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I have no objection to calling it a "comic", though, since that IS what it is. So your terminology is fine by me.

No, I'm well aware the everyone from Dumas to Dickins did this, and they're novels. OK. I'm just saying that some story arcs (lots of the big X-Men stories, for instance) weren't written as a single 'graphic novel,' but as a collection. So I like to use graphic novel to describe a single work that was written as a whole. Sue me. And 'comic' is a fine term, since any negative connotation it may dredge up is the problem of the person doing the dredging. So it goes for genre works.

Technically, though, Watchmen was written as a whole. Each issue was an individual chapter-and you can't read just one issue and say you've read Watchmen. I was say the graphic novel term applies to Watchmen-but not collected story arc of an on-going series. Watchmen, was written to be finite-twelve issues. And like Dicken or Dumas, it is a work that is to be viewed as twelve chapters of a whole.

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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Technically, though, Watchmen was written as a whole. Each issue was an individual chapter-and you can't read just one issue and say you've read Watchmen. I was say the graphic novel term applies to Watchmen-but not collected story arc of an on-going series. Watchmen, was written to be finite-twelve issues. And like Dicken or Dumas, it is a work that is to be viewed as twelve chapters of a whole.

Right you are!

Has anyone seen the Tales from the Black Freighter DVD they released separately? I'm very curious to see how that deviates (if at all) from the comic.

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Has anyone seen the Tales from the Black Freighter DVD they released separately? I'm very curious to see how that deviates (if at all) from the comic.

I plan to rent it (frankly, I am concerned it will end up as a special feature in the Watchmen blu-ray, so am hesitant to purchase it).

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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David Poland, commenting on this weekend's b.o. estimates:

And, much crap as I might take for it, it must be said... the Watchmen thing is going from not-as-good-as-they-wanted to an unmitigated disaster... even by the most generous terms of budget estimation. Does anyone want to argue that the film will not lose money if it tops out at under $110 million domestic? Does anyone want to argue that a gross that low will even cover domestic P&A... or if you want to stick to untrue lowballs on P&A, that and Warners' distribution charge... which puts not one dime towards the production budget?

Worse, the failure of the film to do as much as or more than 2x it's opening weekend suggests that the film simply didn't connect much beyond its core, which was mistaken for a bigger group than was ever real. In other words, word of mouth was not great and those who really wanted to see it saw it on Weekend One. Like it or not, Watchmen will have a lower opening weekend to domestic total ratio than Batman & Robin, Van Helsing, Hulk, The Village or even Speed Racer. It's Cloverfield with 25% more box office and at least 5x the budget.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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FWIW, I just posted my review. Which doesn't deviate too much from the discussion so far, but there you go.

The more I think about it, at least on a technical level, I felt like the film was really well-crafted. But I'm still really aghast at some of the gore. Like, yes, the comic was gory and had sex. Which works for the story.

The comic does not zoom in on Rorschach slamming a meat cleaver into a man's head over and over, though, with a dull metal-on-bone sound. Nor does it have a prisoner getting his arms circular-sawed off.

Snyder added this, I guess, for the cool factor. And it really wasn't cool.

This is my biggest complaint of the film. The original was certainly dark and gritty, but nowhere near as bloody. I was especially dismayed at the changes to the scene you mentioned. In the book, it's far less bloody, and yet a whole lot more disturbing --

Rorschach burns the man's house down as he is chained up inside, his only option for escape being sawing through his arms with a hacksaw

. But it goes a much longer way towards revealing his disturbed morality and the limits to which he'll go to punish evil. The scene in the movie, however, simply gives us some hack n' slash and little else.

I suppose Snyder thought that adding all of the extra violence and bloodshed would make the film darker and grittier, but it just makes the film more tedious, boring, and uninspired.

Yup. I don't know about you, but as bleak as Moore's comic was, there was a deep humanism (I mean this in a positive sense) coming through. Like, by the end I really cared about certain characters, and it made me think a lot about man being created in the image of God.

Rorschach especially...as messed up as he was, he had gained some pity by the end of the comic, and he was the only one that wouldn't stand for the lie. Which makes his death hard. In the movie, it's like, "Oh, that masked dude got blowed up. That flamethrower hairspray thing he did earlier was cool, dang."

My thoughts exactly.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I dunno, I thought Jackie Earle Haley really sold that scene. I didn't find it easy to brush off at all. (And he sold it so well that they really, really didn't need to rearrange the scenes that followed so that one of the other characters could witness him selling that scene and then try to sell it in his own way by reacting to it... But I digress.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I dunno, I thought Jackie Earle Haley really sold that scene. I didn't find it easy to brush off at all. (And he sold it so well that they really, really didn't need to rearrange the scenes that followed so that one of the other characters could witness him selling that scene and then try to sell it in his own way by reacting to it... But I digress.)

I agree, Peter, esp. with how unnecessary a certain character was in that scene. ("NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.") Haley was fantastic, and even got the "Hurm"s right. Still, some of the tweaks to his character really made me care less about him.

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  • 4 months later...

So I just saw the Director's cut ... and it's better than the theater version.

It adds a little more over 20 minutes of screentime to the film, but except for a death scene for Hollis Mason (which made me suddenly care about his character where I didn't in the theater version), it's all more dialogue and character development.

The Comedian and Rorschach are the two characters that benefit the most from this. The Comedian gets more dialogue to explain his philosophy and you see better how opposite he is from Ozymandias. The Comedian believes in an inherrantly corrupt human nature, and in a meeting he gives a fuller explanation of why he's lost any hope that parading around in capes fighting crime is going to change anything - he doesn't believe they can save the world. Ozymandias, on the other hand, does believe that they can save the world. But then, after finding out the secret, the Comedian is suddenly confronted by something that, not only does he believe is wrong, but he is incapable of helping do it (in fact, the implication is that he's going to stop it, which is why he has to die). I know if you've read the novel this was clear during the theater version, but the Director's cut gives a lot more depth to it. At the end of the day, the Comedian has stricter moral code than most of the other Watchmen do.

Rorschach is also given more dialogue where he talks about his black and white belief in right and wrong. He believes in good and evil, and despite his belief that the whole world is evil, his thirst for justice ... and goodness ... is why he is doing what he's doing. And he says this clearly. I'd have to watch it again to get his exact new lines - but I was actually surprised they had cut some of them out of the theater version. All in all, his philosophy is explained with more depth in the Director's cut as well.

And in fact, even the Nite Owl is given more character development, and a little more of a dark side, because you get to see him react to the death of Hollis Mason - and when he reacts, it is Rorschach of all people who stops him. In fact, two new conversations between the Nite Owl and Rorschach builds their friendship more in the Director's Cut. There's something about the two of them that makes them have a closer friendship together than the other Watchmen do.

In other words, if you are going to watch it again someday - it's worth making the effort to see the Director's cut. You'll feel that you understand the characters better.

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I do believe that the Director's Cut is superior to the theatrical release. Adds more detail, and one really terrific scene that showcases Snyder's flair for grand visuals.

WATCHMEN is a curious film, both commercial and uncommercial all at once. While it's not necessarily the WATCHMEN film I would have made, it's probably about as good a WATCHMEN film as we could ever really hope to get, and as awkward as it sometimes is, it's still pretty astonishing. It's the kind of film that I feel people will look back on more fondly as years go by, just because it's such an enormous oddity of a blockbuster.

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This is the first movie I've seen in a while in which the blood and gore really churned my stomach. I guess I should've expected it, but still. :huh: Is it just me, or were Dr. Manhattan's kills less bloody in the graphic novel? Obviously there's a big difference between the two mediums, but still.

That bothered me as well, and struck me as a perfect example of Snyder's misguided approach... apparently, he thinks that blood and gore equals gritty and realistic, when it quickly becomes merely tedious and boring.

I will not defend Snyder's use of gore throughout the film as a whole, but I did approve of the "gore-ing up" of Manhattan's kills (particularly the murder in the crime den). It emphasized Manhattan's distance from the world, as well as his ability to inspire such fear in his enemies.

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it's probably about as good a WATCHMEN film as we could ever really hope to get, and as awkward as it sometimes is, it's still pretty astonishing. It's the kind of film that I feel people will look back on more fondly as years go by, just because it's such an enormous oddity of a blockbuster.

I agree with this. And now you've inspired me to rent the Director's Cut -- something that hadn't been on the front burner for me. But I do love that opening credits sequence -- only Zombieland has approached it for sheer moviemaking exhilaration.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I just gave WATCHMEN: THE ULTIMATE CUT a viewing. It's the longest version of the film by far (about an hour over the original cut), so it will undoubtedly try the patience of some viewers, but make no mistake, THE ULTIMATE CUT is the best version of Snyder's film. The ULTIMATE CUT offers a richer, more emotionally textured film than either of the previous versions, one where the characters and themes get more development and pay-off. It's not easy viewing--either in content, or in terms of having to sit on your butt for such an extended period of time--but when it works, it really works.

Edited by Ryan H.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1hETuP33r8

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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(I saw "Hallelujah" on the soundtrack--did they really use it for the sex scene?

Yeah, it's pretty hilariously awful. I was alternating between hiding my virgin eyes behind my hat and laughing my arse off.

We have a thread somewhere around here devoted to the absurd overuse of Hallelujah, but this movie-specific thread seems like a good place to put this link:

Even broke Leonard Cohen is sick of "Hallelujah." And has been for two years. "It's a good song," he told the Guardian in 2009, finally driven over the edge by the song's appearance during a sex scene in "Watchmen." "But too many people sing it." ...

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Terry Gilliam's Watchmen would have ended just a smidge differently.

 

 

What Terry had done, and it was a Sam Hamm script--who had written a script that everybody loved for the first "Batman"--and then he brought in a guy who'd worked for him to do work on it [Charles McKeown, co-writer of "Brazil"]. What he did was he told the story as-is, but instead of the whole notion of the intergalactic thing which was too hard and too silly, what he did was he maintained that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy, the world political structure. He felt that THAT character really altered the way reality had been. He had the Ozymandias character convince, essentially, the Doctor Manhattan character to go back and stop himself from being created, so there never would be a Doctor Manhattan character. He was the only character with real supernatural powers, he went back and prevented himself from being turned into Doctor Manhattan, and in the vortex that was created after that occurred these characters from "Watchmen" only became characters in a comic book.

CS: That's fascinating. Very META.

Silver: Oh yeah. So the three characters, I think it was Rorschach and Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, they're all of the sudden in Times Square and there's a kid reading a comic book. They become like the people in Times Square dressing up like characters as opposed to really BEING those characters. There's a kid reading the comic book and he's like, "Hey, you're just like in my comic book." It was very smart, it was very articulate, and it really gave a very satisfying resolution to the story, but it just didn't happen. Lost to time.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Terry Gilliam's Watchmen would have ended just a smidge differently.

 

 

What Terry had done, and it was a Sam Hamm script--who had written a script that everybody loved for the first "Batman"--and then he brought in a guy who'd worked for him to do work on it [Charles McKeown, co-writer of "Brazil"]. What he did was he told the story as-is, but instead of the whole notion of the intergalactic thing which was too hard and too silly, what he did was he maintained that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy, the world political structure. He felt that THAT character really altered the way reality had been. He had the Ozymandias character convince, essentially, the Doctor Manhattan character to go back and stop himself from being created, so there never would be a Doctor Manhattan character. He was the only character with real supernatural powers, he went back and prevented himself from being turned into Doctor Manhattan, and in the vortex that was created after that occurred these characters from "Watchmen" only became characters in a comic book.

 

 

I would love to hear what Alan Moore would think of that.

Did George Clinton ever get a permit for the Mothership, or did he get Snoop Dogg to fetch one two decades late?

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Terry Gilliam's Watchmen would have ended just a smidge differently.

 

 

What Terry had done, and it was a Sam Hamm script--who had written a script that everybody loved for the first "Batman"--and then he brought in a guy who'd worked for him to do work on it [Charles McKeown, co-writer of "Brazil"]. What he did was he told the story as-is, but instead of the whole notion of the intergalactic thing which was too hard and too silly, what he did was he maintained that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy, the world political structure. He felt that THAT character really altered the way reality had been. He had the Ozymandias character convince, essentially, the Doctor Manhattan character to go back and stop himself from being created, so there never would be a Doctor Manhattan character. He was the only character with real supernatural powers, he went back and prevented himself from being turned into Doctor Manhattan, and in the vortex that was created after that occurred these characters from "Watchmen" only became characters in a comic book.

 

 

I would love to hear what Alan Moore would think of that.

 

 

I'm going to go out on a limb... He'd hate it.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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^ Yeah, but still, we'd be hearing something from that guy, right?

Did George Clinton ever get a permit for the Mothership, or did he get Snoop Dogg to fetch one two decades late?

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Terry Gilliam's Watchmen would have ended just a smidge differently.

 

 

What Terry had done, and it was a Sam Hamm script--who had written a script that everybody loved for the first "Batman"--and then he brought in a guy who'd worked for him to do work on it [Charles McKeown, co-writer of "Brazil"]. What he did was he told the story as-is, but instead of the whole notion of the intergalactic thing which was too hard and too silly, what he did was he maintained that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy, the world political structure. He felt that THAT character really altered the way reality had been. He had the Ozymandias character convince, essentially, the Doctor Manhattan character to go back and stop himself from being created, so there never would be a Doctor Manhattan character. He was the only character with real supernatural powers, he went back and prevented himself from being turned into Doctor Manhattan, and in the vortex that was created after that occurred these characters from "Watchmen" only became characters in a comic book.

CS: That's fascinating. Very META.

Silver: Oh yeah. So the three characters, I think it was Rorschach and Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, they're all of the sudden in Times Square and there's a kid reading a comic book. They become like the people in Times Square dressing up like characters as opposed to really BEING those characters. There's a kid reading the comic book and he's like, "Hey, you're just like in my comic book." It was very smart, it was very articulate, and it really gave a very satisfying resolution to the story, but it just didn't happen. Lost to time.

 

 

The similarity to what eventually got made is as interesting to me as the difference: both versions jettisoned the Cthulhu Ex Machina [i know, not really deus ex machina because it's fairly clued. Or, clued. Somehow.] When I read the comic, the ending struck me as the weakest part of the book, and I will continue to maintain that--whatever the deficiencies of Snyder's movie--the ending is actually superior to Moore's original one.

 

And so, apparently, was the ending to Gilliam's. I feel vindicated, somehow.

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The similarity to what eventually got made is as interesting to me as the difference: both versions jettisoned the Cthulhu Ex Machina [i know, not really deus ex machina because it's fairly clued. Or, clued. Somehow.] When I read the comic, the ending struck me as the weakest part of the book, and I will continue to maintain that--whatever the deficiencies of Snyder's movie--the ending is actually superior to Moore's original one.

 

I do agree, at least in terms of the means by which Veidt makes his move. It's been a while since I saw the movie (and that was in theaters), but if I remember correctly, the interplay between the characters remains pretty much the same.

That's the only complaint I'd have with Gilliam's ending. I presume that it would mean forsaking that moment where Veidt and Manhattan have that last exchange, which I personally think is up there with the Comedian-Manhattan incident in the Vietnam bar as one of the most haunting moments in the entire story. Watchmen isn't really, or at least merely satire (as Snyder recently claimed he was going for); it is a decontruction of superhero fiction that not only hits hard on an intellectual level (it's the only work that I know of which seriously implies the Marxist argument that superheroes become a ruling class if they don't have to align themselves with the government), but can occasionally hit the reader hard.

And as much as I love Gilliam, he wouldn't do that aspect justice. It would be like expecting Godard in his Dostoevsky adaptation La Chinoise to tread the unforgettable psychological grounds that the source material (The Possessed) gave us in its characters, especially Kirillov and (Nikolai) Stavrogin.

Edited by Kinch

Did George Clinton ever get a permit for the Mothership, or did he get Snoop Dogg to fetch one two decades late?

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Snyder responds.

 

 

I made "Watchmen" for myself. It's probably my favorite movie that I've made. And I love the graphic novel and I really love everything about the movie. I love the style. I just love the movie and it was a labor of love. And I made it because I knew that the studio would have made the movie anyway and they would have made it crazy. So, finally I made it to save it from the Terry Gilliams of this world.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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