book reader etc.
As for the music…dunno what people are complaining about. I thought all of the source music was superb and spot-on, evoking the period piece or particular historical/pop/political significance. Even Ride of the Valkyries was great – very satirical, amusingly contrasting the Vietnam we’re so familiar with (ie, Apocalypse Now & co) with the Vietnam that occurred due to Manhattan’s existence.
This is a serious step up for Synder from the fun, but rather shallow interpretation of 300.
(also saw Starter for 10 this weekend, which was a bit of a contrast with Watchmen. Jolly good fun, though it felt like a third of the movie was missing. Just as it was really getting going, it kinda just…stopped)