Thursday, March 5, 2009

Uh Oh, WATCHMEN "embalmed" (early reviews)

So the first Watchmen film review I read was from New York magazine
and this afternoon NPR took a crack at it as well. Both reviewers seem to agree that the film is actually hampered as a result of staying too true to Moore/Gibbon's comics and the comic medium itself. Whereas Moore pushed the limits of the comic medium in creating Watchmen, Director Zack Snyder has crippled elements of the film medium to create a film (a la 300) that closely echoes the comic not only in story and tone but in the devices in which the story is told (something Alan Moore himself warned would happen).

NPR's snarky reviewer claims Malin Ackerman looks like she stepped out of a "shampoo commercial" and complains that Snyder is still telling the backstories of lead characters past the 2-hour mark of the film. Ultimately he decides Watchmen is weighted down by it's reverence to the source material and Snyder's pacing.

NY mag's David Edelstein seems to begrudgingly enjoy the bombastic elements but concludes that Watchmen arrives to the screen dead on arrival. He writes: "It is, at least, an awe-inspiring corpse: huge, noisy, gaseously distended in it's own dystopia." (sounds like Edelstein was reading "Tales of The Black Freighter" just prior to his review).

Edelstein declares the film " the most reverent adaptation of a graphic novel ever. But this kind of reverence kills what it seeks to preserve. The movie is embalmed."

Now despite these first few gloomy salvos (some of which simply seem to be a mix of comic book movie backlash and tenors established by Moore's refusal to be associated with the film), I suspect that comic fans will still love Watchmen the movie, and my hope is simply to be entertained.

I'll be going to the midnight screening in a few hours to find out for myself.