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The “Squid” is Out

I know — that sucks. We’ve all been hearing conflicting reports over the past several months on whether the “squid” — what fans call the monster at the end of Watchmen — would make it into the film, but now it seems that it definitely will not be making an appearance.

How do we know? Well, Watchmen movie director Zack Snyder said so in a recent interview with Dark Horizons.

The squid was not in the movie when I got the script, the squid was never in any draft that I saw. My point is only that there was this elegant solution to the squid problem that I kind of embraced. I'm a fan of the thing as much as anyone, I was saying what are we going to do about this before I even read the script.

The details on what he has specifically changed in the film in regards to the ending are not known at this time, but it seems like he’s going with the “Dr. Manhattan energy beam” disaster that appeared in both the David Hayter and Alex Tse drafts of the script. When asked about details of the film’s climactic disaster, Snyder explained…

I won't say exactly but... Dr. Manhattan has a certain energy signature, it's clearly his thing...so you know.

So, at this point some of you might be thinking, “no problem. Maybe we’ll get the squid in one of those multiple endings we heard about a few weeks ago.” Sorry. Snyder also confirmed that there was only one ending shot for his film.

How are fans taking this news? Well, very few fans are happy about it. Their reactions range from outright rage to cautious optimism. One one side there are fans who are absolutely pissed off that Snyder had opted for an ending they feel completely undermines the climax of the story and creates plot holes so deep that rewrites to earlier scenes would likely not even be able to fill them.

Other fans, citing all of the previous reports on how faithful Snyder and his team have been to the source so far, are worried, but are giving Snyder the benefit of the doubt that he’s filled these holes neatly and carefully so that the film would still make sense and maintain virtually all of the themes of the original comic series. Some of the more hopeful fans even cite that if Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons seems happy with the ending, how bad can it be?

Now, for some of the fans it wasn’t just the news of the changed ending that got them upset, but also the tone Snyder took toward them in this interview as well.

The fans, god love 'em, they're all up in arms about the squid. 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.

What seemed to irritate fans about this quote the most was not that Snyder came off as being condescending toward them, but that it amped up their fears that even though Synder was painstakingly including lots of the little details of Watchmen into his film, he was perhaps missing the big picture and creating a movie whose ending will fall flat and ultimately makes little to no sense.

So what’s my take on all of this? To be honest, I haven’t seen fan morale toward the movie so low. Many of the die-hard fans were against this adaptation from the beginning, but as news from the film began to surface each week many of them started to come around; warming up to Snyder and feeling that the film was going to be good — perhaps even epic. Now, many of those converts are back in the “Snyder-hate” camp again.

Am I angry that Snyder took that “tone” in the interview toward us fans? Well, I don’t think it was the best thing he could have said, but I understand why he said it. Let’s face it - as fans we have been extremely critical of Snyder since day one. We’ve put every decision of his under the microscope and picked out any possible flaw we could see. Sometimes, our points are valid, sometimes, we’ve gotten a bit nit picky. In fairness we’re no different than any fandom. The point is, whether we're right or wrong about the decisions he’s made, there were times we lashed out at him. It makes sense that some of that anger would come back to us.

As far as the new ending goes, I’d put myself in the cautiously optimistic camp. You see, I’ve been to the set, met and spoke with Zack and Debbie Snyder, many of the cast, crew as well as Dave Gibbons. I honestly believe Watchmen is in good hands and that the source material is being treated with respect. I understand that the “squid” ending could be very difficult to adapt and that the way the ending unfolds in the comic may not work well on screen.

But, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure how a “Dr. Manhattan energy beam” ending will work well either, especially if it's identical to what has been written in previous leaked screenplay drafts. A new ending does create many plot holes — how does the Comedian find out about the plot if there’s no more “squid” island for him to fly over? If Dr. Manhattan is framed for the destruction why would the Russians believe he was not still working for the US?

I have faith that Snyder and company have thought about and worked out all of these issues to make a new ending work, but I’m still worried. In the interview Snyder explained that at the test screening anyone who saw the film who read the graphic novel rated the film as “excellent” and that as far as Snyder was concerned the film is “done.” However, one source of mine who claimed to be at the Portland screening told me he was a big fan of the comic and definitely did not rate the film as “excellent” and reported the problems he had with the ending in his questionnaire.

No matter what we hear It always seems to come down to a “he said, they said” situation with conflicting information and reports. So what is a fan to do? All we can do is wait until March 6th… and pray.

11.10.08 Source: DarkHorizons.com

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