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'Watchmen' could still win awards

March 9, 2009 | 11:50 am

While "Watchmen" opened this weekend to mixed reviews and a less-than-expected $55.7 million, it could still prevail at various movie kudofests. As not even the critically hailed "The Dark Knight" could break into the top Oscar races — with the exception of supporting actor winner Heath Ledger — "Watchmen" will be limited to contending there, if at all, in those crafts categories where "Iron Man" and other popcorn pictures get rewarded.


This graphic novel come to life was directed by Zack Snyder, who co-wrote and helmed the technically innovative "300" two years ago. For his efforts, Snyder won a Saturn Award from the sci-fi crowd, and that film won top honors there as well. In addition, "300" contended at the MTV Movie Awards, the People's Choice Awards and the Teen Choice Awards. And various craftspeople were nominated by the art directors, costumers, sound, and visual effects guilds and groups.

For "Watchmen," Snyder reassembled some of the key players from "300." Larry Fong once again handled cinematography and William Hoy edited. Costumes were by Michael Wilkinson, who earned a 2007 guild nod in fantasy film ("The Golden Compass" won). He also had a 2006 guild nod for the contemporary film "Babel" ("The Queen" won). The "Watchmen" score was composed by "300" alum Tyler Bates. And stunts were once more coordinated by Damon Caro, whose "300" crew lost the 2007 SAG race to "The Bourne Ultimatum."

New additions for "Watchmen" included the art direction team headed by Francois Audouy, a 2005 guild nominee in period/fantasy for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" ("Memoirs of a Geisha" won). Sound editing was by, among others, 2002 Oscar nominee Scott Hecker (his work on "Road to Perdition" lost to "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"). And special effects came from, among others, 2007 VES nominees Theo Vandernoot, Vincent Serritella and Pericles Michielin (their work on "Beowulf" lost to "Ratatouille").


Heath Ledger's Oscar goes to Michelle Williams, not the Ledger clan

Photo: Warner Bros.

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Dom, if you went to this thinking it was a regular superhero movie, you made a mistake. Watchmen is in nothing like any other superhero premise. If you had read the comic, you would have known that. Traditionally, the good guy beating the bad guy is such a cliche...espescially when the studio brings the bad guy back in the sequel just to make more money. Personally, I thought the movie held true to the comic, complete with all the gritty violence. It was refreshing; moreso because most of these heroes have no powers whatsoever, save for the ability to think and fight. For those of you who want cheap thrills that doesn't challenge your mind, go watch one of the multitude of other "superhero" movies.

Yeah I just found out that the source I looked at for the budget was wrong. So I was misinformed. In this case though it is a tragedy because it's a hell of a film. Bringing a graphic novel as layered and complex as the Watchmen to the screen is no easy task and Snyder did a great job. I think some of the complaints people have about this movie is interesting because they are very contradictory. Some say the film is too short and some say it's too long. Some say that the movie suffers from sticking too close to the book and others say it's from not sticking close enough to the book. From beginning to end I can't say there wasn't a single moment when I checked the time. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this film. I also speak from a fan's perspective when I say that this movie is probably the closest adaptation of a comic book to date. Yeah there are some details left out but there are already people complaining about the length. Imagine how many people would bitch if this movie actually had every single thing from the book in it. It would be like five hours long! The fact of the matter is that the spirit and the heart of the book is definitely present in every moment of the movie. Some people are also bitching about the music used in the film. With exception of maybe a song or two I loved the soundtrack. Since the film is a period piece, and these characters are such a big part of American history from the 1950's on, it makes sense to blend the music of the times into these characters lives. This is the story of what would happen in our world if these characters existed in it. In our world music is very tied into our history. I just really don't see the big deal. I think it's just because people aren't used to hearing this sort of music in this genera. Again this just goes to show that this movie dares to be different from the rest. I think the problem for the non fans of the book is that they just thought this was going to be another X Men. THIS IS NOT THE X MEN or is it any other super hero film you have ever seen before. This is risk taking super hero story. It's got the spirit of an independent film. It is truly unique. I saw some parents brought children to see this film. Wow great parenting. This isn't a movie for children. It has extremely graphic and gruesome violence. It has sex and nudity. Watchmen earns it's R rating. Yeah it still has the action and the fight scenes audiences have come to expect from a super hero movie and they are certainly impressive. Unlike other super hero films though the action scenes aren't what drives the story. This is a character piece. The film, like the novel, takes it's time developing the complex history of the characters and the world they live in. Each character is so rich and unique that it's very hard to find a favorite. The actors are perfectly cast to bring these characters to life. It's as though they are jumping out of the pages of the book. Watchmen is good enough to compete with The Dark Knight for best comic book film ever. I'm not sure which I would pick. I think they are tied. It is an experience that should not be missed. It's the freshest super hero story ever told.

Of course, the movie actually has to be halfway decent for it to garner any awards attention. "Watchmen" is not good. At all. Sure, it could be nominated for a few technical awards but that's about it.

The movie was LOL bad.

I hated this movie. I will never see it again and the DVD will never see the inside of my house where hundreds of other movies are stored. I rank the suck of this movie right up there with...well no Watchmen takes sucking to a whole new super level. This movie was a really bad superhero movie. Look here is the secret superhero movie formula: Good superpowered guy kicks the crap out of bad superpowered guy...period. This movie was trying very hard to be complicated and clever like Matrix part 3. By the way isn't Watchmen the same story of Jesus that I have seen before? I hate repackaged hollywood religion. Don't take your kids to see this. They'll grow up hating you and superheroes. The best parts of this movie are what you see in the 3-minute trailers. I'm a huge comic book fan...I have never read this grafic novel and now I never will. If I want to see crooked people getting over on the world and confusion about who is truely good or really evil, then I will tune in to CSPAN. I was expecting a superhero movie not a superhero soap opera. Also...Dark Knight was long, beautiful, and intelligent, but still a little dark and still you are better off for having seen it. Watchmen is just a 3 hour long mess that you would be better off if you had not seen it. The potential for this movie is that it makes me not want to see another hollywood superhero movie ever. Of all the potential superhero stories left to bring to the big screen how in the world did DC get this in front of me before I saw Wonderwoman, Flash, JLA, Thor, Capt A, or Groo for that matter? Oh yeah..Howard the Duck made it too... Last 2 things...there are Saturday morning superhero episodes that are better than this movie...check out Starcrossed. Finally, I didn't pre-read Matrix I, or Star Wars IV, or Terminator to love these movies. All the pre-reading in the world wouldn't help Howard the Duck. Oh by the way...Mystery Men is a GREAT superhero movie in comparison to this Watchmen tripe.

filmguy: While I agree with you about the film's quality, you're a bit off in its budget. Watchmen cost somewhere between $120 mill and $180 mill [I've seen $120M, $150M & $180M quoted in various news items on the film's production]. Once you factor in the marketing budget, that $200 mill mark is probably very close to the film's final overall costs. Then, you have to factor in the 8.5% of the gross that Warner's has to give 20th Century Fox. So, in order to make any kind of profit for Warner's, Watchmen will have to make over $400 [let's not forget that the theaters do get a share of the box office, however small, too...].

I hope it works out. Watchmen is a terrific film and Warner's deserves to make a profit after backing such a commercially suspect project.

You make it sound as though the film is a box office flop. It only has $25 million to go before it earns back it's $80 million budget. This film was made very cost efficient unlike other film in the genera that have used up to $200 million. So actually it is a success. Maybe not as big of a one as the greedy studio execs were hoping for but still an undeniable hit. Especially considering the risks that the movie takes with the genera. This is an adult super hero film. A damn good one too. I saw the film with out having read the book first and loved it. Since then I've read the book and now love it even more.



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