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Zack Snyder Made ‘Watchmen’ ‘to Save It From the Terry Gilliams of This World’

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A frustrated Terry Gilliam, once attached to direct an adaptation of Watchmen, famously called the influential miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons “un-filmable.” For a long time it seemed he was right, at least until 2009, when Warner Bros. released Zack Snyder’s polarizing take on the comic.

Five years later, Snyder’s Watchmen is still capable of sparking debate — at least among some of the people involved with both adaptations.

Producer Joel Silver, who developed the earlier attempt with Gilliam, last week criticized Snyder as being “too much of a slave to the material,” explaining to ComingSoon that Gilliam conceived what would’ve been “a MUCH much better movie” — by significantly changing the third act.

“What he did was he told the story as-is, but instead of the whole notion of the intergalactic thing which was too hard and too silly, what he did was he maintained that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy, the world political structure,” Silver told the website. “He felt that THAT character really altered the way reality had been. He had the Ozymandias character convince, essentially, the Doctor Manhattan character to go back and stop himself from being created, so there never would be a Doctor Manhattan character. He was the only character with real supernatural powers, he went back and prevented himself from being turned into Doctor Manhattan, and in the vortex that was created after that occurred these characters from Watchmen only became characters in a comic book. […] So the three characters, I think it was Rorschach and Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, they’re all of the sudden in Times Square and there’s a kid reading a comic book. They become like the people in Times Square dressing up like characters as opposed to really BEING those characters. There’s a kid reading the comic book and he’s like, ‘Hey, you’re just like in my comic book’ It was very smart, it was very articulate, and it really gave a very satisfying resolution to the story, but it just didn’t happen. Lost to time.”

That’s arguably more “filmable” than an alien squid, but satisfying? Zack Snyder, who used Doctor Manhattan as the threat that unites the world, begs to differ.

“It’s funny, because the biggest knock against the movie is that we finally changed the ending, right?” Snyder told The Huffington Post, characterizing Gilliam’s ending as “completely insane.”

“The fans would have been thinking that they were smoking crack,” added his wife and producing partner Deborah Snyder.

“Yeah, the fans would have stormed the castle on that one,” Snyder continued. “So, honestly, I made Watchmen for myself. It’s probably my favorite movie that I’ve made. And I love the graphic novel and I really love everything about the movie. I love the style. I just love the movie and it was a labor of love. And I made it because I knew that the studio would have made the movie anyway and they would have made it crazy. So, finally I made it to save it from the Terry Gilliams of this world.”

In fairness, Silver did say he liked Snyder’s Watchmen, and the director thinks more fans might if it were released today.

“… I believe that we’ve evolved — I believe that the audiences have evolved,” he said. “I feel like Watchmen came out at sort of the height of the snarky Internet fanboy — like, when he had his biggest strength. And I think if that movie came out now — and this is just my opinion — because now that we’ve had Avengers and comic book culture is well established, I think people would realize that the movie is a satire. You know, the whole movie is a satire. It’s a genre-busting movie. The graphic novel was written to analyze the graphic novel — and comic books and the Cold War and politics and the place that comic books play in the mythology of pop culture. I guess that’s what I’m getting at with the end of Watchmen — in the end, the most important thing with the end was that it tells the story of the graphic novel. The morality tale of the graphic novel is still told exactly as it was told in the graphic novel — I used slightly different devices. The Gilliam version, if you look at it, it has nothing to do with the idea that is the end of the graphic novel. And that’s the thing that I would go, ‘Well, then don’t do it.’ It doesn’t make any sense.”

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Comments

  • Lyle

    Okay, so, who’s going to save us from the Zack Snyders of the world?

  • Alex W

    Your money

  • Simon Is

    Just like Man of Steel, there was spectacle but not much heart in that Watchmen adaptation. It was just kind of there, which is really too bad.

  • Andy Synn

    Funnily enough I’ve always enjoyed the film as a sort of… satire? deconstruction?… I’m not sure exactly of the right word at this moment… of superheros in a “real” setting. They’re damaged and dysfunctional and don’t have the same “get-out clauses” that they would have in comics. I like the film a lot because of how it shows that superheroics don’t really work. I could probably explain that better, but time grows short and there is crime afoot!

  • Osvaldo Oyola

    Let’s just stick with unfilmable and be done.

  • http://tonysharp.me/ Tony Sharp

    Thank you, Zac Snyder. I thought Watchmen was one of the best adaptions of a graphic novel / comic ever made. It was very faithful to the source material, which is what an “adaption” should be.

  • joe87

    “Man of Steel” had a lot of heart, and it becomes more apparent with subsequent viewings. It more than made up for how awful “Watchmen” was.

  • penguintruth

    Watchman was a decent enough movie, but it removed a lot of the subtlety of Moore’s writing.

  • bigchewp

    What there’s a watchman movie? Really?? Oh yeah I sort of remember that!
    Now a Terry Gilliams movies are unforgettable, Snyder played safe, safe is dull, Gilliam is crazy, but crazy and genius are great bedfellows.

  • ziza9

    Gonna echo your sentiment. Thank you Zack Snyder.

  • sowat

    The Gilliam/Silver version doesn’t sound any better to me.

    “There’s a kid reading the comic book and he’s like, ‘Hey, you’re just like in my comic book’ It was very smart, it was very articulate, and it really gave a very satisfying resolution to the story, but it just didn’t happen. Lost to time.”

    Thank God it was lost to time. This ending doesn’t sound smart, it actually sounds quite bad. The Watchmen we got could have been different but I agree with Snyder on that much, I don’t think fans would have liked the other version.

  • Nik

    Watchmen is an amazing movie on all fronts. One of the best, if not THE BEST, comic adaptation I’ve seen. And from the most complicated material no less!

  • Paul Davidson

    Gilliam is “full of it”.

  • Kalis Konig

    …so let me get this straight. People actually rag on watchmen for being to close to the source material? woooow. and that proposed ending was just boring and dumb.

  • Frank Kim

    Watchmen was genius, Man of Steel was horrible.

  • Frank Kim

    Just don’t understand why he did Man of Steel as he did. Watchmen was so faithful to the book, the Man of Steel wasn’t a Superman from the books movie. Movies like Wolverine should have taken a lesson from Watchmen to stay close to the book. The Wolverine movie was an insult to the Miller/Claremont series.

  • J.p. Ducey

    I have nothing to say to people who didn’t like WATCHMEN. They are the type of people who aren’t happy unless they’re complaining. Silver and Gilliam would have ruined the movie.

  • Sunshine

    Nobody toy with Snyder’s Watchmen… It was incredible

  • axebox

    Zack Snyder should stick to directing commercials. He has no clue what subtext is.

  • Andrew DiNanno

    I haven’t read the original graphic novel but I thought that the ending to the Watchmen movie was cheesy and unrealistic. A whole city gets blown up and that causes world peace? Come on!

  • Alex W

    Dude I love Gilliam but that ending he described was 10x worse than anything Snyder’s done (Sucker Punch excluded).

  • Dave

    It wasn’t as much as what happened it WHO did it and the impact it had on Gov. Power. The world was close to a nuclear war where there would be no winners. Comes forth a power greater than any human could get– Dr. Manhattan. He is presumed to be the cause of the many explosions that took place all over the world. It scared everyone to know that a powerful being was watching them. It showed them what would happen if nuclear war took place.

  • Ian Thal

    “The biggest knock against the movie is that we finally changed the ending, right?”

    I thought that the biggest knock against the movie was that the highly stylized manner in which Snyder presented the violence was antithetical to the deconstructionist intentions of Moore and Gibbons.

    Snyder’s was a fairly competent adaptation otherwise.

    While a hypothetical Gilliam-helmed adaptation would likely have been less loyal to the source material, on the other hand, it would likely have been a better film.

  • mel

    I liked both movies :)

  • Dppppppppppppd

    The Gilliam ending sounds bloody awful. Thank god we got Snyder’s version, which was fantastic.

  • Theodore J. Kord

    I’ve actually read the script for the Gilliam movie, and THANK GOD that movie never got made!

  • Pj Kneisel

    Oh please, the last good Zack Snyder movie was his Dawn Of The Dead reboot, Terry Gilliam on the other hand is a genius. I would have much rather seen a Terry Gilliam Watchmen then the crap that was spat out at us.

  • Brian Crocker

    Loved em both.

  • asharpman

    Immediately disqualifies his opinion because he thinks Zack Snyder’s tripe was “fantastic.”

  • asharpman

    Incredibly bad, you mean. Finish your sentences.

  • asharpman

    Literally a disgrace to the graphic novel. Cheesy and flashy.

  • Peter Parker

    Man, there are a lot of people defending Snyder’s Watchmen. I remember it got bashed pretty hard because it didn’t include the octopus. Hopefully now people will stop complaining about every little thing in a superhero movie out there now that we know what garbage versions have almost been made. Anybody remember the rumors involving Burton’s Superman? AWFUL.

  • Steve

    A movie adaptation isn’t supposed to just be a film version of its source. Film is a different medium and as awesome as Watchmen was as a graphic novel, the film seemed merely a shot-for-shot version of the novel. A director needs to adapt the material to the medium, not be religiously faithful to the original work. I don’t care about Gilliam; I love half his stuff, hate half. But the idea that the closer an adapted film is to its source is silly. If that were the case, you could take about half of all art created, in every media, and flush it down the toilet. We’d be watching movies mostly about Zeus and Confucius.

  • Zagreus

    The Gilliam movie sounds like shit, but that doesn’t mean that Snyder’s movie also wasn’t shit.

  • barracuda

    Man of Steel was so mind dumbing I didn’t even care why they’re destroying the city at the ned or what is happening, I couldn’t care less what will Supes do with that huge machine or how he was going to save the day.

  • Alabama_Man

    The only problem I had with the movie was the soundtrack. If they had gone with a Dust Brothers type soundtrack instead of Bob Dylan and Natalie Cole, I think the fight scenes would have been more visceral. Do we ever really need to hear The Times Are a Changing again in a film? I think Forrest Gump ruined that song for all historical fiction movies. I really loved everything else about the movie though. Terry Gilliam made a couple of great movies but I don’t think he could pull off any superhero movie much less THE superhero story of all time.

  • agustin

    I rather have a shitty highly criticized movie that stayed true to the original story, than have something that would pissed me off. Just my take

  • barracuda

    Watchmen was really good, too bad people prefer fast cars, explosions and simple plots. Moore probably wouldn’t be pleased because he’s an obsessed perfectionist but he should see it before he bashes it again, Snyder deserves praise for this endeavour and Moore should acknowledge how committed that director really was in this case. I’ll take this kind of movie any day instead of those Wolverines, Ghost Riders, Daredevils, Fantastic Fours, Green Lantern, X-Men 3, Spiderman 3, Blade 3, Wanted etc.

  • WoWed

    yeah, a guy can’t manage to mistakenly make one good movie. love snyder or not, his version was a good quality movie. it makes it seem even better once you hear what Gilliam had planned for it.

  • Richard Bergstrom

    I must’ve missed something. Granted, I haven’t read the books, but I thought the movie was real good.

  • ozymandiaz

    Yeah I’m not sure why people bash Watchmen, It was almost perfect. Any other director would ave ruined it.

  • http://tonysharp.me/ Tony Sharp

    What’s bad about it?

  • Rick Thompson

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail was better.

  • Seth

    I dont give a shit. I read the book, saw the movie, loved them both. The movie is one of my favorite movies. In the top 25 for sure.

  • jeremeyes

    well thank god he made that pile of shit to save us from the possibility of a good movie.

  • http://almostreadytogoamish.blogspot.com/ Johnny

    Man of Steel was a CGI mess with no soul. I’d prefer Zack Snyder stuck with films like the one with the 300 musclemen…

  • charleswlee

    I thought “Watchmen” the film was pretty good over-all, but they completely missed the boat with the casting of Veidt. I felt the rest of the casting was mostly inspired and the actors stayed true to the characters, but the actor who played Veidt, was wooden, uncharismatic, and didn’t at all seem like the smartest man on the planet. He ruined the film for me and I’ve purposefully blocked the actor’s name from my memory.

  • MP

    Incredibly bad-ass. Finish yours!

  • RG

    Wow, too bad we didn’t get that totally original ending from Gilliam where someone goes back in time/dimension and changes the future. Not to mention the bonus that several of the heroes you came to watch in the movie in the first place are reduced to cosplayers by the end. Brilliant.

  • Aninnymouse

    “Ozymandiaz” likes the Watchmen, what a major surprise. The movie was pretty much shit, it is not and will never be a memorable film. Complete waste of time and money. Some people should just quit the game of life.

  • Tiago Andrade

    Snyder actually got about 80-85% of Watchmen right. Problem is, the movie ending doesn’t make sense. The Soviets KNEW Doctor Manhattan fought for the U.S., they wouldn’t buy the gone-rogue story.

  • Andrew Ulrich

    To criticize…. I wish WATCHMEN was not his favorite movie, I wish SUCKER PUNCH was for the pure originaltiy of it…. but I am glad he’s willing to defend WATCHMEN as it deserves far more credit than it recieves for both accuracy and quality….

    While Gilliam’s ending might have been more fitting from a citical point of view (the novel being a citique of the comic and therefore the movie being a critique of comic movies). Snyder’s ending was much more in-line with the original and serving of the actual storyline instead of the satirical and critical version of things.

    To end…. I still Zack Snyder in all things, as he has yet to let me down badly.

  • SubSumeYou

    Byrne/Claremont/Austin

  • DERELEEEKT

    If you actually paid attention to the movie NYC, LA, Paris, etc.. were destroyed as well… it made total sense

  • Brandon Davis

    When you call the the ending to a comic book “too silly” to be filmed I begin to think your admiration for the story is finite. So I think I’ll just side with Snyder at least he tried to get it in the same ball court; however, the film just not have been made.

  • stephenmonteith

    I loved Snyder’s “Watchmen”. Except for removing the squid (a part of the story I never could take seriously), it was completely faithful to the graphic novel.

    As for “Man of Steel”, it is the best Superman movie I’ve ever seen. All due respect to Christopher Reeve, if you want to keep superheroes stuck in the relentlessly cheery roles they filled decades ago, then Bryan Singer is the reboot master for you. Cavill, on the other hand, experienced an actual evolution into a hero.

  • Madcap2112

    Watchmen was ok. It wasn’t the abomination some would have you believe. It wasn’t a masterpiece, either.

  • qnetter

    What are “Dust Brothers”?

  • Holtor

    You should read the comic book, it does the same thing about 10 times better.

  • DennisHeffernan

    A movie directed by Gilliam consisting of nothing but a man reading a phone book aloud for two hours would still be better than anything Zack Snyder ever has or will ever make.

    WRT Watchmen in particular, the point of the graphic novel as a deconstruction of superhero comics was that if suiperheroes existed they’d be dangerous psychopaths and the world can solve its problems without them. This is completely lost in Snyder’s version. He just didn’t get it.

  • Spiderpope

    To be honest the Gilliam ending seems close to the horrific cliche ending of “And then they woke up….and it was all a dream”.

  • Holtor

    Absolutely. Ozy became a super-powered sissy, Rorschach a hero with the heart in the right place instead of a deranged psychopath etc. He turned characters upside-down, even if most of the images on screen where carbon copies from the book. And like Veidt, unlike Moore, Snyder forgot about the “little people” in the story.

  • Thedude3445

    Wait, the snarky internet fanboy has considerably less power than today? Is that why they have to complain about Michael B Jordan on every single article just to get attention?

  • Thedude3445

    He hypothetically could have filmed the entire alien subplot and fit it into the movie without destroying pacing too much. But then the movie would have also been four hours long like the motion comic is. The Ultimate Cut alone is stupidly long.

  • Holtor

    In contrast to Snyder, Gilliam is a genius, but he would not even try to understand the source material. Though he made that famous comment *after* he lengthly discussed the entire matter with Moore. Snyder did not even manage to talk with Moore.

  • Holtor

    Now in which way would that cause the world to unite? Because when Manhattan is your enemy and wishes you to die, you roll over and die, that’s it. Nothing to be done here by uniting efforts. The best you could do is trying to manufacture another Manhattan, who would be equally dangerous.

  • Thedude3445

    Ghost Rider’s got a lot of depth, man. Nicholas poured his heart and soul into that movie and you can see it through every little subtlety of his acting. And what a metaphorical plot!

    On a serious note, yes I do just wish there were more comic book movies that weren’t one-note “hero discovers himself, villain introduction, hero thinks he’s on top, villain unleashes superweapon/himself (always him), final battle for 35 minutes” plots. Maybe it’s just fatigue after about eight superhero origin films in the past eight years but we really need more movies like Watchmen. The Wolverine was pretty in-depth, especially for a friggin’ X-Men movie, and Cap 2 is looking sweet, but we need a lot more than that.

  • Thedude3445

    It’s just comic book movie fans. Don’t worry, at least half of them have either not seen the movie or not read the comic.

  • Holtor

    Like Gilliam would care much about any script he started with. It would not have been Watchmen, but it would have been a great movie.

  • lujlp

    So then if I made a movie called “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and it was about this princess whos step mother is trying to kill her so she runs off to the forest to live with 7 dwarves you’d be cool with that?

    The point of a movie based on a book or a comic is to tell THAT story in a visual format. Not to tell an entirely different story.

  • Scrapper Keeper

    Oh please. Snyder doesn’t need Moore. The source material was there. What does Snyder need him for?

  • Scrapper Keeper

    asharpman didn’t understand the movie. Of course it would be incredibly bad for him.

  • Holtor

    Obviously Snyder did not understand the source material, thus it would have helped to talk to just anyone who gets it. See my other posts here in this thread for the reasons, no need to repeat everything, is there?

  • Viktor E. Boss

    Watchme was a good movie ….with really really really bad Actors

  • http://www.spinecomic.com/ SPINE

    You see, it’s all about taste. I feel like both directors wanted to have their own spin-offs at the end. Alan Moore wrote the story, and that’s the only Watchmen that matters. Everything else is hollywood garbage. With that said, I did enjoy the extended version of Watchmen, since it brought a lot of missing elements from the graphic novel, back on the screen. Yet, it’s still garbage – very expansive garbage at that. Yet, the ending is still different, and pointlessly different. It’s different just to be different. If Hollywood had any balls left – or if Zack had any – he would’ve dropped the “silly” alien onto Manhattan – like Mr. Moore did. In the end, only the book matters, and everything else is just expansive, shiny and, hollowed bullshit.

  • http://florinfecioru.wordpress.com/ Florin

    It wasn’t a city, you know… it was a whole lot of cities, major cities, throughout the world.

  • Son_Of_Dad

    I’m more concerned with who is going to save us from the Michael Bays first.

  • Son_Of_Dad

    I guess it wasn’t enough Michael Bay explosions and the story wasn’t slow enough for you.

  • Son_Of_Dad

    “Waste of time and money” TO YOU. That’s the important part, oh grand wizard of film. FuckOuttaHere.

  • Son_Of_Dad

    Soooooo, that shit ending of Gilliams made sense to you?
    I would have started a riot in the theater if I saw that shit.

  • Son_Of_Dad

    How was it a disgrace? Because they left out the squid or because they couldn’t possibly add another 5 hours with the back story of the Minutemen? Transformers (1,2 and 3) were cheesy and flashy.
    Green Hornet was cheesy and flashy.
    Watchmen was a good adaptation.

  • Regressive Goosesteppers

    Him and anyone with taste. Piss off.

  • Regressive Goosesteppers

    Snyder’s ending was just as bad.

  • Regressive Goosesteppers

    No, they’re the type of people who have two brain cells to rub together.

    I find it ironic that you’re claiming those people just want to complain, yet you yourself have nothing better to do than complain about them,

  • Regressive Goosesteppers

    More like the movie was bad because Snyder didn’t understand the source material, moron.

  • Regressive Goosesteppers

    No, just bad.

  • Regressive Goosesteppers

    Fantastically awful.

  • Sakasa

    But Moore himself like with V for Vendetta which is stated in interview does not care about the ending but about the core content. Rorschach and the Comedian was reprensenting the anti hero, Owlman representing the likes of the cape crusaders, and Manhattan the likes of Thor and Superman and how them being humanized effectly makes them much less heroic due to the life one would have to live to keep it up. I personally did not like Watchmen movie or book not saying it wasn’t good and hit the target audience I just didn’t like it. Similar to Harry power over T.A. Barron’s series “of Merlin” books. The movie like the marvel movies are more stomachable in a sit down one and done. Which lets be honest are not for comicbook onry folks its for the lowest common deminator. Entertainment that doesn’t require the the prequel or the sequel to enjoy.

  • DaMak

    Eh….

    Watchmen one of a few comicbook sagas that could only be adabted panel by panel. The MAJORITY of DC charaters have had numerous changes (Whether it slighty or significant) to their origins and storyline. Because of that it’s easy for filmmakers to make a film base on these charaters, however they feel fit. Marvel in someways fit that bill as well.

  • Eric Scoles

    the whole ‘terry gilliam would have killed it’ meme is apparently based on a leaked first draft that gilliam later edited to add back in most of what the screenwriter cut. it’s been trumped-up because ‘terry gilliam would have killed it’ makes for better linkbait than ‘this is a draft screenplay terry gilliam disliked enough to rewrite.’

    joel silver really has no idea what the final project woudl have been like. All we can say for sure is that it would have been a Gilliam project, which would mean that it would have had at least some moments of actual non-faux-ironic humor, would have provoked some thought, would have been confusing and challenging, and have gotten mixed mixed reviews, but been in no way or sense boring.

  • DNAsplitter

    Nope. He understood it just fine. Read the graphic novel plenty of times and it matches the source as close as it could possibly be adapted. Not everybody acts as butt hurt as you.

  • charleydeppner
  • mph23

    I’d rather see Gilliams’ version.

  • jimlo24

    Really loved Snyder’s version (although between Dr. Manhattan and baby Kal, he really has a thing for penis scenes he needs to get over). I would have preferred the Big Squid ending, but I understand why he made the changes he did, and the rest of the movie was as faithful as possible to the book. And I thought the casting was great. Very thankful that Snyder got to make his movie and not the crapfest that sounds like Gilliams.

  • PretenderNx01

    The ending Snyder created for his movie is less terrible than the ending Gillaim had made up for his take, so there’s that. It seems both of them didn’t think the ending Alan Moore had was right for the story.

    I kinda agree that the Watchmen comic falls apart at the end but I rarely am satisfied with an ending.

  • Rob Bush

    I love Terry Gilliam like a fat kid loves cake, but I’m not sure how I would have liked his ending.

    Of course, Gilliam would have been doing an adaptation, not a direct frame-by-frame translation from page to film, so it might have been really, REALLY good on its own merits. Still, though, Snyder is probably right that we comic fans would have shat our collective didies.

  • jnnx

    Both were average, and
    mediocre, and will be forgotten about in ten years…

  • jnnx

    Ummm, I think he knew that, and that’s why that movie never saw the light of day. Gilliam made the right call.

  • jnnx

    For the same reasons Joel Silver (and trust me, I’m no Joel SIlver fan) said, Zack was a fanboy/slave to the material, he had no original ideas, no vision. It was like asking Todd McFarlane to re-do the story.

  • jnnx

    I hated Watchmen, (and Synder’s movies in general) and big fan of Gilliam, but yes you are right. As bad as Synder’s version was, I’m glad that Joel and Terry’s version was never filmed, because, as written, that ending would have been 10 times worse. The movie was (and still is) unfilmable (mainly because the whole thing is about the love affair with the FORM of the comic book, as a means for telling a story, in a way that Hollywood CAN’T, again, not because they lack the skill, but because its all about the MEDIUM).

  • LewCid

    Man of Steel is quite an accomplishment. “Genius” is a noun. It is not an adjective, genius.

  • LewCid

    Able to express anything that’s specifically bad about it? Didn’t think so.

  • LewCid

    Are you able to . . . oh, wait, I already made that point.

  • Daniel Jesse Spade

    Gonna echo your echo. Thank you Zack Snyder.

  • Daniel Jesse Spade

    I have clearly been living under a rock. I had no idea that the Watchmen film was at all polarizing. Up to this point I had figured that folks that didn’t like the film just didn’t like comic book films.

    When I heard the film was in development, I bought the graphic novel, and read it like three times before the film came out. When I finally saw the film, I enjoyed it as a film adaptation of the graphic novel. I was ok with the change in the ending, even though I didn’t really understand why it was done that way. Someone said that the alien threat wasn’t realistic enough and I sort of thought, “this is a movie about costumed crimefighters and a man with the powers of Aladdin’s Genie, why are we worried about realistic”?

    Anyway, I liked the film. I thought that Snyder did a good job with it. I also liked Man of Steel, although there may be a bias there, because I love Superman so much I’d probably watch anything featuring the character.

  • Tatiana Fenchurch

    Everyone is missing the point here, and has been for a long, long time. What is the point of staying faithful to the material? Is it to see what you read in the graphic novel onscreen frame-by-frame? Is that why we go to see live-action adaptations? No. We pay money to see comic book movies because of the way they make us feel- or *should* make us feel. The ultimate goal (completely regardless of giant squid or lack thereof) is to recreate the *feeling* that fans have reading the work in question.

    For me and millions of other fans, Watchmen is a superb work of art that conveys the spirit of bone-crushing, identity-questioning fear accompanying a Cold War situation. When everything has the potential to be gone in a second, who are you? When you look back at your life, and the atrocities you’ve committed, what is your purpose on the earth? Why does your existence, and all the work you’ve done to make society a better place matter in the least?

    The feeling you get when you read the graphic novel is unsettling. It makes you empathize with Rorschach, this broken man who doesn’t know how to do anything else but patrol the streets and exact the vengeance still seething from his childhood. It makes you hate the Comedian, a visceral, self-loathing ex-soldier who imbues everything in his world with violence, especially the people he loves. It makes you put yourself in Dan Dreiberg’s shoes, a middle-aged, beer-bellied everyman whose fear of meaning nothing may end up costing him everything.

    What I felt in Zack Snyder’s movie was boredom. Plain, old-fashioned, checking-my-clock-in-the-middle-of-the-film boredom. This wasn’t what I felt reading the book over and over. This was a director whose strong points are sex and violence (niches in their own right, but with no applicable relation to Watchmen) attempting a “true adaptation” of the artwork’s surface- panels, plot points, and image translation from comic page to CGI.

    And what Snyder produced was just that- a perfect shell of an adaptation, with a mostly-apt cast (don’t get me started on Ackerman), beautiful visuals, great fight choreography– and no soul. Give me a Terry Gilliam adaptation any day, if it would make me feel what I did while hungrily turning those creased, beat-up pages for the god-knows-what-number time. For now, we’ll have to deal with the hollow fare Snyder has presented.

  • Guest

    Do you need a dictionary? That isn’t irony. I wasn’t complaining so much as stating an opinion. Guess you’re still looking for the second brain cell? It’s cool, you can have one of mine, I have more than enough to spare.

  • http://www.reel3.com/ Jason Haggstrom

    Ding, ding, ding! That’s it right there. Snyder either completely misunderstood the source material, or simply chose to ignore the fact that the book is about how superheroes solve problems through violence, and how their presence would not be a positive thing for society. Instead, Snyder’s film celebrates violence! More on that here: Violence as Fetish in Zach Snyder’s Watchmen

  • http://www.reel3.com/ Jason Haggstrom

    They are a duo best known for creating the score for FIGHT CLUB, and for their work in creating music from a patchwork of samples in two incredible albums: the Beastie Boys’ “Paul’s Boutique,” and Beck’s “Odelay”

  • zoobatz

    Loved Watchmen, maybe I’m just not intelligent enough to criticize it.

  • Anton Carpati

    Zack Snyder criticizing Terry Gilliam?? That’s rich :))

  • Anton Carpati

    Zack Snyder’s Watchmen looked good, but it had no subtlety, no “craziness” – it didn’t up the ante on Alan Moore’s original graphic novel, it didn’t bring anything new to the table. Zack Snyder used the material he was given to make an almost 3 hour-long sleek and fancy commercial, visually arresting but soulless. Zack Snyder criticizing Terry Gilliam’s vision is like Justin Bieber criticizing Nick Cave’s song writing abilities.

  • Marc

    The mark of a great artist is someone who is never satisfied with their work. Snyder loves his own work.

  • Myriam El Kholi

    Man of steel has heart, its just not too much in your face as the old series, it is the more subtle one. I thought it was brilliant, this doesn’t make the old series bad, just different.

  • Tynam

    “Better than the Gilliam idea” is true, but not a good enough excuse.

    How the hell does Snyder be such a fan of the comic and completely miss the point that they’re all ordinary people with no superhuman fighting skills? That’s not incidental; it’s the heart of Dan’s character.

  • Reader

    Exactly. You can read Watchmen in at least three different ways. One, as a deconstruction of the supes genre; two, as a manifest on Time; third, as an exercise in what can only be done in a comic book. The film flattened it to the first layer only.
    Remember, Moore said it was unfilmable (by nature and by design) long before Gilliam did.

  • Lucius

    And were does Mr. Gilliam contribute to this Nerd-discussion that nobody cares´bout!?

    Sorry but your side punches to Mr. Gilliam are upsetting me, as far as I know has he never criticized “Watchmen”or Mr. Snyder…so why dragging him into this “journalistic masterpiece”!?

  • Kira Wolf Trinity

    Who the fuck are you, Zack Snyder? Your movies suck. You have your head way too far up your ass to even know who it is you’re trashing here. It would be better for you not to FUCK with the Terry Gilliams of this world, cuz your work will never stand the test of time the way his will.

  • benbobjam
  • Vigilant Satyr

    Mythbusters will save us from Micheal Bay. Explosions for SCIENCE, rather than Bay’s explosions for explosions sake.

  • bob

    he sure did a piss poor job of it. Would take terry over zack any day of the week. what a waste of time of an article.

  • kroks

    Watchmen is unbearable

  • Mark Ratelle

    Man Of Steel had a lot of heart my fuckin ass. Now Richard Donner’s Superman on the other hand, that’s heart. I’m not one of those fucks who’s automatically opposed to any new remake that comes along I just think the should b an improvement on the former film they’re remaking. Man of Steel is nowhere near Donner’s Superman in any aspect in my opinion which is why i think its unnecessary. Remakes are great when they’re done by great directors who improve on the source material for example Scarface 1983, The Thing 1982. These are movies that were so good majority of ppl forgot that they were even remakes. That’s when u know you’ve done a good job.

  • Jacob Austen

    Terry Gilliam is a brilliant guy, his work as a Monty Python and his work as a film maker speak for it self, Snyder just sucks!

  • Frotznu Le Weird

    <3 Snyder

  • Max

    Snyder’s fatal mistake in his version of Watchman was not understanding the source material. Watchmen is about how a God-like superhuman would shape a believable world’s politics, laws, and inhabitants. The comic clearly explores the deep philosophical ideas a Superman would have towards people and the tenuous link holding him to his humanity. Snyder slavishly created the panels on screen which, to our modern eyes, looked like fantasy and thus, there were not believable stakes for any of the characters. Watchmen was written for its time and was one of the first post-modern comics to try and insert superhumans into a gritty, believable world. Watchmen would have been better served by making the world feel real, tangible, and ours, and updating the material so it works with our understanding of reality.

    I’m saying this as someone with Doctor Manhattan tattooed on his leg so I take the material very, very seriously!

    tl;dr: Watchmen the movie fails because it was a slavish adaptation. Adaptation requires change.

  • Joe Guillotin

    Id rather face a fate of a thousand Gilliams than be saved by one Zack Snyder

  • misterbrisby

    Gilliam’s last truly good movie was Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) and his ending for Watchmen sounds lame. – I’m glad Snyder did it, I like his style.

  • Andrew DiNanno

    And then Rorschach’s journal is possibly published in a newspaper and Ozymandis’ scheme blows up in his face. At least that’s one way to interpret the ending. Another could be that the newspaper guy reads the story, is shocked and burns the journal. Who knows? It was definitely open for more and since DC had the guts to do Before Watchmen I wouldn’t be that surprised if they tried to do After Watchmen. Personally I think it’s best left as is.

  • LOBO777

    Watchmen was the best comic book movie of the last decade, pity MOS wasn’t this decade tho or even as good as Avengers, still Watchmen forever will be a pure gem!

  • mwhahahaha27

    Not a whole lot of difference. I would argue MB is actually a better filmmaker that Zach. Michael can actually film some dynamic sequences and breathtaking shots (which get ground into mush in our brains by all the other silliness going on). Zach just seems to be taking full advantage of the teams and teams of artists that are needed to create over the top VFX (even more so than MB). Bay’s stuff, pre VFX, were still quite epic visually. If you could marry Joss and Bay, best over the top summer movie ever.

  • mwhahahaha27

    See also, Sucker Punch, Man of Steel, Legend of the Guardians… Dawn of the Dead might be Zach’s most complete film. And 300 was still pretty amazing, despite the lack of a single character or story worth following or caring about.

  • Statham

    Snyder missed the point politically, too, If Manhattan-powered bombs go off across the entire world – not just in New York – that ‘s NOT going to make the US look sympathetic or unite humanity. It’s basically going to have everyone pointing fingers at America and saying “You made this mess, you drove him nuts, you turned him into a weapon and now he’s turned on us all.” That’s why the squid works.

  • mwhahahaha27

    Man of Steel moved too quickly, not a single relationship (Lois-SM, SM-JorEl, SM-Kevin Costner…) felt important or developed. There was a serious lack of any kind of story or character arcs. And (much like Bay these days) once the action starts, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger until none of it means anything. It’s just destruction for destruction sake, punches for punches sake, and booms for booms sake. It looked gorgeous, which is Zach’s strongest quality, it had some good elements, but it just felt rushed and a little empty. A tiny bit of development, and turn the dial down from 11 to 10, and that movie might stack up with Dark Knight.

  • Brandon Whitley

    You think MB is BETTER? Have you SEEN his vision of TMNT? I will NOT go see that abortion of a movie.

  • mwhahahaha27

    Lois and Sup holding hands was the worst part of that movie. There was absolutely zero connection between them, there was no relationship development at all. It goes from Lois in trouble, to the world is saved, to I have a crush on you. Zach has all the makings of a great filmmaker, but in the world that is tentpole movies made by a committee, things quickly become “what’s the hardest punch we can throw” or “whats the biggest explosion we can explode”. Man of Stell wasn’t terrible (like the bandwagon likes to say it is) but it had some ridiculously rushed character and story mixed with a ton of huge action. It could have benefited greatly from a little more balance.

  • mwhahahaha27

    Which book? Comicbook characters have so many iterations over the years that it would be impossible to stay truly faithful. Not to mention, films are a very very different vessel for storytelling. You only get 190mins to establish character, set up a story, present a dilemma, challenge the character, lose all hope, then save the day. That’s like a ten movie arc for any faithful Wolverine or Superman type of character.

  • mwhahahaha27

    What everyone is bitching about is the coda to the actual film. That’s not the ending (resolution). What he’s describing in this article is more akin to a post credit sequence.

  • mwhahahaha27

    Some actual context on who the characters are, why they are the way they are, why they do the things they do… I’m willing to bet Moore had a lot more in his mind while writing the book than Snyder did while making the movie. Which, at least partially, would explain why the film felt like a flat impression of the piece, as opposed to a fully fleshed out work. People saying things and action happening is only a small part of what makes a film work.

  • mwhahahaha27

    Let’s be fair, the first Transformers movie was exactly what it was supposed to be. The sequels were disgusting. Even Bay didn’t like the second one.

  • mwhahahaha27

    Or Gus Van Sant to remake Psycho.

  • mwhahahaha27

    Not the ending. The Coda.

  • Bedknobs_and_Boomsticks

    The first Transformers was as bad as the sequels.

  • mwhahahaha27

    Didn’t mean to imply that it was a good film… but at least I could sit through it. The sequels actually made me angry. I refused to watch the third one until I my friend guaranteed me it was significantly better than the second. We are no longer friends.

  • Jay Pops

    I wish it had been more faithful to the ending of the book. It needed the alien squid!

  • Myriam El Kholi

    I know there was no character development, but somehow there was chemistry between the characters. I know I am going to say something that might sound absolutely ridiculous, but I think the relationship, or the lack of it, would appeal more to the female viewer LOL. As for the action, I enjoyed the action sequence very much, I know it was a bit over the top and often exaggerated, but it is a superhero movie, if you want realistic, then look for another movie.

  • mwhahahaha27

    Not his vision. He was a “producer” on the film, he was not making too many creative decisions. He had his own movies to worry about. JJ doesn’t do a whole lot of work on the Mission Impossibles, or Star Trek 3, or any of the TV shows his name is on. These guys are a brand and they can use their names to get things green lit/sold under the banner of thier compaines. It’s business. You wanna complain about Turtles, you better throw the actual director, the writers, and the studio execs under the bus as well.

  • mwhahahaha27

    I;m not calling the first one “good”, but there is no universe in which it was as migraine inducing as the three that followed.

  • mwhahahaha27

    Not looking for realistic, and not complaining about action. It was the in between action that was flat. The connective tissue was nonsensical.

  • Bedknobs_and_Boomsticks

    Fair enough.