Sunday, March 15, 2009


MUST-SEE: (Zack Snyder) Again, I claim ignorance to the true character that is "superhero movies." I never read the comics--or in this case graphic novel (but I plan to!)--and I certainly didn't grow up watching the cartoons (not sure this is even relevant here). So honestly, the film is the blank canvas on which my mind develops an opinion--and in this case, an affinity--regarding the infamous Watchmen. To start, the film enlists a fascinating cast. No one makes this a must see simply due to their stardom. Sure, the cast have their credits, but Laurie Jupiter's resume (Malin Akerman) really only consists of 27 Dresses (not your usual ladder towards a superhero scene). Patrick Wilson, Night Owl 2 has starred in several independent successes, but again, nothing proving his ability to fight crime in a latex suit and night vision goggles (e.g. Little Children, Hard Candy). Little Children's Jackie Earle Hayley plays the film's most identifiable character, but is unrecognizable for 85% of the film due to his Rorschach's ink blot mask. Billy Crudup is blue-man Dr. Manhattan, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Grey's Anatomy, P.S. I Love You), Carla Gugino and Matthew Goode make up the rest of the cast. But they make it work, and they do it well. In retrospect, nothing seems better than to cast a bunch of nobodies in the genre industry to play rejects and retirees from the fictional industry. Genius. The story is fine-tuned with intelligent humor, realistic nonsense and just enough action to leave us wondering how the hell these nobodies learned to fight (but ultimately accepting it and enjoying the show). The Watchmen goes by in one colorless and mystifying swoop, yet it lingers on for what seems like infinite. It takes an approach that asks you to accept the surreal as a possibility and the impossible as reality. It won't color in the lines for you, but instead assumes you're okay with the stated conditions and dives right into the story. That done, it's a wild ride of action, mystery, camaraderie and politics all rolled into a comic book and slapped onscreen. It plays like a comic thanks to Rorschach's narration and lack of circular dialogue, but succeeds as a stand-alone (my own acceptance, proof of this). I've seen nothing like it and can't express more how different it is from anything within the genre: A refreshing take on a popular hobby. Give this a chance and no doubt, you'll be pleased. Blockbusters don't need Brad Pitt.

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