Like the rest of you, we’ll be watching The Watchmen next weekend, though, truth be told, the whole experience is starting to feel a bit like homework.
The early reviews have been split down the middle, with the fanboys drooling (spoiler alert: Harry Knowles loved it!) and the real critics meeting the film with a shrug or worse. Says The Hollywood Reporter’s Kirk Honeycutt in his pan: “Bottom line: Ouch.”
That hurt! Still, love or hate, everyone seems to agree that “visionary” director Zack Snyder has succeeded in painstakingly recreating Alan Moore’s graphic novel. (Just prepare to be disappointed if you’re looking for the giant squid.) But from where we sit, the one thing he missed is the casting!
Oh sure, Little Children co-stars Patrick Wilson and Jackie Earle Haley, playing Nite Owl II and Rorschach respectively, are ideal. Mr. Haley is adept at doing creepy and pathetic; Mr. Wilson, the very definition of “hot, but impotent.” And while in some quarters the feeling is that Robert Downey Jr. should have been The Comedian, we think Jeffrey Dean Morgan will be just fine. Simply, Mr. Downey Jr. is way too nice to play a role like that. Mr. Morgan, on the other hand, has always seemed like a bit of a jerk (playing a ghost on Grey’s Anatomy who got to have sex with Katherine Heigl might have something to do with that). It’s the rest of this motley crew that leaves a lot to be desired! So join us as we recast Watchmen.
Demi Moore as Silk Spectre I: Watching the two female leads in Watchmen was a difficult task. Between the nudity and the general misogyny directed towards all women in the graphic novel, we doubt a lot of A-list actresses were banging down Mr. Snyder’s door to appear. That being said, is it written, Slumdog Millionaire-style, that Sin City co-star Carla Gugino has to appear in every adaptation of an acclaimed graphic novel? Give us the older and just plain better Demi Moore instead.
Cameron Diaz and Maggie Grace as Silk Spectre II: If you’re going to cast Cameron Diaz look-alike Malin Akerman in this role, why not just go for the real thing? As for those pesky flashback scenes, we’d slide in former Lost castaway Maggie Grace. If she can play a teenager in Taken, we’re sure she can do it in Watchmen. Too bad we can’t find any room for Boone.
Javier Bardem as Dr. Manhattan: Billy Crudup possesses a lot of useful character traits, but being laconic isn’t one of them. And unfortunately for him, Dr. Manhattan is a soulless and dead-eyed bore—words like “tachyon” are just not said in anything other than a Ben Stein-like monotone. So how about we go with Javier Bardem? Dr. Manhattan might be an All-American, but Mr. Bardem’s rumbling baritone, used so effectively in No Country for Old Men, would suit the big blue guy just perfectly. And this time, he wouldn’t need that ridiculous haircut.
Ralph Fiennes as Ozymandias: We really like Matthew Goode—so effete in Match Point, so dastardly in The Lookout—but he’s way too young for this role. And, no offense, we have a hard time thinking of him as the smartest man in the world. Ozymandias is the type of guy who would affect a British accent just for the hell of it; a man who seems bored with his own intelligence. Mr. Fiennes, come on down! An actor of his caliber could liven up the pages and pages of exposition that Ozymandias is forced to deliver in the final third of the story. We’re already trembling at the thought of Mr. Goode pontificating about the greater good while wearing a gold lamé headband that’s straight out of Barbarella.