DVD Watchmen [Blu-ray] (DVD 15996620),
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For those obsessed with the critically acclaimed graphic novel (which would be almost anyone who has read it), or for audiences looking for a stylish action film, WATCHMEN is worth--well--watching. But those who thought THE DARK KNIGHT was too gloomy should stay far away from Zack Snyders film. As far as superhero movies go, this graphic adaptation of the comic book series from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons makes even Christopher Nolans Batman films look like Saturday morning fare. Director Snyder and the screenwriters certainly deserve credit for crafting an adaptation of a work that has been deemed unfilmable since its 1986 release. Mammoth and mazelike, WATCHMEN follows a group of retired costumed heroes living in an alternate 1985 where Nixon is still president and fear of nuclear doomsday permeates the air. When a hero named the Comedian (an excellent Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is murdered, his former colleague--the unhinged, masked Rorschach (a perfectly creepy Jackie Earle Hayley)--begins investigating who is behind the death. The other masked crimefighters--Silk Spectre 2 (Malin Ackerman), Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), Nite Owl 2 (Patrick Wilson), and Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), a godlike being who is the only one with actual superpowers--soon learn that there may be a plot to rid the world of their kind.
Snyders previous work in action (300) and horror (DAWN OF THE DEAD) proves to be preparation for this visually stunning film. The fight sequences are fantastically shot by director of photography Larry Fong, and the action can alternately make viewers hold their breaths at its composition or gasp at the shocking violence. Most will agree that WATCHMEN is not a comic book movie for kids: theres sex and violence aplenty, but it truly makes itself a film for adults with its smart, complex storytelling.
Jackie Earle Haley, Malin Akerman, Patrick Wilson, Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Carla Gugino, Matthew Goode, Stephen McHattie
3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[Snyder is] tremendous at directing action....The Comedian's deadly opening sequence is a masterpiece of fight choreography..."
"Whether it's Dreiberg's flying owl ship or the staggering glass palace Dr. Manhattan conjures up on Mars, the filmmakers have spared no expense in their mission to visualize every frame."
4 stars out of 4 -- "The film really does the graphic novel justice....The music is perfect....Snyder did a great job creating a film that's loyal to both the source material and his own style."
4 stars out of 4 -- "[A] compelling visceral film -- sound, images and characters combined into a decidedly odd visual experience that evokes the feel of a graphic novel."
"[T]he production as a whole is impressive. So is the eclectic soundtrack, which ranges from Philip Glass and Leonard Cohen to Bob Dylan and Paul Simon."
Wall Street Journal
"[A] teemingly ambitious, jam-packed movie....The opening-credit sequence has a marvelous audacity, as it packs in the story of how the Minutemen -- masked crime fighters of the 1940s -- gave rise to their more nihilistic counterparts in the '50s."
"[There are] flashes of visual brilliance and performances, especially from Haley and Crudup, that drill deep into the novel's haunted soul."
4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] labour-of-love, epic, stylish, violent and very, very faithful....Even under a luminous layer of CG muscle, Billy Crudup's beautifully subtle performance hides electric flickers of pain in the impressive face of quantum superman Dr. Manhattan."
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Jackie Earle Haley
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