Runtime: 163 minutes Links: IMDB People sure are passionate about movies, and if you need further evidence of this just go scour the Internet for any negative review on the film adaptation of “Watchmen,” Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ 1986 graphic novel about a group of costumed superheroes who are outlawed by the government. However, be prepared to witness some pretty vulgar language because a large number of the graphic novel’s die-hard followers are not too kind to anyone who dares criticize the film version of their precious “Watchmen.” So, go ahead “Watchmen” fanboys, get ready to give me your most vile, offensive verbal lashings because in the next few minutes you are going to read some things that may make you want to pull out your hair and scream at the top of your lungs. But I’m a big boy now, so I can take any insult you throw my way. Anything you say really won’t hurt my feelings because I know that yours truly is not the root of your frustrations. Nope, the real reason you are so upset is because I am telling you something you don’t want to believe is true: The movie you’ve been waiting for over 20 years to see is not the masterpiece you were expecting it to be. But if me being your whipping boy will make you fanboys feel better then so be it, but before you start ridiculing me just try to understand that I don’t take a single ounce of joy in writing anything bad about “Watchmen.” Just recently I read Moore and Gibbons’ 12-issue comic book series and I must admit I was absolutely fascinated as I flipped through the pages. Now I wouldn’t go so far as to call it one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present like Time magazine did in 2005, but Moore’s dark and complex story about flawed superheroes struggling with moral dilemmas is truly groundbreaking and I can completely understand why it has such a strong cult following. Brutally violent and deserving of its R rating, “Watchmen” is set in an alternate 1985 where Richard Nixon is still president, the U.S. “won” the Vietnam War and the world is on the brink of nuclear annihilation. But the prospect of humanity being erased from Earth doesn’t matter too much to Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), a superhero turned vigilante who wears a mask with ink blots that change to reflect his emotions, especially when his former colleague, The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), is killed after being thrown out of his 30th floor apartment by an unknown assailant. Destined to uncover the identity of the mysterious murderer, Rorschach is convinced someone is purposely picking off costumed heroes and any one of his friends could be next. Since Rorschach considers an attack on one as an attack on all, he sets out to warn the members of his former crime-fighting posse — Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), who is dubbed the smartest man in the world; the ultra sexy Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman); Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson); and the blue and naked Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), who gained the ability to control matter following an accident in a nuclear lab — before it’s too late. Adapting literature into a movie is never an easy task, but fans of the novel should at least be pleased that director Zack Snyder (“300”) and screenwriters David Hayter and Alex Tse stay as faithful to the source material as humanly possible. Sure, some of the last 30 minutes has been noticeably altered and a few minor things have been left out, but the story’s overall message stays the same and most of the dialogue is lifted directly from the comic books. Now, hold on, I know exactly what you are thinking: Wait a minute, this guy just said he enjoyed reading the novel and that the movie is very similar, so why doesn’t he like the film as much as the novel? The answer is simple: Some pieces of literature just aren’t as powerful on the screen as they are on the page. Before I got the chance to view the movie I read several interviews where people said the reason it took so long for “Watchmen” to get made was because the material was unfilmable. You are probably wondering the same thing I was when I read those statements: How in the world can a novel be unfilmable? Well, after I actually saw the movie I finally realized what they were talking about. You might have to view the film for yourself to understand this as well, but there are just some things that work much better in a novel than they do in a motion picture. Plus, in a book you don’t have to worry about lackluster acting, and except for Haley, Morgan and Wilson, the performances from the cast are not what you would call first rate. But in all reality, I can’t place much blame on Snyder for his film not living up to Moore and Gibbons’ comic book series. The action scenes are well shot and visually the movie is a beauty to behold, but I really do believe the people who have said “Watchmen” is unfilmable. I doubt even the great Stanley Kubrick himself could have made “Watchmen” the film as entertaining as “Watchmen” the graphic novel. (And I can easily see someone who has never read the comic books find long stretches of the 163-minute movie, dare I say, extremely boring.) So there you have it fanboys. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately Snyder’s “Watchmen” is not nearly as special as Moore and Gibbons’ graphic novel. Just please take it easy on me. As they say, don’t shoot the messenger. Right? Rating: 5/10