Watchmen Movie Review

I mentioned a week or so ago that I'd seen Watchmen. Now that I've gone and seen it a second time with Wifey, I can properly review the film (warning: spoiler alert).

First off, I won't bother comparing the film to the graphic novel as almost no-one I know has read the graphic novel, except to say that if you haven't read it, a few of the minor plot threads will probably only become apparent on a second viewing of the film. If you have read the graphic novel, there's a few surprise references to bits that didn't make it into the film. I've read the graphic novel and wasn't disappointed, and if you go to see Watchmen expecting to see a good movie you won't be disappointed either.

The movie looks great, almost in a work-of-art way, but occasionally scenes appear a little too computer-generated. The opening sequence - a montage explaining a lot of the back story - is fantastic. It really sets the scene for the characters and the tone of the film, plus it's set to one of the better songs in a collection of pretty good music featured in the soundtrack.

In terms of characters, Rorschach is brilliantly depicted, The Comedian comes a close second, and the other main characters from Nite Owl to Ozymandias are good (but not great). No actor is totally out of place, but none have the charisma of Christian Bale or Clive Owen, either.

Most of the movie is set in an alternative 1985, which is made very clear from Rorschach's journal voiceovers, music and other clues, but for Aussie filmgoers there's a lot of US-centric stuff in there which might be a little hard to follow (Woodward and Bernstein, Lee Iacocca, President Nixon, to name a few). More of a heads-up really, this didn't ruin the film for me at all.

I'll re-state what I've already mentioned: the movie is an adult movie. It's violent, like The Dark Knight or The Matrix. There is some gore on-screen, but not as much as, say, Kill Bill. It has three sex scenes, one which is probably unnecessary explicit (and long), while the others are not explicit at all. There's a few seconds of full frontal, computer-generated male, too, which has attracted a lot of attention in the press but I personally didn't find offensive.

Watchmen is not a typical Hollywood superhero flick - the timing and mood match the graphic novel, there's a lot of dialogue, and the movie is nearly 3 hours long. About half the running time revolves around the "mask killer" detective story, another third is flash-backs, and the rest is the obligatory action sequences.

The final score: 11 out of 12. I'm not going to recommend Mum and Dad to see this (as I did with The Dark Knight). It's still a fantastic movie (Rotten Tomatoes gave it 64% in comparison) and I'll definitely be adding it to my DVD collection.

Links: 'Watchmen': Epic film...or epic fail? (a good collection of reviews at LA Times), official movie site, IMDB link, Rotten Tomatoes review, Box office: $55 million opening weekend in the US, $140 million in two weeks worldwide, according to, at a cost of somewhere in the vicinity of $150-$200 million to make

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Blogging The 2009 Australian International Airshow

This year I was lucky enough to work at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon, Victoria as a volunteer. I spent 4 great days in the Aircrew Reception area, delivering water to the display crews, handing out lunches to volunteers and display crews, meeting arriving planes and doing other various "hosting"-like duties (and had a ball).

Apparently the number of aircraft at the Airshow was down from the 2007 show, which meant my favourite fighter jet, the F-15 "Eagle", didn't have a flying display, but despite that and the rain the show was still very busy for all of the days I was there.

There were a couple of highlights: seeing a B-1B "Lancer" bomber both on the ground and in the air, getting to go inside the enormous C-5 "Galaxy" cargo plane, talking to local pilots who'd flown in and hearing about their machines, and of course talking with the other volunteers. Just like in 2007, the F/A-18F "Super Hornet" flying display by Boeing Chief Test Pilot Ricardo Traven was amazing to watch.

My favourite display this year was the simulated ground attack featuring a couple of small "Squirrel" helicopters followed by 3 Blackhawks that deposited ground troops, followed by a bomb run by two RAAF F/A-18 Hornets. Explosions and jets - very exciting!

On Friday Olivia and TJ came down for the night show, along with my mate Brad and TJ's friend Raymond. We all enjoyed the show immensely; TJ wrote a full page about the Airshow in his diary at school, and Raymond was overheard to say "This is the best day of my life!"

Above is a collage of my Airshow pictures on Flickr (part of the Avalon Airshow Flickr group). Other people are blogging about their experiences and from most accounts the Airshow was a success.

Once again, I really enjoyed my time as a volunteer, and am already looking forward to 2011!

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No Review, But I Watched The Watchmen

Wow. Saw Watchmen (movie site, IMDB link) last night with Garry. Amazing film. Stays true enough to the source, and makes for a beautiful, bleak vision of an alternate mid-80's where the world is on the brink of nuclear war, with all of its heroes, except one, seemingly unable to stop it.

Not a typical recent "superhero" film by a long shot (definitely not one for the kids). Good adult, complex, layered film.

I haven't got any pics from the movie, but Watchmen Lego by "~Rorschach-Law" is strangely appropriate (and made me laugh).

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Camping on the Frankston Foreshore...

I snapped this photo a couple of weeks ago of a tent on the Frankston foreshore boardwalk. Great spot for camping; definitely not legal.

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Heath Graduates to Swimming By Himself

Heath's been "swimming" since June 4th 2007, but always with Olivia or I holding him.

Two weeks ago he reached a new milestone: Heath was in a swimming class without his parents. Oh, we were nearby, watching as he attempted things by himself - gaining confidence every minute, it seemed - and holding our breath in case he couldn't quite cope. I think I was even ready to dive in to the water and pull him out if needed :-)

Of course Heath did very well (and my heroics were saved for another day). I'm looking forward to seeing Heath's skill levels and self-assurance in the water improve (and I have no hesitation in recommending Kings Langwarrin for swimming lessons too).

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