OK, I read the comic a hundred years ago and barely remembered anything from it except that I enjoyed it waaaay back then. Keeping that in mind, I went in pretty blind in the theatre. However, after watching the movie, I managed to borrow a copy and re-read the book.
As with all of my movie reviews, spoilers may be mentioned.....
My Favorite writer of all time Peter David once said that the real purpose of a comic book movie (or any movie that is based on "X") is to get people to buy (or research) the source material. After watching Watchmen, I did just that. It's funny, I believe this is the first time that the movie was better than the book. To me, re-reading the book was like watching a "director's cut" of a movie. I can see why it was cut to begin with. The only main difference between the book and the movie was the dynamic between
and Silk Spectre II. I really wasn't feeling the chemistry between the two in the book, whereas in the film, they just clicked so well. The end of their story arc was also altered, but I liked this version better.
Speaking of endings, the how (but not the why) was...adapted for the movie. Seeing as how a lot of key scenes were dropped/edited out (and rightfully so)leading up to the giant squid invading N.Y., it made sense to keep him only in the pages of the comic. To me, I felt that blaming Dr. Manhattan was a better way to go to tie the movie together.
There are a few things that were explained in the book that were left out in the movie such as the symbol on Dr. Manhattan's head (a hydrogen atom) and Rorschach's moving mask (special heat sensitive fabric).
The one that stood out the most to me was, where did the Silk Specter get her costume from? (in the comic, instead of just showing up on Nigh Owl's apt empty handed, she moved in a few days later having her things sent from the military base to the apt).
Many shots/Dialog were lifted directly from the book, further showing that a comic book can translate well into a movie form. Speaking of which, I am reminded of last week's post about Chun Li and the director saying that he didn't want costumes in his movie because he wanted to ground his movie in reality. There were costumes in Watchmen, (hell there was a giant blue guy walking around!) yet it felt more "real" than any part of Chun Li. So it's not the costumes, it's how you use them.
Since I am on the topic of the giant blue guy, I have to mention his.....Pepe' Grande Azul. I didn't remember seeing it in the comic the first time and I sure as hell didn't expect to see it featured in the movie, but there it was, just hanging out for all to see.
Lastly, I wanted to mention a couple of things that were added to the movie that weren't in the book, such as the actual fight between The Comedian and his killer, how Rorschach got his costume back in the prison as opposed to going back into his place for a "spare" and the actual fight in the prison. Good stuff all around.
Keep in mind that when you go see this one, leave the kiddies at home. It's rated "R" for a reason!