Watchmen artist and co-creator Dave Gibbons appeared at the Warner Bros. panel to debut the first 18 minutes of the upcoming Watchmen film to a packed crowd of eager fans today at New York Comic Con.
As if showing the beginning of the film wasn’t awesome enough, Gibbons also showed a bonus scene featuring the Rorschach character out of costume — an exclusive to New York Comic Con.
Gibbons praised the film’s director Zack Snyder for the accuracy of his adaptation, which holds true to the graphic novel despite a few minor details that were lost in translation.
Obviously, this might be considered SPOILER territory for some of you, so be warned about the scenes I’m about to describe, but first, here’s a snippet from Gibbons of the panel discussion…
“A lot of the background stuff that’s in the graphic novel is in the movie. But, I certainly think when it does eventually come out on DVD, probably everybody in this room including me, is going to have the remote control, stopping frame-by-frame trying to read the newspaper [in the background]… because just like we tried to do in the graphic novel, everything in the frame means something. There’s nothing that’s just filler in the background. Everything means something, so in that respect it’s just like the graphic novel.”
The film opens with a close-up on the iconic smiley face button. As the camera pulls back, we see an aged Comedian, Edward Blake, smoking a cigar while watching TV. On the TV is a televised debate on Russia’s chances of starting a nuclear war. One of the talking heads is Pat Buchanan — and he says there’s no chance. It’s revealed that Dr. Manhattan is America’s secret weapon who will keep the peace. We also get to see the Doomsday Clock. Just another reminder of how much this movie is rooted in history, albeit alternate history.
As a commercial playing Nate King Cole’s “Unforgettable” plays on the TV, a masked figure smashes his way through the door of his apartment. “I guess it was just a matter of time,” The Comedian says.
What ensues is a lengthy knocked-down drag-out superhero-level fist fight between the two as furniture is smashed and the apartment totally trashed. It’s during this sequence we see the pin-up of Silk Spectre I, Sally Jupiter, as well as a framed photo of her daughter Laurie (Silk Spectre II), and other little details about The Comedian’s past. (There’s also a frame showing a door with 300 it — a nod to director Zack Snyder’s previous film). “This is a joke, it’s all a joke. Mother forgive me,” The Comedian says, knowing he’s about to meet his end. He’s then overpowered and his super-strong assailant finishes him off by throwing him through a plate glass window, down several stories of his high-rise Manhattan apartment building, smiley button and all, as “Unforgettable” finishes.
Unlike a lot of movies where the open credits are meaningless, Watchmen‘s highly entertaining opening credits make sense and serve a crucial purpose, and are set to Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin.” Since the film is routed in the same time period as the graphic novel, the credits are used as a catching up device to show us what has transpired in the decades leading to The Comedian’s demise. Each scene shown is emotional because it represents milestones in American history, while also weaving into it the Watchmen timeline.
The opening credits begin with the members of the pre-Watchmen superhero group Minutemen assembling for a photo. A scene showing the newspaper on the V-J Day when Japan was defeated after World War II is followed by the famous scene of people celebrating the victory at Times Square, though instead of a soldier kissing a nurse, it’s lesbian superhero Silhouette kissing the nurse. We see President John F. Kennedy shaking the hand of Dr. Manhattan on the White House lawn.
Then Kennedy gets assassinated — the killer revealed to be The Comedian. A pregnant Sally Jupiter retires. Dollar Bill is killed. Mothman gets committed. The Silhouette and the nurse are killed, the message “Lesbian Whores” written in blood on the wall. A newspaper reads, “Russ Have A-Bomb” and we see Rorschach as a young boy. A black and white TV has the news reported on the war in Vietnam and the protests. We know all of this signifies that times they are a-changin again, but this time for the worse as it’s also the end of the sanctioned costumed superheros in America. But not the end of costumed superheros as a Rorschach’s r.r. symbol is left at the scene where two criminals roped to a fire hydrant.
After the opening credits, we see the police investigate The Comedian’s murder, but the costumed vigilante Rorschach is on the case too after he finds The Comedian’s bloodied smiley button. As as voiceover we hear Rorschach’s raspy voice recite from his Journal (as classic piece from the graphic novel): “This city’s afraid of me, I’ve seen its true face, the streets are extended gutters, the gutters are full of blood, and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout ‘Save us!’ and I’ll whisper ‘No.’ It goes on further as Rorschach searches The Comedian’s apartment and find’s the dead man’s secret room with a stash of weapons and old photos. The footage ends with saying Rorschach saying, “Tonight, a Comedian died in New York. Somebody knows why. Somebody knows.”
New Bonus Scene
We see the unmasked Rorschach, Walter Kovacs, as an inmate in a prison lunchroom on line to get food. A big guy behind him is picking a fight with him and we see a flash of a shiv in his hand. Sensing what’s the come, Kovacs prepares himself, and begins to beat the guy, then throws a pot of hot deep fry oil on him. We see the burnt guy screaming in agony. As the guards try to subdue Kovacs, he threatens his fellow inmates, “I’m not trapped in here with you … you’re locked in here with me.”
Additional reporting by TechGOnzo.