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#1 Stag Lord

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 10:06 AM

Well =- i have to admit that I am kind of pumped to see this movie. There is no way the film adaptation can capture the depth and nuance of the comics, but the visual mpact should still be there.

I do wionder if the movie will pack much of a punch thematically. As i have emntioned here on these boards before - re-reading the books left me a little underwhelmed. The urgency and immediacy of the plot had been diminished with the passage of time and real life events.



#2 Thomas Snow

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 11:34 AM

I'm reading the graphic novel for the first time, and am looking forward to seeing the film once I finish reading it.



#3 JerusalemJones

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 12:49 PM

Stag Lord said:

Well =- i have to admit that I am kind of pumped to see this movie. There is no way the film adaptation can capture the depth and nuance of the comics, but the visual mpact should still be there.

I do wionder if the movie will pack much of a punch thematically. As i have emntioned here on these boards before - re-reading the books left me a little underwhelmed. The urgency and immediacy of the plot had been diminished with the passage of time and real life events.

See, I don't see it in the same light. The story brings me back to the 80s, and the cold war paranoia (which, in many ways, is similar to the threat of terrorim today, or even the posible resurgence of a "super-power" Russia, as Putin seems to be bent on). I had this same quick discussion with a guy I work with today who also brought up the 80s Cold War bit, and I related it to 1984 -- just because we have progressed past the time of the story, doesn't mean the story itself is any less impactful.

SPOILERS!

The whole reason for Veidt's actions to bring about peace are all based on the idea of Mutual Assured Destruction, which is definetly a Cold War/80's concept. Yet the history of the characters, the themes they represent, the innovations of the story -- and here I refer primarily to things like the interwoven Black Freighter meta-story, the end of chapter supplemental materials, the near subliminal repetition of the blood on smily face image reflected in everything from coffee cups to snow globes -- these are the thigns tht make the comic timeless. And, ultimately, what makes the original story itself unfilmable. Thus, any film version of Watchmen is simply a re-imagining of the story. And that's fine with me.

There were plenty of people involved with the prject who wanted to update the movie to the modern day, to set it against the War on Terror instead of the Cold War. heck, I wasted hours figuring out the ways to do this in the story. You don't have to change anything about the outcome of the story, just the reason why Veidt feels he has to force the world to accept peace. But then it really wouldn't be Watchmen.

I'm glad that Zack has taken the view that he needs to keep as many elements as possible for the movie. I'm a little saddened that we won't see the Giant Squid in the film (just like I was disappointed that Galactus was just a cloud of Space Dust and not some gigantic humanoidal figure in the last FF film), but I want to see what Zack and team came up with. About 12-15 years I picked up a bootleg script writen by Sam Hamm from a previous attempt at making the film -- and it was horrendous! It changed so much about the characters, totally ignored the Sally-Eddie-Laurie triangle that was such an integral part of the story, and the ending was all about Veidt trying to change time to stop Jon from becoming Dr. Manhattan (and the worst ending I have ever read). But what I have seen about this movie gives me great hope.

Watchmen is my favorite comic book of all time. I re-read it last July, and everytime I do this I discover something new abot the story, or something I forgot. I have suggested this comic to many people -- some don't "get it" right away, and stop reading after a few issues. But even people who weren't born when the story was first written by the end understand the story, and are blown away by it. It may have lost something over time, but I don't think the story itself suffers for being tied into the 80s. And I fully expect this movie to be awesome!



#4 karstark

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 09:20 PM

 

 

I just saw this -- first day, first screening, I'm obviously a fan -- and I thought they did a great job. No, you really CAN'T bring the depth of the original into the moviehouse, but that's actually true of a movie made from any source that had depth to begin with. But what thery delivered was not only a good movie, but a loving and educated versdion of the original. With a few interesting ways in which they actually DEEPENED the experience for me, to my surprise.



#5 Stag Lord

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 04:03 AM

Yeah JJ – I think we have had this discussion before. I respect your feelings on the book – and I agree that it is the greatest graphic novel I have ever read. But my experience re-reading it every few years just leaves me with a different take.

There are certainly some timeless elements to the story – mostly Moore’s ingenious narrative ticks – but the characters themselves are mostly representative types, albeit a little more “realistic” than we had seen before – and the real impact of the story was rooted firmly in the moment it depicts (and was created). The ticking clock, the watch theme, Manhattan’s ultimate decision – all serve the purpose of the horror and terror of that final climax.

And having lived through the time, having contemplated these issues on a nearly daily basis, it just doesn’t hit home as hard as ti did pre 1989. The War on Terror just does not compare.

I agree with you JJ, that the director made the best possible decision in keeping the story a Cold War exercise. It has to be to even approach the impact of Moore’s initial reveal. But as big a fan as I am of the writer and the story itself, I have to admit that it still reads as dated to me – more so than I ever imagined it would twenty to fifteen years ago. I can admire the artistry, but the message itself has lost its imperative. Kind of like the way I feel about Koestler’s novel – Darkness at Noon. Its too specific to time and place to transcend its setting.

This is where Orwell’s 1984 surpasses Moore’s effort. Although specifically relating to tyrannical government, its narrative is free form enough to terrify us even sixty some years later. I think this may be one of the limitations of incorporating realism into genre fiction – there is a fine line to walk. Realism goes a story immediacy of theme and alleviates suspension of disbelief, but at the risk of tying itself to firmly to a specific point.
 



#6 Old Ben

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 11:00 AM

Saw the film today, without even knowing taht a graphic novel existed - till i stumbled over this topic. To me it seemed to be an interesting alternative world approach at the past sixty or so years of history. I kind of felt that the message of the movie isn´t particulary that cold war A-bomb scenario, but that the real message is more or less the conflict between different (sometimes) naturally alternating moral concepts like truth& fundamental principles vs. peace & white lies. I think they have a lot of these interesting mindgames in the whole movie and especially between the charachters circling around the basic question "Is there are an ´ultimate´ right or wrong?".  This seems to be always a very up -to- date  question.        



#7 Kennon

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 05:55 AM

 I agree, I watched it last night and found it to still be just as powerful. Granted, I wasn't really cognizant of what was going on during my tenure in the Cold War era, but for me the story (both in graphic novel and now film) was not about the paranoia, fear and crushing weight of the possibility of war, but more about crushing weight of how far you may or may not be justified in going to achieve your ends. Which principals are the most imporant? Signified most directly I think in Ozymandias and Rorschach. 

Sadly, I know that there is much more that I love to articulate on the distinction of what the main thrust of the story was to me, but work is almost over and then I'm off to HurleyCon, so my brain is not functioning at optimal levels. I'll be back.



#8 Omnicrazzy

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 11:55 AM

I'm looking forward to it, but not enough to see it in the theater.



#9 JerusalemJones

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 09:25 AM

I though it was a good movie. Not great, but good. I will definitely see it again, It was pretty much what I was expecting from the movie -- kept true to the comic as much as possible, kept the important parts of the comic intact, played many scenes out just like in the comic. There were several changes -- some minor, some major. The plan for creating the ending was changed, but worked well with the story and the medium.

 

I saw the film with several people who had never read the comic. All of them were able to follow the film, but my wife commented "I had no attachment to the characters." I can understand that. In order to get as much of the story into the film, the character that got the most back-time was actually The Comedian. The violence was very graphic, and at times totally gratuitous (though, I think that was what Zack was trying to do). My biggest complaint was the soundtrack -- the songs tended to be louder than necessary, and instead of adding to the film just reminded you that you were watching a movie. The worst time was the sex scene in Archie -- the music actually made this scene funny-sad instead of emotional and/or erotic. It didn't fit, and stuck out like a sore thumb.

I was impressed with the actors and the attention to detail. So many casting choices, even in bit characters, made them look like they did in the comic itself. They kept true to the dialogue in the comic -- even when it actually detracted from the scene (some lines just aren't made to be spoken aloud). About Nixon -- did people giggle every time they showed Nixon (and his nose) when you watched it. Every time they showed him there were giggles in our theater. Though I was impressed with Kissinger. Thought that was a nice touch.

I think the movie will not have alot of crossover appeal, and even with the comic book crowd they will be some dissenters. But I felt they good a good job with the film. I think of it as "Watchmen lite," and know that every time I see it I will want to reread the comic. And I'm looking forward to the extended DVD release so I can see what got cut from what Zack originally wanted on the screen.
 



#10 Stag Lord

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 03:23 AM

I agree with ben and Kennon - i think my hang up has more to do with the fact that i was an aware adult (or late adolescent at the very least)during the mid eighties and so the real impact of teh story for me was the Cold War message. when that threat faded for em, so did the impact of the book.

But - listening to you guys and other younegr readers, who came to graphic novel over the past 15 years or so has made me realize that there is a whoel other set of messages working here that are resonating with great effect on younger audiences. Great srtuff - and it testifies to the pwoer of Moore's work.

Haven't seen it yet - i always wait at least a week before catching any genre films, but was pleased to note that it raked in 55 million. The number will fall off, but i am really hoping it hits 100 million and passes 300 in total gross.



#11 JerusalemJones

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:54 AM

Can't say I'm a younger reader. I'll be 40 this year, and was 16 when Watchmen came out. I even did two reports on Nuclear War during high school -- it was a twisted fascination of mine back then. But to me, Watchmen was less about the Cold War and more about the length people will go to save the world.



#12 Stag Lord

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 03:10 AM

But the imperative was the nuclear annihilation of humanity. It was the only rationale weighty enough to stay Ostermann's hand.

Take away that threat and Veidt is nothing more than a mass murderer, and since that threat petered out  by teh ealry ninties, hte book lost most of its heft to me.

I didn;t realize we were of an age, JJ. Funny, i don't recall that coming up on the old "How Old Are You Now" threads. What did we call those o35+ posters? We had a nickname like Elders of the Boards or something.



#13 Kennon

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 04:16 PM

 Ah, but even in the face of nuclear catastrophe, is Veidt anything more than a mass murder? He's certainly not the savior he sees himself as. 

 

In another vein, you can look at it as an analysis of something like... dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Were we justified in the deaths of so many innocent lives in order to avoid a more prolonged war with Japan? The opinions of the Watchmen on Veidt's method of saving the world from itself can be seen in a very valid historical slant as well, aside even from the Cold War aspect.



#14 karstark

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 05:43 PM

I found that the point which struck me the most about the, what, the twenty-year time gap between when I read the book and when I saw the movie was, I had no emotional memory of what the fear of nuclear annihilation felt like. I don't know, maybe I never did, but, there was little emotional resonance there. It just seemed like something that couldn't happen anymore. Not so much that I had no fears now, just that my fears now are different from that one, if ever I had that one. I literally thought "Nah, the Russians'll never attack." So, that obviously affected my outlook.

 

 

I found that I liked both Nite Owl and the new Silk Spectre a lot more in the movie than in the book. My favorite character was always Rorschach, and still is, but I liked the other two fine now, whereas previously I found Nite Owl a bit paralyzed by indecisiveness and Silk Spectre just, whiny. The person I found I liked significantly less from the book was Dr. Manhattan.

 

 

I loved Rorschach's final scene. I though that actor Jackie Earle Haley did a great job with it.

 

 

And I loved that when Nite Owl attacked Ozymandias at the end, that Veidt just stood there and took it. Didn't defend himself, didn't fight back. I thought it said a lot about the guy. He's not perfect, but he knows enough about what he did to accept that he, in a sense, doesn't deserve to defend himself.



#15 JerusalemJones

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 03:22 AM

Stag Lord said:

But the imperative was the nuclear annihilation of humanity. It was the only rationale weighty enough to stay Ostermann's hand.

Take away that threat and Veidt is nothing more than a mass murderer, and since that threat petered out  by teh ealry ninties, hte book lost most of its heft to me.

I didn;t realize we were of an age, JJ. Funny, i don't recall that coming up on the old "How Old Are You Now" threads. What did we call those o35+ posters? We had a nickname like Elders of the Boards or something.

I can see you perspective on it, but Nuclear War isn't the only reason to try and save the world. Not like I want to defend Veidt, but there are other threats to our world -- germ warfare, dirty bombs, terrorists, diminishing resources -- any of which could be used to "justify" the extreme actions takes to unite humanity for a common cause.

Now, frankly, I'm pretty ambivalent about the threat of terrorists, germ attacks and dirty bombs. If they are so easy to come by, why haven't they happened yet? Mind you, the Anthrax thing did have me on edge for around a year or so -- but I am a mailman, so that one hit pretty close to home. I really think that after 9/11, when so much of the world was (at least for a time) united behind America, it made groups like Al Quaida think twice -- what good to hurt your enemy, if it brought them more allies to hunt you down. I don't see the next terror attack being something so grand in scale. But now I'm going completely OT.

The more I think about the movie, the more I like it. Time is giving me the ability to separate the film and the novel, and seeing how well the film did in most respects is starting to make it come out a little more. Plus, talking with alot of the guys at the store and their take an the film as well is letting me see it in different lights. It;s always cool to hear someone talk about how much they loved movie, but hasn't read the comic. Of course, I push them towards the comic. That is the story, right there, and they should read it. One friend of mine was only have-way thorugh the comic when he saw the movie, so he had no idea that Veidt was behind it all. He was shocked, and went home and read the last 6 issues, and loved the comic -- and the movie.



#16 LordofBrewtown

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 06:49 AM

 I haven't seen the movie yet - but think it looks pretty good.  

Regarding the comic - I first read this in January, after seeing posts regarding it on the old boards, and mostly due to being on Time's 100 essential reads.  It definitely drew me in immediately - great premise and start to the story.  I've got to say though, that I was a bit let down by it/would have a hard time calling it and essential/top 100 read.  The side story character (newspaper stand/comic/pirate thing) was just distracting & not essential to the story IMO.  Granted, I came into it with extremely high expectations, and was still good - I just wouldn't call it great - maybe that has to do with reading now instead of in the 80's or even early 90's.  I guess I never really bought into the concept of the fear of nuclear destruction in the story, so wasn't quite as on edge as I should've been in that respect.  But, Rorschach is a great character (and the movie seems to be extremely well cast).  

 



#17 Kennon

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:34 AM

 Well, the thing that you'd have to consider is that "Tales of the Black Frieghter" is really more of a plot counterpoint. It's in many ways supposed to be be a distraction from the central plot.



#18 JerusalemJones

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 12:15 PM

Kennon said:

 Well, the thing that you'd have to consider is that "Tales of the Black Frieghter" is really more of a plot counterpoint. It's in many ways supposed to be be a distraction from the central plot.

And probably part of why it made the Top 100 list. The first two times I read the series I didn't care for the Black Freighter. Now it is why i pay more attentnionto those parts of the comic. The parallels that it draws, both immediatey and later in the story, are fascinating.



#19 JerusalemJones

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 01:23 PM

If you can laugh at the Watchmen, I found this link in the UFS Off Topic discussion:

Saturday Morning Watchmen

Twistedly funny.



#20 Stag Lord

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 02:35 AM

JerusalemJones said:

 

 can see you perspective on it, but Nuclear War isn't the only reason to try and save the world. Not like I want to defend Veidt, but there are other threats to our world -- germ warfare, dirty bombs, terrorists, diminishing resources -- any of which could be used to "justify" the extreme actions takes to unite humanity for a common cause.

Now, frankly, I'm pretty ambivalent about the threat of terrorists, germ attacks and dirty bombs. If they are so easy to come by, why haven't they happened yet? Mind you, the Anthrax thing did have me on edge for around a year or so -- but I am a mailman, so that one hit pretty close to home. I really think that after 9/11, when so much of the world was (at least for a time) united behind America, it made groups like Al Quaida think twice -- what good to hurt your enemy, if it brought them more allies to hunt you down. I don't see the next terror attack being something so grand in scale. But now I'm going completely OT.

 

 

Exactly

None of the modenr threats are as over arching or all consuming as was the fear of being vaporized in an atomic holocaust in 1986. Great TPB - but it will never have the smae impact for me as it did when I first read it and I don't find much of a payoff in re-readings.

Still a big fan though and still looking forward ot the movie.






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