Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen is one of the greatest graphic novels of all time — but it's also tied to its Cold War origins in a huge way. So one of the biggest questions about the movie adaptation has been how fetishistic director Zack Snyder (300) will update the movie for a post-Cold War audience. And most importantly, will he change the movie's psychedelic shock ending? And now, thanks to an extra who worked on the movie, we have our answer: the movie makes slight changes for awesomeness, but sticks lovingly to the book otherwise.
The movie's extra, writing for Comic Related, has also provided a virtual "tour" of the movie's sets. We've already seen pictures of the Watchmen sets and a video of their building, but the extra took a ton of pictures of the whole block of buildings that were built for exterior shots. You can see quite how run-down and destroyed these buildings look, which adds to the sense of a dystopian New York. There's even a complete map of the sets that were built. I've labeled all the pics, to make it easier to figure out what is what:
And our intrepid extra also spilled some plot details.
- The supplemental material at the ends of each chapter in the comic will be reproduced as newsreels, either in the opening credits or interspersed throughout the film.
- The scene between Nixon and Kissinger, discussing Dr. Manhattan leaving Earth and the tensions with Russia, has been reproduced using prosthetics to make the actors resemble the real-life figures. They hear about a potential doomsday scenario for the East Coast of the U.S., and Nixon cackles, "Let's see those bastards at Harvard figure a way out of that one." There may actually be a limited nuclear strike.
- We'll see Rorschach's tragic childhood in detail, and Zack Snyder's son plays the young Kovacs. We see the whoring mother, the bullies and the eventual employment in the garment industry where Rorschach finds his mask. We also see Rorschach use his "interrogation methods" in a bar, resulting in broken fingers. And Snyder has "upped the ante" for Rorschach's confrontation with Big Figure (Danny Woodburn): as in the comic, Rorschach binds Big Figure's henchman's arms in the cell door — but in the movie, Figure's other flunky cuts the guy's arms off with a circular saw. Rorschach makes his escape the same way as in the comic, and Big Figure dies off-camera in the restroom.
- Veidt's domed Antarctic retreat appears in the movie, but there's no greenhouse, and he doesn't murder his three accomplices. Nite Owl and Rorschach have to walk to Veidt's retreat from Owl's ship, instead of using hoverbikes. Dr. Manhattan will crash through the ceiling of the retreat, and he'll be 100 feet tall. Veidt catches the bullet Laurie shoots, but doesn't break Nite Owl's nose with a plate. Veidt fights Nite Owl, Rorschach and Laurie at the same time. And Rorschach meets his "explosive demise" at the hands of Dr. Manhattan. (Update: Not Veidt as we erroneously reported before.)
- And finally, the biggest spoiler: "The squid is in." The climax of the graphic novel, where Veidt unleashes his "hideous brainchild" on New York, has been filmed.