Saturday, August 23, 2008

Watchmen Update

I’ve been bouncing all over the internet reading up on the latest news and buzz about the upcoming Watchmen movie.

There is a lot of fan angst over the running time of the film and the film's legal trouble with Fox studios. So much angst that it has spawned two of the internet's most dreaded entities, the online petition and the cry for a boycott! Shudder! I just got a shiver up my back!

Here is an easy one-page piece from Newsarama that describes exactly what the trouble the films producer, Warner Bros., is facing from Fox. But if that isn't enough for you, here is a post over at containing links to all the relevant legal documents, complaints, judges orders, alleged misstatements, purchase agreements and even a comparison to a similar situation in 2005, when the same judge granted a preliminary injunction that would have kept The Dukes of Hazzard movie from being released.

Supporters of the petition, which you can find HERE, are threatening to boycott upcoming Fox studios films such as "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and even "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." Those sound like empty threats to me though, but then again so does Fox's threat to prevent the movie from ever being released because, they say, "there are some damages you never recover." We all know that to Fox it is only about the money and nothing but the money.

As proof that it is about nothing but the money, people have highlighted Fox's timing on this whole thing. Fox stood by and waited until February to file their complaint. They waited until after Warner Bros had finished developing the movie, when they would have the most leverage.

A Fox spokesmen responded to the question about if Fox is concerned about the fans being upset by saying,
"Of course we are concerned about the fans; however, any disappointment from the core fans should not be directed toward Fox. What we are doing is seeking to enforce our distribution rights to Watchmen. Legal copyright ownership should not just be swept under the rug and ignored."
Translated that means, "No we just care about the money." But really, why should they care about the fans? We are still watching their crap even though there is no more Firefly.

Now on top of that all there is the issue of the movie's running time. Fans are crying out, demanding that the movie be allowed to come in at 3+ hours. Here is another Newsarama article about the running time including how that might be relevant to the legal problems and how other long running blockbusters have faired box office money-wise.

But is the movie worth all this? Kevin Smith, who was invited to see a rough cut of the film just after the San Diego Comic-con and posted this on his MySpace page:
I saw "Watchmen." It's fucking astounding. The Non-Disclosure Agreement I signed prevents me from saying much, but I can spout the following with complete joygasmic enthusiasm: Snyder and Co. have pulled it off.

Remember that feeling of watching "Sin City" on the big screen and being blown away by what a faithful translation of the source material it was, in terms of both content and visuals? Triple that, and you'll come close to watching "Watchmen." Even Alan Moore might be surprised at how close the movie is to the book. March can't come soon enough.
Though for the sake of full disclosure I should say that I didn't think the Sin City movie was all that great. Not that I didn't think it wasn't really faithful to the graphic novels, I just thought the movie version showed just how campy the graphic novel actually is.

Anyway, if you still juiced for more Watchmen reading here is an interview with DC comics president, Paul Levitz, about the trailer and such. Even more interesting is this piece by Isabelle Burtan, a new writer at, about her virgin take on The Watchmen trailer. It is her scene by scene take on the trailer not knowing anything at all about the graphic novel.

My personal take on the trailer is that was the trailer for us fans. There will be other trailers for the unwashed masses closer to the film's release.

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