Screen Rant Focus: Watchmen

Comic-con has been the perfect starting point for the marketing machine behind the upcoming film adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' genre-shattering, classic graphic novel, Watchmen, to start turning its gears. Since the Con kicked-off and that breathtaking teaser trailer premiered before The Dark Knight, the buzz surrounding Watchmen has gone from a few bees in the bush, to an eager swarm of anticipation.

Always ready to serve the will of the people, we here at Screen Rant thought it might be nice to pool a lot of the info about the Watchmen flick together into a nice focus piece - a Rorschach blot that you can look at and determine for yourself how this film is shaping up.


Well, as I'm sure Vic can personally attest, word around the campfire is that the footage that premiered during the Watchmen panel at Comic-Con only further evidences the fact that director Zack Snyder (300) has done right by fanboys and girls everywhere by staying true to the essence of what made Watchmen the graphic novel such a profound, genre-bending masterpiece back in 1986. Despite several different scripts floating around Hollywood for the last decade or so, which tried to alter the setting and/or tone of Moore and Gibbons' story, Snyder has boldly chosen NOT to update the Watchmen to modern times, or change the tone to a more traditional, campy, comic book flick. This film will be all adult, and rated so.

For those not in the know, Watchmen is set in an alternate 1980's universe in a U.S. of A where super-heroes have been outlawed by government mandate; a near omnipotent blue physicist has helped America win both the Vietnam and Cold Wars; and, best of all, President Richard Nixon has appointed himself perma-President. (Who knew that the 80's could even get any more 'alternate?')

In the midst of this mad world, only a few of the former heroes are still around, living mundane lives, some getting fatter and older by the day (Patrick Wilson/Nite Owl); some working in secret as government operatives (Jeffery Dean Morgan/The Comedian, Malin Ackerman/Silk Specter II and Billy Crudup/Doctor Manhattan); living in the public eye as celebrities (Matthew Goode/Ozymandias); or, in the case of enigmatic night-prowler Rorschach (Jackie Earl Haley), single-handedly carrying on the fight against injustice while evading the law.

The plot thickens when The Comedian is brutally murdered, exposing a plot by an unseen mastermind that could very well lead the world to the brink of destruction - unless the retired league of heroes can pull themselves, and each other, together in time to stop Armageddon.

Those familiar with the graphic novel know how dense a work it truly is. In addition to the central murder mystery/Armageddon plot, which could easily fill the two-hour block of a standard film, Watchmen has multiple side-stories woven into it, including individual back stories for each of its heroes; a comic book pirates yarn that echoes the themes and happenings of the main story; a Randian subplot about a mysterious island where the world's greatest artists are hiding out; and a scrap-book style collection of newspaper clippings, advertisements, magazine interviews and even excerpts from the biography of one retired hero, which help to flesh out the "real-world" conception of how we as a society would view and judge superheroes if they actually existed. That's a lot of info to pack into one movie.

Yet Snyder has remained vigilant that he will be able to get the lion's share of the story (and side-stories) all into the film experience, one way or another. (Except for that over-the-top climax from the original graphic novel. That kind of thing can only happen in comics.)

And, of course, the marketing team over at Warner Bros. is only too happy to come up with some creatively $avvy ways to help expand the Watchmen brand. Poor Alan Moore.


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