Appearing at the Apple store in Santa Monica this past Tuesday night, director Zack Snyder and visual effects supervisor John “DJ” DesJardin came to discuss the creation of the big blue guy himself, Dr. Manhattan. Continue reading “Watchmen at Apple”
Looks like the seemingly awesome adaptation of Alan Moore’s Watchmen may be in trouble. In the worst kind of trouble possible. Legal trouble. Fox claims the rights to the masterpiece, which has resulted in some nasty tug-of-war between them and Warner Brothers.
While legal troubles go over the naive and petty heads of us bloggers, we have some disturbing news at hand. The trial itself may go all the way upto June. And since it doesn’t make sense that Fox would allow the movie to be released till then, that could only mean…
The movie may be delayed to after the trial is over, and that is at least June 2009. Bad news. The movie was already a ways off, at March 2009 and is now delayed further? Not that I seriously mind this: I’d wait for all eternity for a Watchmen movie, so what I find scarier is that…
Fox may be trying to sabotage the movie itself. That would mean that if Fox wins the battle, the movie might actually not come out and the trailer we just saw may go into the ancient halls of “Awesome Movies that Weren’t”. And that’s a scary picture for us Watchmen fans.
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.
[Update 3/7/09: Click here for our review on WATCHMEN: THE COMPLETE MOTION COMIC]
“Warner Premiere’s Motion Comics” are short-form digital content pieces based on DC Comics. They bring movements, voice-overs, music scores, and comic book artwork to life.
DC Comics is giving away an episode of Watchmen for free for the next two weeks at www.ew.com/watchmen. Beginning August 2, Watchmen Motion Comic will be available on the iTunes Store www.itunes.com for purchase and download for $1.99.
More titles will be unveiled after Comic Con!
Watchmen – Motion Comic
Watchmen takes viewers through the critically acclaimed DC Comics and Hugo award-winning graphic novel by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. Set in 1985 at the height of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union, costumed avengers have been banned with the exception of two – The Comedian and Rorschach. During this time the mysterious murder of a United States government official named Edward Blake occurs in New York, possibly by Soviet Communists. It is later confirmed that Blake is actually a costumed avenger – The Comedian. The news of the murder is discovered by his fellow costumed avenger, Rorschach who sets out to discover the murderer.
During his search viewers discover whether Rorschach is really insane or if he’s uncovered a plot to murder super-heroes and, even worse, millions of innocent civilians. On the run from the law, Rorschach reunites with his former teammates in a desperate attempt to save the world and their lives. But what they uncover will shock them to their very core and change the face of the planet. Following two generations of masked superheroes from the close of World War II to the icy shadow of the Cold War comes this groundbreaking comic story — the story of The Watchmen.
Batman: Mad Love Batman:
Mad Love is taken directly from the pages of the Eisner Award-winning single issue graphic novel by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. The story revolves around The Joker’s sidekick Harley Quinn who is madly in love with him. She uses crime to demonstrate her love for her “Puddin'” and sets out to commit the ultimate act of love – killing Batman.
The Batman: Mad LoveMotion Comic will be available to purchase from Xbox Live and viewing on mobile phones enabled for Verizon Wireless’ V CAST Video service starting July 22. “Batman: Mad Love” episodes will also be available from other distribution partners in the coming months.
Movie 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.