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WATCHMEN Director Unveils New Footage

Zack Snyder screens clips and reveals SPOILERS!

By Rob Vaux     October 03, 2008


A publicity shot from WATCHMEN
© 2008 Warner Bros.

(NOTE: SPOILER ALERTS ARE IN FULL EFFECT. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW, DO NOT READ FURTHER.)

Director Zack Snyder unveiled a series of completed clips from his upcoming adaptation of 'Watchmen' on Wednesday to select members of the press. They included the opening credits sequence, a montage covering the origins of Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), and a prison break scene featuring Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson) and the second Silk Spectre (Malin Akerman). The clips ran a total of about thirty-five minutes. According to Snyder, the current cut of the film is a little over four hours, and he seemed hopeful that it would remain so. Whether or not Warner Bros will ultimately demand a shorter cut has yet to be determined, but given Snyder's success on 300, he appears to have the leverage to keep a great deal of the movie intact.

Snyder also stated that the film would likely have a rating of R, to better preserve the novel's adult themes. This was apparent in the clips, which featured (among other things) graphic shots of numerous crime scenes, a nude post-coital Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, and a full-frontal Dr. Manhattan materializing above a group of scientists.

The clips themselves stick fairly close to the graphic novel, though the fistfights and action scenes run longer than they did in the original. The first depicts the death of the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), thrown out of his high-rise apartment window by an unknown assailant. It segues into the opening credits montage, which briefly covers the history of the Watchmen universe since 1940. Over the sounds of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'," we see the exploits of the Minutemen, the birth and coming of age of the novel's "second generation" of superheroes, and the slow lead-up to the movie's "present day" of 1985. It intersperses certain key moments from the graphic novel--such as Dollar Bill's (Dan Payne's) death after his cape gets caught in a revolving door--with moments from actual history such as JFK's assassination and the opening of Studio 54 (attended by Matthew Goode's Ozymandias).

The second clip shows Dr. Manhattan's arrival on Mars, followed by a flashback in which he recounts his origins. It includes the atomic accident which gave him his powers, his relationship with Janey Slater (Laura Mennell), his agreement to intervene in Vietnam, and the consummation of his affair with Silk Spectre II. Much of the dialogue--performed in voice-over by Crudup--is lifted verbatim from the graphic novel. It ends with Dr. Manhattan's creation of the clockwork fortress from the Martian sands.

The final clip shows Nite Owl and Silk Spectre vowing to free their colleague Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) from prison. It includes an extended fight scene with rioting prisoners and ends with Rorschach's murderous assault on Big Figure (Danny Woodburn). As with the earlier clips, this one adheres fairly closely to the novel, with a few minor changes here and there (Rorschach appears in costume rather than in prison coveralls, presumably recovering his mask from impound after escaping his cell).

All three of the clips demonstrated a keen attention to detail, as well as a reverence for the novel's visual style. The fate of lesbian Mintueman Silhouette (Appolonia Vanova), for example, is covered concisely but effectively in a few shots over the opening credits--including a riff on the famous V-Day photo of sailor and nurse locked in an embrace on the streets of New York. You can spot a copy of Hustler on the Comedian's coffee table, along with a framed picture of Sally Jupiter (Carlo Gugino) on a nearby wall. A cheesecake image of Jupiter also appears on the side of the Enola Gay as it drops the atomic bomb. Like the novel, such details are so dense that it's hard to spot them all in a single viewing, a fact which Snyder stated will help convey the texture of the source material.

In addition to Watchmen itself, Snyder briefly discussed a pair of direct-to-DVD movies whose release will coincide with the film's theatrical run. The first is a version of Tales of the Black Freighter--a fictitious comic book which one of the characters reads in the graphic novel. The second is a Sixty Minutes-style faux documentary covering Hollis Mason's (Stephen McHattie's) autobiography, Under the Hood. Snyder expressed hopes that a future DVD release of Watchmen might find a way to combine the three into a single whole.

Watchmen is due for release in March of 2009.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 16
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joeybaloney 10/3/2008 3:46:43 PM
alright so where’s the clip I wanna see the clip I don't see nuthin' for the clip where is it? I wanna see the clip.
hanso 10/3/2008 4:08:12 PM
Yea yo, WTF, where's the clip!!!? I wanna see it!!!! No way this film ends up being over 4 hrs long. Who the hell wants to be in a theatre that long? I have to go pipi if it's 4 hrs long and I don't want to miss anything. They better keep that cut for the video version though. then i can just pause and go pipi.
Wiseguy 10/3/2008 4:21:57 PM
If it was up to me I'd pull a Tarantino and split the film into 2 parts and release them about 6 months apart just to keep it all intact. Most theaters don't want to play a 4 hr. film, too much time = too few creenings = too little money. Not too mention people like hanso that can't keep it in :)<BR itxtvisited="1" />
joeybaloney 10/3/2008 4:29:42 PM
Bite your fingers! Keep it 4 Zack! All we need is an intermission. Or empty Big Gulp cups.
Wiseguy 10/3/2008 5:07:27 PM
That's even more time = even less screenings per theater = even less money I don't see it happening unless the studio plans on giving theaters a bigger percentage of the take and I definitely don't see that happening. My solution is the way to go.
hanso 10/3/2008 6:31:41 PM
I don't know about you all but I don't want to see Dr.Manhantan's pipi. Maybe they can cut that out and get it under 4 hrs? Buwahahaha. Sounds like Znyder is gonna hit it out of the park in bringing Watchmen to life. I fear for this movie though. 300 was an action flick with a reasonable running time so it made tons of cash. Watchmen isnt that well known to the mainstream, isn't all action and even if they bring it in to 3 or 3 and half hours, I don't think it will do that well at the box office come March. I hope I'm wrong. The description of the stuff Snyder is doing sounds dope and from what I've read the people that have actually gotten a glimpse of the film say it's freakin awesome. Can't wait for this movie. If it's 4 hours long, I'll just pipi on myself cause I ain't missing a scene.
darkheart00 10/3/2008 9:25:39 PM
The only time I recall sitting through a four hour movie at the theater was "Gettysburg". As I recall at the movies half way point we took a 15 minute "PiPi" and snack intermission while the technician switched out the reels. So you may not have to wet yourself hanso. I hope Zack's vision stays intact but we all know the studio is going to have this cut down for the previously mentioned reasons. Anyways... WATCHMEN OWNS 2009 !!!! and FOX CAN SUCK MY PiPi !!!!!
Hobbs 10/3/2008 9:37:36 PM
Okay...let me jump in with the group...wtf is the clip!! I don't think it will be 4 hours. You are right wiseguy about the cash intake not being able to show it that many times a day and though I would like to see it kill bill fashion I think you'll get the LOTR style. It will be cut down to 3 hours and you'll get the extended edition DVD that will be 4 hours long. I can't sit in the theater for 4 hours, that's a bit too much. Unless they allow me to roll my sofa in the movie theater I'll wait for the extended edition on DVD. Either way Zach Snyder is the shit! In Zach we trust!!
ripum853 10/3/2008 10:25:03 PM
I was wondering how Snyder was going to handle the Black Freighter, the Mason autobio, and the other extra things between the chapters, etc. I hope this means that the newspaper salesman and the guy reading the comic won't be in it too much then, they're practically the stars of the novel with the amount of 'page time' they get in it; that really annoyed me. But still, if Snyder is able to release all three on DVD, then I'll watch them as one main feature, to stay true to the story; even if those parts were getting on my nerves.
AntoBlueberry 10/4/2008 4:54:06 AM
4 hours? The movie right now is 2h45' long and they'll probably cut some 20 minutes before it gets released. The director's cut with the Black Freighter sequence and all the cut scenes will last like 3h30' plus the 1 hour "Under the hood" Tv special.
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