Watchmen has not surprisingly opened nationwide to a mixed critical consensus. Much is done well while some is not done at all, which is the movie’s primary flaw. Visually, Watchmen is spectacular if occasionally overwhelming and graphically violent. Costuming for the movie enhances the sometimes hokey feel of the comic to fit twenty-first century expectations and the soundtrack is perfect, blending nostalgic period music with an orchestral background theme including that includes an eerie organ grinder.
Some say the comic is too intricate to ever be effectively made as a film. Some say director Zack Snyder did not have the vision to present the story or was too faithful to present anything original. But none of this is to the point. Direction of Watchmen is brilliant, bringing all aspects of the story it chooses to show viscerally alive. The sad truth is that we live with a movie production machine immune to art and fixated on the redundant fulfillment of expectation. The story Watchmen is full of both sex and violence and it has Hollywood’s favorite catastrophic judgment day themes but what the book accomplishes that the movie lacks is the fantastic power of intertwining stories and sub-plots. The comic’s multilayer plots combine to paint a startling landscape of human brutality and impotence which the movie can only gloss. Watchmen the book unabashedly examines whether humanity must be ruled and demonstrates the startling horror of such a notion. “Who is watching the Watchmen,” the story asks. In the end our would-be saviors become the perpetrators of genocide, to “save” humanity (for a time). The story offers no solutions only greater concerns. Why could the American movie industry not allow the rich challenges of Watchmen to be expressed in full? Because Hollywood does not sell ideas. We do not buy the hard questions from Hollywood, only stimulus and instant gratification. So Watchmen pays the price and what could have been more than a movie, what could have been a film, becomes primarily an adrenaline fix for the masses.
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