I always try to discourage those unfamiliar with the Harry Potter books from watching the films that have been adapted from the series. As accompaniments to the books, I find the movies a fantastic addition to the franchise but, as stand alone films, they don’t give anywhere near as good an insight into the wonderful world of Hogwarts as JK Rowling’s original novels.
Ten minutes into ‘Watchmen’, I begin to suspect that familiarising myself with the graphic novels upon which the film is based would have been similarly advisable. Despite a valiant attempt to explain the backstories of the various characters in the opening sequence, I get the distinct impression that there are many details that have been omitted to prevent the film stretching any longer than its hefty 162 minute runtime.
Set in 1985, ‘Watchmen’ tells the story of a group of ageing American former-superheroes that are forced back together after the mysterious death of one of their peers at the time of an intensified threat of nuclear attacks from the Soviet Union. As well as trying to grapple with an increasingly challenging present, the group must also face up to secrets from a fractured past that have festered for two generations of ‘watchmen’.
There were several failed attempts at turning Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ original story into a movie before Director Zach Snyder stepped up to the plate. Snyder should be commended for finally bringing the story to the silver screen but, although visually stunning, the final product is unlikely to excite the same universal acclaim as its source material.
The challenge of making the film accessible to those unfamiliar with the world of The Watchmen while also being mindful not to patronise ardent fans of the series appears to have overwhelmed Snyder and his team. As a result, despite occasionally verging on greatness, ‘Watchmen’ ultimately does not stand on its own.
[Image: Sci Fi Pulse]