Starring Billy Crudup's CG'd manhood, Malin Akerman's pleather dominatrix get-up, possibly Patrick Wilson's ass (do not cheat me of Patrick Wilson's ass, Zach Snyder! You promised you're staying true to the book!), and other people obscured to varying degrees by CG and their outfits
Synopsis In an alternate version of 1985 where Richard Nixon is still president and the world is on the edge of apocalypse, somebody's decided to start offing retired superheroes. Masked man Rorschach wants to find out why. Lots of bad stuff happens. Maybe a squid is involved. The end.
Brought to you by the man responsible for 300, of which people's mileage will most certainly vary wildly
Not Brought to You By Alan Moore, the graphic novel's author, who is a little bit crazy and a lot vociferous on the fact that this should have never been made (he calls it "regurgitated worms"!)
Expected Release Date March 6th, now that the FOX execs have been fed their seventy virgins.
JA: I for one am a 300 defender, but this is a whole different ballpark for Mr. Snyder to be wandering into. This isn't just pretty pictures of mostly-naked men, decapitations, and giant elephants in the Spartan version of those 40's propaganda cartoons starring Daffy Duck. This is holy land. Watchmen is sacred geek ground, and the apex of what superhero storytelling is all about. It's as good as it gets.
Where The Dark Knight made strides towards a more adult realization of the genre's possibilities, if Snyder were to capture all that this story has on the page then this could, then this should, be the first superhero movie nominated for Best Picture.
Nathaniel: I know you just didn't open up that can of worms again! [editor's note: Nathaniel's rant about stuffy Oscars, crazy fanboys & "dark" superheroes has been excised on the grounds of 'let's not go there again'] ...I don't trust this Zach Snyder person!
Joe: Oddly enough, after hating the shit out of 300, I do trust Snyder. What he did right on that dick-measuring-contest-put-to-celluloid (the spectacle, the fidelity to the source material; the operatic drama) will work well on Watchmen, and this time he doesn't have to worry about Frank Miller's weird psycho-sexual hangups. Between these two and the Dawn of the Dead remake, Snyder has become THE go-to guy for faithful ambitious adaptations of genre material,
Nathaniel: There was more to this conversation readers but I have to interrupt. I caught about 17 minutes of Watchmen at Comic Con.
The movie begins with a newscast talking about possible nuclear attacks on America. We're back in the Cold War 80s but in an alternate reality from our own. The newscaster assures us that there won't be a nuclear war because of somebody named "Dr. Manhattan" (that'd be glowing blue Billy Crudup. I have not read Watchmen as Joe and Ja have but I have absorbed a few character details over the years). Cut to Jeffrey Dean Morgan who plays "The Comedian" smoking a cigar in his apartment. He wears that famous yellow happy face pin from the 80s on his bathrobe. He recognizes the intruder and they have a nasty wince filled fight (one shot of the Comedian's head taking a huge chunk out of the kitchen counter. Ouch). Morgan is sent through a plate glass window and plummets to his death. Cue: Watchmen's iconic marketing image, the happy face marred by a blood splatter. Cue: opening credits.
The credits were very cool and filled with brief illustrated tableau referencing either famous cultural moments twisted for this alternate universe --the recreation of that famous WW II kiss is awesome -- or the history of the Watchmen characters. I know that people are expecting this movie to be huge but I wonder. Everyone knows the Batman mythos. It's been with us for 70 years. I'm guessing non Watchmen readers will be very confused. Trust me, I was... and I basically know the concept and characters.
Once the credits are over, we meet Rorschach, pictured left. He's played by Little Children's Jackie Earle Haley and he speaks in Batman Bale's voice (???). He also hates liberals and intellectuals. (Er... is this another neo conservative movie? Aren't we supposed to be entering a new era? Bah!) He uses a grappling hook to scale the building and searches the apartment of the dead guy we met pre-credits. Fade out. That was the first 16 minutes or so.
We were also treated to a very brief scene from somewhen else in the movie (inside a prison). Rorschach is waiting in line for grub and hurls frying oil from the line onto the face of a fellow prisoner who was threatening him. Gruesome! As the guards restrain him he growls...
You don't understand. I'm not locked in here with you. You're locked in hear with me!This would have been very scary -- Haley is good at creepy -- were it not for Batman's voice.
The Comic Con crowd went absolutely wild for all of this. At the Q & A that followed audience members at the mic gushed that the movie would be perfect and thank-you-so-much-for-making-such-a-wonderful-movie (Here we go again! Another #1 on the IMDB the day the movie opens. Trust me. People have already decided it's their favorite movie). Original Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons was an engaging presence and gave details: no squid --sorry JA, total Dr Manhattan nudity assured. He also discussed why Watchmen creator Alan Moore's name is nowhere on the movie. But what's odder than Moore not wanting credit is that he also turned down all moneys. He crazy!
The most interesting part of the conversation was Gibbons' well spoken dismay at how influential Watchmen has been. Both he and Moore wanted to do a fresh adult take on superheroes (this isn't a superhero film for kids) but they certainly didn't think that all comic books that followed should decide that dark and cynical was the way to go. He cited the Spider-Man movies (thank you) as another great way to do things and said there's room for multiple takes on the genre. Exactly!
Readers... do you need a break from superhero movies or will you be lining up to see Nite Owl, Silk Spectre and Dr Manhattan strut their CGI stuff?
In case you missed any entries they went like so...
We Can't Wait:
#1 Inglourious Basterds, #2 Where the Wild Things Are, #3 Fantastic Mr. Fox,
#4 Avatar, #5 Bright Star, #6 Shutter Island, #7 Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
#8 Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, #9 Nailed, #10 Taking Woodstock,
#11 Watchmen, #12 The Hurt Locker, #13 The Road, #14 The Tree of Life
#15 Away We Go, #16 500 Days of Summer, #17 Drag Me To Hell,
#18 Whatever Works, #19 Broken Embraces, #20 Nine (the musical)
intro (orphans -didn't make group list)