is excellent from start to finish. I can understand why people unfamiliar with the novel might find it a little long / slow in the first half, but for someone who’s read the book it treads a careful line between carbon-copying the original plot (which might lead to a five-hour epic, take note Mr Jackson) and throwing away the characterization that makes the original so strong. As it is all of the characters are well developed, some a little weaker than others, but great performances delivered all around – especially from the people playing the Comedian and Rorschach.

There’s good use of panels from the original art as storyboards – not quite to the Sin City extreme, but a balance that doesn’t feel forced. Similarly there’s good use of flashbacks and cuts between narrative tracks to advance the story in ways not possible on paper, and excellent use of music to offset and complement scenes. Most importantly, the brutality, starkness and excellent dialogue has survived the transition to film very well, again especially in the Rorschach character which I feared might be toned down. Someone obviously decided early on to make the film an 18/R-rating and stuck with it – and they should be saluted for that.

Minor niggles – the Adrian Veidt character and background wasn’t very fully developed, despite being pretty well cast (though probably the weakest of the main characters, just not by much). The Dr Manhattan sequences looked overtly CGI – no real way around that, but it feels like the illumination model used was a bit simplistic – probably needed to make a full 3D scan of each set and do a lighting pass with the blue to get the shadows right. As it stands, Dr Manhattan tends to look super-imposed, though it could be argued this is a narrative effect rather than lazy compositing.

I am unable to watch any portrayal of the crook without thinking of ‘A Head in the Polls’. This is my problem, not anyone else’s, I freely admit. But the whole endeavour has throw into sharp relief how good a comic adaption can be. Which is good, given the other recent Alan Moore adaption.

Posted Monday, March 16th, 2009 under comics, films, geek.


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