Watching the Watchmen





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Watching the Watchmen

Dr Alex Tang

The much awaited Watchmen movie is worth the waiting for. Based on an award winning graphic novel (meaning collected comic series) by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-1987), it translated well to the big screen. It is about an alternate 1985 where Richard Nixon is a third time elected President of the United States, and about a world that is on the point of destruction by nuclear war between the United States and USSR.

The movie starts with a rather long introductory credits which fill in details of this alternate timeline from the second world war to the 1980s. Then the movie proper started with the murder of an aging vigilante who called himself Comedian. The Comedian belonged to a group of vigilantes who came together masked to fight crime and do good. They are Nite Owl 1, Rorscharch, Comedian, Dr. Manhattan, Ozmandias and Silk Spectre 1.

At the time of the murder, almost all have retired, even Nite Owl 2 and Silk Spectre 2. Vigilantes have been outlawed. By flashbacks, the characters are fleshed out by showing what they have done and what they are doing now they are old and retired. At first glance, it may be a story about what happen to superheroes when they grew old and retire.

 Without revealing the plot and storyline, the movie brings to mind what Plato has written in The Republic about the philosopher-king and his elite whose primary purpose is to do good for their society. What happens if the only way for this good to be achieved for the society is for the philosopher-king and his elite to do evil; like murder and manipulation of people. In other words, does the end justified the means? This is the question I struggled with when I watched The Dark Knight. In order to preserve Harvey Dent's good reputation and hence the good of Gotham, the citizens of Gotham must never know that Harvey is also the evil Two Face. Batman took the blame for all of Two Face's murders and thus became a hunted outlaw. This was a decision between Batman and James Gordon. A lie has to be maintained for the good of Gotham.

A similar issue arises in this movie. The USA and USSR is on an inevitable nuclear war on which the survival of the human race is in doubt. To save the human race, is it justifiable to commit murder, kill innocent people, deceive and manipulate friends? This is an obvious conflict between Kantian philosophy (the end never justifies the means) and consequentialism (the end justifies the means).

The movie is slow moving in parts but cleverly directs the viewers to its inevitable conclusion. I can only sit in stunned horror at the end as the enormity of the plot unfolded. This is a good ending for a movie. For a movie book based on a comic book, there is little fighting but a lot of conversation, a couple of sex scenes (censored, of course) and a glowing naked blue man walking around. I do not think it is a suitable movie to bring young children. Not only is it very long (about 3 hours), it is dreggy at parts. In fact I was distracted by the other movie goers having their own conversations. I believe they are bored. Nevertheless, I am looking forward for the DVD to come out which I believe and hope will be the four hours long



A CT Movie review with discussion questions. Watchmen Review by Russ Breimeier | posted 3/06/2009

Legions of fans who have read Watchmen over the years already know they want to see this long awaited film adaptation. But for the sake of the uninitiated, let's make something perfectly clear: this is not your average, straightforward, family-friendly superhero movie.

For sure, it's got plenty of caped crusader action, but not the tame "Biff! Bam! Boom!" variety common to Saturday morning fare. The graphic violence is surrounded by a labyrinthian plot packed with satire and social commentary that oftentimes blurs good and evil into a complicated mixture of gray. Those who felt last year's The Dark Knight was too intense for its PG-13 rating may want to stay away from this one; Watchmen relishes in its R rating because there's no way to tone down its adult content while remaining true to the source material.

In other words, this film represents yet another example of the contrast between a comic book and a graphic novel. The difference should now be clear after Sin City, 300, V for Vendetta, Wanted, and Chris Nolan's Batman films, all adaptations of popular graphic novels incorporating complex stories, heady concepts, adult themes, and stunning visuals. These are indeed visual novels with mature content, giving equal weight to printed word and images—for that reason, it's a wonder that movies have only recently turned to graphic novels for ideas.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian, Carla Gugino as the original Silk Spectre

Ask any comic geek for their pick of the greatest graphic novel of all time, and most of them will tell you it's Watchmen. Written nearly 25 years ago, the groundbreaking story would later earn writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons a Hugo Award (the highest honor in sci-fi literature). Name your favorite literary classic—Watchmen is considered the equivalent among graphic novels, a masterpiece influencing everything from Pixar's The Incredibles to television's Lost.

read more

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Film Review: Watchmen Reviewed by Nathan Koblintz Watchmen the comic book is one of the highpoints of modern storytelling. What sets it apart from most portrayals of a materialist morality is that it pursues a hard-headed morality that is based solely around this world being all there is, and the film retains this hard-headedness. Read more


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Top 7 tech goodies you'll see in Watchmen


For a comic without all that much fighting in it, Watchmen sure has some awesome gadgets kicking around. We already know of a few things we can expect to see on the big screen from the trailers — the Owlship, for one — but what else? Well, wonder no longer. We've dug up some tech goodies from the comic that have been faithfully recreated in the film.

Click Continue for seven gadgety reasons to be excited for Watchmen.


 1. The Owlship The Owlship — also known as Archimedes, or lovingly as "Archie" — is Nite Owl's sweet crime-bustin' jalopy. It does a little bit of everything: The Owlship can fly, go under water, emit ear-piercing frequencies that keep people at bay, and it's armed to the teeth with stuff like air-to-air missiles and water cannons. Just don't try to light a cigarette — that's not an in-dash lighter.


2. Rorschach's Mask Just like the man himself, Rorschach's mask is an ever-shifting mosaic of hard black-and-whites that never produce any gray. Rorschach made his "face" from a material synthesized by Dr. Manhattan, incorporating a layer of heat- and pressure-sensitive viscous fluid held between two layers of latex. In the comic, it's rarely the same between two panels and, in the movie, watching it shift around is a treat. Just don't take his "skin" from him — his face isn't the only thing that's uglier when the mask comes off.


3. Intrinsic Field Chamber Getting caught in the intrinsic field chamber doesn't seem so bad if you get godly powers like Dr. Manhattan. Makes you wonder why no one else tried it. Because of it, Dr. Manhattan is able to do seemingly anything, from teleporting to Mars to synthesizing water, materials for lithium-ion batteries, or anything else he wants. How does it work? To quote Wally, the assistant who first introduced the good Doctor to the machine, "Beats the hell outta me!"


4. Rorschach's Grapple Gun Rorschach's grapple gun gives him another option instead of heading through the front door, though he's certainly not afraid to do so (just ask the gun's builder, Nite Owl II, whose house door certainly wasn't spared after he made the gun for the vigilante). It's got a big four three-pronged hook and a seemingly endless line, and it has even helped him escape when there wasn't a wall to climb. There's a guy out there with a hole in his chest who probably didn't appreciate Rorschach's creativity, though.


5. Nite Owl's Goggles While he isn't based off of Batman, everything about Nite Owl will probably have moviegoers thinking back to the Caped Crusader, Nite Owl's goggles included. They allow the Owl to see in the dark — perfectly, rather than in all green, like you'd get with infrared — and in the movie they even have a heads-up interface for a little extra zing. Arguably their most important feature, though, is that they're a babe magnet. Well, for chicks in costume anyway.


6. Über Remote Controls In the comic, Nite Owl uses a universal remote control that does everything from turn on the lights in his kitchen to steer the Owlship. Not too shabby, right? Ozymandias has a remote in the comic, too, though it's the same thing you've got at home and only in a few frames. In the movie, however, his über remote will help him control more than just his big wall of TV screens he has in his arctic fortress, Karnak, pictured above.


7. Nite Owl's Lair While not a gadget itself, Nite Owl's lair is packed with them. It's more than just a hangar for the Owlship, the Nest's also got a few other vehicles — including hover bikes read more



from All Things

Watchmen Coffee (Nite Owl Dark Roast)


(picture from

In case you're a grown-up and a Watchmen lunchbox doesn't appeal to you, you might consider getting a can of Watchmen coffee. I doubt that that any movie theater will allow you to bring in a coffee maker or a travel mug into the theater so you can sip on your tasty Nite Owl Dark Roast while you watch the movie, so you you'll probably have to stick with drinking it at home only (until you get the DVD). According to Amazon, this is the "World's First Movie Tie-in Coffee," which seems unlikely, but I can't confirm or deny this. A couple of other snippets from Amazon: It's organic fair trade, 51% of the profits go to charity and there's a limited number of these comic book coffee cans produced (I heard somewhere that they only made 10,000).

cool, I gonna get a can



The Art of the Watchmen

On display now (April 2009) at the Museum of Comic Book Art in Manhattan: an exhibition of the art from the graphic novel series WATCHMEN along with visual art from the movie.






|posted 13 March 2009|

updated |11 April 2009|


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