Positive signs for the Watchmen movie

Several viewings of the trailer later, Mark has high hopes for 2009's Watchmen movie...

The trailer for Watchmen finally landed on Friday. It’s fair to say that since it was announced that a big screen adaptation of Alan Moore’s mother of all graphic novels was to be made, many fanboys have been pretty nervous. No one wants this messing up and despite admirable cinematic versions of some of Moore’s other works (V for Vendetta, From Hell) there has been a clear feeling in many quarters that Watchmen was the one that shouldn’t be touched, that couldn’t be filmed.

Then there is the matter of Zach Snyder at the helm. A director with little to no proven cinematic experience or success (Dawn of the Dead was quite good, 300 less so) handing him Watchmen seems a huge risk. I have little doubt he’ll cope with the visual stylings required to make the film look right. Whether he’ll successfully eek out the many and varied plot themes inherent throughout the novel is up for debate however.

And so it was on Friday morning that I first watched the trailer. And then I watched it again. And again. And after five viewings I sat back with the biggest smile on my face since watching the first Dark Knight spot. First impressions are good. Very good in fact.

First off, it looks like Snyder has indeed nailed the visual style required to pull this off. As Den of Geek’s own Rob McLaughlin wrote on the message boards after the trailer was posted up, you can see that panels have been lifted and perfectly recreated in celluloid. The highlights for me are the glimpses of The Comedian’s tour of duty in Vietnam and that end shot of Dr Manhattan’s palace on Mars. Perfectly realised and far beyond my expectations that shot alone has made me believe that Snyder could actually pull this off.

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Most of the characters are exactly as they appear in the book. Particularly impressive is Dr Manhattan, who looks to be have been rendered as well as anyone could have predicted. The trailer’s tone is promisingly gloomy, dark and foreboding, Rorschach looks and sounds amazing and if the effects throughout the film maintain what is shown in these two minutes alone, audiences will be in for nothing short of a visual feast.

There remain some concerns. Matthew Goode’s look as Ozymandias still jerks with me I’m afraid. He doesn’t look bulky enough, he doesn’t look handsome enough, and his hair’s foppish – it just doesn’t feel right. The appearance of Silk Spectre in the trailer did worry me slightly too. She comes across more as a Catwoman-esque superhero rather than the slightly vulnerable, always troubled crimefighter she is in the novel. Plus her outfit’s all wrong – albeit very sexy.

However, these are minor quibbles in a trailer that has managed to get me firmly on board for 2009. After having seen these snippets, I can’t wait to see more. Warner Bros will have a lot to answer for if the film fails to deliver on this early promise.

In case you missed the trailer last week, here it is again…