Director: Zack Snyder
Year Released: 2009
Take a quick peek at the opening montage (arguably my favorite sequence in the movie) and you'll see a name missing - that of writer Alan Moore - and for a pretty good reason: Hollywood spent millions making a superhero movie out of what's essentially an anti-superhero graphic novel. That said, you can't blame David Hayter (best known to video game fanboys as Solid Snake) or Alex Tse (or the uncredited screenwriters) for not doing their damnedest to pare down the Pynchonesque text to something 'filmable,' and keeping the essential storyline … but that's sort-of the issue: what made the graphic novel so masterful was its multiple layers, subplots, odd digressions and 'non-fiction' inserts, things that don't work according to the Mass Audience 'film language' (for this reason they should never bother trying to adapt either Infinite Jest or Gravity's Rainbow to the screen, like ever … unless for a miniseries or something, and even then they'd be pushing it). I'll leave it to others to nitpick issues with the overbearing soundtrack, comical love scene, barely-coded gay villain (with the folder on his computer labeled "Boys"), numerous shots of Dr. Manhattan's genitals and things like that: my major issue lies with Snyder himself, whose "My Amp Goes to 11" 'aesthetic' really bothers my eyes: he and his editing minions are constantly messing with the frame rates, and it's annoying and overused - he slows things way down, then after the 'climax' point he speeds everything up: it's a gimmick and it's hideous (he did the same thing with 300 but I was too busy carping about the hideous ideological subtext to even get into the direction). This will certainly have its defenders, and there are things to celebrate - I think Jackie Earle Haley's performance as Rorschach is outstanding; Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian is also impressive - and if it draws more people to reading the Moore/Gibbons book (and gets Moore some extra money to work on other labors of love), it's well worth it. Unlike adaptations of From Hell or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, at least this one isn't a total embarrassment.