Warner Brothers invited select press to a special Watchmen “roadshow” event yesterday, during which director Zack Snyder screened 25-odd minutes of footage from his graphic novel adaptation. Among the bigger snippets of news to come out of the screening and subsequent Q&A session was the epic official run time of Snyder’s Watchmen, which he said is currently clocking in at two hours and 43 minutes, though he also mentioned that the figure was not final.
But just what footage did Snyder choose to show off at the event? IGN Movies‘ Todd Gilchrist gives a detailed blow-by-blow account of the scenes shown (if you’re spoiler-phobic, we recommend you skip to the end). In the film’s opening scene, the aged Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is attacked in his home by an unidentified assailant:
“Even at his clearly advanced age, Comedian fends for himself well: First he swings dexterously with punches and kicks that deter his opponent, and then tries to stab him with kitchen cutlery. But before he can claim victory, his unknown attacker disables him with a thunderous series of punches and kicks; and after shattering a marble countertop with Comedian’s head, the assailant throws the aging superhero out of his apartment window. Glass shatters and cascades down around him as his body plummets to the ground below. Landing almost immediately after his body is Watchmen‘s trademark smiley-face button, which is quickly swallowed by the pool of blood that pours out of Comedian’s bruised corpse.”
IGN continues with descriptions of an opening credit montage showing the backstories of Watchmen‘s main characters, a scene in which Dr. Manhattan explains his own origin story, and a scene in which Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II break Rorschach out of jail, which IGN describes as a “beautiful sequence shot from multiple angles at different film speeds.” Read the full story.
Collider‘s Frosty was also quite taken with how Snyder filmed the Rorschach rescue scene. “One of the great things about the footage was the way Zack staged the fighting,” he wrote. “Unlike some movies that cut too quick, or make it so you can’t follow the action, this stuff was easy to follow and it looked like they were there doing the stunts and actually fighting. No quick cuts and shitty editing, this stuff was tight and together. Very impressive.” Check out Collider’s full report.
And if fans of Watchmen are concerned that the scope and intricacy of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ graphic novel cannot adequately be captured on film, CHUD‘s Devin Faraci offered some relief. After watching the Dr. Manhattan clip he wrote, “This ten minute segment is essentially an adaptation of one issue of the comic, and the fact that Snyder captures everything that he needs to capture in those ten minutes are the boldest testament to the fact that Watchmen is doable in a feature length film.” Read more from CHUD here.
Elsewhere on the web, fanboy-level excitement began to foment. After the footage screening, First Showing‘s Alex Billington declared that Watchmen could, like The Matrix and The Dark Knight before it, be a transformative movie event. “I really believe it’s going to be one of the few films in this century that truly pushes the boundaries of cinematic storytelling,” he writes. “It’s definitely going to give The Dark Knight a run for its money (only in the sense of being one of the best movies of all-time).”
Find out yourself when Zack Snyder’s Watchmen hits theaters March 6, 2009.