Monday, October 20, 2008

Watchmen Ending Changed?

Remember that Watchmen test screening I told you about last week? Well it happened, and buzz coming out of the screening has the Watchmen fan community throwing a hissy fit. Before you get nervous, know this - everyone says the film is awesome. However, the fans are upset over how Zack Snyder’s ending varies from that of the one in the graphic novel.

And there really is no way of talking about the ending of a film without spoilers being involved. That said, you have been warned. Story after the jump.

SPOILERS…

Yes, Spoilers…

Skip the rest of the story if you don’t want to know.

A couple of people who attended the screening posted reports on the IMDb message boards, only to have their posts quickly removed. Nothing has been officially confirmed, so PLEASE consider this with a grain of salt for now. According to the reports, the climax of the graphic novel where Veidt releases his squid in New York City, was not in the movie. Instead, Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias build a machine that mimics Dr Manhattan’s powers and Ozy uses the machine to set off atomic bomb like explosions in various cities around the world.

The exclusion of the squid is very puzzling, especially considering the numerous reports from a variety of sources that the squid was included in the film. Even cast members have made mention of a beastie in the film’s climax. Who knows, there is always the possibility that Snyder shot multiple endings, although I’m doubtful. The amount of money it would take to film either ending would be substantial. So I doubt Warner Bros would have allowed him to film both.

I’ve talked with a couple of my friends who are fans of the book, and many of them were quick to admit that unleashing the squid was probably not the best way to go. The new ending supposedly works thematically, and isn’t that what is really important? I understand that part of being a fanboy is to expect a big screen adaptation to be an exact replication of what he’s read on paper. I mean, what would fandom be without the constant bickering over the different changes made from book to screen? But is it possible that Snyder could have went for a better ending?

Update: Our friends at Collider have an interview with Kevin Smith, where he talks about having seen Watchmen. Here is his response to the question about if the ending is different:

“It's a little different. While it is a slight departure, it actually makes sense in the context of the story because it brings the characters back into it. It kind of makes the movie more about them by the end of it because of the switch they made. I would never say that Alan Moore fucked it up or something. I love the ending of the Watchmen comic book, but I think this ending works just as well.”


[...] gonna have to be away for a short while today but check this out, according to slashfilm, apparently, some of the lucky audiences who got to see the Test Screening of WATCHMEN in Portland, [...]
User comment: By: Dreiberg
what I inferred from Peter's post is that Ozymandias uses the machine to fool the world into thinking that Manhattan himself has intervened, from his self-imposed exile on Mars. this has the effect of establishing the other-world external threat to humanity Wehtam rightly identifies as central to Watchmen's resolution. the issue for me is why Manhattan would be complicit in the creation of this machine. presumably Ozymandias fools him into believing it is for another purpose. but could you ever really deceive Dr Manhattan? I agree with Diesel, only I'd go further - take it with a mountain of salt at this stage ≠ )
User comment: By: Jarrad Wilkes
Who gives a funk? Materialising a giant squid in New York was the lamest part of the book - really stupid and totally at odds with the realistic treatment of the characters etc. Idiot comic book fanboys need to get over themselves.
User comment: By: Wehtam
The thing is it's not supposed to be a squid it's supposed to be an extra terrestrial (possibly extra dimensional) attack i.e. an other worldly, external threat to humanity, that's why it's supposed to bring us all together, it's a common fear. Setting a bunch of nuclear style explosions off in various cities around the world would be more likely to cause a nuclear holocaust through retaliation...but then I guess it depends how it's handled in the film!
User comment: By: diesel
like peter said: take it with a grain of salt.
User comment: By: kaneoz1980
If there is no squid in the movie there wouldn't be a secret island where all the writers, artists and scientists etc for the comedian to find and then why is the comedian killed at the beginning? removing the squid really rips the thread out of the movie and a lot of stuff would need to be changed so that if flows again, cause if its replaced with devices that Dr Manhattan and Ozymandias are building it will really change Dr Manhattans story. Also why would Dr Manhattan need help 'building' a machine? he can do it with his mind.
User comment: By: Mr. B
The film is the film and the novel is the novel. As long as it plays well and doesn't pull some shit like the ending of The Golden Compass, I'm not too worried. I don't need the film to fullfill the ethos and mythos of the novel, I have that on my shelf. What the film can do for me is show me a larger than life and spectacular painting of the story.
User comment: By: Lazaros
I know i know they want to make a sequel do i win a lollipop (not a Lolita ) ?
User comment: By: Raerth
Jesse M hit it on the head.
User comment: By: Jesse M.
My main problem with this: in the comic, I think part of what horrified the Comedian so much when he discovered Veidt's plot was that killing millions with a fake alien squid is such a crazy idea that it really does seem like a sick joke on a huge scale, hence his lines to Moloch "I mean, this joke, I mean, I thought *I* was the comedian, y'know?" and "I mean, what's funny? What's so goaddamned funny? I don't get it. Somebody explain...somebody explain it to me." I think this may have been part of Moore's motivation for having a character called "The Comedian" be so central to the story in the first place, because it ties in with the enormous joke Veidt pulls on humanity at the end. Whereas, just faking some explosions due to experiments with high-tech forms of energy isn't weird enough to have that "joke" aspect, it's more like the plot of a Bond villain or something. And of course, making Veidt's plot no longer seem like a bizarre joke also takes away most of the relevance of the bloody-smiley-face motif which appears throughout the comics and is sort of the "logo" of the entire series.
User comment: By: David
Thanks to Empire Magazine for the photo above. And Christopher Ms scanner.
User comment: By: fraiser
i think shia getting teleported and dying would bring the world together. sounds global enough to me.
User comment: By: orange cinema
i'll wait to see it before i decide. but i will say that changing such a crucial part of the story, and saying things like "But is it possible that Snyder could have went for a better ending?" is exactly why alan moore gets upset, and why he has taken his name off this project. i cringe at the visual of Ozy & Dr M building a machine together, but we will see.
User comment: By: dreiberg
and above ≠)
User comment: By: dreiberg
i think you only touched on the real story here - 'everyone says the film is awesome'. you only have to watch the teaser trailer to see that Snyder has shown a slavish devotion to the graphic novel. it will be fascinating to see if and where he has changed it, and to think (and talk endlessly) about his reasoning for doing so. see below ?)
User comment: By: YoungZe
I hear Alan Moore being pissed again.
User comment: By: cinemaniac1979
My biggest concern is that this new ending might take out the "other worldly" threat that the giant "alien" squid presented. One reason that Watchmen hit me so hard when I read it is how it ties in to "real world" conspiracy theories. The story goes that Wernher von Braun (famous German/American rocket scientist) was quoted in the sixties that their were forces orchestrating various threats in order to bring the world together under one government. They started with Communism, then went to Global Terrorism, then to an extra terrestrial threat. He supposedly said this in the 1960s. I just don't see how a Manhattan Machine is going to work to incorporate that threat and keep that otherworldly element in place.
User comment: By: Nish
I consider Watchmen to be a fairly hard comic to get accurate on the big screen in terms of sticking to the plot, so I think going for an ending that works on screen better than the squid is a good idea and fine by me. However, it will ruin the one line summary of the Watchmen: psychic space vaginas save the world.
User comment: By: prophecy_projectz
The change probably does work for the film's context, but now you've officially lost the vote of confidence from the purists. It will be intresting to see how many people will judge the film just on the changed ending and not the rest of the film.
User comment: By: Rachel
Hmmm...will be very disappointed if this is true, but I can see the part about the squid not being "global" enough. But, I don't see why would Dr. Manhattan help to build a machine that mimics his powers. :/ Doesn't seem very canon to me. IDK.

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