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Apparently, the DVD will have an animated version of the Tales of the Black Freighter story and a in-universe documentary called "Under the Hood" that covers the same material Hollis' autobiography covered in the graphic novel.

Posted by lol | July 18, 2008 10:01 AM

I'm always surprised at how hard it seems to be to take a comic book to the big screen. It always seems to me that the directors/writers feel that, because it's a movie now, they have to add random "depth" and "character development", which is of course the last thing any comic-book character needs. That's the only thing that can explain why Iron Man was such a success -- they didn't try to add depth that didn't belong.

Posted by zadig | July 18, 2008 10:04 AM

@2: Well, here it's sort of the opposite problem. The movie will most likely STRIP a lot of depth and character development from the source material in order to deliver a more standard good guys/bad guys style conflict, which, while present in the book, isn't really the point. It'll still kick ass though.

Posted by A | July 18, 2008 10:10 AM

@2: I think the concern with Watchmen is the opposite, though- that the nuance and depth of the original will be left out of the whizbang greenscreen wizardry of the film version.
Watchmen is a very, very good graphic novel with an incisive plot. It's not like X-men or Superman, where the plot is subordinate to the character.

Posted by Ursula | July 18, 2008 10:13 AM

It'll be a pretty piece of crap, just like V for Vendetta. Alan Moore's comics do not translate into movies at all. There's too much. They're always so incredibly dense and require such deep reading that trying to translate them into a two hours film is akin to viewing the Louvre only through thumbnails. You'll get the gist, but miss everything important. I mean, I suppose it's only a matter of time before there's a Promethia movie which is a shitty action flick.

Posted by Gitai | July 18, 2008 10:14 AM

I think this has a chance to do just what you say. Snyder made two decisions in this trailer that impressed the hell out of me.

The first was using The End Is The Beginning Is The End as the music. This was a prominent song in the abortion that was Batman and Robin. This gives me hope that the Watchman movie can be to comic book films what the book was to regular comic books.

The second is an easter egg in the trailer. Slow it down at about 1:30 seconds in. It's where Ozymandis hits the assassin into the fountain. He's holding a walkie talkie in his hand, but after he gets hit it becomes a gun. Apparently the MPAA won't let you have a gun pointed at the camera in a trailer. So as a joke he made into a walkie talkie for a few frames as kind of a jab at Spielberg.

These two details let me thing he has the ability to let the movie be a commentary on movies the same way the book was a commentary on comics. My only fear is that it won't work on two levels, and I feel it needs to do that to be successful. It needs to work as a comic book story as well as have the commentary. That's what makes the source material so endearing.

Posted by Andrew | July 18, 2008 10:19 AM

I disagree about V for Vendetta being crap. It was not as good as it could have been and I blame the Wakowski's for that, but it was better than X-Men I and III, the Superman Reboot, Spiderman II and III, Ang Lee's Hulk, and scores of other movies. It wasn't as good as the source material, but very often adaptations aren't. It certainly wasn't League of Extraordinary Gentleman bad.

Posted by Andrew | July 18, 2008 10:23 AM

@6, The song is actually "The Beginning is the End is the Beginning" the slowed and stripped down version of "The End is the Beginning is the End", which is a more upbeat, rockin' version. Easy mistake to make, I guess.


Posted by Dylan! | July 18, 2008 10:34 AM

I heard they will not have the "man on the raft of bodies" substory in the movie. I would say that I agree with the move, although I have only read WM twice. You have to admit that every character looks freakin' AWESOME in the trailer. ps, The Comedian looks just like a buff D-Day from Animal House.

Posted by P to the J | July 18, 2008 10:36 AM


I think that makes my point even better. :)

Posted by Andrew | July 18, 2008 10:36 AM

Aaah, touche!!! :)

Posted by Dylan! | July 18, 2008 10:37 AM

And hey, Max Headroom is in it!

Posted by P to the J | July 18, 2008 10:38 AM

There's like a million versions of that song. I used to have a single for that song I got in Germany and it had like 8 remixes or something. Back when I was 14 and didn't know any better. It does fit the trailer though.

Posted by A | July 18, 2008 10:39 AM

P to the J,

My understanding is that the Black Freighter is filmed and will be coming out on a DVD with a making of documentary just after the movie opens in theaters. Also, the final movie DVD should have the ability to seamlessly integrate it into the film.

Posted by Andrew | July 18, 2008 10:40 AM

I have to admit I've gone my entire life without actually reading the book. Blasphemy, I know. I wonder if it would better the experience for me to read it before seeing the movie, or wait until after.

Posted by Dylan! | July 18, 2008 10:43 AM

Oddly enough, V for Vendetta gives me hope that Watchmen could actually be a decent movie.

V was a departure from the comic, sure, but I think it stood well enough on it's own as a pretty good flick. Watchmen will have to be pared back, much the same way V was, but there's still a hell of a story to be told there.

The ending will be the thing.

Posted by Ryan | July 18, 2008 10:52 AM

I thought V for Vendetta was a pretty good movie based on a great comic book. It made me go back and dick out my original comics to reread them. I dig out Watchmen every couple of years too and am hoping that the movie is as a good or exceeds typical comic book films. Based on the trailer I have hopes.

I still wonder what Terry Gilliam had in mind, I have his screenplay somewhere in storage.

Posted by elswinger | July 18, 2008 11:00 AM

I've read that Snyder has put an almost fetishistic amount of detail into the movie. Details from the book that is, not new details.

"Snyder acknowledges that the level of detail will be lost on the casual viewer of the film in a movie theater, and he agrees with Moore's often-quoted statement that the book could never be adapted for film because the novel was meant to be lingered over, panel by panel, with the reader able to page back and forth." - ScuFi Wire.

Posted by Jeremy from Seattle | July 18, 2008 11:02 AM

I've read that Snyder has put an almost fetishistic amount of detail into the movie. Details from the book that is, not new details.

"Snyder acknowledges that the level of detail will be lost on the casual viewer of the film in a movie theater, and he agrees with Moore's often-quoted statement that the book could never be adapted for film because the novel was meant to be lingered over, panel by panel, with the reader able to page back and forth. That is, Snyder agrees up to a point.

"Yeah, absolutely right," Snyder (300) said. "But I think it's interesting, because I think that now movies have become [different], and the way we watch movies [has changed]. ... When you see it in the theater, it's like the first time you read it. But the way that movies are sold and sort of consumed now, [with] DVD [and Blu-ray], ... we were just shooting that little shot from the title sequence down there in the alley, and there's a lot of s--t in there that, ... if you really take a second and look at it, ... we took a lot of stuff from Under the Hood and all the ... essays [in the graphic novel], if you will, ... and we tried to take them ... and stick them in the movie. Because I love them so much. And a lot of it exists like that: like stuff that [you can find] if you actually [go back]."" - SciFi Wire.

Posted by Jeremy from Seattle | July 18, 2008 11:03 AM

Sorry for the 2x post. I realized it needed more...

Posted by Jeremy from Seattle | July 18, 2008 11:04 AM

I think the problem is that comic fans think this stuff is supposed to be Shakespeare. No comic book ever was, and it won't be in any film.

The trailer looks just fine to me; approximately as good as the book. Of course there are things missing and things changed: IT'S A DIFFERENT MEDIUM, fanboys.

Posted by elenchos | July 18, 2008 11:11 AM

still waiting for Marshal Law.

Posted by paulus | July 18, 2008 11:18 AM

V for Vendetta was a very good translation.

That said, the fortunes of Watchmen have more to do with how the geeks at ComicCon treat it than what we say here.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 18, 2008 11:23 AM

Still waiting for the Vigilante, Jonah Hex, and DKR. Of the three, I'd say Jonah Hex has the best chance.

Posted by Ryan | July 18, 2008 11:24 AM

Vigilante probably won't translate well to film, based on what I've seen.

Just think of what they did with The Punisher.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 18, 2008 11:26 AM

Will in Seattle,

Which Punisher? They've made two and are working on a 3rd reboot.

Posted by Andrew | July 18, 2008 11:33 AM

That's right, Elenchos, it's not Shakespeare ... it's Alan Moore, who is, to my mind, operating on a level which meets and sometimes exceeds the quality of Big Willie's work in the genre of stage drama within the comic book genre.

While I'll grant you that probably 90% of the superhero comics out there are simply well-crafted action with illusions of dramatic grandiosity at best and utterly puerile at worst, that same proportion could be applied to almost any narrative genre, be it film, television, stage drama, etc., but that certainly doesn't detract from the true brilliance of Alan Moore's body of work.

Likewise, while I'm often embarrassed by the majority of fanboys whose obsession with the geekish minutiae of "well, in issue [blah] of [so and so], Iron Man said this, so that's totally out of character for him to do [whatever] in the movie" totally obscures any actual storytelling taking place, that doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of people who deeply appreciate the high quality writing that does take place in select superhero series by the better writers in the genre and do so in the context of their appreciation for other, more intellectually accepted genres.

Seriously, have you ever read anything by Alan Moore? That's not meant as a chest-beating challenge, but as an honest question. From Hell, Watchmen, V For Vendetta, Killing Joke, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; in their original graphic format, all those books so completely and devastatingly use every advantage of the format of sequential graphic narrative, while at the same time often commenting subtly upon the very limitations and historic prejudices of that format, that I would have to assume that anyone who had actually read his work and couldn't acknowledge even a glimmer of the genius (which I don't throw around lightly, by the way, but I think Moore warrants it) that's on those pages was just being willfully ignorant and clinging to this incredibly odd idea that it's somehow offensive or pompous for someone working within the confines of a superhero comic book to aspire to something thematically higher than men in tights beating each other up.

ANyway, sorry to unload on you there, but if you haven't read any of Moore's stuff, you should before you jump to the conclusion that it's not Shakespeare, or that someone who might view it as such is nothing but a self-deluded fanboy.

Posted by Billy Nilly | July 18, 2008 11:52 AM

1)Visually, it looks brilliant; the costumes, sets, props, etc.

2)the age of some of the actors is a little wonky, though, for the characters they play.

3)it's hard to tell in the trailer; what are they doing about Dr Manhattan's junk? Is it covered, or blurry?

4)why is this being released at such a crappy time of year? March? This is a big popcorn movie; should be a summer release.

5)I worry that people who aren't familiar with the book and plot are going to feel ripped off when they see this...because so many other films and tv shows have stolen elements from WM over the years, there's going to be people bitching that WM isn't very original.

Posted by michael strangeways | July 18, 2008 11:59 AM

Um -- did the trailer totally telegraph the identity of the Comedian's killer?

Posted by --MC | July 18, 2008 12:07 PM

@Michael Strangeways: No. Unless you already know the identity of The Comedian's killer.

Posted by Brad | July 18, 2008 12:17 PM

@21 Not Shakespeare? Have you ever read any fucking comic books? Pick up Fables, Sandman, Lucifer, From Hell, or a dozen other books. You'll find that using the vocabulary of the medium, there are plenty of Shakespeares out there.

Fucking snob.

Posted by Gitai | July 18, 2008 12:17 PM

Shakespeare is pretty much comic book stories for the illiterate of the days.

Posted by Sirkowski | July 18, 2008 12:45 PM

Wow. Sorry for that huge overlong comment guys. Reading it, I kind of feel like the snobby one.

In the interest of making up for that and letting my freak flag fly free for a moment, here is my totally fanboy geeky uber-cast for a Watchmen movie (assuming you could pull any actor from any time period), not that I don't appreciate the decision to use unknowns:


Dr. Manhattan - young John Malkovich
modern Nite Owl - current John Cusack
original Nite Owl - Charlton Heston
modern Silk Spectre - Jennifer Connelly
original Silk Spectre - Bette Midler
Ozymandias - young Rutger Hauer
Rorschach - William H. Macy
The Comedian - "Deliverance" era Burt Reynolds (in his "Hi there, you may have forgotten after years of crap, but I can actually act" mode. This would also be a pretty sweet meta-commentary on The Comedian's whole uber-macho thing)

Discuss, ye fanboys.

Posted by Billy Nilly | July 18, 2008 1:36 PM

@2 - sorry, after the first one I stopped watching them, so maybe it's like The Hulk where the 2nd remake was better than the first, in that The Punisher translated better.

I liked the scene in the apartment building, it felt right, but the pre-family-dying and the rest of the movie was an Epic Fail.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 18, 2008 2:08 PM

and I should say that visually, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was epic, but the problem was the sum of the whole.

Not bad, just not awesome. V for Vendetta got awesome.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 18, 2008 2:09 PM


Simply for it's absolutely pitch-perfect handling of the sequence where V "re-educates" Evey, I appreciated the V For Vendetta film quite a lot, and I thought the ending had a certain power of it's own, but it so thoroughly gutted the book's (ambivalent, morally complex) anarchist message that I can't entirely get behind it.

Also, they should have done what they are doing with "watchmen" and set it in an alternate history version of the 80's.

Posted by Billy Nilly | July 18, 2008 2:16 PM

The library site tells me there are currently 39 holds on Watchmen. I blame you Constant.

Posted by jus' sayin' | July 18, 2008 4:35 PM

Um. Okie dokie.

Go right ahead and spend your life trying to talk people into thinking Alan Moore is the, uh, New Bard or something.

Good luck, and you're going to need it. I predict if you persist in this endeavor, happiness and satisfaction will not find you. You will also go to your grave bitching and moaning about every comic book movie every summer, blaming the movies for being unable to convey what a genius this or that comic book guy was. Not an easy path you have chosen for yourself.

Posted by elenchos | July 18, 2008 9:10 PM

And everybody, but everybody, and their little sister, has read Alan Moore. Please don't pat yourself on the back because you managed to find where they keep the Alan Moore books. They're fucking everywhere.

Posted by elenchos | July 18, 2008 9:12 PM

First off, not pissed off, just disappointed by a waste of good source material. If somebody made a movie of a book by Nikolai Gogol or Virginia Woolf, or any of a hundred other "legit" authors whose stuff I also love, and that movie ripped the guts out of everything that had made the book interesting in the first place, I'd have something to say about it. That's not called bitching and moaning, that's called critiquing.

And yes, Alan Moore is pretty well known, I just assumed that you hadn't actually read anything by him if you were going to be such a smug, over-it little prick about his stuff. I wonder what, if anything, actually does impress you.

Yes, much better to be too cool for everything than to actually be touched or inspired by interesting writing. Sorry I haven't learned that yet, Elenchos. Carry on.

Posted by Billy Nilly | July 21, 2008 11:05 AM

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