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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:39 pm 
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Broken Finger wrote:
I've stuck to my guns and never bothered watching the movie. I am, however, aware of what the movie's ending entails and am willing to concede the point that maybe having Doctor Manhattan be Adrian's scapegoat works within the context of said film. I don't know. I'll take your word for it.

However, I will happily defend the book's ending. If you are willing to accept that a running subtext of Watchmen is a commentary on and brief history of the state of the comics industry up to and including the eighties (and why wouldn't you?), then having a giant alien appear and kill half of New York makes complete sense. It is also a pretty great homage to the gore-laden EC-style horror comics of the fifties, and a witty commentary on the trope of the scheming mad scientist arch-villain. Like the book itself, it's an amazingly layered thing.

This is one old chestnut of a debate.

I'm with you BF.

I think the biggest point of contention is, how do you weave the island, kidnapped artists and scientists, psychic brain cloning, et. al. plot points into the film without confounding the audience. I know Snyder said something to the effect of, "you can get the audience to suspend disbelief on one or two fantastic concepts, but when you push it to three or four you start loosing the audience."

So that's the rub.

Who who thinks 2 1/2 or even 3 hours could hold all that Snyder crammed in along with all the island/alien plot points? Some say the film already had too much in it. Would adding all this stuff make the film less successful?

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:32 pm 
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DoomsdayClock wrote:
I think the biggest point of contention is, how do you weave the island, kidnapped artists and scientists, psychic brain cloning, et. al. plot points into the film without confounding the audience. I know Snyder said something to the effect of, "you can get the audience to suspend disbelief on one or two fantastic concepts, but when you push it to three or four you start loosing the audience."


I don't think that's unfair. It raises the question of why one would bother with an adaptation in the first place, but it's fair.

I don't really understand the general idea of adaptations anyway, unless the person doing the adapting has some fresh take on the subject matter that he feels compelled to show everyone, and I'm really not that into Snyder as a director and don't care to see his take on much of anything. Still, when it comes to adding personal perspective to an adapted work, I know that it could have been much, much worse (Gilliam).


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:52 pm 
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Broken Finger wrote:
DoomsdayClock wrote:
I think the biggest point of contention is, how do you weave the island, kidnapped artists and scientists, psychic brain cloning, et. al. plot points into the film without confounding the audience. I know Snyder said something to the effect of, "you can get the audience to suspend disbelief on one or two fantastic concepts, but when you push it to three or four you start loosing the audience."


I don't think that's unfair. It raises the question of why one would bother with an adaptation in the first place, but it's fair.

I don't really understand the general idea of adaptations anyway, unless the person doing the adapting has some fresh take on the subject matter that he feels compelled to show everyone, and I'm really not that into Snyder as a director and don't care to see his take on much of anything. Still, when it comes to adding personal perspective to an adapted work, I know that it could have been much, much worse (Gilliam).

You sidestepped that a bit.

Let's put aside whether its a good idea or not to adapt Watchmen into a film.

Do you think the alien/island subplot can be worked into a film adaptation without confusing audiences or cutting too much other stuff out? Is an ending tweak/change necessary to make a Watchmen film adaptation a better film - not a better 'Watchmen," but a better film adaptation (I submit that the act of adapting Watchmen makes it "not" Watchmen anymore - in the purest sense).

I know this discussion is all kinds of subjective masturbation (good name for a band), but humor me.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:13 pm 
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DoomsdayClock wrote:
You sidestepped that a bit.


Oh. I didn't mean to.

DoomsdayClock wrote:
Let's put aside whether its a good idea or not to adapt Watchmen into a film.


It's not, but okay. But only for a minute, and then I have something else to say about that.

DoomsdayClock wrote:
Do you think the alien/island subplot can be worked into a film adaptation without confusing audiences or cutting too much other stuff out?


I feel very confident that a clever writer could work all of the elements you mentioned into a screenplay without confusing anyone. Except for the very stupid, and they would have in all likelihood been confused anyway. It would be a 15 hour film, but it could be done, yes. No studio would release it, of course, and no one would ever see it, and lots of money would be lost. But I think it could be done. Honestly, being practical for a moment, to try and fit all of those things into a 2½ to 3 hour movie would be impossible, or at the very least not enjoyable to watch.

DoomsdayClock wrote:
Is an ending tweak/change necessary to make a Watchmen film adaptation a better film - not a better 'Watchmen," but a better film adaptation (I submit that the act of adapting Watchmen makes it "not" Watchmen anymore - in the purest sense).


Let me start with your parenthetical, with which I am in complete agreement. The adaptation is someone's interpretation of what is being adapted, and no longer the work itself, yes? That seems fairly self evident. However, in the case of Watchmen, it's my understanding that Snyder attempted to put the book on screen as much as he could. What was changed was changed for the sake of length and for streamlining the basic narrative beats. Can you confirm this for me?

Okay, so is a change of the ending necessary to make an adaptation of Watchmen a better film?

That would depend on who was doing the adapting and whether or not they needed a new ending to fit their interpretation, I would imagine. Please keep in mind that I'm still struggling with the whys and general reasons for adaptations themselves, by the way. Why one would feel compelled to adapt someone else's work into another medium is beyond me, unless, of course, there's something new to say. And I should also mention I'm speaking of purely artistic reasons, and not the obvious reasons, like "for cash, stupid!" or, in this specific case, Snyder saying he decided to do it because he was worried someone else would really screw it up.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:33 pm 
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I had to check and recheck the date of these posts. New Watchmen discussion? Yay!

DoomsdayClock wrote:
Do you think the alien/island subplot can be worked into a film adaptation without confusing audiences or cutting too much other stuff out? Is an ending tweak/change necessary to make a Watchmen film adaptation a better film - not a better 'Watchmen," but a better film adaptation (I submit that the act of adapting Watchmen makes it "not" Watchmen anymore - in the purest sense).


I don't think you could do it exactly the same was as it was done in the book. The "human sensitive" angle, for example, never quite worked for me, as it suddenly introduced an almost supernatural element into a story that was mostly grounded in reality (Dr. Manhattan stuff not withstanding). I know the idea is first touched upon earlier in New Frontiersman article, but it kind of feels like it's coming out of nowhere when Veidt first mentions it. Besides that, I think it's doable. I do, however, think it would require stronger visual storytelling from Snyder. In Watchmen, there is a lot of information coming from panels featuring newspapers, or televisions, and I don't think Snyder used that to particularly strong effect in his movie. The scene where Dan and Laurie are watching television, for example, cuts out the juxtaposition of Dan and Laurie trying to have sex, and Veidt doing his exercise display ("This is a man in his forties"). Also, I think he could have kept all the Nixon stuff off screen. It would demand more attention from the audience, picking up these details in the background, but I think it could be done. In fact, if it were up to me, I would have included some form of media in almost every scene. Be it shots of newspapers, or dialogue heard in the background on a radio, or news broadcasts on televisions. I'd include posters for science fiction movies playing at a theater that characters would walk past (basically, I'd keep that specific street from the book). I'd have an alien action figure make up one of the figures from Veidt's toy line, seen on his desk. Just a lot of visual information.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:36 pm 
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In all honesty, I think we might have gotten the best of both worlds.

Part of the problem is that the book's climax rests on the (fake) threat of some strange new completely unforeseen power, while the movie's climax poses a (fake) threat from Dr. Manhattan. I'll grant that the latter does have some thematic relevance, since the idea of a superhero abusing his power and killing innocent people to pursue his own brand of justice is a cornerstone of the story, but it's an idea that was already better explored elsewhere in the film.

In my estimation, the film could easily have sidestepped this by keeping the basic idea of an energy pulse, but making it seem alien in origin. There was no reason to arm the weapon with Dr. Manhattan's "energy signature" when Veidt could have made it resemble something else entirely. For extra measure, he could have loaded it up with the same "psychic shockwave" from the books.

Thus we have our alien threat without the island subplot.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:08 am 
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I'm not sure it's even necessary to include the island subplot, though. What I mean is, we don't really need to see the flirting of Max Shea and Hira Manish. Having Veidt say he took care of all of these loose ends would probably be enough.

I caught the end of the movie on television a few weeks back, and there were other problems with that ending besides the lack of a squid. The execution was off. The change from "I did it thirty five minutes ago" to the less elegant "I triggered it thirty five minutes ago". The complete lack of horror to the attack on New York. In the book, we had several full pages of gore, characters we had come to know lying in the streets, bloodied and dead. In the movie, everything is just vaporized, and we don't see these characters, in fact, most of them aren't even in the movie. When Veidt explains his plan, and says "Blake figured it out" in that goofy accent of his, the movie felt like a cheezy murder mystery. And finally, Snyder cut out Jon's final conversation with Veidt, instead giving Jon's "nothing ever ends" dialogue to Laurie, and having her say it to Dan, robbing it of its power.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:12 am 
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DDC, Mr. Incorporated, and the man whose name I once thought referenced an ancillary Stormtrooper, in your esteemed opinions, did Snyder have anything to say, or did he just attempt to film the book? I do remember an old interview where it was mentioned that Snyder was using the comics as storyboards, but was there any kind of new take or subtextual opining by Snyder?

I think part of the reason this has become a concern of mine was a recent statement of Devin Faraci's where he mentioned an interview with Paul Greengrass. Apparently, Greengrass had an interesting perspective and, according to Faraci, his Watchmen would have been pretty spectacular.

Edited to add: I would be interested in anyone's opinion on this. I didn't mean to be exclusionary.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:52 am 
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An interesting question.

It's been a while since I last saw the movie, but I'm pretty sure that Snyder's first priority was in adapting the book's themes to the screen as faithfully as possible. However, Snyder did cut out the climax's 1950s EC-style comics that you alluded to earlier, and he did change some of the costumes to be more in line with those of modern superhero films (most notably Ozymandias' costume being made into a parody of Joel Schumacher's Batman aesthetic).

From this, I get the impression that Snyder tried to subtly shift the book's satire to comment on the comic books and superhero films of today, as the original source material commented on the comic book industry of 1985.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:32 pm 
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Curiosity Inc. wrote:
From this, I get the impression that Snyder tried to subtly shift the book's satire to comment on the comic books and superhero films of today, as the original source material commented on the comic book industry of 1985.


That's about the only thing I could think of, too. The fight scenes involving Veidt and Nite Owl II and Rorschach, for example, are all heightened. Veidt's leaping all over the place, swinging Rorschach like ragdoll, etc. But they're also more brutal, and I'm not exactly sure what he was trying to convey in that regard. Like, Dr Manhattan zaps people in the book, but Snyder adds human remains dripping from the ceiling. Dan and Laurie get into a fight with the knot tops, in the movie they add a broken arm with the bone going through the skin. In the book, Rorschach burns a guy to death, in the movie he splits his head open. But when it comes to the movie's climax, there's no blood or gore to be seen.

Still, I feel he was probably just trying to film the book, as he does manage to include many of the little background details. But he does miss some of the little ones. He adds a big New Frontiersman billboard, complete with "In your heart, you know it's right", but doesn't add the graffiti tagged "wing" beside it. He adds the two Bernies, but the younger one looks quite a bit older than the one in the book, and so the image of the older one protecting the younger one isn't as strong when the younger one is taller. And there's no electric box and newspaper box to represent tombstones for them after they died like in the book (Thanks to Vynson for pointing out that one). So, he'll get much of the imagery right, but miss out on a lot of the little stuff.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:19 pm 
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I read an interview with Snyder recently (regarding Justice League or Man of Steel 2, I think) where he said something about how a Watchmen movie would be better received now than it was when it was released, so what you're both saying makes sense.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:35 pm 
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t3cii wrote:
"In your heart, you know it's right", but doesn't add the graffiti tagged "wing" beside it.

Actually, the graffiti is present, but in a separate scene only in the Director's and Ultimate Cuts.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:04 am 
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Broken Finger wrote:
I feel very confident that a clever writer could work all of the elements you mentioned into a screenplay without confusing anyone. Except for the very stupid, and they would have in all likelihood been confused anyway. It would be a 15 hour film, but it could be done, yes. No studio would release it, of course, and no one would ever see it, and lots of money would be lost. But I think it could be done. Honestly, being practical for a moment, to try and fit all of those things into a 2½ to 3 hour movie would be impossible, or at the very least not enjoyable to watch..

Thanks. I agree.

I think it almost boils down to, "The story of Watchmen is not a commercial story." In order for the narrative to truly work, it needs to be presented in its original form. While the Watchmen movie may be a pretty good movie, it can never truly be "Watchmen."

BF - I really think you should watch the Director's Cut. What is the main reason you refuse to watch the film?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:10 pm 
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DoomsdayClock wrote:
BF - I really think you should watch the Director's Cut. What is the main reason you refuse to watch the film?

I'm under the impression that it's the sheer principle of the thing. Same reason Alan Moore will (presumably) never watch it.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:28 am 
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Godziller66 wrote:
DoomsdayClock wrote:
BF - I really think you should watch the Director's Cut. What is the main reason you refuse to watch the film?

I'm under the impression that it's the sheer principle of the thing. Same reason Alan Moore will (presumably) never watch it.

If this is true, I think its a little silly (Sorry, BF). It's just a movie. It has been made and all of the money has exchanged hands. It's out there. I understand why Alan Moore won't watch it, and I don't begrudge him for that, but for the average moviegoer?...

Now, I won't watch Star Trek: Into Darkness, but that's not for "moral" reasons. I just truly don't have any interest in seeing a film I know I'm not going to enjoy. If those are BF's reasons, I can understand that. I don't want to force someone to watch a film if they are going to wince and squirm during the whole thing.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:14 am 
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DoomsdayClock wrote:
Godziller66 wrote:
DoomsdayClock wrote:
BF - I really think you should watch the Director's Cut. What is the main reason you refuse to watch the film?

I'm under the impression that it's the sheer principle of the thing. Same reason Alan Moore will (presumably) never watch it.


This was true, initially. My original stance was a matter of principle. I have to admit, however, that maintaining my principles was made very easy by the fact that I gradually lost all interest. This gradual loss of interest was precipitated by the announcement of Snyder as director (I just don't care for him), and my interest waned further with each new announcement.

DoomsdayClock wrote:
If this is true, I think its a little silly (Sorry, BF).


That's fine. I've been called worse. I do tend to be pretty silly, too, so that takes some of the sting out of it. I don't think maintaining principles is silly, though. Overly stubborn in this case, maybe, but not silly.

DoomsdayClock wrote:
Now, I won't watch Star Trek: Into Darkness, but that's not for "moral" reasons. I just truly don't have any interest in seeing a film I know I'm not going to enjoy. If those are BF's reasons, I can understand that. I don't want to force someone to watch a film if they are going to wince and squirm during the whole thing.


Like I say, it's both. I can't say I wouldn't enjoy it, that wouldn't be fair, but I have no interest in seeing it anyway. So, I am glad you at least partially understand.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:33 am 
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Broken Finger wrote:
Like I say, it's both. I can't say I wouldn't enjoy it, that wouldn't be fair, but I have no interest in seeing it anyway. So, I am glad you at least partially understand.

I think it just stings that we'll never get your complete honest opinion of the film. I'm definitely being selfish here. I want you to see it because I want to get your complete review - lumps (and I know there will be many lumps) and all.

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 Post subject: It's A Trap!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:27 pm 
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DoomsdayClock wrote:
I think it just stings that we'll never get your complete honest opinion of the film. I'm definitely being selfish here. I want you to see it because I want to get your complete review - lumps (and I know there will be many lumps) and all.


If I was prone to paranoia (which I am), I might think you were appealing to my vanity in order to get me to go against my principles.

With a more rational mental state, I would simply thank you for the implied compliment.


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 Post subject: Re: It's A Trap!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:02 pm 
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Broken Finger wrote:
DoomsdayClock wrote:
I think it just stings that we'll never get your complete honest opinion of the film. I'm definitely being selfish here. I want you to see it because I want to get your complete review - lumps (and I know there will be many lumps) and all.


If I was prone to paranoia (which I am), I might think you were appealing to my vanity in order to get me to go against my principles.

With a more rational mental state, I would simply thank you for the implied compliment.


Sneaky little hobbitses, wicked, tricksy!

Shit.

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 Post subject: Will and testament
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:33 pm 
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DoomsdayClock wrote:
Shit.

I'm pretty certain you've happened upon your sought-after review right there... in handy lump form.


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