I liked the movie better than the novel.
When I say this, a lot of people assume that I am somehow betraying the entire concept and Alan Moore. I'm not. The movie really brings to life Moore's opus in a way I was totally unprepared for and I now have a greater understanding of the work as a whole.
Billy Crudup's portrayal of Dr. Manhattan brought the character to life. He was always lifeless to me in the novel. He was an extraordinary person in extraordinary circumstances and felt no compulsion to do anything about it. Everything was so tiny and insignificant to him that his change of heart didn't feel right in the novel. It still didn't feel right in the movie, but it was a definite leg up.
Jackie Haley's Rorschach was not only spot on, it was legendary. Matthew Goode's Veidt was also spot on, despite my misgivings from seeing him in the movie posters and stills. He didn't look right (a bit too skinny, ya know?), until you saw him on screen. Ozymandias indeed!
Two things that surprised me:
1. I was uncomfortable with Dr. Manhattan's nudity.
Now, I'm no prude. It's not like I've never seen a naked man before and it isn't like it bothered me when I read the novel. (Hell, I'm a fan of Bastard!!, and Darsh spends more time naked than not.) But I was put off by it none the less.
I think it had less to do with nudity so much as it was male nudity. The female body has long been seen as a work of art, but it's very hard to make the male body a work of art. Michelangelo's David is a singular work because it makes the male body a work of art.
I think it may also have been about expectations. We expect someone who is nude to act a certain way. I'm not sure how I was expecting Dr. Manhattan to act, but it wasn't the way he did. Is this a bad thing? No! Like I said above, Billy Crudup really brought the character to life for me and in the end, it doesn't really matter if he was clothed or not.
2. I was uncomfortable with the violence.
I know: "Wah! Get over it!" Right?
I am no stranger to violence in movies and the novel never hid the horrors of violence. But this, I believe, is a sign of my being a parent. Things I took in stride now bother me a great deal.
Does this mean the movie should have been less violent? No! I instead take this as a sign that I am not desensitized to the horrors portrayed on the screen and that's a good thing. If the violence bothered you, good! It should have. That's part of the point.
My rating for the movie: Win!