Lost in Adaptation: Watchmen

Taking his first look at Graphic Novel Adaptations, The Dom finds that Zack Snyder has left him with a rather hard choice.

Just in case Alan Moore’s scary face stopped you from reading/watching it.
Unlike the Dune episode, this guide takes canon from the novel AND the film.
Be aware this video contains blue buttocks and some scenes of violence.

About The Dom

Reviewer of games, TV shows and movies. The Dom also likes to look at film adaptations of books and talk about what got lost transitioning from page to screen.

83 comments

  1. Something seems to be wrong with Youtube right now. Be back when it gets better.

  2. Good review. I was wondering what everyone was bitching about when the movie came out, I thought it was good, but of course I hadn’t read the comics.

    • He explained that already in the show. Outside change of costumes design for more modern and few large changes in plot movie was pretty close to comic. That is why fanboys were pissed that it wasn’t identical even if most of those changes were objectively justified. Anyway when Batman Beginning come out people also complain and now most of them consider Nolan trilogy as best adaptation of Batman. So that is simply typical behavior.

      • No no no no no. People were complaining about how the heart had been ripped out of the story in the movie version. There seems to be no passion at all in the movie.

        • Most people outside hardcore fanboys say something different. Of course movie isn’t as that good and complex as comic, but it still is good on its own rights. After all adaptations by definition aren’t 1to1. Why people even expect to this movie to be exactly as a comic?

  3. You are far from the only one with that opinion. The movie tied it all together better than the graphic novel did. I think Linkara said something similar.

  4. I hated the film soo much the first time i saw it i couldn’t watch it completely ..i get out the theater when the film got too the funeral scene

    i couldn’t understand how the film could be such a travesty when the motion comic had done it almost done a flawless adaptation of media

    BUT over time ….. i started to actually appreciate the film a lot more

    the watchmen film is a flawed but extreamly passionate attempt to adapt watchmen

    an attempt that would actually had worked out if alan moore had involved himself in the protect

    because ultimately the film commits 2 mistakes …

    it doesn’t understand the story its trying to adapt .. and you know what? who can blame them for it? watchmen is one of the Most complex stories out there …

    you can hear 8 different interpretations of what the story is about and you will find truth in each one of them because watchmen at its core … its about Life and its complexity

    and 2º

    it trys to hard to explain itself to the viewer instead having the subtlety that the original story had (who didnt think of its reader as dumb morons that needed to have things explained to them ) and by doing this they dumb down the material …. something that its worst if you consider … the film doesn’t get the story in the first place

    • You sound like Evangelion fanboy.. and that isn’t complain about Watchman, just obvious statement.

      • … what?

        who is complaining ?

        • wait what… sorry .

          and Evangelion fanboy? .. i miss read and thought you say “evangelist” XD

          hehehe why do i sound like and Evangelion fanboy? ( now i’m intrigued..)

          • He he he. Basically because this talk about how complex and deep this story is and especially statement about “8 different interpretations”. Of course Watchman is superior work then NGE in any way, but always there is only one interpretation. It could be complex, multi layered and open to interpretation without providing answer but always one. It there is few different and especially contradicting themselves interpretations that mean one of two thing:

            Work is random idea dump where people try stitch something what didn’t have any sense on the first place (most well known example is Donnie Darko and other works of this director), or simply most of those are incorrect, or someone failed to to connect them. In any case number of different theories don’t show that something is deep or good.

    • To be perfectly dude Moore spoonfed his readers a lot of plot points he snuck them into the fake adds and magazine articles which lets be real here were not an option in the film at all. Frankly it was as good as an interpretation as it could have possibly been.

  5. TragicGuineaPig

    I agree: the film’s ending was better. What’s more, it brings out more depth from the story’s moral theme, which is whether it is ethical to destroy millions of lives to save billions (a theme, incidentally, also explored in Captain America: Winter Soldier, where Hydra attempts to do the same thing).

    It also presents us with another moral quandary: Dr. Manhattan as the hero earth deserves, but not the hero it needs (or is that the other way around? I sometimes get those backwards). With millions already dead, the Watchmen have a quandary: do they reveal the truth and let the world continue to fall into chaos, or do they keep quiet and allow the earth to unite?

    To me, the moral dilemma seems a bit stronger when it basically amounts to Dr. Manhattan having to sacrifice his own reputation for the sake of peace (like Batman in The Dark Knight) than it does to blame the incident on non-existent aliens. By comparison, the exploding psycho-squid just seems extraneous. Although, I bet Mr. Lovecraft got a kick out of it.

    • well.. I have different interpretation

      its all a joke

      watchmen has no moral themes … well not any that particularly has any more validity over the others character point of view

      ozymandias may be a monster But HE did save the world

      Rorschach may have been the most heroic one but he was willingly to let EVERYONE die out of his selfish Desire to be a morality pure

      nightowl will never be the hero he wishes he could be or ultimate have control over his life because he will always compromise … but that’s what keeps him sane

      Laurie Juspeczyk end up sooo broken she end adopting the philosophy of the person she hates the most and becomes like his father

      Doctor Manhattan is the most powerful being ever and not only he is useless because he is trap in his own perception of time …the best decision he could make was to leave earth and let lie win

      and ultimately .. watchmen has no real answer to anything .. it just present you with the chaos of life and ask you what do you think about it

      • You do realize that the story is a parable about nuclear annihilation, right? It’s not a coincidence that Dr. Manhattan is named after the Manhattan Project.

        • so?

          those that make my interpretation any less valid than yours? : s

        • i do know that by the way

          that why in the beginning of the story Rorschach mention president truman

          who if i remember correctly he admires for his decision of dropping the nuclear bombs in japan and doing what it had to be done

          kind ironic that in the end. Ozymandias’s action parallel this .. it wouldn’t be too farfetch to say this may be one of the reason Rorschach is so crushed in the end

    • Yeah. My issue with the squid is not just about what a weird, random, fantasy-world plan that it was. But it’s also just SOOO short-sighted. I mean… at least in the movie, the people know for a fact that Dr. Manhattan exists… and could threaten them. But in the comic, WE know there’s not gonna be any more giant squids making kamikaze attacks on Earth. So exactly how is defending against an enemy they are NEVER going to see again going to bring the world together in any lasting way? And how does one defend against creatures that can materialize out of thin air in the first place? Are the different countries’ leaders gonna try building some kind of bunkers together? Big orbital guns, maybe? And what happens 5, 10, 25 years in the future when they STILL haven’t heard another peep from The Planet of the Giant Squids? Just how long are they really gonna stay vigilant allies together with absolutely NO enemy coming down on them? The smartest guy on Earth came up with THIS?

      • well that why Dr. Manhattan tell ozymandias ” nothing really ends”

        because its true … ozymandias peace is just a temporal victory

      • “So exactly how is defending against an enemy they are NEVER going to see again going to bring the world together in any lasting way? And how does one defend against creatures that can materialize out of thin air in the first place?”

        The movie keeps those problems, though. Manhattan’s still going to go off into space and never return, so they’ll eventually give up watching for him … and he can also be anywhere he wants, even in multiple bodies. That’s actually harder to defend against.

        • GRiMLEGiON187@gmail.com

          if they don’t get along manhattan will come back and spank them again. or so they think. thell call it defence, but its fear. they will lie to the public

        • Well, they don’t know that he’s left Earth forever. But they DO know his opinions on war and his abilities to do anything he wants if he doesn’t get what he wants. They don’t know anything about the squids’ supposed motives. And yet they all immediately come to the same conclusion. “The giant squids are ALL attacking us… for… SOME reason!”

          That’s another thing: Why do they all just assumed that the squid’s appearance was an attack and not some kind of cosmic accident? After all it DID die in the process. It IS worth considering, at least. Everything they think they know about the squid is presumption. But somehow everyone makes the same intended presumption? Convenient.

    • Sorry but from a International point of view the end of the movie is the worst possible.
      Never that comunists would accept to join with the USA against Manhattan.
      Worst in the cold war.
      Every Single Socialist Country would Blame USA for Manhatan actions, that is more likely to be the reason to start the third war, never Bring Peace.
      The Idea of an Alien force that wasnt even Human to unite the whole humanity makes much more sense.

  6. caffeinatedkate

    I’m with you. Firstly a giant exploding psychic squid monster is just silly when you really think about it. And secondly, using and framing Dr. Manhattan makes Adrian come across as smarter and more ruthless as well as manipulative, which in my opinion makes for a better villain (if villain is technically the word, as he was acting for the greater good).

    • Like I said this never will work.
      Manhattan is an Amarican, nobody outside USA would accept this Idea, everybody will Blame the USA for the Attacks.

      • Have to disagree with your other comment and this one.
        1) In the graphic novel, ONLY THE US IS HIT. This is why “Communist Russia offers the humanitarian aid” becomes a thing.
        2) In the movie, MULTIPLE US targets are hit in addition to the rest around the globe.
        In both cases, you’re outright stating the ENTIRE WORLD is incapable of understanding the concept of a rogue individual acting outside of a national authority. For the movie, that he was an American and his powers were created by US experiments and used as a weapon would be a diplomatic tension that would not entirely go away, but that’s awkward small sauce compared to not getting attacked by the insane all-powerful being who just demonstrated he has no loyalty to humanity at all, much less a particular country.

        • I just goggled major world cities and it provided me with a helpful map. Looking at that map, several of those major world cities are in the United States or in allied countries. Considerably fewer of those cities are in countries that were part of or allied too the USSR.

          Why do I bring this up?

          Simple, this map shows that America and her allies would’ve been hit harder by Dr. Manhattan’s attack then other places in the world. So why would anybody think that America was responsible for attacks that would’ve put America near the top of the list of most damaged areas?

  7. the monster could have worked out … the only thing that they needed was some one who could created something really nightmarish that could actually be selled out to the audience

    in other words they should have gotten H.R. Giger to RE invent the monster

    but by changing the story they again changed what the story was about

    they whole “world resources” suddenly become the reason people where going to murder each other in a nuclear holocaust instead of the madnesss that is human nature

    and you took the actual horror that a comic book world would actually be in reallity … where Alien invasion is quite reality that can happen at any moment

    • First off, nowhere is it ever implied in watchmen that alien invasions are a danger. Manhattan makes FAR more sense, and is built up more in the actual book. Second, squandering our resources and killing each other over it isn’t the “madness that is human nature”? Okay…….

      • Oddworld Inhabitant

        I think Swarmcrow means that the madness in the comic is more generalized while in the movie is specified, which he/she/they feel undermines it.

        Secondly, the comic makes frequent mention of prominent sic-fi authors of the time as a lead-in to what will happen, as well as using its own nature as a comic book to comment on how the Justice League and similar organizations mainly came together to fight alien threats. Furthermore, it’s foreshadowed by Ozymandias’s weird pet, which now just feels out of place.

        Third, while Dr. Manhattan is indeed more set up in the books, this also means it would have been more difficult to predict and manipulate him, and also leave people more skeptical that he would do this, since it seems out of character for him to just blow up a bunch of cities and then leave for no real reason.

        All that said, making Dr. Manhattan the culprit also invests the characters more in the carnage and is easier to set up in a short amount of time, plus appeals to the people like yourself who felt the Squid was wacky and out of place, so I don’t blame them for it.

        • yes but im also saying its part of what watchmen is.

          an attempt to bring comicbook superhero in a real life setting ..

          the “Alien Invasion” story it a really common story in superhero comic ..

          that the alien invasion plot happen in watchmen and that has little build up to the point it almost feel that it happen out of nowhere . its part of “parody” side of watchmen

      • Like I said before.
        Manghattan dont make any sense.
        He was an American Agent, An American scientist, An American Superheroe.
        For the whole world was an American Attack.
        In the better option American fail to control him.
        Still America´s fault.
        Thew world will turn against America.

        • No they wouldn’t, because it would be blatantly obvious to anybody with working brain cells that Dr. Manhattan attacked THE ENTIRE WORLD. He obliterated every major city in the world including those in America and he’s still at large.

          Thus the world would untie to find some way to protect themselves from the clear and present danger that Dr. Manhattan now represents. Y’know, because they don’t want to die.

          • it kind of becomes a justification for religious fear

            but still i found it like an unnecessary change the squid could have worked out

            and over all its more fun XD

  8. Well yeah.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love how high-concept and silver-age-goofy the fake alien thing is, and I did read the Graphic novel some years before I saw the movie… but the movie plan just makes more sense, it builds off an existing superpowered being by causing people to think of him as a threat (something Ozy’s plans had been developing beforehand anyway) rather than inventing one from thin air and it leads to a more cohesive resolution.

    I can see why some people would identify a tonal difference between the graphic novel version and the movie, there is a little more gratifying high-octane action in the movie so that could make it seem a marginally more comforting, traditional take on superheroes to some.

    Hell, both plans are equally likely to utterly fall apart if people find out or get complacent with time, but the question of how well that plan really would work is the big thought the story leaves us with either way.

    • TragicGuineaPig

      Pretty much what I was trying to say, but much clearer.

    • Exactly why dont work.
      The world view him as a treath.
      USA didint control him and the crap hit the fant.
      The whole world turns agains USA, no peace at all.

      • Except that it would have been clear to all that Manhattan had gone rogue. The energy surges destroyed American cities too; they would have recognized that something greater than differences in nationalities was posing a terrible threat and would have set aside their differences to combat it, mostly because, if they didn’t, they’d all be doomed. There would be peace, even if an uneasy one, just because the other nations would had no chance without the US.

        It also helps to understand that Manhattan (based on the Manhattan Project, the beginnings of America’s atomic weapons research) is basically an allegory for nuclear warfare. As the computer in War Games points out, “The only winning move is not to play.” Just as with Manhattan, threat of nuclear annihilation poses a threat not just to the enemy nations, but also to the nation that holds the arsenal.

        • Yes, but the thing is them coming to the table would require the world to be a rational place. But it isn’t. We live in a world where people have went to war over various psychotic reasons, various megalomaniacs have tried to conquer the world. Various atrocities and prejudices are in place. It took over one hundred years for the south to take down the Confederate flag, and dropping two atomic bombs was a good idea to end a war. So no they wouldn’t come to the table. Right off the bat I can say the Soviets, China, The Democratic Republic of Korea, and many other nations would have blamed the United States as a whole.

          • Yes they would’ve come to the table, because they don’t want Dr. Manhattan to destroy them all and only by working together with the rest of the world can they even hope to defeat him. Their survival will come ahead of anything else.

            Plus, you don’t blame an entire country for the actions of one person. That’s just stupid.

            Third, the country with the most information about Dr. Manhattan IS America. If they don’t come to the table they don’t get that information, thus making it extremely less likely they’d be able to protect themselves from him. Once again, their survival trumps all other concerns.

          • Also. Those reasons you claimed would prevent those countries from coming to the table? They’ve not prevented negotiations with any of them in real life and that’s when the entire world wasn’t in peril. Just food for thought.

  9. I agree. It’s set up better, even though the book LOOKS like it might set it up, and generally makes more since. The basic themes are still there, and… yeah, it’s just a better ending.

  10. I’ve haven’t seen Watchmen and I haven’t read Watchmen but I like your videos so I thought that I would watch it. It’s quite interesting but there is only so much darkness that I can take so that’s why I’ve never sought it out. This was really interesting though.

  11. Oddworld Inhabitant

    I feel like I’m one of the only people to really like “Wanted”. Granted, I’ve never read the original (I really dislike Mark Millar’s writing), and I really like Timur Bekmambetov’s style, so maybe I don’t have a leg to stand on, but I really like its dark take on the Morpheus-esque kind-hearted mentor figure, and it introduced me to James McAvoy. Plus the scene where McAvoy smashes a keyboard onto Chris Pratt is even more awesome now given their later roles.

    I never saw the movie; I really dislike Zynder’s style, it makes me somewhat nauseous and feels (again, to me) gratuitous in a bad way (in direct contrast to Bekmambetov’s style, which is why I brought him up). From what I can gather from this and other reviews I’ve seen, even without that I think I would prefer the graphic novel, mainly because it could move at an more leisurely pace and wove that cannibal story into the narrative, with it being up to the reader to decide who the cannibal is. As for the ending, I can understand why some people love it and others hate it; Zynder’s ending is more woven into characters in the plot and builds on the Cold War fears that the bombs would be the only true victors, but on the other hand it leaves a bunch of clues as red herrings, eliminates the parallel for the power of artists on the human psyche, and Dr. Manhattan never really feels like he cares enough about anything for his departure to leave much of an impact, nor does it seem like people would think he would go on a rampage any more than they would believe aliens would suddenly attack. I guess it in large part depends on how you would like Ozymandias to unfurl his plan; either predict Dr. Manhattan’s actions so well it allows him to always be five steps ahead, or create a plan so airtight that, even if one of the other heroes acted unexpectedly, he could still enact it.

    Personally, I always felt that the great flaw in Ozymandias’s plan is that, in either case, unless he keeps blowing up cities every once in a while, the threat of the outside force will soon fade and the US and USSR will soon be at each other’s throats again, much like how they were after WWII. In fact, given what happened in real history, the US working in close cooperation with the USSR might support it financially and politically so it lives well past the time it collapsed in our universe, leaving Ozymandias in a precarious position of whether he can morally justify committing another atrocity to keep up this charade and the Night Owl and Silk Spectre less and less sure of whether they made the right choice. Suddenly Dr. Manhattan’s statement that “nothing ever ends” seems like a veiled warning that they’ve endlessly prolonged the Cold War. Of course, Moore’s famously ambitious ending on whether we feel humanity is good enough to face the perhaps necessary evils that made our world what it is too sacrosanct for anyone to ever make a sequel to “Watchmen”, but it’s something to think on.

  12. TooMuchFreeTime

    Oh, Dom, sweety…no. No green screen walking for you. 😛

  13. I’m on the fence. On the one hand, I really love the giant psychic ‘alien’ squid monster that was hinted at throughout the novel. On the other, in a way it makes more sense to try and use Dr. Manhattan as the rallying force to avert/delay WW3.

    In creating and using the squid, Ozzy had effectively blown his load. Everything past that point relied on everyone, including Dr. Manhattan, grudgingly agreeing to go along with his plan. Though he had discredited the blue guy, and managed to alienate him – had Dr. Manhattan decided to return and reveal – there was no possible backup. He used his one shot. Even in not being able to prove that the monster was faked, he could still return and ‘protect’ us from any future ones. And for better or worse, he could effect the outcome of the war, should he so choose.

    By using Dr. Manhattan as the rallying force, HE is the villain in the world’s eye, and Ozzy could conceivably have other such bombs. In this scenario, Dr. Manhattan isn’t just *discredited* he is outright *hated*. Without irrefutable proof that it was Ozzy’s doing, Dr. Manhattan couldn’t even return to humanity to protect us – he’s the thing we need protecting FROM. And even better? should the peace start to fall apart – it seems to be considerably less effort to build a few bombs to remind people that Dr. Manhattan is still a thing that’s out there we need to rally against, than to assemble and grow a second giant psychic alien monster.

    Although I’ll give the alien monster credit for being a more *unknown* threat to humanity. How did it suddenly appear? how to we protect ourselves from another psychic wave? where did it come from and are there more? How will we know when we are safe from them? The squid’s greatest flaw is that with modern technology, if we start analyzing bits of it we may determine it’s origin.

    Whereas Dr. Manhattan is somewhat more of a known element – although he is clearly much more powerful than we can deal with (currently); his abilities have been under scrutiny for years. Presumably we might be able to tell when we have developed sufficient technology to at least protect ourselves from him. And once we’ve done that, how long until we start bickering amongst ourselves again? This time with technology sufficient to thwart Dr. Manhattan…

    • No.
      Using Manhatan, America is the Villain in the worlds eyes.
      You had Idea how many people belive that 09/11 was fake to Justify the war against Middle weast?
      People Belive that the American government Attacked their oun city to pretend to be a victim.
      You know ho will believe that Manhattan was a Villain?
      Nobody.
      Donta make sense at all.

      • Yes.
        Everybody will believe that Manhattan is the villain because all the evidence anybody would have, would point directly to him. People were already believing that he was going mad and the energy signature of the attacks matches his exactly.

        It makes perfect sense.

  14. There’s an extended cut?! Why did I never hear of this? I definitely need to see it now because yeah, they did leave a ton of the stuff out of the theatrical release and I’m curious how they fit in the extra side characters and such.

  15. I am a passionate lover of the graphic novel and read it well before Watchmen was even released. I thought that not only did the movie succeed in being one of the most faithful adaptations from any source material ever, but I never liked the squid monster to begin with even as a long time fan of the graphic novel… When in the theater watching the movie, I was like “okay, here we go, let’s see how ridiculous this squid is on screen.” What they changed about the ending actually kinda blew my mind because IMO it’s so much more impactful and fitting with the universe of the film… the squid monster WOULD. NOT. HAVE. WORKED. IN. THIS. MOVIE. I mean sheesh, I don’t even think it works in the graphic novel. thats my opinion.

  16. 1) Changing the ending to blame Dr. Manhattan is problematic… as he is throughout the story an American force. Even with him attacking American cities, America would still be blamed.

    2) The entire point of the alien invasion being too far fetched and non repeatable was that it WAS supposed to be only temporary, not work in the long term. Manhattan tells Ozzy as much.

    3)The meta point of the squid was that it was a creation of artists that messes with the world, it was a commentary on comic books in general. It was literally a 4-color pen and ink creation.

    • Considering the movie was written and storyboarded for him… ANY director with the same goal in mind would have gotten about the same result. But there’s quite a few areas he went quite wrong.

      Music choices were terrible, as was the stuff with Nixon (awful makeup job), some of the acting, the normal humans having super powers, and the over the top violence were blech. It lacked… subtlety, I suppose.

      (And I don’t care about the squid, that was such a convoluted string of subplots with bizarre payoff that it was *never* going to work. It barely even works in the book with dozens of paragraphs of villain monolouge and huge chunks of pages of C plot before it.)

      I still haven’t seen the extended cut, maybe that fixes some things. But no way it fixes the big problems.

      It was a movie closer to the book than we could have ever expected. Which just damns it all the more in the areas it got wrong, places where there were little changes that destroyed a ton of meaning or missed a bit of sentiment or cool thing the original creators did.

      Sneider obviously had love and passion for the project, and he’s probably one of the only directors that could have gotten it made, the way it got made, due sheerly to 300’s success. But it doesn’t mean he grasped and understood the material either.

      • Huge props for the opening sequence. That was easily the best addition made to the whole thing. That part was brilliant.

        Its little things, like the light outside Moloch’s apartment flickering on and off, red, then not red, so that upon the reveal of the guy being dead, suddenly its lit incredibly red and dramatic and violent.

        Or at the start, when Rorscarch is scaling the wall, and pulling himself up hand over hand, you feel the weight of the character, being HUMAN in the real world… in the movie he grappling hooks up and zips along in half a second. Makes him more superhuman and easier than it needed to be.

        When they get to New York after the giant blast, and instead of seeing horrific carnage and the effect of what happened and the horror of Ozymandias’ plan. (the only shots in the book to get full splash pages, for maximum impact) Maybe the extended cut fixes this? But instead of that, we’re just sort of given a crater, no real reaction to the death and destruction, and then move on.

        The use of contemporary songs, exactly as they were, not affected in the least by a diverged timeline or the changes in technology or God walking upon them.

        Its lots of little stuff like that, which, while none of them a big deal on their own at all, and being very nitpicky individually, none of them deal breakers… add up over dozens of instances to take something that’s hard to define away from the material.

        I saw the movie at the theater twice in two days, I never do that. It WAS the comic brought to life, and I loved it at the time. Again, it got it like, 92% right, far closer than it had any right to be. It wasn’t until later that the little things settled in and started adding up and I realized why it felt off.

        And if I’d never read the comic at all? No telling. I might have loved it and watched it dozens of times. Or I might have been confused and bothered and bored and only saw it once. Impossible to know.

    • Why would America be blamed? They would’ve been hit just as hard by the attacks as anybody else and America has no advantage as a result of it. Heck, given that the bombs were in every major world city and taking into account that many of those major world cities are in America itself one could argue that America was hit harder then most countries. Why would America inflict that sort of damage on itself without any sort of advantage?

      They wouldn’t.

      • It is not so much saying: They did it on purpose, they are the bad guys.
        It is more like: They messed with powers beond their control and fucked up.

        In this case it doesn’t matter how hard america was hit, they could have even been anihilated, the blame would still have been on them.

        The best thing happening could have been that the other big coutries create a world government and make america a protectorate, so they cannot make any more shitty decisions in the future.

        I know this will seem illogical for most americans reading this, but you know, throwing two atom bombs on japan when the war was already won didn’t make you the heroes in this war.

        And the stuff about that this safed more lifes by ending the war, it’s just a comfortable lie to justify those actions.

        • No, they would’ve blamed Dr. Manhattan because Dr. Manhattan is the one who’s actually responsible, as far as anybody would know. With an apparently insane superhuman out to destroy everybody, as evidenced by the attacks on everybody, they’d ban together to defend themselves from that person.

          It’s the only sensible course of action.

  17. @The Dom: ALL of Watchmen’s characters were based on existing ones (heroes from a company called Quality that DC had recently acquired; Moore wanted to use them but DC had other plans for them, so he made his own versions instead.) May have been for the better as it freed him to do whatever he wanted with them.

  18. -Solid review! You touch on most of the important stuff, but some of the most important small details are glossed over. I’m going to begin by saying that I like both the graphic novel AND the movie, but for rather different reasons. For me, the movie is about trade-offs, but not all of the trade-offs were necessary or even logical for a medium shift. Some of these can be chalked up to “Schnyderization”, and others can’t.

    -The most critical *in my opinion* is the direct change from humanity as a threat to itself because of our base nature to being mostly an environmental message. In the movie, Dan doesn’t understand why Ozymandias is leading the world toward nuclear war based on the evidence he has seen, but his reasoning is shown to be as off-base as Rorschach’s. The audience is repeatedly told outright that our self/mutually destructive tendencies are a resource and environment problem in the movie. In this sense, the movie doesn’t treat the audience like a child, but also forces an incomplete perspective down our throats.

    -By contrast, the graphic novel does not stress this point to the same degree and instead takes a holistic view of human destructiveness. While there are lines about Manhattan synthesizing material to allow for the shift to an electric vehicle infrastructure running on cleaner energy sources and similar bits throughout, there is just as much stress on human empathy and the lack thereof; our capacity for destruction and violence for no cause at all, for hatred, for its own sake, or for literal insanity. The problem here isn’t that there is an environmental message in the movie, it’s that the message is dumbed down to be just “environment + peace” and the other threads that were kept have no unity because of its presentation through Ozymandias. Even with the extended cut’s inclusion of the pirate comic, the comments about morality, sanity, empathy, etc. stand apart because the addition only parallels and foreshadows Ozymandias’s arc.

    -In terms of presentation, the primary difference a friend refers to as “Schnyderization” is the choice of music, the focus on the action/fights and the changes thereto (so, the entire fire & rescue bit for a strong example), and the sexual content. This also contributes to the slight tonal shift you mention die-hards noticing. The movie is sexy and action oriented and spectacular…literally, full of spectacle. In the graphic novel, the violence is stylized but not glorified and the sex is rather unsexy. Probably the best contrast here is how faithful the Comedian/Silk Spectre I part is compared to the Night Owl II/Silk Spectre II bits. The graphic novel stresses action -> consequences and the emotional content or lack thereof, whereas the movie stresses the moment.

    -So, yes, I like both. I think each has their particular strengths and shortcomings, and that the movie manages to get it right way, WAY more than I could have ever hoped, and there truly is a lot to be said for that. That the extended cut was truly cut for time rather than content is lots of bonus points. I even like both endings and even that they are indeed different. Sometimes, small changes in the lens through which something is viewed will force you to think about it in different but constructive ways. This can be valuable, but that value can only be obtained by understanding not only the cause of the differences but also their effect. Sorry for Tall of Wexting you D=

  19. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    When you said to go watch your lost in adaptation I was confused cause I already watched the lost in adaptation first. Also in part 1 you said you’d discuss the movies ending so I’m confused witch one would you want us to watch first the lost in adaptation or beginners guide?

    O.k. Now that that rant is over I really enjoyed the videos I’m assuming that doctor manhattan is the electro of this universe and silver specter is the black cat(btw she does look fine rawl!!! And I can’t believe you made me do that thanks). I’ll probably forget about the spoilers and read the graphic novel when I’m about thirty(even though it will be rare and expensive since its an old comic).

  20. Dom: I agree with you. The movie is one of my favourite movies of all time and I HAVE read the comic book (Alan doesn’t like the term graphic novel). I just prefer the movie, it’s a lot more slick and properly tied together.

  21. Just wanted to say, I enjoyed your choices in background music.

  22. One of my favorite adaptations, favorite comic book and favorite movie of all time. The plot in the comic book fit better together, but the ending the movie was tighter.

  23. After reading comments.. The reason why the rest of the world would blame America after the attack, even though they possibly took the brunt of the damage? Manhattan was their big blue dick they kept waving in everybodies face. “Look at our big blue dick. You piss us off, we are going to shove it up your ass.”

    Now, the attack happens, yes, america took the most of the damage, But why would that matter? Manhattan was their big blue dick. And now its just fucked up a bunch of the world. Why couldnt they keep control of their big blue dick. Why did they even have it in the first place, keeping shoving it in our faces. Who cares if they got fucked up, its their fault for keeping something so dangerous.

    Its like a guy has a giant attack dog which has at his fence barking at you all the time, he threatens you with it constantly. One day it gets off the chain, mauls the fuck out of the guy, tears big chunks out of you and your neighbors. Ok, he got mauled, but so did you. He kept that thing threatening you with it all the time. Who cares about him now. Its his fault it all happened. Fuck that guy, fuck his dog. And fuck his big blue dick.

    • That said… I.. dont have as much problem as i used to with the change. Both were going to fail. In the comic there was alot of evidence left about the creation of the creature, and Rorschach mailing his journal with all that was going on to the papers. At the end when ozy asks manhattan if it works and getting that little smirk..

      And here, Manhattan is leaving, and not coming back. he is going to have to come up with some new threat, or keep blowing up cities and hoping people buy that its the Big Blue Dick. They were plans to force people to work together, but despite all the work.. There were flaws that are going to bring it crashing down.

    • No, it’s like one guy from a certain neighborhood goes berserk and goes on a murderous rampage then blaming the entire neighborhood because that one guy happened to live there. That neighborhood would be no more responsible for the actions of that psycho then America would be for the perceived actions of Dr. Manhattan, to think otherwise would be absolutely moronic.

      • But in that neighbor hood, all the people endorse and idolize that one guy, who flaunt that guy infront of everybody, and tell them “Hey, you fuck with us, we will send this crazy fucker after you”

        America used him as a weapon. They flaunted it, they used him to shove other countries around, wage war, and push what they want. On top of it, Its not a rational time, its the cold war, they are brinked on the edge of nuclear annihilation out of complete distrust for each other.

        People keep thinking of him as an individual, which is awesome, as thats what he is. But, in that world, he is a weapon, thats how he is shown to the rest of the world, thats how he was used. By america.

        I hate to go this route, cause its pretty close to being a stupid fallacious load, but say some terrorist organization got a horrible bomb, they threaten people with it constantly, and it goes off in their base. Do you feel sympathy for them?

        You cant think to logically on this, its a time full of heightened emotions from a dragged out and horrible cold war, one side has a weapon of mass destruction they have just been using all over as shown in the movie.

        One other problem with your argument. He isnt just a random citizen, He is a certified government endorsed super human. He isnt “john from down the road” He is an active force in the Military, science and research departments, a celebrity, and tons of things that are very much putting him as a big part of america. he is even named, in some part, Of a big american city. You think Dr. Manhattan, your thinking of something american.

        Lets turn it around. If Russia during then had a general or someone go crazy and start launching nukes all over the world, including at targets in Russia, do you think everybody would be willing to let it go as he was just some Rogue?

        The guy is a part of the government, therefore they are accountable for his actions, even if he goes crazy, and blasts them to. Hell. In real life nukes were almost launched after small misunderstandings. Now imagine back then, No internet to spread news quickly.

        The Kremlin was just destroyed by Dr. Manhattan, Hong Kong, Shang Hai, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo (i cant remember if they were listed as nuclear active in the comics.. but big city= target) and all those other places. Do you think they are going to call Washington and go “hey! Why did you do that!” while waiting for the Big Blue Dick to come back and finish them off, Or are they going to go the route of mutually assured destruction? Which was the deterrent at the time. “If you nuke us, we will nuke you”

        Remember, there was no instant access to information back then, it took time as you couldnt just Text the white house and go “hey! Why U Nuke uz?”

        You couldnt instantly get a news crew on the scenes of the explosions and show what had happened, in the time it took for them to load up the cameras, the shots are already on their way in. Not to mention its possible that the guy with the launch codes wasn’t watching channel 4 news even if they could get out that fast.

        As for how hair triggered things were durring the cold war? http://www.cracked.com/article_19790_6-tiny-mistakes-that-almost-ended-world.html

        And, remember, we have the luxury of knowing whats going on. They don’t, for them its the end of the world, and a very clear and obvious source of whats causing it. Manhattan wasnt an american secret weapon, he was on the cover of magazines, on TV talk shows, all that. They are under massive pressure from the attack. They probably arent going to act rationally.

        Also. You had a decent argument until you threw out the absolutely moronic. That just kinda slapped your whole point off the table. never good to flat out insult in a debate/argument.

        • Ah, so you clearly know about how many times mutually assured destruction was averted by said nations being rational and putting the brakes on things like retaliatory strikes despite having actual provocation, much the less tragicomical misunderstandings. Wait…that’s the opposite of what you said. Hrm. No, wait I’ve got it! Because in the movie, Manhattan’s departure from the planet and America’s effective loss of control *wasn’t* highly publicized and a global news event which caused increased communication between powers. What’s that? You’re telling me it was exactly that thing? There were even days between the departure and the ‘attack’? Next you’ll tell me they actually showed Nixon in touch with the rest of world about it, or that at least the USSR is implied to also be able to independently confirm Manhattan’s energy signature while having things like their own psych profile on the dude, which by extension means they would understand how unstable, uncontrollable, and effectively independent he not only is at that particular moment but little control the US gov has actually had over him for quite some time. Almost like they were keeping him distracted by science experiments or something. OH. Ohhhhhhhh. Riiiiiight.

          I mean, hell, at this point you’ll tell me that Davidson was referring to the people in the Watchmen setting who would believe as you state rather than you yourself for presenting the argu…ment. Well, I mean, even if he did it’s almost like treating a pot-shot ad hominem as discrediting the rest of the argument is a huge fallacy of…its…own. Huh. You know what, this is getting really awkward all of a sudden. Do you want to start over?

          • TheUnkindlyOnes

            Well, first, in the misunderstandings, they didnt involve giant blue blasts of energy largely identified with Dr Manhattan blowing things up. Its one thing to stop launches when their are blips on a radar or such, its another when the explosions are going off.

            Second.. You got me there, i thought he had made it clear to all (like when he was being interviewed, maybe i got it mixxed up between comic and movie, been while since i read both) he was taking off. So if he didnt, then yeah, it would allow him to keep using him as a threat. But eventually he has to do something to show that the threat does still exist.

            (Correction, for the comic at least, checking watchman timeline,
            Sunday, October 20th 1985
            The main headline of the New York Gazette’s morning edition is “Dr. Manhattan Leaves Earth”. Cant find if thats in the movie, and if so, is actually a Shown thing (beyond like a 2 second screen flash)

            Third, my point is why would they take the time to make sure it was manhattan by running tests on energy signatures, when they have pretty clear effects of how it is when he starts vaporizing things. All they know is it basicly looks like Manhattan is fucking things up At that moment. In that situation, with the cities being destroyed, they are likely to target the likely source, which was the US. And, even if it was known that he was going unstable, that just means he was the US’s Big Blue Unstable dick they were using as a weapon and threat. Even if they didnt do an immediate retaliation, there would still be plenty of hostility, look at what happened here after terror attacks, and how it affects the people of the “same” (flaming pants on head same that is) religion and so forth. Its a shitty bullshit thing.. But its how it goes, and at the time, those people were kinda “Worse” from the strain of it, it shows how quickly they start to riot at things, which is understandable from all the stress.

            And as for how little control the US had over him, again, they still flaunted it as if they did. All the way from 1960 to 1985 they acted as if they had control.

            How bout we agree both sides have good points so far? You’ve given the most solid case i’ve read, making this discussion Awesome. Thank you! Truly and honestly!

            *awkward cough* I do also have to admit… The main reason i posted, was to see how many times i could validly use “Big Blue Dick” in the discussion while actually making a point. … Yeah…

  24. I really enjoy your work Dom, and this video is no exception. I loved the graphic novel, including all the auxiliary bits and pieces of seemingly-random news articles, memos, and whatnot, and how they came together at the end to all make sense. Obviously that is a much harder experience to replicate on film – maybe you could do it on DVD, or with a tablet/iPad peripheral being used in conjunction with the film, but certainly not in theatres, so I never expected them to do so.

    However, as much as I loved the comic, I loved the film just as much. The ending *had* to be changed. An eldritch, Lovecraftian-style abomination works in narrative fiction, but not so much in the visual medium. It’s one of the reasons Lovecraft’s works are so difficult to adapt. In the comic, I always hated the ending. Perhaps I would have felt differently if I read it when it was first published, but it just seemed too silly for an otherwise enthralling look at a very dark and somewhat “realistic” look at a superhero story. The movie’s alterations were, while not perfect, a vast improvement in terms of fitting with the tone of the rest of the narrative. The only part I was disappointed they left out was the hint at the very end that Dr. Manhattan was actually the creator of our own superhero-less universe (or at least a very similar one). Outside of that, Snyder did a very good job at translating a very difficult work to the screen. The beginning montage perfectly encapsulated the whole “superheroes affecting real history” idea, and the way they incorporated the older generation of vigilantes did enough to flesh out their world to seem like this was one where they could have actually existed.

    My biggest complaint with the film is that I felt they missed an opportunity to really show what the world was like for non-superheroes or their friends and family. There is a great subplot with Rorschach’s psychiatrist where he slowly realizes how meaningless everything in his life and their world is, right up until the moment where he meets his death in the final tragedy with the appropriate level of apathy. With the peripheral material, and quick snippets of scenes on the city streets, you can see what it was like to live in a world where gods walked amongst the common folk, and how that might alter people’s perceptions of themselves and their viewpoints.

    Other than that, I think the film really only suffered from being an adaptation in the same way the Lord of the Rings films did, with fans of the source material disparaging any change made that made it different from the book/comic, while simultaneously deriding it for not altering certain aspects that may have come across as a bit cheesy or “unrealistic” on film. The elves arriving at Helm’s Deep is a point I always heard fans complain about, yet never understood why, as it offered the film exactly what was needed to show both the reuniting of old allies at the end of an age, and the unexpected help received by the defenders, when a bunch of trees beating up orcs would have looked utterly ridiculous on screen and taken too much time to set up and explain. That’s the same issue that I feel the finale falls under, where to replicate the comic’s ending faithfully, they would have had to include far too much exposition about kidnapped scientists, artists, and the like, in order for it to not come completely out of nowhere, and even then, it’d be next to impossible to not make it look like a ridiculous CGI SyFy Channel movie. I can understand why people may not have liked the film, but not because of the way it was adapted.

  25. It is undeniable that Watchmen is both plot wise and visually one of the most fateful adaptations ever made. For all intensive purposes, it is a shot for shot copy of the novel. There in lies the problem: the film is nothing more than a photo copy. It has no new interpretations of the themes and ideas, no grasp of why the story is the way it is, and makes no attempt to be its own creation. The problem with the film is that it really is pointless. 300 is also a shot for shot remake (Frank Miller even got a directing credit because of how closely the shots matched the comic) and it is fine. The difference is that 300 is little more than epic fights and really cool graphics. The film only emphasis these aspects. Watchmen, however, is a groundbreaking work that shows a true mastery of the form and ingrained ideals of sequential art. All of this is lost in adaptation. It is like trying to paint a new Mona Lisa: no matter how well you recreate the brushstrokes, it will never be as good and, since it is merely a copy and not its own work of art, has nothing to offer except to be compared to its superior version.

  26. Hell F’n yeah it’s freaking awesome! One can only dream that Marvel’s and DC’s movies could ever be this good.

  27. he’s right, the movie had the better ending. it did a better job of setting up mr. manhattan for the attack, it also made more sense to do it that way. giant exploding monster? really? maybe for the comic, but for the film no way.

  28. frostbitelizard

    Please tell me you’re doing world war z some time, God knows that “adaptation” deserves a good ripping apart.

  29. do Sin City now. Please!!!

  30. Kelvarin Blight

    Like several people here I enjoyed the movie but the ending is flawed, even more so when compared to the original work. In the Original ending the Squid dies and that ends its attack, showing mankind that there are other powers to beware of but that they can be killed. To me this would force mankind to seek out these other lifeforms uniting it for several generations, which should be enough to make a more permanent peace, while they search the stars form them. Given the size of our own galaxy this would keep them together for a long time. The movie’s Flaw is why has Dr. Manhattan stop attacking? If his goal is to destroy mankind no one could stop him, or even slow him down. So since the attacks have stopped and no one did anything in a few years the peace will break down and things will be worst than before with extra blame for the “phoney Dr. Manhattan” attacks now added into the problems. The movie seem just so short sighted to be the plan of a true genius.

    • @ Kevin BLight, actually the device used to create the explosions still exists, all Ozzy has to do is reuse it whenever that happens or to find an heir who is willing to take over the post even if he has to create one to do so. Likewise in the movie they are only going after one person and only want that one person, in the end of the graphic novel they are preparing to go to war with every alien race in existence, so in the movie they are more likely to befriend any species they encounter while in the novel they will just try to wipe them out for something one of their own kind cooked up for a false peace that Rorshach was the only one to see through and understand that while it could be called peace it wasn’t really peace and he didn’t want to be in the world when it fell apart as it descends into something worse than it was before.

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