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February 27 2009

Joss Whedon weighs in on the Watchmen movie. "It's a comic book about pop culture as viewed through a comic book, so I didn't see the point of making a movie. But I saw the trailer, and it looked phenomenal."

Yeah, I was not going to see this movie because even if it was good it would somehow ruin the comic book. But given the very positive reviews I suppose I will have to see it and put memories of the original story out of my mind
The ending of the comic was actually the thing I liked least about it, so I'm not too fussed about them changing that
The reviews have been better than I hoped so it will be a must see for me. I have the Absolute edition of Watchman which is just lovely. I would love to read a Moore critique of Joss' work.
Yeah, it would be great to know what Moore thinks of Joss's stuff, especially given what a huge influence he was on him
Eh, how can you not like the ending? To me it was possibly the most impressing thing of the comic... It was so clearly something that would get inserted in a Hollywood-movie, seen through pre-audience, and then changed to something flatter, more cliche, more boring.

Anyways, mostly a good article, and I for one will certainly watch the movie, even if I do have heavy doubts about it capturing the comic. Still, one glaring mistake just begs me to complain: "Previous attempts to make movies out of his work, such as V for Vendetta and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, have been commercial and critical failures". How can anybody say V for Vendetta was failure in either way? Sure, it did not break records, but grossing $132m is not bad in my books, and nor is landing in IMDB top250...
I just hope that by "changing the ending" they mean change the way that the ending comes about (no alien but something else), not the end result. Because I kind of loved it.

And I have to say, I really want to be able to hate Snyder after 300, the highly inaccurate and racist film that it was (I love Iranian history, and watching two minutes of it was painful for me). But I have such difficulty with it since I think Watchmen is going to be awesome, and he does seem like a legitimate fan. Fortunately Frank Miller is not such a sympathetic person.

I will be really interested to hear what Joss thinks of the full movie once he sees it.

edit: To be more accurate regarding Moore's other movies would be to say how he hated them and disowned them. One has difficulty blaming him after League.

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-02-27 15:31 ]
My understanding was that after League he just pulled back from the movie adaptations and tried to have no involvement, so he didn't actively hate V for Vendetta (which I don't think was too bad, I give it 3 and a half out of 5 of the LetDownometer)
Let Down--As I recall, Moore was super pissed off about V for Vendetta's promotion. When the Wachowski's held a press conference or interview about the movie, they said something like, Alan is behind the movie and happy about it. And he wasn't either of those things. And then he got very public with his disapproval.

Or am I thinking of something else?
Isn't this more "Joss Whedon weighs in on the Watchmen movie trailer"? ;)
No, you are right. It was surprising yo hear (i think it was Joel Silver)that Moore was enthusiastic about it. Mostly because he had read the script for the movie and absolutely hated it.

But Moores disaproval does noy seem to be conected with the quality of the works but with the fact that he does not want them to be done, and feels raped and abused emotionally by the fact that, because its dc who owns the rights for v and Watchmen, he has no control over that, and hurts by the idea of having his babys misued. He also is pretty angry as he claims that dc cheated him out of the right for v and Watchmen.

So he sais.

The truth? The whole truth? We may never know. There is a saying in Spain; everybody tells you what the movie is about his own way.
I loved the book's ending but I don't think it'll ruin the film if it's changed. I have hope that it'll turn out okay. I wasn't really impressed or offended by 300, but I'm just an ignorant popcorn-muncher anyway. :-)

(And every time I hear anyone discussing adaptations of Moore's work, I always flash to Watchmen Babies in 'V for Vacation'. Heh.)
@Let Down: I agree about the ending. Actually, the ending pissed me off. It may be my fault for having read it for the first time only a couple years ago. It seemed like some sort of strange Cold War artifact, like Rocky IV or something.

The best part for me was the drama of the "ordinary" people in the vicinity of the news stand, which I'm worried is most likely to get the short end of the stick in a movie.
I forgot to mention, I am completely stoked for this movie!!

Loved the original comics. Didn't love the shipping delays...it took forever for them to finish the series. I can vividly remember back in the mid-80s, my after school job didn't allow me to purchase all the comics I wanted. It was the only down-side to a Thursday (back then, I think comics came out on Thurs not Wed), picking and choosing and then ultimately having to put back a couple issues that were past my spend limit.

But Watchmen was so rich with depth it was always the first comic to read in the pile. And those pages of fine print text at the end of the books were really fantastic at filling out the story.

As for the movie, I always smile when I think about watching a $100+ million dollar movie, while sitting in a comfy $1,000 movie theater reclining seat, watching on a massive state of the art screen/projector with a THX sound system. Might be the best 8 bucks I spend this month.

I have been consciously avoiding spoilers for the movie so I can just see what happens without being hyper-sensitive to changes in the story. The director loves Watchmen so much that I would be surprised if he betrayed the original story very much...even with a change in the ending (as someone **thankfully** vaguely mentions above--no spoiler tags on this link!).
Solid article. I am excited for the movie. The trailer is super rad and reminded me that Smashing Pumpkins used to be good. The fact that Kevin Smith has seen it twice and loved it has helped to quiet most of my concerns about it. I guess we'll see in a week.
Oh, and thanks eerikki for setting the record straight about
V for Vendetta. When I read the article I thought, "Seriously, $132m a commercial disappointment?"
And I have to say, I really want to be able to hate Snyder after 300, the highly inaccurate and racist film that it was (I love Iranian history, and watching two minutes of it was painful for me).
300 may have been horribly inaccurate to historical events, but it was incredible faithful to Frank Miller's 300 comic. Synder totally captured the look, tone and even the colour scheme. I think 300 actually managed to beat out Sin City to be the most faithful comic book adaption to date.

From the reviews I've read of Watchmen, it's also an incredibly faithful adaption and few negative reviews I've seen so far criticize it because it's TOO close to the comic, that more should have been changed for the story to work as a movie instead of a comic.

I personally still have my doubts in condensing 12 issues of Watchmen, filled to the gills with detail working as a 3 hour movie. Still, I already have bought my tickets for opening weekend and I'm really looking forward to see it.

Also note that Alan Moore's hatred of the movies started not because of their quality, but getting dragged into a lawsuit for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It really upset him and from that point onwards he wanted nothing to do with the movies, even refusing any money, giving his share to the artists. Unfortunately, as mentioned the producers of V for Vendetta lied about his involvement, which angered him even more and also soured his relationship with DC Comics that had previously been improving.
At which he got quite negative because of the script and has attacked the scripts and quality of other adaptations of his work. However, to this day, he's yet to see any of the movies, to see how they turned out. Back when he had a positive attitude about adaptions of his work, he said he would one day get around to renting them but not anymore.

Meanwhile, artist Dave Gibson is involved with Watchmen, having done some new Watchmen artwork, which I think going to be included in one of the Watchmen artbooks.
300 may have been horribly inaccurate to historical events, but it was incredible faithful to Frank Miller's 300 comic.

And if we're going to blame anyone for 300 being inaccurate and racist, shouldn't we be blaming Miller anyway? Of course, being a woman who reads comics, I have more than just that against Miller, buuuut anyway.

I just read Watchmen a few days ago. I can see why the ending was changed, as it's incredibly jarring (though it can probably be argued that it was meant to be). From what I've seen of the trailers and clips, this is looking to be a pretty perfect adaptation. (Now if only Dragonball had had this kind of movie translation. Sigh.)
I've actually never read any Miller, but having seen The Spirit I have more than enough to hold against him. Dear Lord that was bad
Incidentally, is it really a valid criticism of the movie to say it's historically inaccurate? It made no pretence of being historically accurate and neither its source material (the Miller comic) or the source material of its source material (Herodotus) was exactly historically accurate
I like Frank Miller's work. The Dark Knight is a legendary Batman story that changed the character and the comics industry forever.

I loved his work on Daredevil. And Batman Year One (Batman 404-) was also pretty fantastic.

I think he blew it with All Star Bats by making Batman a sociopath. But in general, I think his work is very entertaining.
The comic was such a comic that obviously the film will have to be something different to be special. I guess my worst fear for it would be that it ends up a tribute to the comic, but not a work in its own right. I hate the idea that someone might not read the comic because they have "seen the movie". Having said that, I'm really curious about what Snyder has done.

I think historical accuracy does matter. :) But then I can get a teeny bit obsessive about such things. Not the little details, but the sum of it.

It particularly matters with the Spartans, because the Western world makes our judgments about societies and how to organise them very influenced by a tradition that dates back to the Greek city states (in the 70s a lot of scholarship on Sparta was overtly linked in to debates about an apartheid state, for example, given the racial segregation in Sparta.)

Miller's retelling of Thermapolae is a way for him of promoting values, which colour the portrayals (as happens with all of us). So his accuracy matters. But me, I don't enjoy Miller's work much, because his values tend to repel me, despite his undoubted skill as a storyteller.
Wil Wheaton is a total Watchmen fanboi. He says that he's been waiting for this movie for 20 years, and that it was worth the wait. I'm stoked.
I just read this about a month ago, and I followed it with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I think I will like the movie better, I found the pirate comic in a comic to be too distracting.
As for historical accuracy, I was not interested in the Spartan or Greek side, though glorifying a state that killed defective babies, as well as promoted pederasty is horrifying.

I do care about when the first great world empire, who were incredibly tolerant and cultured (relatively of course), the Persians, are shown as monsters, especially when America is so opposed to Iran currently. People are incredibly ignorant about Iran (from pronouncing it as EYE-ran, to not realizing they are not Arabs, to the fact that Aryan and Iran are cognates, to ignoring the huge cultural achievements they made etc.) The very fact people don't blink at having latinos or blacks playing Persians is baffling, as there were many fair people in Iran before the Arab invasions, as can be seen in certain areas of Iran today, though it was of course a very ethnically diverse empire, far more than the xenophobic Greeks. Indeed the only place in the Persian Empire where what we would consider blacks be found would in in South (aka Upper) Egypt, and any Nubians or Ethiopans that migrated there. Of course the cast is the least of the movies problem, what with showing a group of people whose religion was based on the fight against evil as monstrous, but when people cannot grasp what a people looked like, its troubling. I can't think of a well known and apt analogy, but its like someone portraying some people in a certain way. Yeah.

All of this just goes to the fact that yes, I know its primarily Millers fault. But if a filmmaker adapts a racist book, its still on that filmmakers shoulder. But I am really excited for the Watchmen.
SteppeMerc, so you don't think even more people would say it was racist if they had a predominantly white Persian army?

Sure they combined modern stereotypes with an ancient culture but they were going to be criticized no matter how they portrayed the Persians. As it was they had a nice mix of skin tones in my opinion. Plus they had orcs, and I do not think the Persians had them either. Did you want an entire film on Persian culture or an action film?

I also do not see why people are mad about glorifying the Spartans. They are telling a Spartan Legend.
So if you really want to be mad at someone just be mad at the Spartans for fighting back in the first place I guess.
Jaynes Hat, that would be accurate if they had a predominantly white army, especially the nobles. It doesn't matter if people think its racist if its accurate, which is what it would be. And that is exactly my point, people are so ignorant about the Iranians they think that they're 'not white'. And I do want a film on the Persians, not an action film. Historical accuracy is paramount to me. I'm a historian, I'm really not going to go with any other answer.

But does anyone really think that if American Indians, Africans (at least those that currently considered 'black'), or another group of people who did not have such a large empire were portrayed in that matter people would shrug it off as easy?

And the Spartans were not fighting back. They were involving themselves in something that was between the Persians and the Athenians, who encouraged rebellion within their empire. And I'm not mad at the Spartans, merely pointing out their culture, or lack there off, is pretty appalling when looked at objectively and compared to others at the time.

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-03-01 08:40 ]

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