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Movie Review: Watchmen

Alternate Title: Armageddon

Story: While I am sure I was not the target audience for this film based on the graphic novel by controversial author Alan Moore (V for Vendetta) and illustrated by Dave Gibbons I did find a lot to cheer about. I have read that director Zack Snyder and writers by David Hayter and Alex Tse stayed true to the graphic novel (which I did not read) which probably is past and parcel of the good news, bad news.

Good news: It is a beautiful film to watch. I was visually hooked from the opening sequence through to the end. It depicts a dark, nihilistic, world filled with despair and gloom (and that is the good news). Snyder stayed true to the graphic novel format and most of the scenes are viewed in a stationary, head on lens.It makes for a very effective film goer experience.

The plot is simple. It is 1985 and Richard Nixon is in his fifth term (that was actually the scariest part of the film for me). Soviet Russia and the US are tinkering on nuclear was and there is a serial killer on the loose who is murdering two generations of of masked heroes, whose days of glory are fading fast.

Bad news: The simple plot should not have made this film close to three hours long, but it did. Every masked hero has a back story, side story and overlapping group story. Just when I thought the film might be over, more layers of story are revealed. The movie could have been called the Never ending Story.

If you like films that are different, innovative and violent, this one is for you.

Check out the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m16nZq4Pr8c

Acting: Malin Akerman (Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II) was cookie cutter gorgeous and fun to watch. Billy Crudup (Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan) was only himself for a few scenes before he turned into the very blue Dr. Manhattan. Matthew Goode (Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias) was scarily vacant. Carla Gugino (Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre) had a very cool make-up job. Jackie Earle Haley (Walter Kovacs/Rorschach) stole the film as the very creepy Rorschach. Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Edward Blake/the Comedian) was fine and Patrick Wilson (Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II) was creepily bland.

Trivia: Director Zack Snyder attended Art Center College of Design at Pasadena, California and studied visual art at Heatherlys School of Fine Art in Chelsea, London. He was ranked #25 on EW's 2007 The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood list. Malin Akerman is the lead singer of a rock band named Ozono, who later changed their name to The Petalstones. Jackie Earle Haley was only 17 years old when he played 19-year-old Moocher in 1979's Breaking Away. He started acting in commercial when he was six. He has a black belt. Mary Louise Parker (who is not in the film) dated actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Comedian) and has a 4-year-old son with ex Billy Crudup (the two split while she was still pregnant) who plays Dr. Manhattan. I bit icky, eh?

Predilection: I like graphic novels brought to the big screen.

Critters: Two very mean dogs who come to a bad end (but you do not see it happen).

Food: No time to eat when the world is going to hell in a had basket.

Sex Spectrum: A terrific sex scene in a flying machine with the sounds of the wonderful Leonard Cohen singing, Hallelujah, in the background. Oh, and the very blue Dr Manhattan is naked for most of his scenes.

Soundtrack: How can you go wrong with tunes by Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan?

Opening Titles: A fabulous opening sequence depicting the demise of masked hero, The Comedian.

Visual Art: Terrific.

Theater Audience: About 50 people, mostly male.

Weather: It apparently rains before Armageddon.

Squirm Scale: There is a lot of hacking, whacking and thwacking. Be prepared.

Drift Factor: I did drift a bit when I realized that the film as going on and on and on.

Predictability Level: I was not sure where this was going.

Oscar Worthy: Maybe it will get a technical nod or adaptation.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure.

Length: Two hours and 40 minutes.