[UPDATE: I've now seen the film and can confirm that this movie is absolutely NOT for kids.]
We've been talking (some would say ad nauseum) about the Watchmen movie which will be opening on March 6th for months now. I've had the sense that while the online community of folks who follow movie news sites is very much aware of this film, that that the average "man on the street" has never heard of it. That's part of the reason we've been working to get the word out about it.
Every indication is that Watchmen is going to be probably one of the most amazing comic book-based movies ever to light up the big screen. Trailers, footage and reports on director Zack Snyder's version of the Alan Moore story have been positive almost without exception.
Basically, the movie looks like it's going to be awesome - but I want to make this very clear:
LEAVE THE KIDS AT HOME FOR THIS ONE.
Yes, it's based on a "comic book," but let's be VERY clear: This film is NOT for children.
As actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who plays "The Comedian" in the film) has stated: "It's rated R for a reason."
No, it's not just because they show the blue, glowing naughty bits of Dr. Manhattan. The source material was very adult and not at all the sort of story meant to be read (or understood) by kids. It tackled big socio-political issues, betrayal, murder and yes, even rape.
In an interview with MTV, Morgan talked about the rape scene in the film:
"It was a three-day process shooting that particular scene, and it was hard... It was three of the hardest days of filming I have ever had to do. It was really very violent."
In the original comic, there was a two page scene where The Comedian rapes the original Silk Spectre. People who pick up the comic book now may think "hey, that's not very graphic," but keep in mind this comic book was originally published 20 years ago and at the time that was a very intense couple of pages. Rape was not exactly commonly included in comic book stories back then.
Morgan went on to say:
"When you're looking at the comic book you only get a couple panels so there is a lot of stuff there that needs to be filled in, so we fill in the blanks there between three and four panels, and it turns out to be one hell of a violent scene. And it's all intact, [Hooded Justice] comes in and interrupts the attempted rape - it's all there. We stayed very loyal to it, and I haven't actually seen the scene yet, but I did see a piece of playback when we were filming it and it's a lot."
Will the scene be gratuitous? No, it's not, but it is definitely rough to watch. Part of the point of the story is that these people who functioned as real world superheroes were not perfect - far from it. In many cases they were far more flawed than you and I, but they did a job that needed doing. This applies in particular to The Comedian, who was the most morally questionable member of the team.
There are other scenes in from the book that only showed hints of sex and violence, but here in the film they are expanded upon a lot and contribute to the R-rating - just know that there is a lot of very graphic, brutal violence in the story as well as an explicit sex scene.
Final Watchmen movie poster
So while Watchmen may turn out to be an amazing film, I implore you to leave the little ones at home when you head out to see it. At the very least go see it on your own first and then make an educated decision regarding whether or not to let your children watch it.
Watchmen opens on March 6th.