Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Watch: Review

Sigourney Weaver, Will Smith, William Shatner. Names that can be paired with battling inter-galactic enemies. One name I bet you didn't expect to be able to add to that list is Ben Stiller, but now he steps into the shoes of Earth Defender in The Watch; a Sci-fi/action/comedy written by Seth Rogen and directed by Akiva Schaffer. Whilst not terrible, it's not quite up there with the other releases this year.

Stiller stars as Evan, the perfect community idol. He runs countless clubs and manages the local Costco store, and is known and respected by everyone. But when one of his friends is gruesomely murdered, he begins the Neighborhood Watch, a task force dedicated to finding the killer and protecting the neighborhood from other such threats. Enter Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and The IT Crowd's Richard Ayoade. They soon discover an alien threat, and its up to them to stop it. The plot is unoriginal, and the characters are underdeveloped, but this can be forgiven in light of some high notes.

For starters, anyone who is familiar with Seth Rogen's previous work will know what to expect from this. Immature humour, lots of dick jokes and possibly a spot of nudity. It's cleverly written, though not necessarily full of clever jokes. Everything said has a meaning, and will be referenced at some point, and jokes are made at the expense of a line spoken a half-hour earlier. Unfortunately, the fact that this plotline has been done countless times before made it predictable, which kind of took the intended effect away from some of the more dramatic sequences. 

Schaffer also ought to be commended for some spectacular action scenes, particularly towards the climax, as the alien invasion moves into its final stages. Watching Richard Ayoade dual wielding slow motion... whilst backing away from a horde of some heavy music...each aspect made it more awesome. The dramatic effect that the action scenes had was also given a comic twist by a childish, yet amusing twist that doesn't necessarily alter the outcome of the movie, but does provide a giggle or two within the action.

The casting was done reasonably well for the most part. I do find Ben Stiller annoying and repetitive, and personally don't find him funny, and his performance in this picture did not much to change that. He once again only gets laughs from funny lines, not the way he delivers them. Vaughn and Hill were good choices, and fit the roles suitably, but nothing spectacular caught my eye from any of them. For me, the star of the show is Ayoade. Bringing a greatly appreciated British accent to the mix, and gradually progressing as a character, from the odd loner who longs to fit in, to breaking out of his shell into the more action-oriented role when the time called for it, Ayoade proves his varied talents, and shows us that he can perform just as well in an action sequence as in the comedy roles that he is recognised for.

The Watch isn't a bad film, but it doesn't compare to the other pictures released this year. The plot of alien invasion has been done countless times before, and even mixing it with a comedy aspect isn't exactly original, but it is done reasonably well. If you go into this film expecting a huge blockbuster, that might be able to reach the dizzying heights needed to compete with it's peers, you may be a little disappointed. However, if you want a humorous, immature, action romp, then you should be pleased by what this one has to offer.

7/10 - Good

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