Posted by: Dr P | March 8, 2009

Watchmen

When I first heard about this film I was very excited. I’ve long held a fascination for timepieces, clocks and watches. Indeed, I thought this may well be THE definitive horological masterpiece of our time. Imagine my disappointment to discover that this is not, indeed, the story of a broken hearted Swiss clockmaker whose cuckoo has flown the coop. No, instead it’s the adaptation of one of the most renowned comic books of our time.

With a stunning comic to work from, and the terrific Frank Miller (of 300 and Sin City Fame) at the helm, this was a sure-fire hit. But then again, we thought that about “The Spirit” and that particular movie was only worth a viewing for Eva Mendes and her amazing derriere. However, this has stronger source material and a visual style all of its own.

Let me say straight off the bat that this is a graphic film. Sure the comic book is squeamish and bloody, and this adaptation pulls out all the stops – getting an 18 certificate these days is no mean feat, but this qualifies in spades. Well actually, spades embedded in dogs’ heads to be precise!!

Big G and I settled in for this 2 hr 45 minute whopper of a film with huge cups of coke (always an issue for me, that would result in 2 trips to the loo due to my severe incontinence ;-)) and high hopes, and we weren’t to be disappointed.

The film starts with the murder of one of the famous “Watchmen” of titular fame – this group of masked heroes has protected the world against villains and scallywags for years, but one by one they have retired or been killed off. “The Comedian” was a notoriously tough hero, and it is his murder which awakes a number of his former colleagues and sets them loose on a trail of intrigue and mystery.

As superheroes go, these are corkers. We have Dr Manhattan, a beyond-human nuclear-reactor enhanced humanoid capable of teleporting between worlds, a crime fighting vigilante known only as Rorschach* (courtesy of the shapes which whirl brilliantly on his bandaged face), a girl with a penchant for leather and tight outfits, and a gentler hero named Night Owl who drives much of the narrative with his less dramatic counterpoint to the vicious Rorschachachach*.

* yes I know how to spell Roschrarchachachach, but it’s fun messing about.

The plot is enormously convoluted, and we leap around from time frame to time frame. We see how each of the heroes gained their powers and fame, and explore their psyche. We see Rorschach finally captured and imprisoned with many of the villains he helped have incarcerated. Whilst the criminals initially seek their revenge, this soon turns into a complete bloodbath as they haven’t bargained for Rorschach being utterly psychotic even when unmasked. It’s the scenes in prison which no doubt helped to gain the movie its certificate. When you’re 2 hours into the film and barely bat an eyelid at someone’s arms being graphically chainsawed off, you know you’ve been put through the mill.

The film also features possibly the best use of a toilet as an offensive weapon ever. Worth the admission price for that moment alone!

If you’re squeamish, don’t like comic books, violence, themes of war, death, destruction, mayhem, sex, ultranastiness or tight costumes, then this is perhaps not the movie for you. If you have a small bladder, might I suggest not taking a drink in with you. If however you have a reasonably high squeam threshold and enjoy a good hero/villain flick, then this delivers handsomely.

The sideplots with the nuclear science and the alternate reality 1985 Cold War are well realised, and don’t detract too much from the essential core of the movie. Some of the silly bits on Mars are a little bit, well, silly.

On the way home, Big G and I came up with a great idea for a decorating group – Darth and Yoda decorators – no job too small … or too large! They can paint your ceiling and your skirting board at the same time! Woop! I have no idea whatsoever how this came about, but I really was in floods of hysterical tears at this point. You had to be there …

I’ve just had another idea. Stop me if this sounds wrong. How about a new show in which people spray paint women in white gowns … Pimp My Bride. I’m patenting that.

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