By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 2, 2008 at 8:40AM
[Posted by Marc Graser]
You‚Äôve got to give Zack Snyder a lot of credit for knowing how to sell his movies.
The Watchmen director showed off nearly 30 minutes of new footage from the comicbook adaptation Wednesday to two groupings of bloggers and entertainment media.
He did the same thing two years ago for 300,‚Äùscreening additional footage that wasn‚Äôt shown at Comic-Con to generate advanced positive word-of-mouth.
He got it then, he‚Äôll get it again. The visuals are stunning. With Watchmen, he‚Äôs created a faithful adaptation of Alan Moore‚Äôs graphic novel that will satisfy fans. The characters pop off the screen; you can almost feel the texture of their suits, meticulously designed by Michael Wilkinson. The production design by Alex McDowell is overly theatrical but a world you want to visit. Overall, the sequences are mesmerizing and almost trance-like. And it‚Äôs dark. Very dark. The Dark Knight has nothing on the grit and violence that‚Äôs on screen. But it‚Äôs the over-stylized nature of how it‚Äôs handled that doesn‚Äôt make it cringe-worthy or unwatchable.
DC Comics has spent the past 20 years trying to adapt the comicbook, considered a bible of the superhero genre that other graphic novels and filmmakers have freely borrowed from. Snyder wants the film to be just as important to superhero movies as the graphic novel has been and he may get his wish. But he still has a lot to prove. The final film runs 2 hours and 45 minutes. It could still prove too faithful to the book.
But Snyder‚Äôs thought of that, too. The book gets too cerebral at times, with the reader wanting the characters to just start pummeling someone or do what superheroes do. A self-professed action geek, Snyder‚Äôs added more action. And while the superheroes do the prerequisite poses one might expect, the punches they throw are choreographed in a way that makes the fight scenes stand out from other similar fare.
What works about Snyder is not only what he puts up on the screen. It‚Äôs his infectious attitude, as well. He loves the experience of making movies. He loves the genre of films he makes. And you can‚Äôt help but want to get behind him, whether you end up liking the final product or not. 300 can hardly be called a masterpiece or even a great movie, but you have to respect the attempt to make something cool and badass ‚Äì something you‚Äôve never seen before. He‚Äôs delivering. And isn‚Äôt that the reason we all go to the movies?
[Originally appeared on Variety.com]