Kevin Smith Vouches the Watchmen

Watchmen screenshot

Everyone’s having doubts about this. Zack Snyder is doing risky business by adapting to film the greatest graphic novel of all time. Will he succeed? Nobody can be sure, because you can’t have the film take too many liberties from the novel, and you can’t capture all the subliminal hints and qualities of the novel fully in the film.

In any case, Kevin Smith, dude extraordinaire, has watched the Watchmen (don’t worry, the use of that pun is going to increase exponentially as we approach March 2009). A paltry NDA stops him from saying anything, but he definitely has words to share about the experience:

“I saw Watchmen. It’s fucking astounding. The Non-Disclosure Agreement I signed prevents me from saying much, but I can spout the following with complete joygasmic enthusiasm: Snyder and Co. have pulled it off. Remember that feeling of watching Sin City on the big screen and being blown away by what a faithful translation of the source material it was, in terms of both content and visuals? Triple that, and you’ll come close to watching Watchmen. Even Alan Moore might be surprised at how close the movie is to the book. March can’t come soon enough.”

Now I am one of the pitiable souls who has not watched Sin City yet, but I can tell that the guy is saying that it’s going to be a great movie. I don’t know how many changes will be made to the movie upto release date, though. It’s still a good 7 months or so away, so you never know. Still, seeing Smith’s reaction, I think we can all expect something extreme.

Two downloadable Watchmen games confirmed

Nite OwlMovie video game tie-ins aren’t news, but what Warner Bros. is trying to go with them is. Warner has announced that they will be experimenting with downloadable tie-in games for Watchmen and two are already in the works!

The first will be around the release of the movie (i.e. March 2009), while the second will arrive shortly after the DVD release. What’s more, if these two games end up successful, Warner will go ahead with further episodes.

Seeing the sorry fate of movie-based video games was probably what spurred Warner into action. The downloadable format means that the game will be shorter and more appealing to the fans. According to Warner, this model will end up better at pleasing fans and critics, which is definitely going to be a tough task.

Interestingly, the source article at Variety also says that if the series ends up successfull, there might even be future pics tie-ins with the games. We’re not sure if a downloadable series can get that successful, so we’re just gonna go with a “Yeah, right” for now.

Right now we know that the first game will be released for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. It will be developed by Danish developer Deadline Games. I checked out their Wikipedia entry and I don’t see any titles ringing any bells. The game will feature Rorshach and Nite Owl battling crime.

This would mean that the game is something of a prequel to Watchmen, where a close friendship between Rorshach and Nite Owl as crimefighting buddies is hinted at. Would be great to see this in the form of a video game, but again, we’re totally not sure if this is gonna work.

Will the Watchmen movie do justice to the graphic novel?

Window

As Ted notes, the first Watchmen trailer went online today, and it looks fantastic. Every scene looks faithful to the original graphic novel, which is a relief… for now. Pretty much all the major heroes were seen in the trailer, from Rorshach to Ozymandias to Dr. Manhattan to everyone’s favourite, the Comedian.

But will the movie stay true to the graphic novel entirely? Watchmen is an exemplar graphic novel: it showcases all the qualities of a perfect graphic novel. It is a multi-layered, deep narrative that you can read over and over again without ever getting especially tired of it.

The way the rich art blends with the dialogue and narrative is probably what makes the novel so unique. Watchmen is a story that can only be told completely and fulfillingly in the form of a graphic novel. As Alan Moore himself noted, you read a reference in the novel and flip back a few pages to find that reference and you find out something new. You observe the artwork, the backgrounds, the symbolism, and you always learn something new about the complex and beautifully-built world of Watchmen.

Ozymandias

The graphic novel is filled with witty juxtapositions, metaphors, hints and other clues. It expertly blends character exploration with a running story that you’ll never guess. Will the movie be able to capture all of this? Can you really make a decent movie while holding all the subliminal qualities of the novel?

Snyder already proved his mettle with 300, but 300 and Watchmen are two completely different ball games. While 300 wasn’t a bad graphic novel, it was a much easier conversion to the film format. And while the movie did introduce a side-plot I do not agree with, the mild change in style only did good. I’d wager to say that for once, in 300‘s case, the movie was more likeable than the original.

The Comedian

But you’d need at least 6 hours of screentime to convey all the raw information Watchmen bombards you with. There are several layers here, each conveying a deeper sense, a greater gravity to the story and its characters. To fully express them as they were in the novel would be a truly epic task to do in some two and a half hours of film. Snyder is going to have to outdo his previous work.

Also, like the comic, will the movie have hidden hints in the background? Will the movie encourage viewers to see it again and again? Most importantly of all, will it be in the same spirit? Already, I can make out that very minor shift in style from the trailer. It’s definitely good and I love the 300-style flashback scenes from Vietnam. But it is also definitely different.

Dr. Manhattan

Watchmen has a reputation in the world of graphic novels. The problem is, since movies are a much bigger world, will Watchmen achieve a similar status of recognition? The Dark Knight appears to have made its mark with the critics, giving comic book movies a lot of hope, but not everyone is a Christopher Nolan. Well, maybe Zack Snyder is.

While 300 magnified the original and became a success, the comic had been received similarly. Will the Watchmen movie be received with all the appreciation of the graphic novel? If it is, then it will get ratings and reviews no less than what The Dark Knight is bathing in right now. We definitely hope it does, because with better and better comic book movies (Iron Man included), the entire comic book movie industry might be in for a facelift.

This will result in higher bars for Marvel’s upcoming plethora of movies. Perhaps DC’s empty lineup will also receive some entries, such as Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Justice League, or of course, the Superman franchise that seems to have gone dead after Brandon Routh donned the red cape.

We shall wait and we shall see. Watchmen comes out on the 6th of March next year. Kick ass, Snyder.

300 Follow-up definitely happening!

Frank Miller\'s 300

Trust Hollywood to not let a money-making oppurtunity slip by. While a sequel wasn’t the first thing on our minds when we saw the epic 300, we all thought about it sometime or the other, and then rumours began. Official word came here and there, and now it’s definitely up: the 300 follow-up will happen!

Variety reports that Legendary Pictures has confirmed a 300 follow-up with Zack Snyder signed on as director (yes!) and Frank Miller working on the writing. What’s more, if the report is spot-on accurate, Miller is working on a graphic novel, which should be in every way as awesomely epic as its predecessor! This is excellent, with both Snyder and Miller on the project, it has to be awesome! I, uh think.

Snyder, however, has said that he’ll wait for Miller’s novel first before he commits anything, but yeah. Legendary is going to make sure that the story is as great as it was before, because as Thomas Tull from Legendary said, “The vision of Frank Miller’s universe that Zack Snyder brought to the screen in ‘300’ is unlike anything ever seen before.” And that’s totally true.

We wonder what the movie will be about. Will it be a prequel with Gerard Butler back kicking Persian ass as Leonidas? Will we see Leonidas Jr. become a badass king? Will we see the Spartans taking revenge? Speculation abound! We will see where Legendary and Miller go with this.

300 Prequel, War of Gods and more!

Leonidas in action

Thought Leonidas’ reign was over? The guys from Collider report that it is not: a 300 Prequel is being planned, along with a Greek epic called “War of Gods” (not to be confused with God of War, the video game). While a war between Greek deities is fun stuff to watch already, the crew will be doing it in 300-style, which kicks double ass!

War of Gods will be directed by Tarsem Singh, who is known for his earlier The Cell and The Fall, which came out this year. Singh is a decent director for the job, but I wonder what a 300-ish movie will be without Zack Snyder (who, by the way, is helming Watchmen at the moment). It has two unnamed writers working on it and is hinted to be nothing short of a truly epic movie. We sure hope it is, when it hits theaters early next year.

Meanwhile, Mark Canton, Gianni Nunnari and Bernie Goldmann, who were interviewed revealed that they are talking to Zack Snyder and Frank Miller himself about the 300 prequel. Frank will most probably write it up, which is pretty good too – the last thing I’d want is a 300 sequel/prequel that appears to be nothing more than a money-milking scheme with a crappy storyline. Then again, 300 wasn’t known for its storyline either. Hmm.

Lastly, 300 itself will be converted to the Blu-ray format, which means that we will see killer high-definition Spartan action! Can’t wait for it!

This is crazy news! A 300 franchise! Who would’ve thought?!

Watchmen DVD plans, “Tales of the Black Freighter” and more

Marooned

The anticipation is mounting up, as we inch closer and closer to next year’s much-awaited Watchmen. Not only is it a feature film offering of my most favourite graphic novel, but it is also made by Zack Snyder whom everyone loves for making 300. The movie will pretty much follow 300‘s style, but is a completely different movie in a completely different setting.

In the graphic novel, the main story is interspersed by segments of a comic book read by a street urchin, called “Tales of the Black Freighter”. These are pirate comic books, that tell the tale of a marooned man striving get back to shore to warn his family of the Black Freighter, a ghost pirate ship. The series serves as something of commentary on the events in the actual novel, among several other literary devices.

Hit the jump to find out what Warner plans on doing with it!

Continue reading