In the words of the great Mr. Dave Gibbons "It’s like I’m a young school boy counting down the days until Christmas, and to calm my excitement my parents would let me open one gift on Christmas Eve." Well Maniacs, today is 'Watchmen' eve, and we just opened our first present.
We were screened the never publicly viewed first 18 minutes of the final movie, and we even got a bonus scene from further in to the movie! I’ve tried to keep the spoilers to a minimum for the first leg of this write-up, but if you want to keep yourself a Watchmen virgin then stop reading now. Otherwise, read on! You'll get another warning before we get into major spoilers.
The movie opens with The Comedian sitting in his robe watching a news program, and smoking his signature cigar. Then his shadowed attacker breaks down his door. The sequence is an extended version of what’s in the graphic novel, but it flows nicely and never feels like a stretch. Enter smiley face, and roll the opening credits!
The opening credits are set to Bob Dylan’s iconic “The Times They Are A-Changing” and done in a slow motion style where you feel more like you’re moving through the words, as apposed to the words being laid over video. The backdrops are well known events from the 1960s, but set in Watchmen’s alternate United States. These were only alluded to in the graphic novel, so if you want to read more about them then head to the major spoiler section below. If not, then rest assured that they do fit in with the feeling of the book.
After the opening credits we’re introduced to Rorschach, as he investigates Blake’s death. Amazingly, the entire scene is identical to the graphic novel, straight down to his internal monologue (Rorschach’s journal). I’m sure the diehards will be happy to hear that! After Rorschach discovers that the dead man is The Comedian, he lays down the now famous quote: "The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up against their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout ‘save us!’… and I’ll look down and whisper, ‘no’."
After a short pause, we’re shown another short clip from later in the movie.
An unmasked and imprisoned Rorschach is taking shit from the other inmates while standing in the chow line. Suddenly, the inmate standing next to him tries to shank him. Needless to say the fight scene that followed involved head smashing, and hot boiling oil. Followed by the classic line ”You don’t seem to understand. I’m not locked in here you with you. You’re all locked in here with me!”
...and the crowd went wild!
The section below contains MAJOR SPOILERS from the opening credits. You’ve been warned!
As I mentioned above, these are not in the novel, but certainly would fit in the novel. The most identifiable of these scenes starts as a shot for shot recreation of the footage from JFK’s assassination in Dallas. The difference being, where the footage we know so well ends, this footage continues, and pans all the way around to show Blake (The Comedian) walking away with a sniper rifle in hand.
The other equally important and identifiable scene is a play on the famous Victory Day Kiss, except this time it’s The Silhouette kissing her female lover, which is immediately followed by her and her lover slain in a bed with “Die Lesbians” scrolled in blood above their bed.
We also see Mothman being carted away to the insane asylum, and Dr. Manhattan in the reflection of an astronaut’s visor. There are countless other references to the seperation of The Watchmen, and I’m sure I didn’t catch them all.
You’ll have a chance to tell me everything I missed come March 6th when 'Watchmen' hits theaters!