I don’t know about you, but when my non-geek friends need a tour guide into the world of geekdom, they call on me. So I tend to escort a lot of people to big pop culture events and try to explain why it’s a big deal in the fanboy community. That is why, after being in theaters for only three days, I’ve now seen Watchmen four times. I am now a Watchmen movie expert of sorts. So, while playing tour guide to friends, I found myself answering the same questions over and over. So, in the interest of saving time, which is especially valuable after a three-hour movie, here’s my FAQ on Watchmen:
Why is Doctor Manhattan naked?
A better question would be, “Why aren’t you naked?” I think Professor Farnsworth would agree that once you become one with the universe on a molecular level, such questions go “the way of the poodle and your primitive notions of modesty.”
Is the movie like the book?
Yes, it is. But you’ll find that critics are pretty evenly divided on the subject of whether it’s too faithful or not faithful enough. Its devotion to the source material presents some problems in terms of pacing, but I can’t point out any scenes that I would have cut. I enjoyed seeing every minute of the movie.
Why didn’t it just end after the scene in Antarctica?
Though Laurie states it in the movie, in the book, Jon curses Adrian with the ominous line that “Nothing ends. Nothing ever ends.” The publication of Rorschach’s journal means that Adrian’s plot will be exposed, starting the Cold War all over again. It’s a final triumph for Rorschach and a dark note on the cyclical nature of man’s inhumanity to man. Whee!
Isn’t the Cold War thing sort of irrelevant these days?
Oh, how quickly we forget. I was a child of the 80s and I distinctly remember believing nuclear annihilation could happen at any moment. But if you’re not in the mood for a period piece, just think of Russia as a metaphor for whatever scares you the most right now: terrorism, Iran, North Korea, Utah. Take your pick.
I don’t get it. What’s the big deal anyway?
Sure, the deconstruction of the superhero mythos is no big deal today; we’ve seen it a million times. But Watchmen did it first and did it best. There’d be no Dark Knight, no Incredibles, no Heroes without Watchmen. It would be like watching Touched by an Angel without reading the Bible first.
Did Laurie really say “I’ve got to get something off my chest” while wearing a really tight sweater dress?
Um…yes. Yes, she did.