Who Watches the Watchmen? Brian’s Guest-Blog Review

My good friend, fellow blogger and logo designer Brian went to see Watchmen on Friday night. He was kind enough to provide a review as a guest blogger below. I saw the film today, and will be posting my thoughts and a response to his review in another post later this week.

Watchmen was often considered
a movie that could never be made. But after Zack Snyder (300) took the
helm and his Watchmen trailers caused fanboys, fangirls and the general
population to unite with shared excitement…there was reason to believe it had
been done.

turning (arguably) the greatest graphic novel into a movie, it raises the bar
to almost unattainable heights and results in an all-too common problem: stay
true to the book, or use it as a platform for inspiration? Snyder is able to
walk a very fine line doing both, and deliver a movie that true fans and newcomers
can appreciate. But here is the twist: it’s Watchmen, a twelve-issue
comic that first appeared for DC Comics in 1986-87, has since been released in
its complete form and placed on TIME’s list of 100 Best Novels. If it were
translated word-for-word from the book to the screen, it would be unwatchable
(pun totally intended). If it strayed too much from the book, it would be
criticized on every blog and article until nothing remained.

almost 3 hours (yes, it’s that long, and sadly feels so), the film is able to
translate the visual style, excitement and pulse of the graphic novel. Although
it may be critiqued for jumping back and forth too much, it is important to
acknowledge that the ground-breaking graphic novel had the same feel. The film
does have peaks and valleys, which may be due to the original platform being
told over twelve issues, but the astonishing imagery makes up for it. With the
close-up shots panning back to show the full frame, it is as if the actual
panels in the comic are coming to life. The film makers are also able to
include several nods throughout the film that the true fans will notice: from
Nostalgia Perfume to the Gunga Diner, from the snow globe atop the TV to Hooded
Justice’s German accent — those that read the book should feel pleased
that the film remembers its roots and fans (hopefully enough to forgive them
for certain exclusions, which I am intentionally leaving out to avoid potential

Watchmen is done well. It may fail to meet the hype we all placed on it,
but it shouldn’t leave you feeling disappointed. It stays true to the novel
(with a few exceptions) and brings to life a great book we all loved. The
characters are well cast (notably Jackie Earl Haley’s Rorschach) and it
contains possibly one of the best opening sequences and opening credits to
date. There may be scenes that come across as unintentionally humorous, but
those are the scenes that are the most similar to the novel. I guess some
things just translate better on the page. Although it may not be a film that
holds up 10 years from now, after 22 years of thinking it could never be made…
I’m happy it was.

We’d love to hear what YOU
thought of the film (good or bad) in the comments below. For those true fans up
for a challenge, there will be a give-away for the best review left in the
style of Rorschach’s journal
. If there are several impressive entries, multiple
prizes will be sent out, with a single grand prize. So leave your entry as a comment, and stay tuned for further details!

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Guest Blogger! Brian K. Previews/Reviews New Narnia (Prince Caspian)

“Things Never Happen the Same Way Twice.”
- Aslan

I was given the opportunity to
see a special screening of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and
Jo asked if I would like to post a review. With next-to-zero history in blogging
(apart from comments), I obviously accepted.

My plan is to keep the review
spoiler-free, but give a complete review nonetheless. I’ll leave out the
synopsis since those can be found online if you are so inclined to search them
out. I also find that anything that is not in the trailer should be left as a
new experience when you watch the film for the first time. So here we go…

I remember repeatedly watching
the 1979 animated version of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe as a kid
and was excited when the live-action version came out by Disney in 2005. Never
having read the books by C.S. Lewis, the follow-up film was an unexpected
journey for me since I had no idea where the fantasy-adventure went post-The Lion, The Witch, and the

I found the film very engaging
a la Disney style and was repeatedly caught up in the tale as it unfolded. The
cheesy Disney dialogue poked it’s head up every once and awhile, but if you take
it with a grain of salt and realize that the film is geared more towards the
younger audience, it is understandable and pleasant in a light-hearted way.

Moments in this film share the excitement and anticipation of the open-field
battles in Braveheart and head-to-head titan clashes in Gladiator, but of
course in a PG fashion without the excessive blood and gruesome death scenes.
Remember that the Kings and Queens of Narnia are portrayed by young actors and
actresses, so the fighting scenes lack the punch (pun totally intended) that you
may be used to from other fantasy films. 

There are also wonderful
performances by Peter Dinklage (of The Station Agent; highly recommended) and
Eddie Izzard, who lends his unmistakable voice talent to a swashbuckling Chief
Mouse. Recent Oscar winner Tilda Swinton also reprises her role as the infamous
White Witch, and you obviously can’t have dwarfs in a movie without the
legendary Warwick Davis brilliantly playing one. The Spanish influenced
Telmarines (unfavorable humans that occupy Narnia) offer a sharp contrast to the
English influenced Pevensie Family (Kings & Queens): Peter, Susan, Edmund
and Lucy (which itself offers a subtext that is probably too long to get into,
but I had to mention it). Even though both sides deliver acting performances
that are less than Oscar-worthy, it does not detract from the effectiveness or
enjoyment of the film.

All in all, I had a great time
watching it. The special effects were wonderful and I would recommend the movie
to kids and adults the same. The first film adds context to the second, but is
not a viewing requirement. Is this where I’m supposed to give it a thumbs up,
or stars, or two shakes of a dogs tale with a biscuit?  If so, it has my stamp
of approval.

Additional thoughts for those that look deeper into
the film..

Often times the films (and originally the books) are referred
to as a Christian allegory, but I think that singling out the Christian
influence sells the effectiveness and longevity of the fantasy adventure short.
Let’s not forget it also incorporates Greek and Norse (or Scandinavian)
Mythology, English folk lore, and wherever you classify magic and fantasy. C.S
Lewis included influences from multiple legends to form an adventure that has
withstood the test of time and circled the world with great success.

formula has been used repeatedly – isn’t that part of the lure in LOST? We all
watch and eagerly analyze the influences week after week on Jo’s LOST blog
from the Alice in Wonderland nods to Peter Pan’s Lost Boys. Let’s not forget how
over the head LOST is with character names (Christian Shephard: Christianity,
John Locke: Enlightenment Philosopher, etc). Since we praise LOST (or other
mediums) for doing so, the same should be true for The Chronicles of Narnia; for those of us that like to delve deeper than the surface, there is a plethora
of themes for us to enjoy. 

I think that is a wrap. Hopefully
I didn’t include anything that will take away from your appreciation of the film
and maybe added something positive to your future experience. I would appreciate
any feedback (positive/negative) from those that took the time to read this
since I am looking to start my own BLOG for runners in the near future. I’d also
like to thank Jo for giving me the official chance to be long-winded on her

Special thanks to Brian for his detailed preview! I didn’t have plans to see movie, but after reading his review, I am adding the first Narnia film to my Netflix queue and will do the same when this one hits DVD. Feel free to leave feedback about his thoughts or your own as comments below.
- Jo

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