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Watchmen Movie : The RevolutionSF Watercooler
© RevolutionSF
July 23, 2008

We aren't really standing around together. We might not be drinking water. But we might, because we can't see each other. But we call it the RevSF Watercooler anyway, because we talk about extremely important RevSF-oriented things when we really should be doing something less fun.

The Watchmen Movie

Ugh. -- Rick Klaw

* * * * *

Once I saw "from the visionary director of 300" I knew all hope was lost. -- Andrew Kozma

* * * * *

The Watchmen movie trailer impressed me today when I saw it. One of my fellow comic geeks at the office sent it to me with a "WOW!" and I followed suit with a "WOW!" given how little hope I ever had for the film. Will it be as cool as the comic? Doubtful. But for a comic book film I think it has a hell of a lot of potential and doesn't feel like a Travolta-helmed Punisher or a Cage-helmed Ghost Rider. -- Robert Mansperger

* * * * *

For everything they get right in the trailer, they get three things wrong. This movie is going to hurt, because there will be just enough perfect notes in it to remind you how great it could've been. The music jarred me from the first second. It was so wrong.

The 300 styling simply hurt. This film should be closer to The Big Sleep in mood, or, if you need something more recent as a reference, Mullholland Falls or LA Confidential. Oh, how I wish Gilliam had gotten to make his miniseries. -- Jayme Blaschke

* * * * *

I agree with your points for the most part, but let's consider a few other things as well:

A) The Smashing Pumpkins music was probably selected by marketing people, and might not have really involved director Zack Snyder. It may not even be used in the film.

B) Terry Gilliam would have been better? Holy crap. He would have derailed this story in no time. The man would have run off chasing his own ideas and would have left Alan Moore's behind completely. Whatever "vision" Snyder and writer David Hayter have, at least they seem to be attempting to bring in some assemblance of the comic book to film. Using Dave Gibbons as a consultant is a good example. Gilliam would have just made a completely different story out of it.

I wonder if he can even finish a movie any more, considering his recent inability to bring a film in on time, on budget or even to completion.

Brothers Grimm was grim and tedious and Fear and Loathing was loathsome, and he never even finished the Don Quixote film.

The film version of Watchmen, just like the horrible Miller The Spirit footage we're seeing, tell us one thing: Not all comic book properties will make good movies. Some may be impossible to make into good movies.

My way of looking at it is that A) they shouldn't have been optioned in the first place, and B), in the end the movie is the movie and the comic book is the comic book, and maybe the movie will drive people to read the comic, where the superior experience will be viewed by them and all will be right with the world.

Nonetheless, I appreciate the frustration that everyone is feeling about these trailers. To have a movie get it so right this weekend (Dark Knight), and to see others go potentially so wrong, it reminds us the the bad comic book movies are on their way. One of these may very well be next year's Howard the Duck. -- RevSF comics editor Jay Willson

* * * * *

Re: Pumpkins music:True. But at the same time it meshes with the visuals well and I can very well see it fitting with the overall approach this movie takes. Whether or not it is actually used in the final film is almost immaterial.

Re: Terry Gilliam would have been better? In a word, yes.

Holy crap. He would have derailed this story in no time.

It's not like Alan Moore's work has never suffered this fate. At least Gilliam's ideas are interesting.

I'm beginning to wonder if he can even finish a movie any more.

You're just now starting to wonder this? Gilliam's been a cursed filmmaker since Day One. The ONLY movie he made that didn't go through convulsions was Monty Python & The Holy Grail. I'll spare you a film-by-film recap of his career, but point out that Fear and Loathing was delivered on time, on budget and as faithful an adaptation of a Hunter S. Thompson work as is (probably) humanly possible, and on Brothers Grimm he was a hired gun working from someone else's script (which he wasn't allowed to rewrite). The Man Who Killed Don Quixote remains unfinished (indeed, barely even started) through no fault of Gilliam's. The insurance companies own the script now, but Gilliam's been unsuccessfully attempting to buy it back. If you haven't seen the heartbreaking documentary Lost in La Mancha you really need to. That single week of filming is a Cliff's Notes version of Gilliam's entire career.

I harbor no illusions that any Gilliam version would prove successful. The man himself eventually walked away from Watchmen convinced an adaptation shouldn't happen. But even so I'd love to see what the dark, nihilistic Gilliam that created Brazil could produce with Moore's masterpiece of super-hero deconstruction. -- Jayme Blaschke

* * * * *

I have seen Lost in La Mancha, and while I completely sympathize with Gilliam's issues on that film, I'm just not convinced that he can get a movie completed effectively any more. He may have had interesting new ideas to bring to any property, but I guess I don't find mixing Gilliam's ideas with Moore's a better solution than Snyder's attempts to remain "faithful" to the work (whatever that means). I was rather relieved when Gilliam announced that he was dropping out of the Watchmen movie.

The best solution would be to leave it alone as a comic book. I'm sure we'll have a novelization to enjoy next as well, which is just flat-out insane. -- Jay Willson

* * * * *

Remember back when Tim Burton's Batman set the world on fire? For all its faults, it was still the very best Batman interpretation we'd ever gotten. And Sam Hamm, the scriptwriter, was riding high on that success. Remember Blind Justice in the pages of the Batman comic (or was it Detective? Mine are all boxed up under the stairs, so I can't check right at the moment). It was a great riff on the "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" idea a decade before that latter crossover came out. And it didn't take Hamm two years and 147 crossover tie-in issues to tell the damn story. Those were the days.

Anyhoo, studios were casting about like crazy for comic book properties to turn into movies (it's true!) and Watchmen was one of those titles to enter the aptly-named "development hell." And Sam Hamm, wunderkind scribe of the Batman movie, was tapped to pen the adaptation. Be warned: It's not entirely faithful to the source material.

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