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Watchmen

July 9, 2011

1.  Film Analysis

I first saw this film in a theater without any background knowledge about the comic book.  I neither understood the film nor cared for its use of such bloody violence.  The main themes were murder, nuclear detruction, and a power struggle between the government and a world of retired vigilante “super-heros.”  While a brief history of the Watchmen and their predecessors are part of the opening monlogue, an insight to each characters is left out.  In the film there are brief flashbacks to shed some light on each of their lives.  However, unless one has already read the comic book series, there was a real disconnect from knowing who the characters really are.  Additionally, what originally made the book brilliant, its use of intertextuality, is impossible to include in the film version.  By omiting the stories within the story, much of the story is lost.  Finally, the film differed from the book in its ending.  In the book, a utopian society was created when an explosion of an alien life form occurred in Manhattan.  This alien’s head was full of images that caused the survivors to seek solice in one another. In the film, the society was created after a nuclear explosion occurred in several cities and in several countries.  The change in the ending forced the director then to change other aspects of the story.

2.  Book Analysis

The Watchmen series is a series of graphic novels written by Alan Moore.  The series was written to  be unfilmable  and includes the use intertextuality, which is when text is used to intermingle with other text in the book.  This intertextuality is what makes this novel a literary genius.   As for the characters in this novel, they are nothing like super-heroes we typically see in a comic series.  Each of the  characters have complex psychological issues that are described in detail throughout the series such as a psychopath, a sexually impotent has-been, and a vigilante. Its main themes include embedded political themes such as nuclear destruction and the United States war on Vietnam.  What makes the novel unique and interesting is that it is a cross between a murder mystery and a political drama slowly unfolding.

3.  Internet Research

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz7e1V6QOlo

This link is an interview with Zack Snyder on his making of “Watchmen.”  In the interview he gives credit to his friends and family in helping make this film successful.  He says he loved making the film and while it was difficult he would do it again for free.

http://www.watchmencomicmovie.com/index.php

This is a fun site about the movie version of Watchman.  It offers movie photos, intervies, movie clips, and cast information.  Further down the site there are 12 chapter summaries from the comic book series.  It’s a great site to get background knowledge on the making of Watchmen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w14DoxRIXW4

This was a really great fan made “Watchman” short.  It is a recreation of the opening scene in the film and is well put together.  I loved the voice over and the cinematography in making the film.  It is a film more for the purpose of entertainment than informative.  Yet, it was a good find.

4. Critical Analysis

At the end of the film, when Dr. Manhattan arrives at Carnac (Antarctica) and confronts Ozymandias, Ozymandias grabs a television remote and Dr. Manhattan says: “What’s that? Another ultimate weapon?” This is meant to be ironic, but in what ways is it true? That is, in what ways is television (and other visual media like film) problematic in the world depicted in Watchmen?

In the world depicted in “Watchmen”, television and other media outlets are problematic.  For example, throughout the film, there is a countdown to destruction clock that is constantly being shown to the viewing audience.  Another example, of media being problematic  Dr. Manhattan is depicted as being angry and aggressive.  He is filmed on a talk show, where he shows the only sign of being human and is caught in a highly emotional state.  This is the image that is later used to show Dr. Manhattan as being the responsible party for the destruction of cities throughout the world.  The media ultimately has a hand in the destruction of a super-hero (Dr. Manhattan) while at the same time supports Ozymandias’s plan for a false peace.  The film ends with a tabloids discovery of Rorschach’s journals implying that media will once again be the ultimate weapon to shatter the false peace created by Ozymandias’s  lies.

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One Comment
  1. Excellent. I very much enjoyed reading your blog entries with your views of the films and your always interesting online research. Good luck in the rest of your college career. 10/10. Joseph Byrne.

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