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 Post subject: 5 Months Later
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:19 pm 
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We're rapidly approaching Watchmen's five month birthday, so I felt it was fitting to discuss how the hardcore Watchmen fans, casual Watchmen fans, and those who never read the book have perceived the movie, as another topic is getting slowly derailed into this discussion. From what I've seen (and I visit a lot of forums on the Internet as well as knowing many people in that vast landscape we call "the real world") there appears to be a correlation between one's familiarity with the graphic novel and how much they liked the movie: hardcore fans, for the most part, loved it; casual fans were mixed; and the general public hated it.

Hardcore fans: I feel this forum is the best representation of hardcore fans out there. We know all the intricate details of the novel from cover to cover and followed the movie's production for months or years before release. Reception here was almost unanimously positive. There's not much else to say here other than that Watchmen is an enigma among movie adaptations: it's the fans who liked the movie, instead of the general public. This is an effect rarely ever seen elsewhere.

Casual fans: The fans who read the book once a few years back and mostly remember the details. As I said above, one's familiarity with the source material seems to directly correlate with how much they liked the movie. The guy who read the book once a decade ago hates the movie because of the ending; all he remembers was the squid but none of the buildup that would correspond to an extra half hour of screentime. But the guy who reads the book once every few years to keep it fresh tended to like it, being that perfect mix of casual (not caring what they changed) and hardcore (being appreciative of what they didn't change). In the end, I think it was these people who tipped the scale regarding the box office; when you're a guy who's never heard of this Watchdudes thingamabob and you overhear a fan of the series bashing the movie at the watercooler, you won't go see it. The casual fan complaints seem to echo the nonfan complants: too much penis, too long, too short, too long and too short at the same time, etc. This is because they don't remember why, for example, Manhattan's nudity is important, all they remember is "yeah he was naked in the book but he didn't have to be in the movie."

Nonfans: Hated it. I've still yet to meet more than two or three people who liked the movie without having read the book. As the aforementioned hardcore fans, we will never get to watch the movie through the perspective of a nonfan. However, some of the nonfan complaints still confuse me. Why was Manhattan's nudity, which is rarely even onscreen and never the focus of the shot, such an issue? Why was a movie only ten minutes longer than The Dark Knight considered "too long"? Was the marketing campaign really that deceptive, and did audiences really do no research whatsoever on what they were about to see?

Does Watchmen's reception among the general population represent what is wrong with moviegoers today, or was this reception intended and part of the plan? Do you think nonfans or outspoken casual fans contributed more to the poor word of mouth? And do you think Watchmen has a chance at becoming a big cult hit long after the frat boy crowd has forgotten about it and moved on?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:44 pm 
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BlackDoomShadow wrote:
From what I've seen (and I visit a lot of forums on the Internet as well as knowing many people in that vast landscape we call "the real world") there appears to be a correlation between one's familiarity with the graphic novel and how much they liked the movie


Correlation, but not causation. I believe the true correlation is that the people who kind of knew what kind of movie to expect liked it. The people expecting "Batman meets 300" didn't. That would explain why most fans liked it, and why most non-fans didn't. The non-fans believed what the trailers told them. The fans, not so much.

I have one friend who I was sure would hate it. Her favorite movie is "Legally Blonde." She told me she was going to see Watchmen with a friend, and I just told her "FYI: It's not really a supehero film or an action film. It has a very complex sctructure, and it's pretty deep." That's all I said. And, shockingly, she liked it. Even picked up on some of the main points the story was trying to make.

I've heard LOTS of people say "Where's all the action?? Blah blah blah." They didn't like it because they paid $9.50 to see an action film, and didn't get it.

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Last edited by ROR-SHACK on Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:49 pm 
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I think that this situation right now is the best we could have hoped for. Everything about the movie, from its advertising to the final product to its final critical and commercial reception is the best that was ever going to happen.

I don't mean to say that everything was perfect. Sure, there were flaws in the movie. But as far as crunching the story of Watchmen into a 3-hour celluloid presentation, that's the best we're ever going to get. The box office wasn't as high as everyone hoped, but by the story's very nature (not to mention the economic meltdown that hit just a few months previous), it did the best it could.

Regardless of how you feel about the movie, there's no denying that it couldn't have been much better, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse. Which is just as well, because it's going to be a long, long time before anyone has the balls to try this again.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:54 pm 
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Curiosity Inc. wrote:
I don't mean to say that everything was perfect. Sure, there were flaws in the movie. But as far as crunching the story of Watchmen into a 3-hour celluloid presentation, that's the best we're ever going to get.


That's exactly what I was thinking after my first viewing in theaters. "That's probably the best 156-minute movie you're going to get based on this book." But now I'm done with comparing the movie to the book. It depresses me. It comes nowhere close to capturing what I love about the book (nor could any film). Overall, I like the film less when I compare it to the book.

I think many fans and critics assume that the movie does not stand alone because of how literally faithful it is to the book. But I believe it does stand alone as a fascinatingly complex and philosophical science-fiction film that happens to have superheroes in it.

Sure, there are a few little things here and there, like Bubastis, where it it doesn't make sense unless you've read the book. But as a whole, it works.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:13 pm 
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I have a few friends who saw it that never read it before, and they really liked it.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:47 pm 
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Curiosity Inc. wrote:
its final critical [...] reception is the best that was ever going to happen.


I wouldn't say that. I'm sure we all dreamed of Watchmen being the highest rated superhero movie ever on Rotten Tomatoes, knocking The Dark Knight from its pedestal and standing high as a piece of beloved cinematic culture. Instead we got very lukewarm, possibly even negative reception in general from critics. Maybe the critical atmosphere right now wasn't appropriate for Watchmen, but I wouldn't call its critical reception the best that could've happened.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:24 am 
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We dreamed of it, BDS, but I don't think we were ever going to really see it. That's my point.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:02 am 
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BlackDoomShadow wrote:
We're rapidly approaching Watchmen's five month birthday, so I felt it was fitting to discuss how the hardcore Watchmen fans, casual Watchmen fans, and those who never read the book have perceived the movie, as another topic is getting slowly derailed into this discussion. From what I've seen (and I visit a lot of forums on the Internet as well as knowing many people in that vast landscape we call "the real world") there appears to be a correlation between one's familiarity with the graphic novel and how much they liked the movie: hardcore fans, for the most part, loved it; casual fans were mixed; and the general public hated it.

Hardcore fans: I feel this forum is the best representation of hardcore fans out there. We know all the intricate details of the novel from cover to cover and followed the movie's production for months or years before release. Reception here was almost unanimously positive. There's not much else to say here other than that Watchmen is an enigma among movie adaptations: it's the fans who liked the movie, instead of the general public. This is an effect rarely ever seen elsewhere.

Casual fans: The fans who read the book once a few years back and mostly remember the details. As I said above, one's familiarity with the source material seems to directly correlate with how much they liked the movie. The guy who read the book once a decade ago hates the movie because of the ending; all he remembers was the squid but none of the buildup that would correspond to an extra half hour of screentime. But the guy who reads the book once every few years to keep it fresh tended to like it, being that perfect mix of casual (not caring what they changed) and hardcore (being appreciative of what they didn't change). In the end, I think it was these people who tipped the scale regarding the box office; when you're a guy who's never heard of this Watchdudes thingamabob and you overhear a fan of the series bashing the movie at the watercooler, you won't go see it. The casual fan complaints seem to echo the nonfan complants: too much penis, too long, too short, too long and too short at the same time, etc. This is because they don't remember why, for example, Manhattan's nudity is important, all they remember is "yeah he was naked in the book but he didn't have to be in the movie."

Nonfans: Hated it. I've still yet to meet more than two or three people who liked the movie without having read the book. As the aforementioned hardcore fans, we will never get to watch the movie through the perspective of a nonfan. However, some of the nonfan complaints still confuse me. Why was Manhattan's nudity, which is rarely even onscreen and never the focus of the shot, such an issue? Why was a movie only ten minutes longer than The Dark Knight considered "too long"? Was the marketing campaign really that deceptive, and did audiences really do no research whatsoever on what they were about to see?

Does Watchmen's reception among the general population represent what is wrong with moviegoers today, or was this reception intended and part of the plan? Do you think nonfans or outspoken casual fans contributed more to the poor word of mouth? And do you think Watchmen has a chance at becoming a big cult hit long after the frat boy crowd has forgotten about it and moved on?


I think it's a bit harsh to say that non fans in general wouldn't like this film, and I know quite a number of people who have never read the book but enjoyed the film (including one who claims it was the greatest comic book film he's ever seen). I personally believe that it's not whether they are a fan of the comic book series or not which determines whether they'll enjoy Watchmen it's what do they look for in a movie that determines whether they'll enjoy Watchmen.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:06 am 
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Aw hell.. :cry:


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:57 am 
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i may be biased since the only 2 other forums i go to are a sci-fi author's unnoficial forum and a sci-fi in general forum, but everyone on those forums that has seen and posted about watchmen loved it. and most of those people were non-fans.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:51 pm 
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Curiosity Inc. wrote:
I think that this situation right now is the best we could have hoped for. Everything about the movie, from its advertising to the final product to its final critical and commercial reception is the best that was ever going to happen.

I don't mean to say that everything was perfect. Sure, there were flaws in the movie. But as far as crunching the story of Watchmen into a 3-hour celluloid presentation, that's the best we're ever going to get. The box office wasn't as high as everyone hoped, but by the story's very nature (not to mention the economic meltdown that hit just a few months previous), it did the best it could.

Regardless of how you feel about the movie, there's no denying that it couldn't have been much better, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse. Which is just as well, because it's going to be a long, long time before anyone has the balls to try this again.



I can't add much to this except I feel compelled to sound out a "bravo!" and a "hear-hear!"

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:35 pm 
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BlackDoomShadow, I don't agree with your categorizations of fan opinions...

Every casual fan and non-fan I know liked or loved the movie with the exception of one non-fan (who was a 40+ year old Women not into comics).

I honestly don't think the "Internet buzz" is a true representation of how most people who saw the movie felt.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:32 pm 
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BDS's categorization is far off here in New York. At least at my school, that is. People I knew who had never read the comic before said it was an awesome film, and while they wished for more action, they still really liked it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:18 pm 
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Curiosity Inc. wrote:
Regardless of how you feel about the movie, there's no denying that it couldn't have been much better, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse. Which is just as well, because it's going to be a long, long time before anyone has the balls to try this again.


I really hope nobody tries to remake it, I think Snyder did as good if not a better job than anyone else could. It's not perfect, sure, but it's still pretty damn good considering the story is confined to such a specific political and cultural climate.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:36 pm 
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joshsirjoshules wrote:
I really hope nobody tries to remake it.


If Terry Gilliam were to make Watchmen either a film or miniseries, I would surely go see it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:58 am 
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Unfortunately, I see this iteration of Watchmen the same way I see the first Hulk movie. A daring and interesting attempt with a lot to like... but not successful... and for different reasons. I think Ang Lee, brilliant as he is, did not get the part of the Hulk that people really relate to. There was a reason we loved the TV show perhaps better than most issues of the comic. But Zack got Watchmen and gave us a lot of what we loved about it.

The problem, as many of us have said all along, is that Watchmen is a comic. It works perfectly in that medium. In any other media, you cannot pull off the same things to the same extent. There are new things to try, but the beauty of Watchmen is that the more you love comics and the more familiar you are with the conventions and beauty and warts of the medium, the more you get out of Watchmen. And the movie did not and could not deliver that.

Look at the motion comic. There has been so much made of it, but I think it is the most obnoxious and retarded telling of the story imaginable. Horrible. The redrawn art is terrible. It manages to lose all that was elegant about Dave Gibbons' artwork and storytelling. And it proves the point. Watchmen doesn't even work as a motion comic. It's a comic book. I liked the movie. And I doubt we'll ever get another. And I think that's for the best.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:08 am 
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^ Well said. When I compare the movie to the book, I like the movie a lot less. I admire how much it respects the important themes of the book, but it is simply not able to capture what makes Watchmen such an incredible piece of literature. ...

That being said, I think it's a great film. Nevermind the book for a second. Just look at it as a film. It's a fascinatingly complex and philosophical science-fiction film that looks at superheroes from a different perspective. I definitly like the movie a lot more if I just watch it without comparing it to the book.

Is it as dense as the book? No. But is it a really dense film? Yes!
Are the characters as interesting as they are in the book? No. But are they really interesting characters? Yes!
Does the non-linear story work as well as it does in the book? No. But does it work well? Yes!
And so on...

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:51 pm 
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That's a pretty cogent post. Says a lot of what I feel but haven't been able to articulate so well.

It's just very hard to separate the film from the preconceptions formed by over 20 years' exposure (repeated) to the novel. But when I can manage this trick, the movie works better for me.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:56 am 
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^ I knew of Watchmen for a long time, but didn't start reading it until early 2007. (By the time the movie came out, I had read it five times)

So, I guess I haven't been a fan long enough to get as "attached" to things as many of you. And perhaps, because of that, it is easier for me to view it as a stand-alone film.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:05 am 
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WJK wrote:
joshsirjoshules wrote:
I really hope nobody tries to remake it.


If Terry Gilliam were to make Watchmen either a film or miniseries, I would surely go see it.


People keep saying that and I'm not sure it would work. Remember, Terry Gilliam is very much a surrealist. I don't think he'd really be able to capture the essence of Watchmen because that's just not the way he operates. Plus, he already has his dystopian pic under his belt, Brazil.


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