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Eight Complaints About Watchmen

“My thoughts exactly!” – Sublime Blog

Watchmen definitely doesn’t deserve some of the harsher criticism it’s received – well, it does deserve SOME – but, on the flip side, it definitely doesn’t deserve the level of unquestioning and uncritical nerd love that’s been angrily stomping around the internet lately, daring commentators to say otherwise.

Watchmen is a story about an imperfect world and its imperfect defenders, so perhaps it’s almost fitting that the best word to describe the film is “imperfect.” If anything, it has us at MovieRetriever convinced (more than ever) that adaptation needs to be more than just bringing visuals to life or reenacting scene after scene exactly as it appeared in the original. Rather, adaptation needs to be about getting the character, mood, and tone of the work correct first, and everything else is just gravy. We would’ve traded one moment of honest-to-God, palpable Cold War dread for all the Mars scenes in the world.

8. What Was the Deal with the Music?

Admit it. More than once during Watchmen, you laughed at one of the songs Zack Snyder chose to underscore a scene and NOT for a good reason. It’s a shame since Snyder starts off so well, with Bob Dylan’s “Times They Are a Changin’” effectively accompanying the film’s fantastic title sequence (best part of the movie). Granted, using that song to score a montage where you literally watch the times-a-changin’ IS a bit on the nose, but it’s forgivable (and, yes, we do know that the Dylan song is referenced in the comic, but the point is still valid). What isn’t forgivable is the director’s awkward, borderline-embarrassing use of other pop ballads in either strange or clich├ęd-as-hell places. Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” for a funeral? WOW. Never heard that one before. (Surprised he didn’t use “Danny Boy.”)

And why would Snyder use Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for a sex scene, particularly since it’s perhaps THE most insanely over-used song in movie and TV history? (It was used in Shrek, for Pete’s sake.)

And what was the deal with blaring “99 Luftballons” during Dan and Laurie’s quiet dinner? Is this The Wedding Singer where we constantly have to remind the audience that we’re in the 1980s? One wonders why they didn’t just show us the Comedian shooting J.R. Ewing from the grassy knoll.

But it was the awkward matching of lyrics to on-screen action that was really the worst. Playing “All Along the Watchtower” just so you can have the lyrics “Outside in the cold distance / A wild cat did growl / Two riders were approachin’ / And the wind began to howl” match up to Nite Owl and Rorschach (two riders) making a crash-landing in harsh Antarctica (cold distance/wind howling) is so very lame. But nothing beats the muzak version of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” playing during a scene featuring a character (we’ll be spoiler friendly) who, in fact, wants to rule the world. We’re sure that Snyder thought that was pretty cute, but, man, it just reeks of obviousness and trying too hard.

We halfway expected REM’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” to play constantly over the last reel of the movie.

More Complaints About Watchmen That are Hard to Dismiss at MovieRetriever.