This is Jeff Bayer, and I don't update this site very often. If you'd like to listen to my current movie podcast you can find it at MovieBS.com.

He said - He said ... Watchmen

It's our first ever he said/he said ... all about Watchmen starring Billy Crudup, Malin Akerman, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. This time around we have Jeff Bayer (didn't read the graphic novel) and Nick Allen (read the graphic novel).As always, I don't recommend reading this if you haven't seen the movie.

Click here to read Jeff Bayer's Scorecard Review Click here to read Nick Allen's Scorecard Review

Jeff says

Well, did it deliver for you? I thought the beginning was great, the middle was OK, and the ending just zapped the fun out of the whole thing. So before we get into the nuts and bolts, is this the story you expected to see? Or are there huge differences between the novel and the film? But the big thing I need to figure out before anything else ... what makes a superhero super in Watchmen? After that question gets answers will can talk about everything else.

Nick says

It was a very fulfilling experience, to say the least. Though it does not keep EVERYTHING from the graphic novel (something that would be impossible, or at least only achieved by an expansive miniseries) it does take the best parts of the novel's story base. However, at the same time what the script leaves out is not entirely harmful to the film. This is due to careful consideration of how much time should be spent on backstory, certain events not pertinent to the big picture of Watchmen, etc. Also, it should be said that the ending in the graphic novel is different, though not entirely better than the one chosen for the film.

That being said, I had no expectations going in. I was of course excited, but I was not going to hold myself down to things I demanded to see on screen. I simply wanted an experience that felt just to the incredible novel. Needless to say, I was very pleased.

Your third question is very curious, considering the fact that none of them (except for Dr. Manhattan) really possess "super" power. So in calling the heroes of Watchmen "superheroes", perhaps this is incorrect. Rather, these people are just proactive masked vigilantes, who are inspired by justice or in some cases brought into the world of being a "hero" by someone older than them. They have decided to do something about fighting crime in the world, although some are more violent or radical than others. I can't entirely explain why some of them are so powerful in their punches and kicks other than saying the must've worked out a lot.

Have you been inspired to read the graphic novel after watching the film? Did the film itself seem slow to you?

Jeff Says

You had no expecations going in? Really? REALLY? This is a hugely anticapated film. I purposely didn't watch previews or read the graphic novel, so I could go in fresh. I'm just shocked you don't feel like you sat down with no hopes or weren't rooting for Watchmen.

The super punching is what got me. I needed some rational at some point as to why these guys could do what they do (from Rorshack's mask to Nite Owl cleaning people's clocks). And the reason I say superheroes is because that's what they call themselves constantly.

I'd say the speed of the film is a little suspect. It took a long time to get from the first action scene to the second. But all that backstory stuff was just great, starting with what will probably be the best opening credits of the year.

But really, the big flaw of the film is Silk Spectre. Malin Akerman is just not up to the task of making me care. Eye candy. Nothing more. Agree?

Nick Says

I also did not watch previews for the film. I even covered my ears and hummed to myself in desperation of not having anything ruined for me. Like my "Bat-stinence" for when I saw The Dark Knight, I wanted to go in fresh, like you (sort of). I guess you could say I was rooting for the film, but it was more the feelings I have for any type of movie I care about before seeing - I had hoped it wouldn't suck.

It's funny you say that the opening credits were the best of the year, because I think they were a very low point of the film (though not the worst this year). In fact, they were as cheesy as Malin Akerman's acting, which at times was a bit bumpy or just too bland. However, I say all of this knowing that the opening credits added some strange things to the Watchmen story, and did so with an incredibly typical song (granted, it's a great one) and an abusive amount of slow motion. In fact, it had me worried. Was the rest of the movie going to be as corny and filmed in as much slow motion? I can guarantee you, the graphic novel barely resembles the opening credits, which might be why I had a problem with them. They were an example of a rare case where the film is trying to add to the story, and not just take.

But back to Akerman. She stood out as a weak performer especially amongst Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan or Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach. It was also interesting that they chose Carla Gugino to play Silk Spectre's mother, when Gugino could've played the role of the younger Silk Spectre easily.

I had a giant problem with the music in the film. Though filled with classics, the soundtrack was a bit corny and disruptive to the tone. Sure, I love Simon and Garfunkel, but not in something like Watchmen. What did you think?

Jeff Says

Wow. OK, very impressed you avoided previews. Gugino was fairly wasted. And yes, she could have stepped into Akerman's role and been much better (I think).

I just thought the opening credits were so arrogant, just shoving their version of America in our face. And Bob Dylan's song worked. And at first, my jaw dropped ... then I gave it a second and fell in love with it. But the one that didn't ... "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen. Wow that sex scene was laughable. Did people snicker in your theater? And perhaps the biggest ... distraction ... was wondering when the blue "member" of the group would show up.

Here's what would have made a great movie ... Rorschach, The Comedian, and maybe Dr. Manhattan's back story. There's your movie. The huge flaw for me was there was absolutely no emotional connection to the "present" story line. Did you care about these Earthlings? They spent the whole movie creating this other world, but never connected us to it.

Nick Says

For me, people snickered more at the blue "member" than they did the sex scene (which I didn't find laughable, really). However, some people don't know how to handle tasteful nudity. Though Dr. Manhattan is capable of wearing a black guard over his lower regions, it shouldn't be that difficult for viewers to grasp the character walking around in his most natural state.

Interesting point about the Earthlings. I thought about what you said for a while, and realized that I did not care too much for the civilians. In fact, the film made existence and the threat of a lack of it not as terrifying as one would hope. This brings me back to the graphic novel, which brilliantly covers it with sub-stories involving patrons of a small newspaper stand. If those characters were used in the film, perhaps you and I would really care about the Earthlings. Or Earth, itself.

Jeff Says

I'm torn. I don't think I'll be reading the graphic novel. I feel like I'm just going to be thinking of the movie the whole time. I just won't be able to separate the two. But, I do need something to read, so what graphic novel do you recommend?

And one final complaint - Nixon. Good god. Make-up, accent, it was all painful and distracting. And that has nothing to do with Frank Langella recently knocking it out of the park ... OK, maybe it does.

Best part of this whole he said/he said ... I feel like we were on opposite ends, yet you gave the film a 7/10 and I gave it a 6/10. Though I have to say, the 6 vs. 7 is my hardest decision. To me, a seven is a solid flick, and a six means there were a touch to many flaws.

Click here to read Jeff Bayer's Scorecard Review Click here to read Nick Allen's Scorecard Review

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