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Watchmen: Movie

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It wasn't happily ever after. In the comic it was a lot clearer, Dr M. tells Ozzy "Nothing ever changes" implying that his trick will not last for any significant length of time. Alan Moore has stated before that the end is not supposed to be a message that the ends justify the means, he wanted the ending to be a question of the reader. I've talked to many people about this, all my friends love it, and they all agree Ozzy was in the wrong and Rorschach in the right. If anything, this movie has helped progress the idea that the ends do not justify the needs.

And to those complaining Ozymandias is considered the smartest man in the world, if I remember right, he is considered that purely because of the marketing he has done with his toy line. There wasn't some huge IQ contest with Ozzy taking it all, he just has some over aggressive marketing people (as he says).

As RationalBiker said above, "I hope when I go see a movie that it is generally stand alone and that I don't have to go buy all the related literature to get the picture."

I have not read the comic, so my opinion here is based solely on the movie. It's not good enough to say, "But the comic explained so and so differently". What I am describing here is my interpretation of the movie, as this is a discussion based on the movie, not the comic. Most people who see the movie will not have read the comic, nor will they know much about it at all. Perhaps the comic is completely different, I wouldn't know. But once again, we're not talking about the comic here, we're talking about the movie, which may or may not be a different interpretation of the original story, so all these comic-based justifications are completely irrelevant.

If anything, this movie has helped progress the idea that the ends do not justify the needs.

I completely disagree, and I think you mean "means". While the friends I went with (most of whom had actually read the comic) thought that Rorschach was in the right and Ozzy in the wrong, quite a number of them still felt that Rorschach needed to die for the sake of "preserving peace". That while the means may have been evil, they were entirely necessary. The 'hapilly ever after' impression that the movie gives off at the end does absolutely nothing in the way of negating this idea either.

Edited by Grant

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As RationalBiker said above, "I hope when I go see a movie that it is generally stand alone and that I don't have to go buy all the related literature to get the picture."

I have not read the comic, so my opinion here is based solely on the movie. It's not good enough to say, "But the comic explained so and so differently". What I am describing here is my interpretation of the movie, as this is a discussion based on the movie, not the comic. Most people who see the movie will not have read the comic, nor will they know much about it at all. Perhaps the comic is completely different, I wouldn't know. But once again, we're not talking about the comic here, we're talking about the movie, which may or may not be a different interpretation of the original story, so all these comic-based justifications are completely irrelevant.

I completely disagree, and I think you mean "means". While the friends I went with (most of whom had actually read the comic) thought that Rorschach was in the right and Ozzy in the wrong, quite a number of them still felt that Rorschach needed to die for the sake of "preserving peace". That while the means may have been evil, they were entirely necessary. The 'hapilly ever after' impression that the movie gives off at the end does absolutely nothing in the way of negating this idea either.

In the movie, Laurie imagines John saying that, which deflates a lot of its poignancy but its still there in the movie, I should have mentioned that. The references to the comic were only meant to show that it is a lot clearer in the comic.

I do mean "means", me and my silly typos, it's one of the reasons I don't post too often. I think this is just a difference in friends really. I still don't see this "happily ever after" though, Nite Owl beats Ozzy to a pulp and says something along the lines of "You haven't saved humanity, you've deformed it", that's not very happy. Sure, it does show Laurie patching things up with her mother, but that's fairly unrelated to Ozzy's plot. And at the very end, we have the newspaper assistant receiving Rorschach's journal, and, assuming he chooses it, would be released to the world which has a lot of evidence implicating Ozzy in the attack. In the end, Rorschach might win. It's left up to the reader.

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It wasn't happily ever after. In the comic it was a lot clearer, Dr M. tells Ozzy "Nothing ever changes" implying that his trick will not last for any significant length of time. Alan Moore has stated before that the end is not supposed to be a message that the ends justify the means, he wanted the ending to be a question of the reader. I've talked to many people about this, all my friends love it, and they all agree Ozzy was in the wrong and Rorschach in the right. If anything, this movie has helped progress the idea that the ends do not justify the needs.

And to those complaining Ozymandias is considered the smartest man in the world, if I remember right, he is considered that purely because of the marketing he has done with his toy line. There wasn't some huge IQ contest with Ozzy taking it all, he just has some over aggressive marketing people (as he says).

Anthem's got it right here.

The point is that a bunch of guys, who thought themselves more morally capable than anyone else (which isn't necessarily bad thing), took it upon themselves - some were even granted the political authority - to take any devastating action necessary to get to a certain end. I still don't think they made it clear enough though, just how tenuous this peace is meant to be - they really shouldn't have omitted that line from Dr M, but I like the addition of the "deformed" line, that was very poetic (I'm not sure if that's new; is that new?).

The thing is meant to be a critique of politicians who think themselves "supermen" and the kind of people who turn to them out of fear in a time of crisis (kind of like 'V for Vendetta', written at the same time, in the same Cold War era). It is meant to be making the statement that we should be very afraid of putting our trust in them and believing that they will do the right thing. It is meant to reaffirm that we should take responsibility for changing the world ourselves, lest we get wiped out like Rorschach or the millions in those nuked cities.

Edited by Tenure

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I liked the movie a lot. I found it very artistic and in great style. It brings up some questions about society and humanity, and the ending is bad which is good now and then in a movie. I especially liked Rorshach's character.

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Watchmen is an instance of romanticism as Rand defines the term, it shows a conflict among people valuing and acting willfully. I also enjoyed the movie as fodder for analysis, even if I disliked the plot and theme.

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Watchmen is an instance of romanticism as Rand defines the term, it shows a conflict among people valuing and acting willfully. I also enjoyed the movie as fodder for analysis, even if I disliked the plot and theme.

Romanticism as Rand defines the term? Do you feel it was an example of how the world ought to be?

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Do you feel it was an example of how the world ought to be?

"The world as it ought to be" is not a defining characteristic of Romanticism.

Rand defines the term as: "a category of art based on the recognition of the principle that man possesses the faculty of volition."

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"Romanticism is the conceptual school of art. It deals, not with the random trivia of the day, but with the timeless, fundamental, universal problems and values of human existence. It does not record or photograph; it creates and projects. It is concerned—in the words of Aristotle—not with things as they are, but with things as they might be and ought to be."

What "timeless, fundamental, universal problems and values of human existence" are discussed in the movie and is the movie concerned with things as they might be and ought to be?

That is the question, and I don't mean the other DC character :)

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"Romanticism is the conceptual school of art. It deals, not with the random trivia of the day, but with the timeless, fundamental, universal problems and values of human existence. It does not record or photograph; it creates and projects. It is concerned—in the words of Aristotle—not with things as they are, but with things as they might be and ought to be."

What "timeless, fundamental, universal problems and values of human existence" are discussed in the movie and is the movie concerned with things as they might be and ought to be?

That is the question, and I don't mean the other DC character :P

  • Whether the end justifies the means?
  • Can a value be based on a falsehood?
  • How do a man's passions define his identity?
  • What are values? Can an indestructible immortal superbeing value anything or anyone?

You and I may not agree with the author's vision of what might be and ought to be, but there is a vision there. This is romanticism as Dostoevsky is romanticism.

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There are questions asked, yes. But are they answered? Isn't the point of the movie (or the comic) that no judgements are made and that it is up to the reader to decide?

Concerning the last point about immortality (which I personally value most important) I think there are much more positive movies out there. In "Watchmen" the question is asked what an immortal does value. But how does it relate to life? We know that immortality is impossible. And all I learn from the movie is that when I become immortal I lose interest in the world. Movies like "The last unicorn" move in the opposite direction, a being learns that it is not immortal and starts to value the world. Now that leaves me with a positive feeling.

And with the first and second point I guess you are refering to the unification by a common threat in order to prevent a nuclear war? Again, that's up to the reader to decide what happens next. What is demonstrated is that it works (for now). What happens if the truth came out sooner or later? Would it cause another nuclear war? It's unanswered. All I see is a series of questions, so it isn't a demonstration of what ought to be.

PS: I haven't seen the movie, I only read the plot and some reviews, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

Edited by Clawg

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This movie clearly demonstrates the evil of pragmatism. There is ample evidence in the film that Ozymandias is a villain and will not succeed and here is some evidence not in the film, at least not in entirety:

Ozymandias

By Percy Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land,

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,

Which yet survive stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal these words appear:

'My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my works. Ye Mighty, and despair!'

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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The only rational thing to do in a state of anarchy is either to flee the country or to build up a new government and law enforcement.

Law enforcement can be lacking in many conditions besides pure anarchy. If government does nothing to, or worse protects, those who violate rights then justice can only be attained by not going through that government. The Watchmen or V for Vendetta are good fictional examples of this. There are plenty of real life situations where it would also apply, such as under any of many dictatorships.

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I really enjoyed the movie. Movies can be good without being Atlas Shrugged. That said I kept finding myself relating characters from the movie to Atlas Shrugged among other book's characters. (I always divide characters into archetypes when watching/reading stories) The Dr. M's similarity to Dr. Robert Stadler was one: the scientist without philosophy. Rorshach reminds me of a perverted version of Ragnar.

Actually, many of the Watchmen could be linked to a philosopher or philosophy which was an enjoyable aspect of the movie for me. Moore is a crazy person but there is still some value in his work here.

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Law enforcement can be lacking in many conditions besides pure anarchy. If government does nothing to, or worse protects, those who violate rights then justice can only be attained by not going through that government.

If justice can be attained by not going through a government (i.e. a place where people meet and show other people the evidence according to certain rules) then why would we need a government in the first place?

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If justice can be attained by not going through a government (i.e. a place where people meet and show other people the evidence according to certain rules) then why would we need a government in the first place?

Because taking the law into your own hands is a short-term solution at best. There are some situations that may require it (corrupt officials, etc.) in the sense of it being the least-bad option, but being the least-bad doesn't make it a *good* option and if you have the ability or opportunity to establish a proper gov't, that's what you should do.

People are often inconsistent, which results in all sorts of unfortunate trade-offs. I don't think that there's anything wrong with producing art where you can, say, admire Rorschach for his commitment to principle but despise him for his brutality--men of mixed characters like this *do exist*. Heck--what's the fundamental difference between Rorschach and Gail Wynand?

I did enjoy the movie, but I don't think it was well made qua movie. The pacing was all over the place and they used narration where dramatization would have been much more appropriate, it was just . . . messy. Which, actually isn't surprising if you read about how it was stuck in development hell for like 10 years. I don't have any high hopes of anyone actually doing a good job with Atlas Shrugged considering that it's been "in development" since 1972. Of course, there were numerous crappy versions of The Lord of the Rings before Peter Jackson got his hands on it, and I think his version was worth the wait. Anyway, I digress. I think that the central idea of Watchmen was interesting, and I'd like to see it made into an actually good movie (one with less fan service and pointless gratuitous sex).

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I've been pondering the movie, and I think I'm going to see it again to try and understand it. It'd be nice if I could get a screenplay somewhere to read beforehand, but meh.

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Just saw it last weekend on DVD. There isn't much to add to what's already been said here, except about the movie's narrative.

For a movie this long (162 minutes according to the DVD box), with so many flashbacks, retrospectives and origin stories thrown in, a lot of information simply is missing. Why didn't people like the Watchmen? Why did the government outlaw them? Did The Comedian ever do anything but try to rape women and fire on unarmed protesters?

The movie tries to cram too much back story and too little actual story. There are origin stories for some characters, flashbacks for others, general restrospectives for all. Some of that is fermane to the actual story, but some of it isn't. We don't need to know how Dr. Manhattan came about, for example, it adds nothing.

Given that The COmedian gets murdered at the story's opening, the movie could have used flashbacks to show us this character. it does, to some extent, but the character is compeltely irrelevant to the story. Had any other watchman stumbled onto Ozymandias' plan and acted badly afterwards,t eh result would be the same.

The characters were incredibly un-heroic for a superhero story. Near the beginning we're facing nuclear war and what are they doing? 1) Silk Spectre is concerned about her relationship with Dr. Manhattan, 2) Night Owl is satisfied with obscurity and he lusts after Silk Spectre, 2) Ozymandias is remarkably stupid for being "the smartest man in the world," but he is doing somehting (only we don't even know that until the very end), 3) The Comedian does know what is afoot, but chooses to get drunk and "unburden" himself to a deadly enemy, 4) Dr. Manhattan waxes nostalgic and ponders an existence without values (at least that's complex), 4)Rorshach, well, he is doing something. He's on the wrong track, sort of, but he is acting (in between flashbacks).

Finally the plot hole question:

Rorshach is perhaps the most heroic of the bunch, but his cruelty makes him as much a villain as a hero. I woulnd't want a Rorshach around in real life, and I don't like him (though in some cases I can sympathize with him). The question is this: why is he a superhero to begin with?

I mean, he hates people (listen to his journal entries), he has no regard for societal institutions, or even for a nebulous concept of "society." So what does he fight for? What does he vlaue?

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The movie tries to cram too much back story and too little actual story. There are origin stories for some characters, flashbacks for others, general restrospectives for all. Some of that is fermane to the actual story, but some of it isn't. We don't need to know how Dr. Manhattan came about, for example, it adds nothing.

Given that The COmedian gets murdered at the story's opening, the movie could have used flashbacks to show us this character. it does, to some extent, but the character is compeltely irrelevant to the story. Had any other watchman stumbled onto Ozymandias' plan and acted badly afterwards,t eh result would be the same.

Rorshach is perhaps the most heroic of the bunch, but his cruelty makes him as much a villain as a hero. I woulnd't want a Rorshach around in real life, and I don't like him (though in some cases I can sympathize with him). The question is this: why is he a superhero to begin with?

I mean, he hates people (listen to his journal entries), he has no regard for societal institutions, or even for a nebulous concept of "society." So what does he fight for? What does he vlaue?

I think it is important to get a glimpse of Dr. Manhattan when he was John Osterman to show his later alienation from the human race. He is no longer human after he becomes Dr. Manhattan.

The Comedian is the whole catalyst for the story. Rorschach finds out the Comedian was killed, and therefore sets off on a quest to find the murderer and his motives. That is the main storyline. Also, the Comedian is relevant b/c of his 'relationship' with Sally Jupiter, and b/c he is the new Silk Spectre's father. His relationship to Silk Spectre is touched upon more in the scene on Mars with Dr. Manhattan and Laurie, and it has an effect on the outcome of the story (Dr. Manhattan takes the blame for what Ozymandias did, and disintegrates Rorschach).

Rorschach repeatedly and clearly states that he values justice. Even in the face of armageddon, never compromise.

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I think it is important to get a glimpse of Dr. Manhattan when he was John Osterman to show his later alienation from the human race. He is no longer human after he becomes Dr. Manhattan.

I can think of two other ways to do just that without a full origin story flashback: 1) An argument with Laurie where all this is pointed out, 2) a photograph of Osterman with his old girlfriend seen against the cold, aloof overgrown smurf with the magical powers. In fact these are also done (the arguemnt even happens twice, once with Laurie and once with The Comedian), therefore the flashback was superflous.

The Comedian is the whole catalyst for the story. Rorschach finds out the Comedian was killed, and therefore sets off on a quest to find the murderer and his motives. That is the main storyline.

Yes, half-buried upon flashbacks and origin stories. But the story would be the same, or nearly so, had Night Owl found Ozy's plan and been killed rather than The Comedian. You can't kill off Rorschach at the beginning because only he had the will to investigate. You also can't kill off Dr. Manhattan because he is the plot device upon which the sacrificial final act turns.

Also, the Comedian is relevant b/c of his 'relationship' with Sally Jupiter, and b/c he is the new Silk Spectre's father. His relationship to Silk Spectre is touched upon more in the scene on Mars with Dr. Manhattan and Laurie, and it has an effect on the outcome of the story (Dr. Manhattan takes the blame for what Ozymandias did, and disintegrates Rorschach).

Sure, but the impact of that scene would have been a lot stronger if The Comedian were still alive. Also if the attempted rape scene were cut short, if it had ended with The Comedian taking off his pants over a prone Silk Spectre. That implies he does rape her (naturally the scene would need to be ended later on in the movie), and that makes Laurie's origin very different.

I think the comic's author killed off The Comedian rather than somene else because he wanted to avoid doing a Darth vader scene, having him tell Laurie "No, I am your father."

Rorschach repeatedly and clearly states that he values justice. Even in the face of armageddon, never compromise.

He states it once, when arguing with Ozymandies near the end. He states his purpose is justice. the question (no piun intended) then is: justice for whom?

Look, the basic plot and the idea behind it is good enough, but it suffers from the way it is told. Besides the flashbacks and origin stories, we know too little about the central characters. I know the author wanted to use existing DC characters, which I admit would have worked better, because that way you'd know the characters before seeing them. As it is I don't know who these people are and I don't learn enough about them as superheroes to really know who they are.

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BTW did anyone else think Rorschach has more than a passing resemblance to Dr. House? I'm speaking or the way they both act. They're both insensitive jerks, they're both cruel (albeit House confines himself to hurtful words), they're both ambitious and driven men who'll stop at nothing to achieve their goals.

And no, I'm not suggesting House is a Rorschach rip-off.

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