Tonight I saw "Watchmen." First, just let me say my experience was colored by a horrific "Family Guy"-esque scene that played out two rows in front of us.* Second, the horrific scene at least provided some entertainment value. Yeah, I'm sorry to report that I'm one of the party-poopers who did not enjoy this movie. Which is too bad because I went into it with an open mind, despite some of the poor reviews, and was hoping to enjoy a good challenging movie.
What I got was a poorly paced tableau that droned on and on with no satisfying resolution or conclusion. Everything was so flat -- the characters, the storyline, everything. I think half the problem was the faithfulness with which Zack Snyder and crew adhered to the story: what works as a multi-part storyline in a graphic novel does not work as a movie. There was nothing to carry the viewer along with the story -- no urgency or emotional undercurrent to keep the action moving. Consequently, the resolution, such as it was, had no resonance.
It didn't help that the pacing was utterly somnolent. I was pulled in from time to time -- during Rorshach's prison stint, the scenes with The Comedian -- but just when I thought the story was finally picking up, it would drop me again two scenes later. And what was up with Dr. Manhattan? Fascinating in the graphic novel, his character was completely devoid of power here.
Watching this film convinced me that everyone who said "The Watchmen" could not and should not be made into a movie were right. What's brilliant social commentary on the page comes out as ham-fisted on the screen, and dialogue that works with two-dimensional characters seems disjointed and trite coming from the mouths of the actors.
I wish I'd enjoyed it more. I swear, I really wanted to like it. Maybe I'll give it another chance when it comes out on DVD but I'll probably have to have a few drinks first. All I can say is, I was very disappointed tonight.
* What happened? Two middle aged burn-outs engaged in serious, gratuitous making out WITH THEIR YOUNG TEENAGE SON SITTING NEXT TO THEM!! And their daughter and her friend sitting in the row in front. Now this wasn't just a little kissing here and there, this was a face-licking, hands-in-mysterious-places acid-washed denim nightmare. That boy is going to need some serious, serious therapy later. Actually, my husband and I might need some too. The horror, the horror...