MOVIES: The Watchmen

If you have a teenage son, you may hear him talk about or attempt to see the new film, Watchmen, based on a graphic novel of the same name.

The film has been rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language. Scenes include a pregnant woman being killed by gunshot to the belly, a man having his arms cut off with a saw and a child being eaten by dogs.

It’s also worth noting this excerpt from an interview with the author of Watchmen, Alan Moore:

Moore: After all, if you were somebody who enjoyed preying upon children, then there’s only a certain number of jobs that are actually going to send that kind of action your way.

Interviewer: (Laughs) Priest.

Moore: That’ll do!

Yeah, it doesn’t seem like a pleasant movie. I much prefer the more family-friendly heroes like Spider-Man and X-Men.

Really? Extreme brutality? Is this at all surprising? Has anyone actually read the graphic novel?

:stuck_out_tongue: It’s not called graphic without reason!

I’ve read the novel and parts of it were hard to take. I will probably see Watchmen, but not at the theater.

Alan Moore has disowned the movie and his name is not on it. He is a very odd duck - I believe he is an anarchist and atheist.

I have no interest in seeing it, but it is what it says on the tin. Its not an ordinary superhero movie (at least, if it stays close to the original), and it will be pretty dark.

In comics form, it was one of those “regrettable classics”, because the story itself was extraordinarily well done, but the knock-on effects were unfortunate, because it really started the whole grimdark phase of comics. Everybody wanted to write like Watchmen, without realizing that Watchmen was unique, and didn’t belong in everyday comics to begin with.

Moore’s a magician-one of his comics Promethea was actually written so that it formed a spell when completed. He uses the Greek god Hermes quite a lot in that who at points breaks the fourth wall - ’ I’d rate him as a seminal figure in comic book history but I wouldn’t embrace his personal morality which is rather loose as he had an ‘open’ marriage at one point - in contrast to say someone like Jack Kirby int the comics industry who I would recommend as a role model at a personal level. Moore’s pretty much oppossed to all organised religions and has made that clear about them at times in interviews though he does avoid stereotyping character of a specific background.

But Watchmen is not a kids comic book- i read it at age 14 but that was because a) my parents couldn’t imagine a comic book having anything beyond superman catching lex luthor in it and b) considering the area i grew up in my parent’s woud rather i was reading something than getting involved in petty crime etc. like many of my schoomates eventually did. Also, my mum and dad were pretty reasonable about whatever I read, they’d have drawn the line at porn or hard core horror movies (not that I’ve ever found them anything but laughably silly in most cases) but outside that I could read what I chose. It would require a level headed teenager to read it properly.

Watchmen is brutal - unfortunately comic book readers are a clannish lot and we forget what is a major work of the last two decades is not well known for most non-comic book readers. Sure, there was the odd article on Watchmen when it was new saying how comics ‘had grown up’ blah blah but it is not rooted in the public consciousness like Shakespeare (and mind you he’s pretty brutal to)

A couple of points about the brutal acts mentioned by the OP - the pregnant women in the original was shot by the the character the Comedian while he was working for the US govt in Vietnam, the character is NOT a role model, technically he’s a hero and lauded as such by the govt but we see him up close… (worth mentioning Nixon is in power and never was impeached in the comics continuity and has succeeded in overturning the rules about pesidents only been allowed to serve two terms)

Here’s the character in Vietnam a bit futher down- the acutal sequence where he shoots the prengant women runs thus. He is about to leave Vietnam and the young woman he has been sleeping with has become pregnant and implores him to stay and take responsibilty for the child, he ignores and walks away and she slashs his face with a broken bottle and he rounds on her and shoots her with an automatic pistol in the belly. He is a pretty unpleasant character all around (athough Moore makes his evil all the more effective by the occassional glimpse at some of his virtues) and believes the world is largely a black joke - hence his name.

All the ‘superheroes’ in this are pretty much unstable - only two or three them approach normalcy at all. I’d highly recommend the comic but I reserve judgement on the movie - so far any of Moore’s work that’s been turned into movies has resulted in a pretty disastrous final product. V for Vendetta was about the best and that’s still one million light years away from the source material. I’d personally like to see people stop with the super-hero movies myself or make movies based on non-superhero comic book properties.

As to Rorschach - he’s the character concerned with the infamous scene with dogs eating a kid - in the comic that’s implied from him looking at items in the home of the guy he’s investigating for kidnapping -such as a chopping block with a lot of marks on it, a number of knives and scraps of a girl’s dress. He then looks out the window and see dogs squabbling over bones and you are supposed to put two and two together as he does. He is NOT a mentally well man, he isn’t the most evil character by far, but he is mentally disturbed and proner to viewng the world in insanely black and white terms - this is a quote from him below talkign to a prison physciatrist after capture - you can see reading it we are not dealing with a very mentally stable individual:-

Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night. Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us. Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning it’s illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world. Was Rorschach. Does that answer your questions, Doctor?

BTW, the X-men are more family friendly? Wolverine is a man who kills in berzeker rages, sure he is portrayed as trying to grow beyond that but this is a man who cuts people up with metal claws when you get right down to it.

I’d recommend the comic to all, I feel the movie is going to just be turned into a big blockbuster and the philosophy and ambiguities and arguments as to how the public good should be defended will go out the window…hoping i might be wrong.

As I hit the 6000 character limit on that wordy post above :-

One more page from the comic to indulge my pretenious ‘comics iz literasure’ side for a moment more…

Now if someone could adapt Maus… but then again maybe it’s better they don’t.

On another site, recently I’ve gotten very annoyed with another woman who, despite having read the comic, really thinks that there is nothing wrong with what happens in it. She thinks that the movie is a “light R.” She also mentioned nonchalantly that her friend’s brother was letting his ten-year-old daughter see it as if it were no big deal.

I have read the graphic novel, I may read it again some day, but I am willing to acknowledge that it is pretty messed up.

I need to read the novel again. It’s very complex and definitely adult. I would let an older teen who is mature see it, but a 10 year old? No, I don’t think so.


I think the biggest trouble with movies based off of Moore’s work is that the film makers lack the vision that Moore had when he wrote them. V is for Vendetta turned into a Bush administration critique, and this film is likely to be more of a violent frenzy than a story.

Rorschach most evil? I would have thought Ozymandias more evil, after all, “Saul has killed thousands, but David as killed tens of thousands”.

And since that was the intent of the novel, though, a deal of moral dilema was there as well (such as, do the ends justify the means?), I highly doubt it’ll make it onto the big screen.

After all, do audiences want to question their point of view? Or see some explosions?

Personally, I liked the graphic novel “Watchmen” since I feel it showed an honest portrayal of what might actually happen if there really were superheroes. I don’t doubt there would be a number of good folk, but on the same footing, there would be ones who would go insane from or be corrupted by the amount of power their talents would give them (just as Ozymandias does in the book). Their stories, sadly, need to be told, at least in a cautionary way.

The odd thing is, to me, the most “good” of the Watchmen was Rohrshach, and he was ultimately the most insane, but as Michael D. O’Brien put it so aptly, “In a world where sane people are doing insane things and giving rational arguments to justify them, the crazy man is the one who knows what’s going on.”

For that matter, Pixar’s “The Incredibles” has been described as a kid-friendly version of “Watchmen”…

The film wasn’t watered down for kiddies to a PG-13. I’m glad it’s R. Sounds like it may be entertaining. Then again, I’m a 27 year old man who can tell fantasy from reality too.

As someone who works at a movie theatre, I can tell you that parents (despite being R) will still be bringing their children in.

Parents today don’t care. I warn them all at the box office, and they never listen to me.

What is so bad about violence anyways? It’s on the news and all over tv. If the movie is just violent then I don’t see why teens should not watch it. Kids, ya, it might be bad, but I don’t think it would be that bad for teens to watch. I mean if they want to watch it they are going to go anyways. There was never an R rated film that I wanted to see that I didn’t find a way to see at the theater when I was underage. And when I went to see South Park in the theater it was pretty much all underage teens and kids. We just bought tickets to other movies and walked in and I assume they did the same.

The comic is definitely intended to be read by adults, or older teenagers. It is a great story, yes it does feature a lot of violence, but that’s because it really digs into some of humanity and modern-time’s deepest and darkest pits. It’s gritty, bloody, and it will make you think about life, politics, war, love, religion, everything. I am looking forward to the movie, although I am hoping that they haven’t toned it down.

You’re kids will find more violence just by turning on the news. The comic/movie doesn’t glorify violence, quite the opposite, it’s a fantastic story with an underlying lesson about the dark realities of our world.

I was a college undergraduate in the late '80s when I first read the series, which was just about the right age to be. Parents with kiddies beware: the movie’s not for them, and not likely to make concessions to their sensibilities, for better or worse.

As mentioned above, Alan Moore’s an excellent writer, but a severely odd duck. When pressed about his religious views, he’ll generally insist that he’s a worshipper of one or another obscure cult deity from classical times–Mithras, Typhon, etc. He says this mainly, one suspects, to confound the interviewers.

I did want to see this movie, but it’s weird with me: the more hype the movie gets, the less I am inclined to see it (unless it’s worthy hype, i.e. The Dark Knight).

And now I’m just basically turned off by the violence and everyone and their mother praising this as the best comic movie of all time before it even came out to the theater.

Will graciously pass.

Well I’ve seen about 20 minutes of it now via the wonders of Itunes and youtube. That’s not enough to make a very informed decision but certainly some of the violence seems odd. The original comic was really only violent in scattered spots (the most violent continous sequence was the issue centring around Rorschach in prison - which made sense given the context) but there seems so far from what I have seen to be a load of ‘kewl’ moments added. I’ve also seen the part where Nite Owl and Silk Spectre rescue a load of people from a burning tenement. In the comic this was done shortly after them going back on active duty as masked heroes and it was fairly low key - a ramp was extended to the building and they helped people walk up and Nite-Owl served coffee to the people he rescued. In the movie the whole point of the sequence is lost as it starts with Silk Spectre dropping through a burning building to emerge on her feet unscathed and looking mean and moody.

I also happen to know the end of the movie (which I won’t reveal) which was accidentally revealed to me by skipping too far ahead on a message board elsewhere where someone had neglected to place a spoiler line in a post. I will say it’s only vaguely like the book and trashs the source material very badly. I’m reserving complete judgement till I can see this however as there is a glut if ‘fanboys’ amongst comic book fans who are never happy with movies adapted from comics. Personally I’ve been fairly happy with several over the last few years (although I think now enough is enough and no more superhero movies please*)

The ammount of hype about this movie is weird as it’s fiction imitating art to some degree as within the comic the text pieces at the end of each issue showed how the characters capitalised on themselves and how one of them made action figures and cartoons about - now we have action figures of them littering my local supermarket and a forthcoming video game (as a long time gamer as well as comicbook fan I confidently predict this will be drek**)

For those like Celticsfan who find this movie over-hyped (and it’s a very fair point - it is - massively so) I suggest read the comic. Although I re-read it after a decade or so the other day and would say while it’s still a very impressive work I can see where the writer was only just maturing. I’d recommend From Hell (which just destroyed in the movie adaption) as Moore’s best work myself.

*If Hollywood writers must adopt comics superheros are largely a very mainstream American part of the comic book world and there are far more things to draw upon for inspiration. Persepolis was an example of a movie adapted from comics that was non superhero based for example.

** That kind of contradicts my point about not judging without seeing but gamers will know it’s a virtually infallible rule that movie tie-in games are amongst the worst.

I don’t mind the violence. It’s the gratuitous sexual images in the movie that is the most disturbing. Not that sex is disturbing, but that it adds absolutely nothing to the story - completely unnecessary.

Moore’s a magician-one of his comics Promethea was actually written so that it formed a spell when completed.

Which basically means:

A. Occult
B. Extreme brutality
C. Sex

All forbidden to any Catholic to have anything to do with. Simple as A, B, C.

No doubt there’s plenty more -trash- in there. Whatever pleasure anyone might get from these things is no excuse – and I doubt most of the ‘pleasure’ in there is of any good whatsoever, if any of it at all.

This is not a comic book or movie you’d be enjoying in Heaven, it’s one you’d be living out in Hell.

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