‘Watchmen’ Premieres In The UK

London watches the Watchmen

Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Billy Crudup, Malin Ackerman, Watchmen illustrator Dave Gibbons and more were on hand in Odeon Leicester Square in London, England last night for the UK premiere of the new big screen adaptation of the graphic novel masterpiece Watchmen. Here are a few photos from the event’s red carpet:


The $120 million comic book adaptation “Watchmen,” one of 2009′s most eagerly awaited films, premiered in London Monday, aiming to repeat the success of superhero hits like “Iron Man” and “The Dark Knight.” The red carpet launch of the special effects-laden action thriller is the culmination of years of to-ing and fro-ing over scripts, budgets and, finally, a legal dispute between rival Hollywood studios. Directed by Zack Snyder, whose “300″ was a box office winner in 2007, Watchmen is based on a 1986 comic book series of the same name written by Briton Alan Moore and illustrated by compatriot Dave Gibbons. As with other movies based on his stories, Moore has distanced himself from the film, which hits cinemas in Britain and the United States on March 6. Asked if Moore was likely to watch the movie, deemed “unfilmable” by some in the business, Snyder told Reuters: “Look, you know Alan has famously said ‘I don’t want anything to do with it’ and I just try and respect that as much as I can.” Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985 United States, where the “Doomsday Clock” charting U.S. tensions with the Soviet Union, is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is found murdered, masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all superheroes, both past and present. The film contains scenes of sex and violence, earning it an R rating in the United States meaning under-17s can only see it with a parent or adult guardian, limiting its commercial potential. Snyder said the success of “300,” his ultra-violent depiction of the legendary battle between Spartans and Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C., had given him more freedom. “I think that ’300′ really helped us to say, okay, look, it can be rated R.” The fate of the film was in doubt until last month, when studios Warner Bros and News Corp’s Twentieth Century Fox reached a settlement in a copyright infringement dispute. Warner Bros, a unit of Time Warner Inc, produced the film, but Fox sued Warner last year to stop its release. Fox, which acquired the rights to the “Watchmen” story in 1986, claimed it had a continuing stake in the project. Warner was also behind The Dark Knight, the Batman sequel which was last year’s biggest grossing film globally with ticket sales of $1 billion.

At last … Watchmen has its first official premiere … the long-awaited big screen adaptation is finally upon us. I’ve done my best to stay away from spoilers and extended film clips mainly because I don’t want to be spoiled by what I read and see before I can see the movie for myself (plus, I’m still reading Watchmen … I need to finish it soon). That said, I’m very concerned by the mixed reviews that I have stumbled upon. Last week, I read some bits of a review written by a fan (not a “credentialed reviewer”) and it was not very complimentary. As for the “official” reviews from the media … well, they are a mix of good and worrisome:

Directed by Zack Snyder, whose “300″ was a box office winner in 2007, Watchmen is based on a 1986 comic book series of the same name written by Briton Alan Moore and illustrated by compatriot Dave Gibbons. Critics gave it mixed reviews, with several predicting approval from the hardcore comic book fan fraternity. How it plays to a wider audience, however, will be more important to its commercial prospects. “For those just watching Watchmen for the Watchmen, without any expectations or knowledge of the comic’s storyline or historical importance, this really will be a blast,” wrote Mike Ragogna in the internet newspaper The Huffington Post. But Robbie Collin, of Britain’s top-selling tabloid weekly News of the World, disagreed: “This two-and-a-half-hour wannabe pop culture epic isn’t the worst superhero movie ever made … But it is one of the most spirit-crushingly disappointing,” he said. As with other movies based on his stories, Moore has distanced himself from the film, which hits cinemas in Britain and the United States on March 6. Asked if Moore was likely to watch the movie, deemed “unfilmable” by some in the business, Snyder told Reuters: “Look, you know Alan has famously said ‘I don’t want anything to do with it’ and I just try and respect that as much as I can.”

See, I’m not so much worried about what the negative reviews say (because, honestly, many reviewers like to be negative so that they can garner a little press) but I am concerned that author Alan Moore doesn’t want “anything to do” with the film. HMM. I really believe that people are going to love it and people are going to hate it … just like every other movie ever made … and it will be up to individuals to make that determination for themselves. I am looking forward to seeing this film, not the least of which because this film promises the first fully-frontal nekkid male character — in CGI. I mean, I’m also interested in seeing this masterpiece of graphic novelness brought to life on the big screen but … CGI p33n is where it’s at ;)

[Photo credit: Wireimage; Source, Source]

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  1. kate

    I wouldn’t worry too much about Alan Moore’s opinion of the movie, Trent. He doesn’t want anything to do with any adaptations of his books and comics. I love the man, he’s a genius, but he’s also notoriously stubborn when it comes to his stories. Dave Gibbons has vocalized his support for the movie. I for one am very excited to see this.

  2. Chase

    This movie seems so odd to me! I don’t know why, either. I mean, it looks interesting but I think it won’t be a huge blockbuster hit like The Dark Knight nor necessarily be a flop, either. It’ll definitely merge somewhere in-between.

  3. Cassie

    @Kate – yeah, Alan Moore never wants anything to do with movies of his stuff, but can you blame him? Every movie that has been based on his stuff (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta) has completely missed the points he was trying to make in his writing. I would imagine I would get really annoyed with my work being misrepresented too.

    Still, I will be interested in seeing this story on the screen. Will Snyder manage to get across all the sublte points and nuances that made the book so great? Probably not. He’s a great director, but I think this story will be hard to truly portray onscreen. I guess we’ll see…

    I just hope there isn’t any truth to the persisten rumour of a change to the ending. If he did significantly change the ending, then the point of the story will truly be lost. Here’s hoping it’s only a rumour!

  4. lambman

    Cassie – I thought V for Vendetta was an excellent adaptation! League of Extrprdinary Gentleman on the otherhand was a mess

    I am also rushing to finish the novel 3 chapters left I will be done with it by Friday, soooooooooooooooo good

  5. kate

    @Cassie- Oh goodness no I don’t blame him at all. As much as I liked V FOR VENDETTA the movie, it was a completely different story from the book. And LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, well….

    From what I’ve heard is that the end has some changes, but the point is still loud and clear. So it’s not the best outcome, but it could have been much worse.

  6. JG

    SPOILER ALERT

    What I read about the ending was that the “alien attack” that happens in NYC will be changed to something more global like multiple bombs going off at the same time all over the world.

  7. Traci

    If I remember correctly, he just doesn’t want anything to do with films based on his writing, no matter how good or bad it turns out.
    I did a bit of searching, and he’s apparently been against it since waaaay before Snyder came on board, even before LoEG. In 2001 he told Entertainment Weekly it was unfilmable, which people said about Lord of the Rings, and look how that turned out!
    And while it sucks knowing the ending was changed, I’ve only gotten halfway through the book, and know I won’t get any further before the film comes out.
    Besides, every film adaptation differs somewhat from the source material.

  8. Traci

    Grah, hit submit before I finished!
    I was going to add that sometimes the changes to a story make the film move along better, and sometimes they are terrible, and you can’t fathom why it was done (from what I gather LoEG is in that category).

  9. Traci

    Argh, I hate to triple post, but I just read Wil Wheaton reviewing it on his blog, and he said it is effing awesome.
    He also said this, which I thought was a great way of putting a lot of the criticism about adaptations:
    “Ultra-purists who are just determined to pick it apart will be able to find some things to be upset about, but I don’t know why they’re even bothering to see it, to be honest.”
    <3 Wesley Crusher.

  10. AmyM

    CGI P33N!?! whaaaaaaaaaaaa? holy crap, i can’t wait!

  11. newsgrrl

    Agree with kate – Moore doesn’t want to have anything to do with movies – he did the same thing with V…

  12. Cassie

    @Iambman – I agree, V for Vendetta was a cool movie, but yes, totally different from the book. (ie – the sudden love story between the two main characters! So unecessary!)

    @ Traci – you’re right! Adaptations are always funny…sometimes they’re very true to the source material and as such, might make the purists happy but hold up the film for a movie audience. Certain things always need to be cut when making an adaptation. I guess it just depends on what exactly gets cut…

    I suppose what makes this such a sore subject for many is that this is such an important book, and has been for such a long time (for those that have loved it for a long time) that it’s hard to let go and see how someone will interpret it. Truly, we can speculate on here all we want, but we won’t really know until the 6th!!

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