REVIEWS: 2009 Movie Review Retrospective

This is a retrospective of the movies I saw in theaters this year.  I’ve arranged the movies in the order in which I would recommend them.  You might notice that the listing doesn’t match up exactly with the ratings I gave them originally, but that’s the point in a retrospective.

  1. Avatar
    Yes, I’m going to do it.  I’m going to put the last movie I saw at the top of the list.  But this movie changes so much about movies in general, that I can’t help but put it at the top.
  2. Star Trek
    JJ did the impossible and made a great Star Trek movie that manages to both reboot and continues the series in a worthy manner.
  3. District 9
    Surprisingly good, partly because the ad campaign gave nothing away and partly because it was heartwarming and action filled.
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    I think this movie can finally stand alone as a good movie, not just a good Harry Potter movie.
  5. Up
    It’s Pixar.  It’s funny, heartwarming, doesn’t talk down to you or your kids, and looks amazing.
  6. Drag Me To Hell
    A good balance of funny and scary, with a satisfying ending.
  7. Zombieland
    While Zombieland wasn’t exactly what I wanted, it was still tons of fun.
  8. 2012
    The world is literally falling apart and they want us to care about individual people?
  9. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
    My least favorite book of the series turns into a dull movie.
  10. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
    A movie built on the cliché that bigger is better, which it definitely isn’t in this case.
  11. Terminator Salvation
    Skynet reveals their big plan and its a Terminator with free will?  All I know is that it could have been worse.  A lot worse.  It’s still pretty bad.
  12. The Hangover
    Funny, but highly inappropriate.  Can’t really recommend it.
  13. The Men Who Stare At Goats
    Advertised as a slap-stick comedy, its more of a dark comedy, and not very comedic at that.
  14. Watchmen
    So long, so boring, so weird.
  15. Hannah Montana: The Movie
    Yet another “movie” version of a TV show that manages to not be a game changer, even when that’s supposed to be the moral of the story!
  16. Year One
    Probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen.  Unfunny comedy, cringe-worth dialog, every scene dragged on and on.  First movie we literally talked out loud about walking out of.

REVIEW: Watchmen (2009)

Watchmen poster
Who Watches the Watchmen?

Summary: In an alternate version of 1985 where Nixon is still president and masked heroes are both real and outlawed, one hero who still wears a mask tries to solve a murder of another hero, which leads him to uncover a conspiracy that points to a surprising conclusion…

Thoughts: …Theoretically.

Let me start out by admitting that I’ve never read the Watchmen graphic novel.  When I saw the first trailer, it sparked my interest, but I didn’t want to be tied down to “well, it was good, but the _____ was so much better” (which was my reasoning behind not reading Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, which I later did and ruined further enjoyment of the movies).

What I had gleaned from the trailers I saw was that there was one hero who actually had powers, and others were inspired by him to fight crime alongside him.  Something terrible happened and they were all forced to retire until one by one they were being murdered.  Meanwhile, the population finds out they do need heroes, but when they call for them the former heroes refuse to help.

What I found was a Cold War movie where the only thing stopping the Soviets from nuking America is not America’s vast nuclear arsenal, but a glowing blue man/god who found he doesn’t much care for humanity anymore, and gives long speeches on the subject.

Which is part of my problem with the movie: no one cares.  Nixon, Dr. Manhattan (the glowing man/god, who spends a vast majority of the movie computer generated and completely naked), Rorshach (the original definition of “anti-hero”, who gives the quote about refusing to help), even the more likable heroes don’t seem to care about what is going on around them, even when the big twist at the end comes between several of their friends.  And if the characters don’t care, how can we be expected to?

As an adaptation of a graphic novel, it was extremely graphic (pun intended).  Broken bones, stabbings, head cleaving, face melting, an extended soft-core sex scene with a topless female, and every scene with Dr. Manhatten where its not a flasback or he’s doing an interview have full view of his bright blue computer generated… manhood.  I did not care for it.

I’ll admit, there were several sequences I did like.  I really liked most of the flashbacks to before being a masked hero was illegal.  I liked the main Vietnam sequence, and most of the present day detective sequences with Rorshach.

But in the end, I have to say that I was extremely disappointed.  It didn’t help that the movie is over two and a half hours long, and we went to a late showing (that didn’t have the new Star Trek trailer, which started me out in a bad mood).  Also, the film melted about halfway through it, so we had to sit there while they trimmed the melted section out (melting a film on opening day?  Good job, Bedford Great Escape).

Sorry this review is so disjointed.  Part of it is me trying to avoid spoiling the movie.  Part of it is that the movie itself is so disjointed.  I think I might die if I had to watch the three hour and ten minute Director’s Cut.

Overall: Maybe the Watchmen don’t need to be watched?

Read some of my other reviews!