After much anticipation, I saw Watchmen this weekend. As mentioned last week I decided to see it on the I-max screen to get the full visual effect. Reviews have blown hot and cold all weekend as it seems that either the reviewer loved it or hated it. Put me down in the enjoyed (not loved) it camp.
I've been debating to myself if you need to read the book to "get" the movie and I don't think you do. Obviously it would help with some of the continuity but I think the film makers did a good job of telling the story to newcomers. If you've read the book I think the movie experience will be that much richer as there are literal panel-by-panel re-creations straight from the book seen on the screen. Another controversy is that the film tweaks the ending. The basic idea of the ending is the same, it's how it was implemented that was changed. To me I think the movie ending is better. For one it makes more sense and two it seem quite plausible and is loyal to the story attempting to be told.
Visually the movie is stunning but still "looks" like the real world. I was a little worried as Director Zach Snyder's work sometimes borders on the unworldly (300, ahem). I also liked the use of music, especially the opening credits as Dylan's Times They are a Changin' is playing, we get to see the creation of the Minutemen, their downfall and rise and downfall of the Watchmen. A lot of backstory was presented in a few minutes, with the Dylan providing the backdrop. A brutal murder while Nat King Cole's Unforgettable was playing was also a nice touch. I could have, however, done without the sex scene with Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah as the background music, that was a little too much (not the sex scene mind you, just the choice of song).
The movie is insanely brutal and earns every inch of it's R rating. There were a couple of scenes where I had to turn my head. But other than that Watchmen was a fun movie experience, what I wanted to see on the screen some 20 years after I first picked up the graphic novel. Watchmen presents a world that easily could be imagined as "might have been" and gives us characters we care for and sympathize with, even if they are psychopathic vigilantes.
What did you think of Watchmen?