A war of words has erupted over the Zack Snyder-directed 2009 film adaptation of Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel “Watchmen”.
It began last week when producer Joel Silver took the film to task, claiming in an interview that “Zack came at it the right way but was too much of a slave to the material.” He went on to praise an earlier incarnation he was involved with, boasting a script by Sam Hamm (1989’s “Batman”) and Charles McKeown (“Brazil”) along with director Terry Gilliam.
In that version, Doctor Manhattan went back in time to stop himself being created. The ending sees him succeeding, with Rorschach, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre appearing in Times Square – the events of Watchmen had become a comic and they were now like those people who dress up in character on the street.
Snyder has now hit back at the comments whilst out doing publicity rounds for “300: Rise of an Empire” which he wrote and produced. Snyder tells The Huffington Post:
“It’s funny, because the biggest knock against the movie is that we finally changed the ending, right? Right, and if you read the Gilliam ending, it’s completely insane… the fans would have stormed the castle on that one.
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 Gilliam’s of this world. It’s just using elements that are in the comic book already, that’s the only thing I did. I would not have grabbed something from out of the air and said, ‘Oh, here’s a cool ending just because it’s cool.'”
Producer Deborah Snyder, Zack’s wife, adds that it’s impossible to please all of the original comic fans:
“But it’s interesting because, you’re right, it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You have people who are mad that the ending was changed and you have other people saying, ‘Oh, it was a slave to the graphic novel.’ You can’t please everybody.”
Zack continued on with his dissection and challenge of that adaptation, saying:
“That’s the problem with comic book movies and genre. And I believe that we’ve evolved — I believe that the audiences have evolved. I feel like Watchmen came out at sort of the height of the snarky Internet fanboy — like, when he had his biggest strength.
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 Marvel’s The Avengers — 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.”