Meaghan and I decided to go see the Watchmen movie last night. We’d heard good things about it and we both like comic book/geeky movies. Not being a huge fan of crowds at the cinema, we decided a Sunday evening showing at the Century 16 on Cedar Hills (one of my favorite places to see movies until Cinetopia comes to Beaverton) would be just the ticket. We arrived for the 5:00pm showing just on time and were able to get popcorn, a large soda, and a couple of good seats in time to settle in for the previews.
I had heard a couple of things about the Watchmen beforehand: a) It was a fairly dark movie, b) It was a fairly long movie. Both of these statements are true, and the word fairly in each case is somewhat unnecessary. This movie is both dark and long. It was also pretty graphic in places…and by that I mean it was bloody, gory and downright sick in many places. Don’t censor it. I hate censorship. Just be aware that you may find yourself looking away more than once.
From a production value standpoint, I have to say that it was superb. The action scenes, special effects, and direction were all extremely high quality and it was very easy to get both immersed into the action and sucked into the story and characters. The storylines of the characters were compelling and very well exposed. However, there were times when the movie was graphic to the point that it just wasn’t enjoyable any more. I am sure that the scenes were incredibly faithful to the original graphic novel, and very much to certain people’s tastes. However, for me there were just too many moments of gratuitous blood, guts, hacking, and splattering. I like something between the A-Team and James Bond in terms of getting the point that a person was shot, hung, or fell off a building. I don’t need to see the actual mess of ligaments and muscle spread across 40ft of sidewalk. I equally don’t want the movie to be censored or changed in any way; I’m just the wrong viewer for the right movie.
Overall, I enjoyed the Watchmen. The social metaphors it presents, along with the great existentialist tone that it manages to maintain and expand upon throughout, are at times wonderful to soak up and think about. At 3 hours, the number of concepts presented felt somewhat overwhelming and by the end I had somewhat lost the plot amidst a thousand clever and subtle commentaries on human existence. However, despite the confusion I did take away a lot of enjoyment. I think had I had the chance to read the graphic novel prior to seeing the movie I would have understood much more of what was going on and probably would have seen the blood and gore more as faithful recreation than gratuitous splattering.
Side note: Having watched this movie, I no longer want to hear any more crap about how GTA IV should be banned/censored/modified. I take the simplest of all approaches when it comes to material I don’t enjoy, whether it be a movie that’s just a little too bloody or the pain of listening to Barbara Streisand: “If you don’t like it, don’t watch/do/listen to it.” Period