I’m assuming everyone’s seen this and if you haven’t, you should watch it at least 3 times. Watchmen is more than just a graphic novel, it changed the face of comics by proving that something mind blowing, intelligent, and meaningful can come out of the medium. Until Watchmen, the general population assumed comic books were for children; exclusive to tales of super heroes and monsters. Then Alan Moore came along with his critically acclaimed, award winning graphic novel that changed everything.
For decades Watchmen has been described as “unfilmable” and the project had been abandoned by several respectable filmmakers. Until Zack Snyder came along, a rookie with just a zombie movie and a successful graphic novel adaptation under his belt. When he spoke at Comic-con last year he had nothing but a poster to show us, yet we all went wild. Dave Gibbons, co-creator of Watchmen, had designed it and given his blessing to the film. It was enough to tide us over, yet didn’t fully put our minds at ease. The unfilmable novel still seemed impossible, despite his amazing cast, and his lack of experience made everyone a little nervous. And then there was that teaser. That visually astounding teaser set to the beautifully drab B-side Smashing Pumpkins “The Beginning is the End is the Beginning” that evoked goosebumps and made me forget that I had actually come to see The Dark Knight. I’ve watched that teaser at least 20 times and it just gets better every time. Trust me.
Just days after that teaser hits theaters, Zack Snyder comes out to a packed Hall H at Comic-Con, that’s 6,500 people, with his full cast and Dave Gibbons and tells us that he has more. The footage he showed us is the teaser but longer, a “non-PG version” he calls it. It lingers on Billy Crudup longer as he changes into Dr. Manhattan, you can see his skeleton lit up with the blue energy and his insides disintegrate. Nite Owl and Silk Spectre kiss as a giant mushroom cloud expands in the background. In Vietnam, Dr. Manhattan chases soldiers, blowing each and every one of them to literal pieces. We see more of Jeffery Dean Morgan as the Comedian and a glimpse of Carla Gugino as the original Silk Spectre at the Minutemen meeting. Also, Rorschach’s changing mask and a lengthier, stylistic shot of the Comedian as he falls.
The footage was plenty to whet our appetites and prove that Zack Snyder has managed to film the unfilmable. Him and the cast fielded some questions about the shoot and what their characters meant to them. Every one of the cast members read the graphic novel and it was referred to as “the bible” on set. They would carry it around with them and point certain things out to Zack if they ever felt the scene wasn’t faithful enough. Billy Crudup joked around about Dr. Manhattan’s omnipotence and how hard it was to relate to. Patrick Wilson loved that he didn’t have to get ripped for his part as the washed up, morose super hero Nite Owl and could kick back with ice cream and beer. Jeffrey Dean Morgan admitted how fun it was to stick a cigar in his mouth and transform into the brass Comedian and Jackie Earle Haley disclosed that he formed his portrayal of Rorschach by watching the message boards and reading how fans thought Rorschach should be played. The panel ended by watching the footage again and like the teaser, the second time was better than the first. Next March can’t come soon enough.