Saturday, November 15, 2008

Watchmen Book Club: Chapters XI and XII


Okay, it's taken me WAY too long to put these up, so here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna open up the floor to discussion in the comments, then add my own takes to the main post as I make them. Sorry I flaked on this so bad, you guys. Momentum is everything with these projects, and I just lost mine. Simple as that.

So let's kick things off with one question: It's been rumored that Zack Snyder's Watchmen movie filmed an ending different than the one we get in the book. The supposed change comes in the form of the type of calamity that Ozymandias sets loose upon New York City. Is it going to bother you if Ozy's giant squid ends up MIA in the movie?

9 comments:

Jen said...

I for one am glad they changed the ending. I'm a pretty big fan of the comic, married to a mega-fan (who read it in the original issues!)and I always felt that the ending didn't do justice to the story that preceded it. It almost didn't work in the comic, and it would REALLY not work on the big screen. My husband's theory is that Moore started out writing a genre piece (sci-fi) and in the process transcended it, creating an intense character piece. But he was still stuck with the genre ending, had painted himself into a corner (written himself, I guess).

Jon said...

I think it's just an accommodation to the realities of film vs. comic books. The giant squid looks okay on paper. But I can't imagine it looking anything other than silly on screen.

sb said...

Hmm . . . I can deal with the absence of the giant squid, I think, if something just as intense takes its place. Like, something else that blows up New York. Because if a few million people don't die by the end of this movie, I'm going to be pissed. The thing that makes the ending of Watchmen so brilliant to me is the moral quandary we're left with: is it justifiable to sacrifice New York to avoid a possible nuclear holocaust? Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few in this situation? As long as we're left with that moral ambiguity at the end, I'm fine with changing the giant squid. Although, after the second trailer, I'm starting to worry a little more about this movie.

Glark said...

Are we considering the new ending a spoiler? The gist of it has been reported online a couple times and I think it works on the macro level but maybe not on the micro. I won't spill it here (I'm sure you can find it online) but I think the squid works because it is a threat wholly outside the cold war and the alternative ending involves players that have geopolitical ties and I think it can't be as clean (even if the movies sells it that way).

The squid is a tough sell on screen for sure but I thought it was great. I had a genuine WTF moment reading that and presumably that was what the rest of the WM world thought too. It was Space 9/11. Instead of parts of us vs. parts of us it was us vs THEM.

Mertseger said...

I'm indifferent to the squid or no squid debate, but I'm unclear how the ending as its currently spoiled will work. In the book I could understand how the world could unite against a threat presented by the squid, but shifting that threat to appear to be Dr. Manhattan would seem only to make the movie into Muggles v. Superheros which ISTM is far less nuanced. (And, afterall, isn't that just the paradigm of the X-Men anyway?) Further, there's the issue of Rorsharch's journal which leaves the book's ending a bit more open-ended. Right now the movie's ending is sounding pat and disappointing when compared to the book's.

aaron said...

I understand that things that work in a comic won't work on film. And I'm not one of the people that thinks they need to have an actual squid in the movie. But I do think that the underlying reasons for the squid and the destruction it caused should be present. The point of Veidt's plan, as I read it, was that it was an "alien" attack that in addition to all the destruction and death in New York, also unleashed a psychic shockwave that caused untold damage across the world, with the end result being all of humanity binding together to stop destroying themselves via nuclear war. The rumor of what has taken the place of the squid, on it's face, doesn't seem like it would necessarily fit that grand theme of Veidt's plan.

I don't want to come across as a whiny fanboy, so I will say, that the change isn't any sort of dealbreaker for me and the trailers have impressed me in that every frame of film we have been shown so far has been easily identifiable as a scene from the book. Which is probably a testament to Snyder and co., getting the look of the film right combined Moore and Gibbons creating plenty of iconic imagery. Either way, I am looking forward to the movie.

Rbelle said...

It's pretty much already been said, but it's not the squid itself that's at issue for me, but the "alien" nature of that final attack that is, I think, essential to Veidt's plan. If the spoilers that I've read turn out to be true, it's going to shoot holes in the very careful logic Veidt exercises that makes his plan horribly disturbing, yet genius, as opposed to, say, batshit crazy.

As someone new to the Watchmen who has some trouble with graphic novels in general (I find it hard to absorb both the images and dialogue together and am not patient enough to examine every frame the way it probably deserves), it took me until that ending to really appreciate the story. While it of course left the reader with some big moral questions, I was convinced humanity really would have acted the way Veidt predicted and that in this sense, his plan was flawless. Mess with that in the wrong way and I can see people walking out of the theater with kind of a WTF feeling.

And I'll admit that because my appreciation of the book is kind of tenuous at this point, screwing up the ending could truly ruin the movie for me. I've watched the trailer about five times since finishing the novel a couple weeks ago, and I've gotten really excited about it because it brings the characters to life for me in a way the book just didn't. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm looking to the movie to help me appreciate the visuals of the book more. If they mess with the one thing about the book that I already liked unequivocally, my head might explode :P

Mertseger said...

Up to date spoilerage here. It appears that Rorscharch's journal will conclude the film, and so at least the ambiguity of ending will be preserved.

Mertseger said...

That scream you heard in the distance is Alan Moore seeing the screen-caps of the Watchman video game now in development. It's a prequel set when Nite Owl and Rorschach fought crime together.