Early Reaction: More Watchmen Footage Revealed and Updates!
by Alex Billington
October 1, 2008
Warner Brothers just finished a special presentation for Watchmen today on the lot in Hollywood and showed roughly 26 minutes of footage to members of the press. Additionally, Zack Snyder was in attendance to introduce the footage and follow-up with a brief Q&A. My initial reaction to what we were shown was that of utter amazement - this looked absolutely phenomenal. I've been very excited for this, but this surpassed even my expectations. We were shown the opening scene and opening credits, a montage sequence of Dr. Manhattan's origin, and a fight scene in jail. I got constant chills watching every last scene and sat in awe throughout the entire presentation. Watchmen looks like it's going to be The Matrix all over again. This movie is going to take us on one hell of an incredible ride next March.
The highlights from the presentation in regards to tidbits of news include that the current running time is 2 hours and 43 minutes. I spoke to Zack afterwards about the length and he seemed rather confident that that was how long it needed to be to tell the story on top of featuring a few (obviously badass) action sequences. Snyder also mentioned that there won't be a sequel and there won't be a prequel - at least if he's involved. He just laughed and said it definitely won't happen, which debunks any rumors about a sequel being put together. As for when we might see another trailer? Zack said it should be attached to Quantum of Solace and it's pretty badass, or so he said (I haven't seen it). Either way, it's only another month to wait.
Lastly, Zack mentioned that they're working on a version of the film that implements the "Tales of the Black Freighter" story from the comic into the actual movie. He said they shot actual intro and outro scenes from Watchmen. For those unfamiliar with the "Black Freighter" story, within the Watchmen universe, there are actual comics (a universe within a universe) that feature stories about pirates. This has been announced before, but the actual "Tales of the Black Freighter" film will be animated. There are transitions that were shot and will be implemented on DVD versions of Watchmen. So you'll be able to watch a complete movie that includes all of those stories, just like reading the graphic novel in its unabridged format.
I compare Watchmen to The Matrix because I really believe it's going to be one of the few films in this century that truly pushes the boundaries of cinematic storytelling. I said that The Dark Knight would revolutionize Hollywood and it's already starting to do so. When I say that Watchmen will change our lives, I really mean it. It doesn't have any technological revolutions, per se, but I truly believe it's going to be one of the best comic book movies of our generation. It's definitely going to give The Dark Knight a run for its money (only in the sense of being one of the best movies of all-time). And I say this entirely off of watching 26 minutes of footage. That's because I could truly sense how extraordinary this movie was in the opening credit sequence alone (that featured Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" throughout it).
This isn't the typical superhero movie where a group of guys go around and kick ass - this is so much more. Those familiar with the story know that it's much more about the characters and a world where superheroes truly exist. When this movie first was announced, one of the biggest concerns from fans was that it wouldn't be able to encompass all of the very extensive and complex elements of the story found within the pages of the graphic novel. However, the sequence we were shown where Jon Osterman is disintegrated and reformed as Dr. Manhattan encompassed multiple time periods and told an extensive story within a few minutes. Obviously Zack Snyder has found a way to show this and still have it feel smooth and complete. Even I was truly impressed. And this was all just a small taste of things to come.