Alan Moore is one of the greatest writers in the graphic novel genre, so it came as no surprise when Hollywood wanted to get their hands on his work and bring it to the big screen. Films which have been adaptations from Moore’s stories include: From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V For Vendetta. Although the films were enjoyable and got the premise across they did not measure up to the comic book originals. However one film which came rather close to being just as incredible as the graphic novel – and I know a lot of fans will disagree – is Watchmen.Even if some fans were not impressed with the film, it has to be said that director Zack Snyder was the perfect choice to take on the film, he gave the movie the exact feel which the novel did in its pages. With the amazing camera shots, dark-atmospheric lighting and slow-paced fight scenes which mimic the comic panels exactly, even if you weren’t a fan of the graphic novel, it is hard not to be a fan of the film. Mainly because it a completely different take on the super-hero genre.
The entire film was an achievement, but the one thing that stood out was the opening credits sequence – one of the best which I have seen. The sequence – which cleverly has Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are-A-Changin’ in the background – shows a time-line of events which have occurred before the setting of the actual film, in 1985. First we are introduced to the original Minutemen of the 1940s, they were mostly police men who threw on costumes to fight crime, and then as it goes on we see their demise and the rise of the Watchmen. We also see how – in this universe – the heroes have been present in most of America’s biggest events. Towards the end, the heroes, and vigilante justice is shown to be outlawed, but when there are no more heroes on the streets, who will protect us from evil.
Here is a breakdown of the opening credits sequence, just a warning, there may be a few spoilers for those who have not seen the film.
Nite Owl socks an armed robber in the jaw outside of a movie theatre. If you look in the background we see a couple leaving the theatre, the couple are Bruce Wayne’s parents. The wall behind Nite Owl is plastered with Batman comic posters, due to Wayne’s parents not being killed, Batman is a fictional character in this universe.
We see a picture being taken of the original Minutemen, which included (from left to right): Silhouette, Mothman, Dollar Bill, Nite Owl, Captain Metropolis, The Comedian, Silk Spectre and Hooded Justice.
The rise of the Watchmen.
The Comedian is shown to be responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, he is wearing the same clothes as the ‘three tramps’, the men who were originally arrested for the crime. The smoke which was said to have been seen from behind the fence turns out to be a puff from The Comedian’s cigar.
Dr. Manhattan is seen by Neil Armstrong as he first sets foot on the moon in 1969, Armstrong recites the line “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky”. This is from the myth that when Armstrong was younger he heard his neighbour Mrs. Gorsky shout “Oral sex? I’ll give you oral sex when that kid next door walks on the moon!”
As the final shot zooms out we see various televisions depicting different stations which bring us to the present. Bulletins like ‘Vigilantes Outlawed’, ‘Nixon Elected For Third Term’ and scientists moving the ‘Doomsday Clock’ up to 10 minutes to midnight. Before we here a civilian shout “Get out of here vigilante.” And spraying ‘Who Watches The Watchmen?”on the window, a phrase which asks the question, if the Watchmen are watching what we do, then who is watching them?