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Watchmen (2009)

 -  Action | Mystery | Sci-Fi  -  6 March 2009 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 319,058 users   Metascore: 56/100
Reviews: 1,195 user | 445 critic | 39 from Metacritic.com

In an alternate 1985 where former superheroes exist, the murder of a colleague sends active vigilante Rorschach into his own sprawling investigation, uncovering something that could completely change the course of history as we know it.

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Title: Watchmen (2009)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Pat Buchanan (as James Micheal Connor)
Mary Ann Burger ...
John Shaw ...
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Storyline

In a gritty and alternate 1985 the glory days of costumed vigilantes have been brought to a close by a government crackdown, but after one of the masked veterans is brutally murdered an investigation into the killer is initiated. The reunited heroes set out to prevent their own destruction, but in doing so discover a deeper and far more diabolical plot. Written by evan murphy

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Justice is coming to all of us. No matter what we do. See more »

Genres:

Action | Mystery | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 March 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Watchmen: The IMAX Experience  »

Box Office

Budget:

$130,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£3,243,001 (UK) (6 March 2009)

Gross:

$107,503,316 (USA) (22 May 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Director's Cut) | (Ultimate Cut)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie rights to the Alan Moore graphic novels Watchmen and V for Vendetta (2005) were acquired together in the late 1980s. Moore was asked to write a script, but declined. The studio then had Sam Hamm write a script. Terry Gilliam considered directing this film as early as 1989, but after several rewrites assisted by Charles McKeown, decided the material unfilmable except as a 5-hour miniseries at a cost of $1,000,000 per page (with CGI not in use yet). Michael Bay was considered as director in 2003. In 2004 the rights had been sold to Paramount, where Paul Greengrass planned a loose adaptation set in the present day. Warner Brothers soon reacquired the rights for Darren Aronofsky, who also wanted a present-day setting, replacing Vietnam with Iraq and terrorism. Uncomfortable with that, Warner hired Zack Snyder, of 300 (2006) fame. Casting rumors over the years included Sigourney Weaver (Sally Jupiter); John Hurt, Robin Williams, Doug Hutchison, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Glen Hansard (Rorschach); Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren (Dr. Manhattan); Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Busey, Ron Perlman, Thomas Jane (Comedian); Richard Gere, Kevin Costner, John Cusack, Joaquin Phoenix (Nite Owl); Nathan Fillion (either Comedian or Nite Owl); Jamie Lee Curtis, Hilary Swank, Jessica Biel, Hilary Duff (Silk Spectre); Tom Cruise, Jude Law (Ozymandias). In the finished film, Jackie Earle Haley is the only one of the seven primary cast members who was even in the film industry when the movie was first attempted. See more »

Goofs

If you look closely at all the framed newspaper articles, especially in the opening credits, the articles themselves are just series of repeating texts and paragraphs. However, this may be intentional, as it is a convention in comic books/graphic novels for "minor text" to appear as scribbles or repeating text. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Manhattan: [remembering Janey while on Mars] Janey accuses me of chasing jailbait. She bursts into angry tears, asking if it's because she's getting older. It's true. She's aging more noticeably every day - while I am standing still. I prefer the stillness here. I am tired of Earth. These people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The company logos are black-on-yellow, with text set in Futura Condensed, the font used for titles throughout the graphic novel and film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kick-Ass (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

The Times They Are A-Changin'
Written and Performed by Bob Dylan
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Great Action Epic, But Nothing More
1 March 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

With 300, Zack Snyder had the problem of having not enough meat on the bone - Frank Miller's violent graphic novel was short and in-your-face, with director Snyder compensating by spending pretty much all of it's two hour runtime in super-slow motion. Here the problem is reversed: Alan Moore's unfilmable, complicated and very, very deep graphic novel seemed simply too dense for any director to take by the horns and be successful. Hell, even Moore himself deemed it so - so much that he disowned the film entirely.

Here, Snyder has two audiences: those familiar, and those who aren't. If you're the latter, Watchmen is a masterwork of literature, telling the story of a group of masked avengers who, since outlawed, live empty and lonely lives. When one is killed in his apartment, Rorschach, who dons the famous ever-moving mask, takes it upon himself to get to the root of the real reason for the death, but stumbles onto something much larger than he could ever have expected.

It really is a character piece. Each one, filled off-screen with complicated, articulate back-stories is brought to life on screen by some of the most heartfelt acting I've seen in a long time (save perhaps Malin Ackerman as the latex-wearing Silk Spectre II), particularly from Billy Crudup who plays the blue, often naked (and well-hung) demi-god who is the only superhero with real superpowers.

Although the star of the show is Rorschach himself. Despite being behind a mask for the large majority of the film, Jackie Earle Haley is beyond perfect for the role. His husky voice commands the voiceovers from Rorschach's journal (recited in many cases word-for-word from the novel), and plays the psychopathic, paranoid and immensely complex role with such a force that you simply can't tear your eyes away from him.

Snyder made himself known with 300 - the ultra-violent story of the Spartans who went to war (and lost… miserably). However, Watchmen makes 300 seem like Mary Poppins - this has got to be one of the most violent films I have ever seen. All the book's action sequences are there, just… bigger. More badass. Gory as hell. And, for some reason Snyder decided to place a porny, cringy 3 minute sex scene set to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" slap bang in the middle of the film. Sure, it was in the book, but it was shorter, and the soundtrack was most certainly not this poncy.

However, this… discrepancy… is the only gripe (and this is a very minor gripe) that I have with the film. It's hard to watch in places - a rape scene here, a pregnant woman killed there - and even pulls the heartstrings in others (Doctor Manhattan's backstory most definitely (almost) brought me to tears). The book is majorly complex, deep and meaningful, and in it's transition to screen, a lot of that is lost in translation. But what we get is a fantastically artistic, fast-paced action epic. Snyder was aiming for two audiences who are polar opposites, and comes free with an adaptation of which even writer Alan Moore should be proud.


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