So I mostly went to the Warner Brothers screening (which consisted of Watchmen, Friday the 13th and Terminator: Salvation) to see Terminator footage (okay, and to stare at Jared Padalecki for a while). And when we were told they were showing the Watchmen intro footage that they'd shown to the press, I sighed -- not because it wasn't awesome (it was), but because I'd already seen it and was hoping I'd at least get a little something else. I'm greedy like that. And very impatient. But then the teeming masses were informed that we'd get a little bit extra... that no one had seen before. Then, all of a sudden, I was on the edge of my seat.
As you may have heard, there was a test screening last week in Portland for the Watchmen movie. Once news of the screening broke online, nerds from across the greater Pacific Northwest flocked to the theatre to see if they could get in, only to find out that the passes had all been given out the week before. However, despite the fact that everyone at the screening signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement, a number of people who claim to be attendees have been more than willing to share their opinions and spoilers about the film online. Aside from the fact that it was unfinished and awesome, it seems like there was at least one major change in the plot from the original graphic novel: namely, the ending. While both Zack Snyder and Kevin Smith have already said that the ending would be slightly different, it sounds like the one that was shown was more different than a lot of people expected. It may be a fake ending, whipped up to throw nerds off the scent, but if you've read the book, and want to know what the movie's ending might be, read on.
By now, it's been well-documented that the brilliant comic-book author Alan Moore wants nothing to do with the upcoming big-screen version of his most famous work, Watchmen. Just last month, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he said he would be "spitting venom all over it for months to come." He also expressed disgust at the film industry in general: "They take an idea, bowdlerize it, blow it up, make it infantile and spend $100 million to give people a brief escape from their boring and often demeaning lives at work. It's obscene and it's offensive. This is not the culture I signed up for." Moore's principled stance (he refuses both screen credit and payment for new films based on his work) stems from years of enduring what he considers shoddy, unethical treatment by both Hollywood and his former publisher, DC Comics.
But as the excitement for the Watchmen movie continues to build, we thought it might be of historical interest to look back at a time when Moore not only supported a film version of his ground-breaking graphic novel, but also endorsed the screenwriter attached to it -- a writer whose adaptation would bowdlerize, blow up and infantalize Moore's work in ways that still offend fans to this day.
Apparently, I'm crazy. At least, that's what Odie Henderson thinks, since I found the trailer for Zack Snyder's Watchmen movie to be awesome, and Odie thinks it is worthy of a torch enema. I personally think Odie is a little crazy, but I understand why people are protective of the classic graphic novel. Which is why I may have just the thing for Mr. H. and others of his mindset: a Watchmen movie that exactly follows the comic book -- to the word, and to the line.
Already well on its way to becoming the most divisive work in geek history, Zack Snyder's film adaptation of Watchmen, the most revered comic book of all time, may best be approached as a giant -- you guessed it -- Rorschach test: you either see a pretty butterfly, or you see a dog with its head split in half. The naysayers are certainly out there in force, in both the mainstream publications and the fanboy blogs, and I don't begrudge them their sometimes valid, often contradictory, occasionally deeply flawed points of view. All I can do is report that when I gazed at this dense, two-hour-and-forty-minute-long inkblot of a movie, I saw the butterfly -- I saw a brilliantly realized, richly textured pop-fiction spectacle; candy for both the eye and the brain. Is this theatrical version a perfect cinematic treatment of Watchmen? No, and I'll explain why below. But in the final analysis, seeing this beloved story come to life in a completely fresh, unexpected way gave me the same sensation I felt when I first read it in its original single-issue form over 20 years ago: pure astonishment, quickly followed by a burning desire to experience it again and again. Nothing ever ends.