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  • Alternative view 1 of Watchmen
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4.0 52
Director: Zack Snyder

Cast: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode


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300's Zack Snyder brings Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' critically acclaimed comic book Watchmen to the big screen, courtesy of DC Comics and Warner Bros. Pictures. Set in an alternate universe circa 1985, the film's world is a highly unstable one


300's Zack Snyder brings Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' critically acclaimed comic book Watchmen to the big screen, courtesy of DC Comics and Warner Bros. Pictures. Set in an alternate universe circa 1985, the film's world is a highly unstable one where a nuclear war is imminent between America and Russia. Superheroes have long been made to hang up their tights thanks to the government-sponsored Keene Act, but that all changes with the death of The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a robust ex-hero commando whose mysterious free fall out a window perks the interest of one of the country's last remaining vigilantes, Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley). His investigation leads him to caution many of his other former costumed colleagues, including Dr. Manhattan, Night Owl (Patrick Wilson), Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), Sally Jupiter (Carla Gugino), and her daughter, The Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman). Heralded for bringing the world of superheroes into the literary world, Watchmen gave the super-powered mythos a real-life grounding that had been missing in mainstream comics to that point. The film adaptation had languished in one form of development hell or another for years after the book's release, with various directors on and off the project, including Terry Gilliam, David Hayter, and Darren Aronofsky, as well as Paul Greengrass, whose eventual dismissal stemmed from budget conflicts with the studio.

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Surely, one of the greatest quandaries faced by the modern film reviewer is the question of how much credence should be given to fanboys. In a period when adaptations of cult properties are at an all-time high, the inevitably nitpicky opinions of a comic's original fans are often loud enough to eclipse the general sentiment on a film -- even when they represent a tiny portion of the movie's overall viewership. But, of course, part of the reason that old-school fans voice their concerns so loudly is that they have a good reason to be protective of their beloved source material. Case in point: 2009's big-screen version of Alan Moore's graphic novel Watchmen. Set in an alternate universe where, in 1985, the U.S.'s desperate search for Cold War security has Nixon presently serving his fifth term, the story sets up a multi-generational history of the superhero (known in this world as the "costumed adventurer"), wherein ordinary people with extraordinary skills, determination, and neuroses put on capes and masks to hit the New York streets and fight crime. The first wave of adventurers rose to fame during the 1940s, but eventually fell from both effectiveness and public favor, marred by years of scandal, disgrace, and disaster. Obviously, the book is free to explore this area of the timeline as extensively as it wants, but the movie is limited by time, constraining most of it to the role of prefacing backstory, presented in what is, admittedly, one of the coolest credit sequences ever. The narrative then jumps into Gen 2 of the costumed adventurers, which includes an actual child of the first lineup, the ridiculously hot Laurie, aka Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman). The rest of the group includes the humanity-hating Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), whose ever-changing ink-blot mask shifts like some kind of malevolent lava lamp; the soft-spoken Dan, aka Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson), who dons the most effective pair of gigantic eyeglasses since Clark Kent; and the effete genius Adrian, aka Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), who rocks the best ambiguous smarty-pants accent since Julianne Moore in The Big Lebowski. There's also the big, blue Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), whose superhero presence spans the two generations, since he doesn't age. This would be because, back when he was a mild-mannered physicist named Jon, he got stuck in the middle of some experiment or other, the details of which are not really important. Forced to basically reconstitute a physical body for himself, Jon now essentially exists on a quantum level, where he doesn't interact with time and space the way the rest of humanity does. As the events of the story play out, his character brings both the narrative and the subtext full circle. The second-generation group, long since disbanded, must reunite on the pretext of investigating the murder of a first-gen member (The Comedian, played by an awesomely grizzled Jeffrey Dean Morgan), but more pertinently, regarding the anticipated upcoming nuclear holocaust. The old Batman idea that this damn city is falling apart, and that it takes a tireless, slightly insane person to keep fighting the unrelenting tide of humanity's destructive nature is incredibly effective with the backdrop of Gotham expanded to include the whole world. We start to understand how the first generation of heroes inevitably fell from grace, how the battle against society's wickedness is a losing game, and how the Watchmen are just that: men (and woman). They aren't any more exempt from the vices of humankind than the punks they pick off the city's underbelly. Except, of course, for Dr. Manhattan. He's the only hero with actual superhero-type powers, but in a Catch-22 that illustrates the story's overall thesis, wielding nonhuman abilities means becoming nonhuman -- and therefore lacking a hero's necessary sense of protectiveness over his brethren. By the time the film reaches its highest-of-the-high-stakes climax, Dr. Manhattan has become so removed from the most fundamental experiences of carbon-based life -- let alone humanity -- that he no longer feels the pull to fight for its survival. This is where the strength of Watchmen's storytelling really becomes clear, because it gets us on board with both humankind's struggle and Manhattan's detachment. We get it: life is a tumult of inescapable brutality. But we still accept Manhattan's vexingly reasonable remoteness -- not to mention his computer-generated genitalia (thanks in no small part -- no pun intended -- to Crudup, whose compelling sense of otherworldliness somehow keeps us from giggling at his constant, earnest, blue-glowing full-frontal nudity). It may not include every nuance of the graphic novel, but it captures as much as any adaptation could -- which may not satisfy the fanboys, but it's probably more than enough for everyone else.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video

Special Features

The Phenomenon: The Comic That Changed Comics - The Original Graphic Novel's Groundbreaking Impact; Real Super Heroes, Real Vigilantes Explores how the Saga's Characters Are Mirrored in Historical and Contemporary Real-Life Behavior; ; Mechanics: Technologies of a Fantastic World; Immerse Yourself in All 11 Watchmen Video Journals; ; My Chemical Romance Desolation Row Music Video; Exclusive Features Via BD-Live!

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Malin Akerman Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II
Billy Crudup Dr. Manhattan/Jon Osterman
Matthew Goode Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias
Carla Gugino Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre
Jackie Earle Haley Rorschach/Walter Kovacs
Jeffrey Dean Morgan Edward Blake/Comedian
Patrick Wilson Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl
Matt Frewer Moloch
Stephen McHattie Hollis Mason
Laura Mennell Janey Slater
Rob La Belle Wally Weaver
Robert Wisden Richard Nixon
Gary Houston John McLaughlin
James Michael Connor Pat Buchanan
Mary Ann Burger Eleanor Clift
John Shaw Doug Roth
Jerry Wasserman Detective Fine
Don Thompson Detective Gallagher
Frank Novak Henry Kissinger
Sean Allan NORAD General
Garry Chalk NORAD General
Ron Fassler Ted Koppel
Stephanie Belding Janet Black
Michael Kopsa Paul Klein
William Taylor Prison Psychiatrist
Chris Burns Dumb Thug
Malcolm Scott Fat Thug
Danny Wattley Huge
Nhi Do Vietnamese Girl
Walter Addison Lee Iacocca
Keith Martin Gordrey Auto CEO
David MacKay Child Murderer

Technical Credits
Zack Snyder Director
Michelle Allen Casting
Tyler Bates Score Composer
Greg Cannom Makeup Special Effects
Kristy Carlson Casting
Wesley Coller Co-producer
Larry Fong Cinematographer
Herbert W. Gains Executive Producer
Lawrence Gordon Producer
David Hayter Screenwriter
William Hoy Editor
Helen Veronica Jarvis Art Director
Lloyd Levin Producer
Alex McDowell Production Designer
Michael McGee Sound Mixer
Jeremy Peirson Sound/Sound Designer
Deborah Snyder Producer
Alex Tse Screenwriter
Thomas Tull Executive Producer
Martin Walters Asst. Director
Michael Wilkinson Costumes/Costume Designer


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Watchmen 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie. And I loved it the second time I went to see it just to try and absorb everything it threw at me. I also truly enjoyed the soundtrack and how it was used through-out the generational story-line.So that's it, I thought it was a fantastic adult-comic-come-to-screen! Ugh...I tried. I have to admit that some of our reveiws can be so informative in stressing the precision of our opinion that a person can go cross-eyed reading them. Yes, I read Watchmen when it came out in the 1980's.I also owned a copy long before I knew they were going to make a movie. And I have been involved in reading, collecting, buying and selling comics for 30 of my 49 years. Does this mean that I have a informed opinion....???? And how about how difficult it is to interpret certain literary classics to screen? Does this mean that they should never be attempted? I would rather see an honest effort fall short than for it to never be attempted. Personally I have no problem digesting it and moving on. Ask yourself which DUNE rendition you liked, the movie or the mini-series? Or which THE SHINING you liked, the J. Nickleson one or the Steven King produced mini-series. How about THE STAND, was this junk, and the LOTR's that could "never be filmed"....seemed like an excellant adaption to me. So as I said, I really loved this movie. I also enjoyed the comic-DVD and the Black Freighter DVD. They all were great fun in there own ways. Ok I'm done. Time to go back to double-shifts and helping raise 4 kids. Enjoy!
Heavy_Metal_Sushi More than 1 year ago
I can't honestly say that I read the graphic novel before I watched the movie, though I wanted to, but either way...this is definitely added among some of the most amazing, mind blowing movies I have ever seen. I went right out after work early on the morning of it's release and rented it from a Red Box and watched it after I got home. I went right out that evening after I slept and bought a collector's edition copy of it. It was amazing! I had wanted to see it in theatres, but I never got a chance to, but oh well. I really like graphic novel/comic book based movies as it is, and this one was particularly unique to me. It's emotional, powerful, explosive, humorous, visually stunning, exciting, sexy, and shocking all rolled into one...and I found it rather engrossing and just totally awesome. By the end of the movie, I was just like "Wow!" I have read that some people were just a tad disappointed about some things that were not evident between the graphic novel and movie, but even so...the movie itself was an amazing movie in and of itself. I definitely would like to read the graphic novel now though, at some point, and see the story in it's orginality and kind of compare, but regardless, I still love the movie for what it is. The moment I finished watching it, it automatically joined a slue of others as one of my all time favorite movies. PARENTS! As a forewarning, though I'm sure most of you are smart enough to check out the rating stuff and everything, this is not a kids movie. It may be based off of a comic book/graphic novel and may look kind of cartoon like in style, but it contains violence, some gore, some foul language, and some nudity/sex. Watch this one apart from the kiddies. Having said that though, none of that stuff wasn't anything I couldn't overlook, because the movie as a whole was truly sensational, and I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys these kind of movies, or that just enjoys movies that are deep and that shock & amaze. Go buy a copy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Watchmen is simply stunning. The effects, actors, and direction are all top-notch, however the story is the true highlight of this film. Few other films have critiqued America's foreign and domestic policies of the last 50 years as intelligently as Watchmen. Though the movie is dark, it is not without a hopeful ending. If you have not seen this movie please do. It should become a classic.
Buu More than 1 year ago
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DEMONTHE7TH More than 1 year ago
I did! It was a great adaptation of the graphic novel, which I read shortly before the movie was released in the theatres. Although, anyone who has read the novel probably would pick the movie apart for what it's worth. Some of the actors didn't fit the role, and some things were left out, and (gasp!) changed. The book had a darker feel to it than the movie did. Plus, the movie was harder to understand than the novel was. I did feel sympathy for Dr. Manhattan in the novel when his g/f left him for another man, but in the movie, you don't have much sympathy at all for him. Particularly the part in the novel that Nite Owl and the Silk Spectre were making love in front of him which is completely left out of the movie. Also, if you can't tell who the villain is within the first 10 minutes of the movie, you are dense. It is far too obvious the way this character came off. But overall, the movie stayed true to the novel and worked in a lot of ways. The message is still there.
martunes More than 1 year ago
The movie was brilliant. It leaves you open to discuss life on many levels. From human interaction to global politics. In a what could have been world the viewer gets a chance to look inside the characters, governments and and yourself. The visuals are great. The story has a fantastic edge but sections are still believable. Like a Dan Brown novel. Every aspect from the acting and directing to the brilliant writing and cinematography is great. It will appeal to those who want pure escapism to anyone willing to dig into the social and personal commentary.
Mina_Dark More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best films I've ever seen. It stayed very true to the graphic novel which was great, because that piece of art you just don't mess with! The actors they picked to be the characters were great all around - no one could've been better. I also loved how they didn't update it, like most of the comic-book-turned-films have been. If you were to update this story you'd butcher it, so it was wise on the film makers' part to keep it true to the graphic novel. DO NOT miss this! It is a masterpiece!
DEFRAUD More than 1 year ago
Boy, i should be a happy man right now. Enjoying one of the best action flicks of 2009 at home. Two months ago i ordered this Special Edition DVD, but i was greedy: I took a 20% discount coupon sent to my mailbox as a guarantee for an international delivery. I was wrong. Filled with regret and dissapointment, i am now FIGHTING Barnes and Noble for a refund. I didn´t even asked for replacements, why should i with THAT kind of delivery service. On top of the 21 bussiness days that exclude Saturdays, they asked me for two more weeks. So please, If you are an international customer and you have an account and a discount coupon...well, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! I recommend Dvdplanet or even Amazon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing! juts too amazing you need to see it i loved it it needs to be made into a sequel and wow i just loved it. i need to see it again, i wanna but it wow i cant wait tilli buy it wow its soo amazing wow i cant beleive it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Think again. All superhero and sci-fi movies have characteristics that make them what they are. The reserved, troubled, unassuming superhero that steps up to save the world, kicking ass along the way, while occasionally getting his or her ass kicked as well (Must set up those emotional comebacks!). The awesome, unknowable force that can implode space and time, or genetically restructure entire species. We know these movies are like this, and Watchmen embodies these kinds of plot strategies with gusto. But Watchmen provides a little touched center. The innate brutality that exists in people - good, heroic types as well as the villains. Each of the characters in this movie display the ugly, savage, self-centered id that resides in each of us without trying to apologize for it. That is what I call refreshing. From Silk Spectre's self-righteous, I-know-it-allness to Night Owl's wimpish condescension. From Dr. Manhattan's human-undermined godhood to the Comedian's sheer, ecstatic savagery, this movie offers something which is truly different and fun. May more movies of this genre stretch the limits of decency!
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