Reviews from Critics Who Watched "The Watchmen" [Uh-Oh]

The Watchmen reviews are in...and it's not very pretty.
AP: Snyder has been hailed as a visionary director -- primarily by the studio releasing the movie -- but "300'' and "Watchmen'' both prove he's really a skilled mimic, albeit one with visual flair. His violent New York is tangibly gritty, but at the same time some of his larger set pieces, like the ones that take place on Mars, look distractingly cartoony.
One and a half stars out of four.

New Yorker: The bad news about "Watchmen" is that it grinds and squelches on for two and a half hours, like a major operation. The good news is that you don't have to stay past the opening credit sequence-easily the highlight of the film.

New York Magazine: Elements come to fleeting life, but numbness overtakes all. Alan Moore refused (in advance) to put his name on the movie, which must have hurt Snyder and company terribly; they’ve made the most reverent adaptation of a graphic novel ever. But this kind of reverence kills what it seeks to preserve. The movie is embalmed.

EW: Yet even Watchmen fanatics may be doomed to a disappointment that results from trying to stay this faithful to a comic book...But once the film proper begins, Snyder, who did such a terrific job of adapting the solemn Olympian war porn of 300, treats each image with the same stuffy hermetic reverence. He doesn't move the camera or let the scenes breathe. He crams the film with bits and pieces, trapping his actors like bugs wriggling in the frame....On the page, Watchmen was a paranoid, mind-tripping pastiche of everything from The Incredible Hulk to Naked Lunch. But when characters who are knowing throwbacks are literally brought to life on screen, they can seem more like half-hearted ripoffs.

Hollywood Reporter: There is something a little lackadaisical here. The set pieces are surprisingly flat and the characters have little resonance. Fight scenes don't hold a candle to Asian action. Even the digital effects are ho-hum. Armageddon never looked so cheesy. The film seems to take pride in its darkness, but this is just another failed special effect. Cinematographer Larry Fong and production designer Alex McDowell blend real and digital sets with earthen tones and secondary colors that give a sense of the past. But the stories are too absurd and acting too uneven to convince anyone. The appearances of a waxworks Nixon, Kissinger and other 1980s personalities will only bring hoots from less charitable audiences. Looks like we have the first real flop of 2009.

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