Movie Details

WATCHMEN

In a gritty and alternate 1985 America, the glory days of costumed vigilantes have been brought to a close by a government crackdown. However, after one of the masked veterans is brutally murdered, an investigation is initiated. The retired superheroes reunite and set out to prevent their own destruction with an extra mission to watch over humanity. In the course of doing so, they unwittingly discover a deeper and far more diabolical plot.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: M18
Release Date: 6 Mar 2009
Genre: Action / Thriller / Science Fiction
Running Time: 2 Hours 43 Minutes
Distributor: UNITED INTERNATIONAL PICTURES
Cast: Malin Akerman, Carla Gugino, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Billy Crudup
Director: Zack Snyder
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

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Watch this if you liked: "300", "V For Vendetta"

A case of the most celebrated graphic novel of all time, turning into the most novel celebrated graphic of these times.

But that's just it - graphics.

Clocking in at an epic 165 minutes, "Watchmen" is a cinematic landscape, a socio-political labour of love that really shouldn't have been made into a movie, although they did a damned good job at it. That's probably why you couldn't see Alan Moore's name (the creator) anywhere in the opening credits.

Insiders say that 'Watchmen' is notoriously unfilmable. Reading on, you'll also discover that they say the comic was designed to be read a couple of times. With such a voluminous, multi-layered text, fanboys are probably glad the project landed in the hands of someone who at least cared for the source material - Zack Snyder ("300"). However, the sheer richness of it all resulted in, once more, the lack of emotional hooks to make "Watchmen" more accessible to those regular cinemagoers beyond its drooling fanbase.

People like that, and people like this writer, just end up marvelling at Doctor Manhattan's naked blue body the whole time and consider it the highlight of the show.

The superhero characters in "Watchmen" are no doubt attractive. There's the mother-daughter duo of the Silk Spectres (played by Malin Akerman and Carla Gugino) and there's a Joker-meets-Hellboy vigilante called the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who gives everyone a mystery to crack. There's also a Freddy Kreuger wannabe called Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) whose noir-style narrative takes us through the whole affair. Then there's his ex-partner Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson), a nervous middle class ponce who tries to get fresh with Silk Spectre II.

They all have a lot of fun doing Snyder's trademark slo-mo action scenes and there's plenty of outrageous violence to watch. It must be the least demanding bits of the movie to audiences who are let in on what must seem to be a live-action comic book. Perhaps one of the best decisions in the film is the soundtrack - we get familiar tunes from Billie Holiday, Leonard Cohen and especially Bob Dylan for the excellent opening track.

"Watchmen" may not be the kind of movie that will frustrate the uninitiated but it sure does come off as an otherworldly experience that may get you to buy the book. To some, that's probably the whole idea.

Cinema Online, 05 March 2009
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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