This will be a two parter tonight guys, so ladies first n all, but Blackett’s lovely words will be coming up later.

So, Watchmen was released in cinemas yesterday and of course the YourFace gang went to see it as soon as various jobs had finally ended for the day.

Adaptations never fail to divide people. Especially when a film adaptation of a much-loved and hugely respected graphic novel- deemed ‘unfilmable’ by its author- is released to the critical masses.

If they weren’t before, most people will now be vaguely familiar that Watchmen is Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ 1986-87 comic book series; amassively complex, sprawling tale of an alternate 1985 inhabited by masked vigilantes. With an ensemble cast narrating, the story develops through a murder mystery to a love story, undercut by an apocalyptic morality tale and much much more in between. Phew. So how on Earth, I thought, would Zack Snyder even begin to film this HUGE story and condense it for theatrical release without being hunted down by disappointed fans of the novel? We know from 300 that Snyder seems to excel at by-the-numbers scene by scene adaptations rather than heading down the ‘Clueless’ Amy Heckerling auteur route, and I think that this is the only way that Watchmen could have been filmed.


At nearly 3 hours long, Watchmen is a length film but certainly a lot of the original source material has had to be trimmed. Luckily it is done with care and attention to the details of the story and is completely justified. Now I love Watchmen as Alan Moore gave it to us, so I had extremely high hopes for this film, but being disppointed by adaptations before , I decided to just take this film as it came and enjoy Watchmen for the film it is. And a very very good film it is too.

Although as a literature-buff and extremely anal person I’m always going to have a few gripes, but Snyder has done a fine job of keeping me fairly quiet on this front. I was a little disappointed that when Rorschach catches up with a kidnapper/child murderer and meat cleavers him to death rather than burning him alive as the book tells, I do understand the reasons for showing the murder to be as brutal as possible. However, the things that have been done beautifully in this film overshadow many of the problems that I may have had with this film. The characterisation is simply brilliant and roles I was afraid would prove too iconic; Rorschach and Dr Manhattan especially were spot-on as far as I’m concerned. Dr Manhattan as a whole blew me away. Billy Crudup’s soft yet authoratative tones coupled with the superb CG were perfect to represent Manhattan’s omnipotent yet utterly peaceful nature and his detachment from human life. And I’m so glad he was naked. I was afraid that we’d have some deft camera angles to hide Manhattan’s disinterest in clothes, but no, we had full frontal blue willy bouncing about. Oh, and quite an extended sex scene between Silk Spectre and Nite Owl which bordered on porn. The good hot sort though.

One of the largest changes made for this cinematic adaptation is the ‘weapon’ that Adrian Veidt manufactures and teleports to cities worldwide, killing millions and ultimately ending the Cold War. No longer do we have genetically modified psychic vagina-squid, instead we get a machine that replicates Dr Manhattan’s power to devastating effect. As sad as I was that the alien squid thing was missing, I think that the deaths being roundly blamed on Manhattan was a good choice for the cinema as it gives an even bigger reason for him to choose to leave Earth. And after all, Watchmen is a morality tale so some innocent party needs to be falsely villified.

Also, if we’re all honest, Veidt’s alien thing really wouldn’t have made sense on the big screen, especially for those who haven’t read the graphic novel or those who didn’t wish for the running time to go up by about an hour. I could have done without Bubastis too, as Veidt’s massive lynx seemed like an afterthought and was a poor piece of CG compared to the rest of the film.

So, before I leave Blackett with nothing to say, I’ll wrap it up.

Watchmen as a film is a risky venture into the world of cult literature, but one that pulls it off. I loved it. Admittedly I still love the novel more, but definitely now have a soft spot for the film. Also, with promises of DVD extras a-go-go with Tales of the Black Freighter included I will certainly be forking out another £15 odd to see it again. 4 stars. A triumph I feel.