What We Talk About When We Talk About Watchmen
Zach: That's true. For everything they say about the Comedian in the book, you never actually see him doing very much, and it looks like in this movie we're going to get to see him do a couple of things. We'll also see him in action in Vietnam, for example, and that's pretty cool.
Dan: And also, what the opening scene makes clear is that this is Zack Snyder's style of action filmmaking -- very much 300-style; speed up, slow down. It's very hyper-stylized -- these people don't move like real people move -- and I wonder what you think the audience that loved Dark Knight and Iron Man, which is much bigger than a fanboy audience and not necessarily the Zack Snyder audience, will think of this? The motion is very, very unreal. Do think it fits these characters and this story
Zach: It won't fit for the people who are slavishly beholden to the book and want it to be as much like the book as possible. They may see this over-the-top action style as verging on sacrilegious, as making the movie into a hardcore action film that the book really wasn't. But 300 was an enormously successful movie. I think the audience is going to be like, "Yeah! They said 'From the maker of 300' in the commercial, and this is what I was hoping to see!" And I don't think there's a problem with taking that 300 style and applying it to superheroes in general. I think it's a logical fit. I think he made those Spartans into superheroes in 300. So I think for most people, it's going to be a good fit for these characters. It's a fine introduction to them.
Dan: So then after the murder of the Comedian, we go into the amazing opening-credit sequence, which is what you were referring to when you talked about all the stuff that sort of in the edges of the book now suddenly being realized in full color. And again, what struck me most about the credits sequence was how stylized it was. In every single shot, the characters are basically posing for a photograph -- but it's not natural posing; again, it's this sort of hyper-real type of posting. So to me it was very surreal and completely, refreshingly unexpected. I would never have thought that's what we'd be seeing in this movie. What did you think?
Zach: I agree with you completely. I didn't know what to expect for the opening credits and I thought that was a brilliant way to show the world that these characters lived in, where superheroes exist, where superheroes are celebrities, where superheroes are horribly murdered in their beds. As well as what the world situation is like -- what the concerns of this world are as far as Russia and Nixon and civil unrest are concerned. And in terms of the filmmaking style... still images would have been very appropriate for Watchmen, considering that most of these scenes are only seen in the book as still images or as prose. But the fact that Snyder made them very slow-motion shots makes it more alive and interesting. I just thought it was very well done across the board. And just imagine all the sets and set-ups they had to do for each of those shots -- there were probably 20 different sequences there, and the fact that each and every one of those was set up on a different set or on a green screen. How many times did they have to set up for shots just for the opening credits that only last about three or four seconds each? It's pretty amazing.