#251 In which our hero posts the first of what will undoubtedly be a long string of Watchmen-related entries.
I’m a big fan of Watchmen.
If you’re not familiar with this graphic novel, then follow the link to the Wikipedia article, which gives a thorough introduction to the story. Or, better yet, run out to your local comic book store and pick up your own copy. With the movie coming out in early ’09, they’re sure to keep some in stock.
In all fairness, I warn you now that I assume that anyone who bothers to read this blog is already familiar with the story. As such, I’m not going to make any effort to keep it spoiler-free. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
The Watchmen comic book was originally published in 1986, so it’s not like it’s anything new. Shortly thereafter, talk began of turning it into a film. In fact, several famous directors began work on it… and they all petered out in the end.
And understandingly so. Even though it was originally published as a 12-issue limited series, the scope of it is immense, intimidating so. It has been said that this single comic book story forever changed the way comics are regarded. Now, that might be a bit of hyperbole, it’s not like suddenly post-1987 that comics are regarded as true literature in this country; but there’s no doubting that Watchmen is in a league of its own. It’s so dense, thematically and visually, that it really takes a couple of readings to really appreciate it. Being that I was only 17 when I first read it means that a lot of it went over my head. I think it’s a testament to the storytelling that when I read it now (in the collected graphic novel format, of course, my single issues safely bagged and boarded and set aside) it still holds up amazingly well; in fact, I suspect I enjoy it more now.
Yeah, I’m a fan.
So, back to the movie. I remember reading a bootleg copy of a script proposal in 1988 or so. It was written by Sam Hamm (a name that’s easy to remember)
The script sucked.
Mr. Hamm apparently is of the group of people who think the original story in the comic is unfilmable, so he chucked everything except the characters and created his own story; one that VERY loosely followed the original plot.
Being that I’m such a fan of the comic, I secretly wanted to see it become a film. I had assumed that it would be an animated movie, since that seemed like the easiest route to create a film that’s faithful to the comic. And, every couple of years, I hear something about the movie switching directors or a new script being shopped around… I didn’t really expect it to ever happen.
Then… it was announced that this Zack Snyder guy was going to make the film. I never saw 300, his big directing claim to fame… but I heard it was good and it was loyal to the comic. I took a wait and see attitude, since the project had fallen through so many times before.
But, a cast was announced and little bits and pieces of the production were released to the Internet (including some very convincing sets) and it seemed like this film might actually happen.
You know you were. But I was still tempering my excitement. I was excited to see Ang Lee’s Hulk, too, and that, of course, was a gigantic steaming turd of a movie.
Then Snyder released images of the cast in their costumes. I was impressed. They were updated from the comic book costumes; but I’m okay with that because if we’ve learned anything about comic book movies it’s that the spandex costumes generally don’t translate to the big screen very well. They captured the flavor of the original costumes without looking completely hokey.
But, we still hadn’t seen any real footage of the film, and we hadn’t seen Dr. Manhattan at all. Being that he was a glowing blue naked guy, the chances of him looking stupid seemed high. I was still holding out any judgment until I saw something real.
And then, the trailer was released.
How blown away were you, you ask? Why, let me tell you, second by second, how blown away I am.
0:23 Jon Osterman in the Intrinsic Field Chamber. What’s he holding in his hand? Janey Slater’s watch, of course. Awesome visualization of what happened to him in the comic.
0:31 Owl Ship! And it looks great!
0:40 Silk Specter! Her costume is a pretty big departure from the comic, but I have to say I like it. Sexy.
0:42 Nite-Owl kicks some ass while busting out Rorschach!
0:44 Blake takes a big fall.
0:46 Ozymandias. I’m a little disappointed that they cut right to him after the previous scene. I mean, no-one who hasn’t read the book gets the significance of that, I guess, but it still feels like an unnecessary giveaway.
Speaking of Ozymandias, his costume looks like the biggest departure from the comic. And I’m not sure why… the comic book costume looks like it would have translated without a lot of fuss. But, we probably will see Veidt actually in costume only a small fraction of the movie, so I suppose it doesn’t really matter. Looks like he’s standing in front of the wall of monitors in his Antarctic fortress.
0:48 Osterman begins to reform himself! This seems like a detail that, while visually really cool, could be glossed over due to lack of time. It’s exciting to me that they’re going to include it.
0:52 Rorschach’s capture. Can’t wait to see this.
0:54 I can’t quite figure out everything that’s going on with Silk Specter’s costume. Am I seeing her nipples here?
0:56 Dr. Manhattan! And here I was worried that we wouldn’t see him until the movie actually came out. And he looks awesome!
1:05 This is the “Guess what? Not really a kid’s movie!” moment as the Comedian burns some surrendering Vietnamese alive…
1:07 … and likes it.
1:19 Jeez, okay, I was wrong, I get it, you ARE going to show Dr. Manhattan! I don’t need to see him fully naked in the trailer!
1:29 Rorschach fighting Jacobi? Another level of detail I wouldn’t have expected.
1:30 Veidt about to kill his “attacker.” For some reason I really dig this move.
1:32 Huh, what’s going on here? From the snow, I’d guess this is Nite-Owl’s reaction to Rorschach’s final demise. But he wasn’t there in the comic, and if he were, I don’t think this is how he would have reacted. Hmm, troublesome.
1:33 And if you didn’t get it that this isn’t a kid’s movie… here’s Dr. Manhattan blowing up a retreating Vietnamese soldier.
1:40 Rorschach speaks! This isn’t had I imagined his voice would sound… but then again, I realize that I don’t know what I expected his voice to sound like. The comic makes a big deal about how monotone his voice is, and there’s a little more inflection then I would have guessed. And how do you even approach that, as an actor? Your only reference is that when he talks in the comic his word balloons are more jagged than the other characters. Not much to go on. Like many other things, I’m willing to let this slide until I see how it plays out in the movie. Also, I have to add: really ballsy move on Zack Snyder’s part to include Rorschach’s voice in the trailer. This is potentially something that will really polarize the fanboys, so getting it right out there from the beginning is a bold move.
1:44 Speaking of Rorschach… the way his mask changes? Again, now how I had imagined it, but damn cool.
1:46 Holy shit… the glass fortress on Mars? Are you kidding me? Is there anything you’re going to leave out of the movie?
So yeah… I’m pretty psyched about this flick. I only hope the actual movie lives up to the images we’ve seen so far. Don’t fuck me on this, Snyder!