Monday, February 16, 2009

What's up with the ending to "Watchmen"?

This is just about the farthest thing from news for people who have been following the saga of Zack Snyder's "Watchmen" movie, but I just came across it, so bear with me.

In getting ready for the movie, which in spite of what follows in this post I remain at least cautiously optimistic about, I recently re-read the graphic novel, and can confirm that it's easily as good as I remember. I can also confirm that the ending is just as maddening and simply insane as ever.

Now, if you don't want to know how the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibson or - more importantly - the movie coming out March 6 end, READ NO FURTHER. I understand this is easily the worst kind of spoiler imaginable, so please don't read on and then try to claim I didn't warn you. Here goes.

As anyone who has read the graphic novel knows, Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias' plot to change the course of history hinges on creating a giant squid that attacks New York City (yes, again New York City) to fake an alien attack and therefore lead all the nations of Earth to cease their hostilities and unite at the height of the cold war. If you're reading that for the first time, yes it is that crazy.

And Snyder and the folks who came up with the script for the "Watchmen" movie apparently thought this madness was simply too much for casual moviegoers to stomach, and frankly they may be right. I can vividly remember that the first time I read it I had to go over pages two or three times just to make sure I had it right, but that was much of the novel's appeal.

So, what have they changed it to instead? Once again, a final warning, if you don't want to know, DO NOT READ ON FROM THIS POINT.

I have no way of knowing if this is exactly right, but according to
this "Watchmen" site, what Veidt unleashes will actually be a series of attacks designed to mirror the energy beams created by Dr. Manhattan. This may seem a lot more reasonable on the surface, especially if the script keeps Veidt's intent intact, but it raises at least one major question: If Veidt's plan frames Dr. Manhattan (which I can't confirm, mind you), who acts as a weapon for the U.S., how in the world does that work out to an attack from an outside force that can unite the planet?

Snyder certainly didn't do himself any favors when, in the original Dark Horizons interview back in November in which he originally revealed his plan to monkey with the ending, he also added this:

“The fans, god love 'em, they’re all up in arms about the squid,” said Snyder. “What they should be up in arms about are things like shooting the pregnant woman, ‘God is real and he’s American’, whether THAT’S in the movie. That’s my point of view, maybe I’m crazy.”

Well, not crazy, but certainly condescending. How, in the face of all this, can one remain optimistic? It certainly takes a lot of somewhat-blind faith, but there's also visual evidence in the full photo gallery from the film you can view here at that things are still mostly on the right track.

There have also been constant video tidbits released along the way, which I've been sharing whenever I find them. The latest is this trailer for the animated "Tales of the Black Freighter" tale that I can only assume winds it way through the "Watchmen" movie on a parallel track as it did in the novel. It will also be released along with Hollis Mason's "Under the Hood" on DVD near the end of March to keep "Watchmen" fever running strong.

Enjoy the trailer, and when it comes to "Watchmen," just try to keep hope alive. Or, if you've now lost any or all of that, please feel free to sound off on what Snyder and co. are up to here. Peace out.


Sachin said...

Thanks for the heads up on this. I have been very cautious ever since I heard that Zack Snyder's was directing the film. I had always figured he would not only keep the ending but would expand on it as opposed to other aspects of the story because the ending would fit in with that blockbuster appeal. The running time of 163 min does give me some hope that the characters will be properly shown.

Reel Fanatic said...

I was equally confident after hearing about the running time, Sachin ... For a "comic book," Watchmen is indeed a very complicated work with all those stories wound together, so I'm still hoping he can somehow he can make it all work

Mercurie said...

I skipped the ending, as I don't want the movie spoiled for me. But I have to admit that the fact that you even did a post about it concerns me. I don't mind Snyder departs from the graphic novel too much, as long as it is good. Now it's whether it's good or not that concerns me...

Ivan said...

When I read that last issue of Watchmen way back when, I was annoyed with the ending--its blatant and acknowedged "appropriation" of "The Architects of Fear" from the original Outer Limits. I've grown to accept that, but I've never thought the space squid ending was such hot stuff.
I don't know if Snyder will come up with something "better" but I'm willing to give him a chance--and if Watchmen flops or is bad, I want it to be Skidoo bad: so deranged it's awesome. (Of course, I'd rather it be a great movie--or at least not boring.)

Great site!

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