Friday, February 27, 2009
So, went to see it in preview, at the IMAX theatre. I wasn't as impressed as I expected to be, even though I discounted ninety per cent of the hype. There were some very good moments - the opening montage and the murder of the Comedian (Snyder's trademark slo-mo-during-moments-of-violence used to good effect, for once), a sequence in Vietnam, the prison riot, Dr Manhattan on Mars, and his origin myth - and the revised ending was smart and worked better than the original. But while obsessive fans may be reassured by the reverence with which the source material was treated, I thought it made for a plodding, discursive film, with far too many scenes of people talking to each other in dialogue that sounded like, well, dialogue, rather than urgent, felt conversations. Several of the actors clearly needed direction they weren't getting - most notably Malin Akerman as Silk Spectre, and Matthew Goode, playing playing smartest-man-in-the-world Adrian Veidt as a refugee from a one-hit wonder synth band. Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian and Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach were rather better, and Billy Cruddup's Dr Manhattan had a nicely wistful otherworldly vibe. Still, it's clear that Zack Synder is happier in the digital editing suite than working with actual actors. Despite the state-of-the art special effects (you really can film anything now), and a ton of reverential detail, there was no real feeling of excitement, just a string of set-pieces spaced by actors talking past each other and a pretty excruciating lovemaking scene. It's a faithful adaptation of a notoriously difficult-to-adapt graphic novel, but it makes for a so-so anti-superhero movie, rather than the great one we've been promised.