Friday, March 06, 2009


Well, I've just returned from the 12:01 IMAX showing in Alexandria. The night started off pretty good, first with two co-workers of mine, Lance and Jeremy, headed over to Rustico, a wonderful restaurant/bar that serves an excellent array of beers. The downside was, however, that when we eventually arrived at the movie theater, there were no three adjacent seats - except in the first row. Well Jeremy would have none of that, so he found a pretty comfy seat about mid-way up the middle section. I settled in in the second row, and Lance had to settle for a close seat when no other free seats were available higher up in the theater.

The movie's trailers started and we were provided the months old Star Trek trailer, a trailer for Night at the Museum 2 and Transformers 2.

Well, coming from someone who had already seen the work - I was impressed. My two co-workers had seen the film already as well, and appeared to be as well. I really can't say how I'd find this film if I had not read the work to begin with. I'll just have to see if I can wrangle up anyone else who may want to see the film, and see how a person who has not read the graphic novel reacts.

The acting from the principle cast is great. They nail the characters perfectly.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan did an excellent job, Billy Crudup, and Jackie Earle Haley. Haley nails Rorschach.

The attention to detail, not only for what appeared in the graphic novel, but what technology existed in 1985 (though slightly tweaked due to certain changes from our history), is dead on.

I'd have to say so far the only part that I'm slightly frustrated with is the rushing towards the resolution that occurs in the film. It just "happens" - not horribly, but far faster than other elements in the story progress. Then again, I'm not hating the "changes" made to the ending. The huge fear was that the film would be unable to cope with such a "drastic" change to the original story, that the film would fall apart. Personally, with other parts completely removed, the shift in the plot-'twist' suits the film's needs as a self contained story and not just an arm of the graphic novel.

Aside from the obvious major change for those familiar with the story, the film is extremely faithful to the source material. Some parts have been excised, but will apparently be added back into the film when it makes its way onto DVD.

They didn't change the gender of any of the characters. They didn't add in completely new characters. They didn't eliminate any of the main plot points (just the means in one particular case). They didn't have some characters live and others die instead. They didn't cut out entire swaths of the film to fit a specific run time. If less competent people had been running the show, it would have been worse. They would have eliminated Rorschach's entire incarceration, they probably would have killed other characters. They would have made it an actual "happy ending." Trust me, it could have been far worse. And the film is still being skewered.

I loved the original ending. However, upon exiting the theater, I heard more than a few people discuss whether or not what Veidt did was right. As I've heard another person say about the matter... Mission Accomplished. The ending still works.

What I'm finding hilarious is that almost no two critics that are being critical of the film can agree. Just based off the first two short synopses I can across on Rotten Tomatoes, one calls the film "overlong" the next says that the film is too short. You have reviewers that show a complete lack of focus, and are ignorant when they eventually write the review, calling characters the wrong thing, analyzing things that didn't even appear in the movie (perhaps they were complaining about something they saw in a trailer before the film). You also have reviewers that complain that the film is not an accurate adaptation of the source material. Few films are. Sin City perhaps is the most "faithful" adaption in the last few years. Watchmen is more faithful to not only the plot, but the characters than Peter Jackson and crew were to the story and characters in Lord of the Rings. Few film adaptions in the last 100 years are even halfway faithful to the original works.

Then again, some of the people who are unable to get past the graphic novel are also the same people who don't want the graphic novel to become "popular" - either because they're unable to make emotional bonds with well known works of literature or art, or because they like to be ironic and complain about how not enough people "know" about something and that popularizing such a thing would ruin their complaining.

I generally agree that the consensus of critics on a given movie is usually the correct one, but not in this case. The critics either don't get it, or are so far absorbed into the graphic novel that they just will not accept anything that is missing or is deviating from the plot.

I can't really say if this film will be a hit - since almost all IMAX showings such as the one I just was at are sold out, even if the film ends up coming in at #8 for the weekend. However, the audience, not the critics will end up being the determining factor in whether people look on the film favorably, or unfavorably whether it be one week, one month, or years from now.

It was a great night, with a film that did not disappoint like my last foray into the 12:01 Friday morning premiere - Indiana Jones.

No comments: