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David Poland

By David Poland

Watchman EPK

Watchmen Exclusive

It is funny that this is on MySpace, a News Corp business. But it is not remotely surprising. Trailer Park on MySpace has the younger traffic that Watchmen seeks. Marketing is marketing is marketing. Strange bedfellows and all that.
Anyway… I must admit… the extended view, coming a few days after I devoured the hardback of Watchmen – my fourth or fifth reading – is a little dissapointing. It looks amazing visually, but more Sin City than the flawed, but deeper images of Gilliam or Burton. Matthew Goode seems like the one casting mistake… which is probably why he hasn’t been talked about much. But it feels like it might be a symbol of what could be a problem with the film… all the visuals… no depth. And that would be a shame, even if it will also be a powerful experience. The lesson of The Dark Knight is not that bigger is better, but that giving the audience what it feels to be more depth counts for more than a little.
Still, $500 million worldwide seems uunavoidable for the spectacle alone.
Anyway… take a look… happy new years!

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28 Responses to “Watchman EPK”

  1. jeffmcm says:

    “But it feels like it might be a symbol of what could be a problem with the film… all the visuals… no depth.”
    From the director of 300? Getouttatown!

  2. LYT says:

    Matthew Goode does seem like a casting mistake visually, but he’s done solid work in everything I’ve seen him in.
    I suspect he’s not talked about so much due to the nature of the character.

  3. frankbooth says:

    I wish everything didn’t look so obviously phony-digital, but it does appear to bear a great deal of fidelity to the source material. (Of course, that can be a problem with adaptations, too.)
    Even though I don’t think much of Snyder so far, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping to be converted.

  4. mutinyco says:

    I cannot watch The Watchmen because Apple sucks big fat hairy elephant dick and is taking a week longer than it said to fix my computer thus forcing me to use my 8 year old computer with an outdated OS that’s incompatible with most Flash players.

  5. lazarus says:

    jeff, I’m not a big Snyder fan, but the shallowness of 300 was already present in the source material.
    And I’m also surprised at Goode’s casting, because while he has performed well in the past, he doesn’t really have the twinkle in his eye that a “world’s smartest man” should. And visually, yes, he comes off rather lightweight considering he’s supposed to be in the best shape out of all of them. He’s drawn like an Adonis, and I just don’t get that vibe from Goode.
    This MySpace thing is noteworthy as being the only thing so far that people who aren’t familiar with the material are even going to understand. They really need to do another “story” trailer before it arrives, and it looks like they may have more time than they thought.

  6. Eric says:

    Judging by just the trailers, I’m expecting Watchmen to end up like the first Harry Potter movie– an absolutely respectful, faithful rendition of its source material, without any real spark of life of its own.
    You can’t just transfer a story between media without adapting it somewhat for the new medium, especially when the story as told in its original medium was fundamentally about many of the conventions of said medium.

  7. leahnz says:

    could someone please send a note to the makers of these previews advising them never to call a director ‘visionary’ in the clips; nothing sounds more pretentious, desperate or try-hard, or induces instantaneous eye-rolling as effectively in the viewer
    (snyder’s ‘dawn of the dead’ is still the only movie i’ve seen in the last 10 years that had my heart pumping like mad even when i walked out of the 10am matinee into the daylight – luckily i stayed through the credits – so he scores points with me there. ‘300’ had nice abs…)

  8. frankbooth says:

    You’re almost tempting me to cave in and finally watch DOTT ’04, Leah.
    Shame on you.
    Well, off to see tCCoBB. We’ll see if I think it’s cold or uninvolving.

  9. LYT says:

    “an absolutely respectful, faithful rendition of its source material”
    Nope. Snyder already admitted he changed the ending, which isn’t what I call respectful. So it’s less faithful than Harry Potter I, anyway.
    But at least he doesn’t seem to have made the mistake the V for Vendetta adaptation made, trying to turn the story into contemporary commentary on the War on Terror. V for V needs to be a BBC miniseries someday — doesn’t even really need that big a budget.

  10. leahnz says:

    frankb, if you cave and do ‘dawn of the dead’, watch the director’s cut; it’s ever so slightly longer but holds together a bit better and has a ‘love’ scene i can’t even believe snyder cut out of the original theatrical release

  11. Rothchild says:

    LYT, I’m really getting sick of the fanboys who simply cannot let go of “the squid.” I’m especially sick of the ones that used news of the lawsuit to bitch about the ending on Nikki Finke’s site. If he kept that ending it would have been a four hour movie, having to tackle all the subplots leading up to it, and it would have lost everyone. It works in context of the comic, but it would be incredibly goofy on the big screen and hardly cinematic.
    It makes me feel like you don’t even understand the book and are slightly autistic if you can’t understand that the motivation and meaning behind _______’s plan is all that matters, not the method.
    To say the approach isn’t respectful is asinine. It takes place in 1985. Reagan’s still president. All the main beats are there. The character’s are the same. The tone is the same. It’s rated R. Let it go. Or at least wait until you see the movie.

  12. Rothchild says:

    Nixon, not Reagan. That’s a whole different movie.

  13. Monco says:

    I know this is not what this thread is about but Dave there is depth in The Dark Knight. If you choose not to see it then that is your problem, but it’s there.

  14. IOIOIOI says:

    What it feels to be more depth? Oh bloody hell. Go take your BD Hancock, turn it sideways, and stick it up your candyass. Freakin hater. Happy New Years :D!

  15. LYT says:

    Rothchild, the method absolutely matters. The Comedian has to appreciate what a sick joke it is, thinking he was going to an island of insurgents and finding what he did. Seeing the darkly funny, absurd side is why he doesn’t tell. It is also directly related to a Ronald Reagan quote about the only way to bring world peace.
    As for it being four hours if you back it up, go count the actual number of pages devoted to setting up that particular ending. It isn’t many. I had to read the book several times back in the day before I really got it. If it were to take moviegoers a few viewings, I see nothing wrong with that.
    I don’t know the details of the new ending, so maybe it works. But what I’ve heard does not make me optimistic.
    At any rate, my major point above is that if you change the ending, you are ipso facto not slavishly faithful. Period.

  16. David Poland says:

    Monco… you’re right… not what this thread is about… and I didn’t say there was no depth… “giving the audience what it feels to be more depth ” does not mean there is no depth or that there is depth, it just means that perception of that experience means something to audiences.
    More and more, I seek to get out of the conversation about what each of us feel and into the sense of the feeling that movies inspire, whether I or you or whomever else feels that feeling is real or earned or whatever.
    To answer the Dark Knight question, there is depth there. And there is also a reach for depth that, in my opinion, absolutely fails. As I have said over and over, it’s a very good film… and in its excess of ambition, it fails to close the deal 100%. But 83% is not a crap grade.

  17. IOIOIOI says:

    Bull fucking shit Heat. 83 percent is a TOTAL CRAP grade as is your argument. It’s crap.
    A movie that fails on every level for almost every critic in this country, succeeds for you. SO please stop reaching for the higher ground, when you are a man of the trenches. You belong in the dirt. The way you fight has always been dirty. Let’s stop acting as if the man who loves throwing hammers is searching for something more.
    This all comes back to Hancock for you. The depth you see in Hancock is nowhere close to the depth of The Bat. The Bat is actually something more. While Hancock is a movie about Eygptian superheroes, who can only survive at a distance. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
    Happy New Year, stop playing, and THE REVENGE OF THE FALLEN STARTS NOW!

  18. Eric says:

    Monco, as I said, I’m not following things very closely, so I didn’t know Snyder had changed the ending. Regardless of the merits or demerits of that particular choice, I’m glad to hear he wasn’t afraid to make it.

  19. Geoff says:

    Pretty impressive looking stuff, but is $500 million really a guarantee. Warners is obviously pulling out all the stops on this one (depending on the Fox settlement, a Super Bowl spot is a likelihood) and would probably be thrilled with 300-like numbers, but I am not so sure.
    I could easily see this diong Sin City or V for Vendetta numbers, instead – there just does not seem to be a hook yet with the marketing of this things. The Dark Knight had “Why So Serious,” the truck flipping over, and the Bat Pod. Iron Man had about half a dozen good lines from Downey and him strutting away after blowing the tank. 300 had the men falling over the cliff slo-mo, hundreds of arrows flying, and “SPARTA!” They still have time, of course.
    Any one have any thoughts on the summer slate? May seems packed, but June seems very, very light – nothing for the first three weeks except Land of the Lost and Pelham 123????? I can see both doing well, but not that well. I gotta think some one is going to move their big May fil to June – I think Angels and Demons would be ideal to give it some breathing room, because Night at the Museum and Terminator are NOT moving.

  20. Martin S says:

    The more I see, the more my confidence ebbs away.
    TDK will be more of a pain in Snyder’s ass than Hancock, because Hancock still looked at the conceit as absurd. It may share post-modern ground but Hancock was never serious and took an approach that one-upped a number of Marvel ideas. Fav’s already admitted that Stark most likely won’t have a drinking problem because of the territory Hancock covered.
    But Nolan’s TDK approach, tactile reality, undercuts Snyder’s whole schtick and makes the first obvious question still the most relevant: How does a greenscreen master shoot fantasy as reality? Snyder’s answer was to be visually wed to Gibbons art, but Gibbons art was only “real” when compared to comics of its time. Alex Ross took superhero realism to a whole new plane while storywise, we’ve seen dozens of post-modern variants come and go since 1985. So the more I watch, the more it feels as if Moore’s story is now working against the visual.
    I think some people at WB knows this, because the constant marketing push has been how important the comic is and not its world. Watchmen should have been the easiest film to market; if the premise is post-modern then so must be the marketing. Instead we get this IOish bow-down in awe tone, hence the “visionary” label for Snyder. But the more you see – bad 90’s Batman suits, a fat Downey Jr acting like Hellboy, a female superhero that makes Alba and Garner look credible…I mean, how do claim realism when Rorshach’s trenchcoat is meticulously clean and fitted, perfectly poised, after Nolan’s Joker?

  21. christian says:

    Jackie Earl Haley sounds awesome as Rorshach.

  22. frankbooth says:

    “… a fat Downey Jr acting like Hellboy…”
    You lost me, Martin. Downey? Hellboy? Wha?
    I do agree, though, that it’s just all too damn clean-looking.
    And Haley does sound awesome — though I always imagined R having more of an East Coast kind of accent. But he’s still a great choice, especially after Little Children.

  23. Martin S says:

    Frank – my constant reaction to the Comedian is that he looks like an overweight Downey Jr doing a cigar-chomping, gun-toting human version of Hellboy.

  24. frankbooth says:

    I’m gonna take a stab and say you’re probably not familiar with the source material. Comic books. Bah!
    Hellboy is loveable. This guy is most definitely not. But I guess they do have the cigar in common.

  25. leahnz says:

    i just looked through ‘watchman’ in the bookstore today and i can see what you’re on about, the movie looks too slick and smooth and shiny compared to the graphics in the book

  26. Martin S says:

    Frank – I am familiar with the book, but this isn’t a pissing match for me to prove me geek bona fides.
    I’m going by initial imprint of the Watchmen trailer. Two guys with gruff voices and exteriors chomping cigars and carrying heavy weapons among a panicked crowd. That was a Hellboy movie signature.
    What you’re referring to is what you already know about the characters, not what is depicted in the trailer. Yeah, Comedian is a dirtbag, but they’re not showcasing that, are they? Instead, we get kewl visuals without any context except we must trust the name. That’s the marketing hook – “In Zack We Trust”. Part of me believes it’s contractually obligated.
    I think I get Snyder’s approach; the book was a parable of superheroes in comics, the movie a comment on superheroes on celluloid. By making the costumes blatantly appear like 90’s Bat suits, Snyder is trying to tap into a perceived collective consciousness. But IM, TDK, Spidey and Hancock have really made the Shumacher years obsolete. If your target audience is twenty-two, then they were twelve when Batman & Robin came out. Isn’t the frame of reference outdated, or because its set in 1985 it’s supposed to be some kind of anachronistic continuity? That’s the impression I’m getting from his comments about period costume designs, except he didn’t reference older superhero costumes, like West’s Batman. The problem is then who represents today? Manhattan, because he’s CG? IMO, this is a big risk because it requires an explanation or else you look behind-the-times and not in a No Country approach.

  27. The Big Perm says:

    I liked 300 well enough, but this movie looks pretty great to me. Too bad it looks like it’s all shot in slow motion. I know a lot of geeks on AICN are figuring/hoping that the slo-mo was just done in post and only for the trailers. Wishful thinking, dudes. Snyder has a hard on for gratuitous slo-mo.
    I don’t think the costumes will make the movie look dated. Spiderman still has a rubbery suit, and Batman is basically still wearing what he did in Tim Burton’s, but now he can turn his head. If I recall from that EPK, he did reference old superhero costumes…they show some from the 1930s or something and they’re all done up in spandex and look ridiculous. I think that’s great.

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