By Shamus Posted Friday Mar 6, 2009

Filed under: Movies 48 comments

Watchmen opens today. I’m not going to be able to see it any time soon, but I’m still excited. Yay! Our culture is being validated by Hollywood. Go nerds! Unless the movie sucks and the story is mutilated in order to make it more palatable to non-geeks. In which case Hollywood has once again given us a wedgie by defacing our heroic icons. Either way, I’m sure we’ll all see some really epic deconstructivist flamewars over it. And it goes without saying that no matter how good or bad the movie is, 45% of all forum icons will be Rorschach for the next few years. So we have that going for us.

Everyone was really polite and friendly in yesterday’s political / philosophical thread, but I’ve decided to punish the lot of you anyway. Here, take that:

Link (YouTube)

I only posted that because I know you can’t hit me from where you’re sitting.


From The Archives:

48 thoughts on “Watchmen

  1. wererogue says:

    I saw that this morning, and I kind of wish it was real. There is a certainty in my mind that it would actually be titled “Watchfriends”.

    Original high quality (although somehow less compelling) version:

  2. Mordiceius says:

    I saw it at the midnight showing last night. My friend and I (we both read the book) as well as my girlfriend (who has not) all really liked it.

    It was almost line for line from the graphic novel imo. (With of course the replacement of the squid with a different MacGuffin which I think works better as I don’t think the squid would translate well to film).

    While we really really enjoyed the film, there were some of the diehard fanatics there who basically thought the “film was pure human shit”. But I doubt there would be any way to please them.

  3. Which begs that time honoured question:
    Who watches The Watchmen?
    No, really, I want to know!

  4. Al Shiney says:

    Thanks to you, I’m now blind and deaf. How am I ever going to enjoy the movie this way?

    Shame on you, Shamus.

  5. Luke Maciak says:

    I saw it yesterday and I reposted it in at least 3 different places. Now I saw it on Facebook at least twice, and at least 7 more times while scrolling through my RSS feeds.

    Then I come here, and what do I see – the Watchmen Cartoon thing. Sad thing, it is still funny. :P

  6. July says:

    Shamus, this is a hypothetical.

    Say I wanted to order a hit on someone; do you know any hitmen that come at budget price?

  7. Bret says:

    Roach, I have the answer for you.

    It’s Sam Vimes, from Discworld.

    You may now return to being reduced to gibbering insanity by this watchmen cartoon opening.

  8. Factoid says:

    As is my time-honored tradition, I finished the book today before seeing the movie tomorrow (in IMAX!!!). I always like to read the book first, and close to when I’m going to see the movie just so that I can compare and contrast objectively.

    It will be interesting to see how they handle some of the things in the book. Will they keep the Pirate Comic sub-thread? Will they show a lot of the Minutemen flashbacks? How will the pace out the action sequences to balance out dialogue?

    All my questions shall be answered tomorrow…so excited!!

  9. Nixorbo says:


    +1 Sausage-onna-bun

  10. R4byde says:

    Well, July, you’re in luck! I happen to work for VERY reasonable rates, and today I’ve decided to offer a specialty discount, just to thank our gracious host for that particular piece of pain. ;)

  11. Cincinnatus says:

    @Factoid: I’m seeing it on IMAX tonight too–woot x 10^23! But I do know from reading some interviews that to keep the movie at its already hefty 2 hr, 43 min length, the “Tales of the Black Freighter” is not in the film–HOWEVER, they did make the whole thing into an animated, approximately hour-long version, which will be available on the extended edition DVD. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, a four hour Watchmen extravaganza! And it’s narrated by Gerard Butler. Very yes. Trailer for that part here:

    Apparently, Zach Snyder used the graphic novel itself as a literal storyboard for the film, which has officially raised him in my Continuum of Cool by about an order of magnitude. Needless to say, I’m excited.

    Oh, and also they are making the book by Hollis, “Under the Hood,” into a full documentary, also available on the megaversion of the film. In other words, that’s another order of magnitude for Snyder.

  12. oh god, that’s so horribly wrong XD

    I saw the movie last night, and I think if I just had my hopes down a little, it would have been more awesome. A lot of it worked really, really well, it’s an incredibly faithful transition that looks stunning, and all the changes do make a lot of sense. Just a couple of my favorite lines didn’t make it into the movie, but so much else is word-for-word from the comic. Just be prepared- I found it a little…narmy. A little too much cartoony gore that I couldn’t quite take seriously. A few too many over-dramatic screams and reaction shots. The first half or so is fantastic, but then the narm starts around the prison break. But I think if I had been prepared for that, it would’ve been great

  13. I wish this cartoon was real. I would watch it with all the fervor I bestow upon The Tick.

    Of course, I love Batman Brave and Bold, so… you know. My opinion probably can’t be trusted.

  14. Telas says:

    Ow, that’s just … painful. And sadly true.

    Confession time: Am I the only self-admitted geek that was underwhelmed by the comic book?

    I read it when it came out in ’86, and I distinctly remember thinking, “This is what ‘Catcher in the Rye’ would be if Salinger were a comic book fan.” Thoroughly unlikable characters, a cliched plotline, and the tired (even then) political statement really turned me off. I kept reading it because all my friends were, and because I kept waiting for it to “get good”.

    Anyway, I predict that the movie will not appeal to the average moviegoer. The die-hard geeks will love it, but there aren’t enough of us (myself recused) to give it legs. And I feel that its cynical/nihilistic story will go absolutely nowhere in the current socio-economic situation.

    I readily admit that I could be very wrong, and that my lack of interest in the original comic drives some of this opinion, but that’s my contrarian prediction for today…

  15. SonRyu says:

    My soul, my poor, tortured, oozing soul…..why would you do that to us Shamus?
    There is no end to the horrors that will haunt my dreams from now til the end of time thanks to you

  16. LexIcon says:

    Shamus, this is possibly the worst thing a human being could ever do to another human. You have stained this blog, impugned your country’s honor, and caused your children to be born with birth defects, possibly retroactively.


  17. Rick says:

    Saw the midnight showing (saw 1 Dr. Manhattan (in a suit, thank goodness) and 2 Rorschachs) last night. Mordiceius is right, I think for the first 20 minutes (and other times throughout) the movie could have been used as a book on tape. I finished the book (for the first time!) 35 minutes before the movie started so it was all fresh in my mind. I think this is the first time the movie was as good as the book. The changes were all relatively minor and the near-end change made more sense for the film (I actually thought that change was better than the book).

    The movie and the book were both good – not great, not bad, but good.

  18. Ethan says:

    That was a really funny cartoon, Shamus. Never mind the haters. I loved it when Rorschach was petting the german shepherds. Priceless!

  19. krellen says:

    That video is awesome. When does this series start? It sounds way more awesome than that other dreary, dark “Watchmen” that’s in movie theatres.

  20. James says:

    Some of the key things about Watchmen is that
    a) they talk & act like real people
    b) it has a very good overarching plot
    c) it ends
    d) well-timed twists

    Most ‘popular’ comics are made of stereotypes acting out the same tired sequences over and over again. “Oh look – love intrest has been captured – let’s rescue him/her/it”, “Hi!, I’m one of 12 reoccuring bad guys who kill loads of people, whom the prison wardens never seem to guard, or evem be aware of. Now I’m back to kill more people, and possibly the world, and no-one has thought of properly guarding/restraining/killing me yet.” And last but not least – RetCons – don’t you just love the hacks getting rid of the happy endings to pull more characters out of retirement – after all, if you flog a dead horse long enough, it could come back to life.

    Unfortuneatly, nearly all of the established comics nowadays are from the Golden or Silver Ages, and they are never as good, exiting and fresh as they once were.

  21. Alex says:

    That video… beautifully captures everything so right and so wrong with late 80’s-early 90’s cartoons. Right down to the pseudo-Michael Jackson vocals, which every kids show was required by law to have in their theme songs at the time.

    God help me, I love it.

    As for the movie, I’d put it right up there with The Dark Knight… Right up until someone in the theatre audience farted at the worst possible time, 5 minutes away from the credits. It wasn’t particularly loud or anything, but since everyone was so engaged with what they were watching, you could hear a pin drop. Everyone heard it, and the mood died when every single seat was supplying to the sudden rush of all-encompassing laughter.

    It couldn’t have happened at a worse time, either. Even a few minutes earlier, and we all would have forgotten about it and our attention would return to the film. During the credits, and no one would have heard it over the applause. But NEAR the end means that was the last impression I was left with. It’s not Zack Snyder’s fault, it doesn’t make the movie poor in my eyes, but it did effectively kill the fantastic 2 and a half hours before it.

    So, I guess what I’m saying is: wait for the DVD. Unless you want to take the chance of some butthole(literally) ruining it for you.

  22. Guus says:

    When you people are referring to the “book”, is that the graphic comic book?

    As for the film. Garble garble, foam foam.

  23. DaveMc says:

    Ow, ow, ow! That’s is both awesome and terrible. And hysterical. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons are rolling over in their graves, and as far as I know they’re both still alive. (Or they were. If they’ve seen this, I’m not so sure about that.)

  24. Kris says:

    I wont be able to see it for a while so can someone please tell me whether the pirate story is in the film version.


  25. Guus says:

    If they’ve seen this they probably gave up all hope and just went in off their own accord.

  26. Lain says:

    I hate you.

  27. Sheer_FALACY says:

    I love how it took scenes straight from the comic – the Comedian falling, 3 Manhattans in bed, Rorschach + dogs – and perverted them horribly.

    Also, it’s very impressive for the work of one person. And Rorscach juggling + superhigh voice is hilarious.

  28. gyfrmabrd says:

    Got that video this morning from someones twitter-feed (yes, I’m THAT kind of guy) and I really almost literally rofl’d. The only thing that scares me is that, should the movie accidently go down well with a broader audience, I could see something like this happen. Maybe a bit more amer-anime-y, but hey, you gotta sell those talking Rorschach-dolls somehow.

    Now that I think about it, a talking Rorschach-doll would be so cool. I can just picture the ad: close up of some kid (shouting) “Oh, no, there’s danger! Rorschach, can you save us!?”
    *close up of a cuddly Rorschach (growling) “No!”
    Cue themesong.

  29. SimeSublime says:

    That video was brilliant. Thanks for putting it up, it wasn’t punishment at all.

  30. Coffee says:

    I want a cuddle Rorschach. If we can have cuddly Shoggoths, I don’t see why not.

    I’m more worried about the Watchmen games than the movie, really. I have a feeling the movie won’t be up to everyone’s ideal, but I doubt it’ll be absolutely awful. I haven’t seen anything about an extra main character, and the plot sounds at least similar to the book, so it’s got to be better than League!

    Also: could Doc Manhattan really turn into a car?

  31. Sem says:

    O dear God… The goggles, they do nothing ! (Yes, I know, very old meme. I still like it.)

    @Telas (14)
    Yep, I also wasn’t all that impressed with Watchmen. It was a reasonable comic book but compared to what some reviews said it was going to be, I was definitely overwhelmed. I admit that compared to the comics at the time of it’s publication it had better characters, plot & story. However, I’m a very avid reader since I was 7 and read for example Dune when I was 14 but I only got to Watchmen when I was in my mid twenties. At that time, I was already used to other plots & characters then your standard run-off-the-mill hero, villain and save the damsel-in-distress plot.

    Maybe I’m unfair comparing Watchmen with books. It also didn’t help I probably was rather older then most people when they read it (ie. the feeling of ‘been there, done that’) and I’m not easily impressed to begin with but it’s how it was for me and it isn’t necessarily fair.

  32. @Bret & Nixorbo : Thanks to you, I am envisioning the Discworld Watch in the roles of The Watchmen…
    I am not sure how I feel about that…
    I’m cuttin’ me own throat over this!

  33. Coffee says:

    Dr Manhattan would probably be a wizard…

    Which would be much much much more worrying to see naked.

  34. Patrick J McGraw says:

    That cartoon was a thing of beauty. So many awesome little touches (Rorschach playing with the dogs was my favorite).

  35. Mark says:

    I liked the movie. But, then again, I also liked that cartoon.

  36. Sesoron says:

    I literally just got back from the movie, and I have to say I enjoyed it. I loved the way they played with comic book tropes, like the “villainous master plan explication” scene. And then, of course, what came after.

  37. Klay says:


    I respectfully disagree with your opinions on the actual comic. You have to remember, this comic (along with The Killing Joke) completely changed the way comics are done. The dark and gritty tone that most comics today have, came whole from those two comics.

    What you call thoroughly unlikable characters, I call thoroughly relatable characters. They all have flaws, and while you may hate them, I sit here and mumble to myself that I understand (at least pertially) what these characters are going through. I’m talking in terms of guilt, regret, and the fear of being powerless.

    I really don’t see how the plot is cliche. There is a reason it revolutionized the industry.

    As for the political statement, it is entirely a what-if scenario. You can’t make much of a political statement on what-ifs. A political statement is Captain America ramboing his way into Russia to destroy nulear powerplants Chernobyl style. Watchmen is not that. Yeah the story is a little dated, but if you undestand the terms under which the comic is written, I don’t think the expiration date will mean much.

    I love Rorschach not because hes some sort of one note, shallow, character (an accusation which is false by the way), but because he represents something I only wish I could be: uncompromising.

    That said, I never did like the squid ending originally, and I think Snyder’s ending makes more sense from a storytelling perspective. The whole comic has this dark and grim tone, then BAM! a genetically engineered thing from another dimension appears out of nowhere.

    This IMO jumped a record number of sharks, and I always thought it had no place there.

  38. Saint_007 says:

    *sits in horrified stunned silence*

    *pulls out a Glock*

    [URL=]$%^#%$ THIS SHOW![/URL]

    *starts blasting the hell out of the Watch-friends*

    (fast forward to 10:05 to get the joke)

    But yeah, I got a lot of the in-jokes that the video had (which basically is a reverse of all what really happened in the miniseries)

  39. Saint_007 says:

    *Sits in stunned, terrified silence*

    *Pulls out a Glock*

    #$%?%^ THIS SHOW!!

    *starts blasting away at the entire cast*

    (Follow the link and fast-forward to 10:05 to get the joke)

    You know, it’s funny to see a lot of in-jokes in that one; like if you know Rorsharch’s life-changing event – the one that pretty much drove him over the edge – you’ll know why he’s not a dog-lover. And he was really fugly to begin with (unlike Mr Adonis from above).

  40. mark says:

    NEVER READ THe comic.

    just saw the film. (at 9:30pm)

    am bery bery drunk. (its now 10:44am)

    i liked it. the video was funny.

    Big BLUR cOCK!

  41. skizelo says:

    Love that you-tube clip. “If I could only get that kiss” is maybe the most gloriously tasteless thing ever.
    But Shamus, being excited for nerds being validated by hollywood? It’s like being leched over by a decaying corpse (I imagine). Also boo on whoever was excited that Snyder was reading Gibbon’s panels as a story-board, as it will have to ignore the intricate page layout without substituting anything new.

  42. Haviland says:

    It’s a stunningly good film if you’ve never read the comic.

    If you have, it’s, well, it’s still pretty good.

    I read the comic when it originally came out, and have been a fan of Alan Moore’s writing from waaaay back in 2000AD (the comic, not the year :-))

    A shame it wasn’t made way back when – Moore’s writing made such an impact on the comics business nearly 30 years ago that we may look at Watchmen and think of it as derivative when in fact it’s the source. Just a bit late, that’s all.

    Waiting for a Marvel/Miracleman film…

  43. slaps Shamus
    Clearly you forgot about formatting! Muhaha.

  44. Telas says:

    @ Klay –

    I understand that Watchmen is used as the benchmark for “when it all changed”, but it really wasn’t. The entire medium was changing in the mid-80s, and Watchmen is only one of the many comic books involved in the change (see anything Frank Miller did back then, the indie explosion, etc).

  45. Roy says:


    I love Rorschach not because hes some sort of one note, shallow, character (an accusation which is false by the way), but because he represents something I only wish I could be: uncompromising.

    I don’t disagree with everything you’ve said, but I just want to say, one of the major points of Rorschach is, well… he’s wrong. Just like most of the other characters. His unwillingness to compromise isn’t supposed to be an admirable trait. He’s psychotic. I mean, at the risk of stating the obvious, one of the major themes of the book is that the only person who would be crazy enough to put on a mask and become a vigilante is, well… a crazy person.

    Which isn’t to say that Rorschach isn’t awesome in a lot of ways. I just think that envying his unwillingness to compromise treats one of his character flaws as something to be emulated or pursued.

    Of course, open to interpretation and all, so, ymmv.

  46. Groboclown says:

    Maybe I have to turn in my geek card, but I hated the movie. I love the comic, but hated the movie.

    Rorchach was done almost right, but Zack ruined his character at a key moment. The use of music made me grind my teeth bare. The gore porn didn’t do it for me (I was expecting some, but it came in all the wrong moments). Not to mention jumping the Enviro bandwagon the wrong way.

    I understand that this was one director’s view of the comic, and my personal view can’t be held by others. But there are just some aspects of movie-making that shows that this was like a barely-teenage boy who just got his hands on a copy of Hustler, and wanted to share it to his friends by trying to re-enact it by himself.

  47. Avilan the Grey says:

    I agree with Telas, it was an interesting read, but I never felt it was special (at least not in a good way). None of the characters were likable, and I could not relate to any of them (half of them were murderous psychopaths, half of them were spineless) but their biggest fault was that the characters were plot devices, not actual characters. I did not feel like any of them really reacted realistically to anything in the comic.

    The “book” was hyped out of this world, which it did not deserve.
    Also ,I agree with those saying that it’s “revolutionary” status is highly exaggerated.

    …And no, I have not watched the movie; I have had no desire to re-read the comic since it came out, why would I watch this?

  48. David B says:

    The book kicked ass. The movie prodded buttock. But they changed my favorite line in the book, for which I will always raise two fingers at the screen when it comes around.

    I saw it at midnight and liked it a lot. I saw it a couple of days later, on not enough sleep, and it didn’t captivate me.

    Nonetheless, I will likely be getting the big super-duper-deluxe-box set when it comes around, because I’m that kind of fanboy.

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