Are you eagerly counting down the days until next Friday's Watchmen release? Are you looking for a way to pass the time? You could gorge yourself on past superhero movies to prepare yourself for the inevitable comparisons and dissections. Or you could give these somewhat unlikely movies a gander to examine things from a slightly different perspective.
In the Watchmen universe, pirates star in comic books rather than superheroes. Tales of the Black Freighter is the comic-within-the-comic and ends up paralleling Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias's story (among others) in some important ways. The animated version doesn't come out on DVD until March 24, so watch the 1935 Errol Flynn starrer to get another take on swashbuckling heroes.
Arthur Miller wrote the screenplay for the 1996 version based on his own stage play. Miller set the witch hunt story in 17th century Salem, but it was an allegory for the anti-communist hunts in the 1950s. In Watchmen, a character describes the same time period where, instead of pinko commies, the Senate was going after costumed superheroes. Meaningful!
The Philadelphia Experiment
Sometimes governments do some crazy things in the name of warfare. In this movie's case, a supposed experiment to cloak the USS Eldridge hurled Michael Paré 40 years into the future. In Jon Osterman's case, however, it hurled his atoms apart and eventually turned him into the blue glowing guy wearing those skimpy drawers you've seen in all the Watchmen trailers.
Rita Hayworth stars in this 1944 musical. She, much like the first Silk Spectre, became a hot, redheaded pinup girl. Of course, Hayworth was an actress and Ms. Spectre was a superhero, but both inspired the troops with a combination of fiery locks, slinky garments and patriotic poses.
Adrian Veidt wasn't the only one who liked a nice purple suit. It was the '80s! See for yourself how much people of the era liked to wear purple. Well, some people.
Walter Kovacs/Rorschach has a lot in common with Robert De Niro's cabbie Travis Bickle. One man is spurred into action by the inaction of bystanders, the other by his own. But mainly, they're both vigilante nutcases. [Fun Fact: Snyder also based the New York City of Watchmen on the mean streets of Taxi Driver! - Ed.]
The Breakfast Club
See this one just to remember what 1985 used to look like to you. The 1985 you'll see next week is a whole different kind of thing.
The Outlaw Josey Wales
This movie was a new take on the Western genre for its time, portraying the Union soldiers as the villains and the outlaw Confederacy sympathizers as the heroes. Watchmen, too, was a different take on comic book heroes and villains when it was published.
In Watchmen, Tricky Dick is in his sixth term as President. Gaze upon Frank Langella's Nixon and ask yourself how things might have been different if he'd had a pal like the Comedian to clean up the Watergate mess for him. Gaze... and shudder.
This is the 1994 version we're talking about, here. It's an awful, awful thing (with an awful, awful The Thing) that was made just so the studio could keep the rights, which were on the verge of expiring. This clunker was never meant to be seen. So why should you try to hunt it down and subject yourself to it? Considering all the legal difficulties Watchmen went through, a fate like this could very well have befallen it. So even if you're one of the fans gearing up to be upset about any possible changes from the source, just tell yourself: it could have been much worse.
You've got one week before the real thing is here, so get to Blockbuster and start rentin'!
MOST RECENT POSTS