Watchmen

Comic Vs. Movie

10 Differences Between the Watchmen Comic and Movie

Catch Watchmen Thursday, December 17th at 6P ET/PT on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

In 1986, writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colorist John Higgins upended the public’s perception of comic books. With the limited series Watchmen, the trio created a gorgeously emotional and sophisticated work of comic book fiction that could go toe-to-toe with the most esteemed literary classics. (In fact, Time Magazine placed it on its list of the 100 best novels of the modern era.) So it was only a matter of time before the resurgence of the comic book movie would generate enough momentum to push Watchmen to the big screen — which it did in 2009.

Of course, given such treasured source material, fans (and Moore alike) were understandably wary of the film adaptation and how the paneled page would translate to the moving picture. But by using the comic as an established storyboard, director Zack Snyder was able to maintain much of the look and feel of the original work.

However, there are still multiple differences between Watchmen the book and Watchmen the movie. Before you catch Watchmen on IFC, check out 10 ways the two titles differ from one another. (Note: Spoilers abound!)

1. The level of superhuman strength is greatly increased in the film.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

The original Watchmen story chronicles the lives of average (albeit keenly trained) people who don costumes to fight crime and injustice. Aside from the godlike Doctor Manhattan, caped crusaders are limited to the peaks of human strength in the real world. Comparatively in Snyder’s film, the Watchmen are literally superhuman, with the ability to punch through concrete walls and withstand skull-crushing collisions with marble tables.


2. The Black Freighter subplot isn’t in the movie.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

Acting as both a comic-within-a-comic meta narrative as well as a framing device, the swashbuckling Tales of the Black Freighter — featuring a shipwrecked mariner, an ominous ocean liner, and a raft of dead bodies — provides a metaphor-heavy counterpart to the main plot. But in order to keep the film at a reasonable length, the Black Freighter subplot was scrapped for the theatrical version. (An animated version of the story was released direct-to-video a few weeks after the film’s release.)


3. The character backstories are simplified for the movie.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

Watchmen has a rich and storied history for the main characters, flashing back to conversations and events that directly influenced their actions. Although the novel had over 400 pages to work with multiple storylines, many of them had to be condensed or excised for the sake of the film’s running time. However, Snyder successfully sums up several narratives with a stylized credits sequence that showcases key historical moments with single slow-motion shots, which critics and fans hailed as arguably the best part of the movie.


4. The Keene Act is more important in the comic.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

Along with personal histories, broader world events were pared down in the movie — among them being the law against costumed vigilantes known as the Keene Act. The book presents a fuller explanation for the public’s derision toward superheroes and how it led to their collective retirement as well as four terms for President Nixon. Although a fake Keene Act PSA from 1977 was released as a promotion, the movie barely addresses the legislative ban.


5. Comic book Nite Owl is more vulnerable.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

To go with his paunchy stomach, the book version of Daniel Dreiberg/Nite Owl has character flaws and vulnerabilities that go beyond the physical. He’s not nearly as confident as he is in the movie (you’d never see him grin before a fight, for example) and his fear of Rorschach and Doctor Manhattan is palpable in light of the clear threats they pose to him. And speaking of Rorschach…


6. Rorschach’s character-defining moment is handled differently in the film.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

The original Watchmen places more emphasis on the moment where Rorschach murders the child molester, depicting it as the moment he adopted his halting speech and truly became the deranged sociopath we all know and love. On the page, he cuffs the guy to his stove and sets his house on fire, leaving him to choose whether to hack off a limb or burn to death. On the screen, it’s multiple whacks to the noggin with a meat cleaver.


7. The inherent humor of Watchmen merchandise is lost in the film.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

While warning Adrian Veidt aka Ozymandias of a possible mask-killer, Rorschach notices a line of Watchmen toys on Veidt’s desk and mocks his willingness to “prostitute” his persona for a line of “toy soldiers.” Since Hollywood would never denigrate the possibility of a merchandising tie-in, that mockery is omitted and replaced with Nite Owl happily musing at the tiny action figures on Ozy’s shelf.


8. Silk Spectre’s confrontation with The Comedian doesn’t happen in the film.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

The very complex relationship between the original Silk Spectre and the Comedian includes sexual encounters both forced and consensual — the former of which causes Laurie Jupiter aka Silk Spectre II to publicly confront the Comedian and throw a drink in his face, the latter of which resulted in Laurie. The Comedian is left tongue-tied and unable to inform Laurie of his biological relationship to her. No such scene exists in the movie.


9. Nite Owl doesn’t witness Rorschach’s death in the comic.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

A man of his convictions, Rorschach tells Doctor Manhattan in the book that the only way to stop him from exposing Veidt and his destructive actions is to kill him. Manhattan obliges by disintegrating Rorschach. Meanwhile, Nite Owl is making time with Silk Spectre and misses his death — unlike the movie, where Nite Owl witnesses Rorschach being vaporized and the resulting inkblot stain causes him to scream in angry disbelief.


10. The movie ending’s source of mass destruction is very different.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

In the book, Ozymandias’ master plan to unite the world to fight a common enemy comes in the form of a giant psychic squid teleported to the center of New York City. This plot doesn’t involve changing the public’s perception toward Doctor Manhattan and declaring him the scourge of humanity. This, however, is central to the movie’s ending wherein Veidt’s actions frame Manhattan as a destructive force that needs to be stopped.

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Very NSFW

The Brockmire Premiere Is All Truth

Watch The First Episode of Brockmire Right Now for Free

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GIFS via Giphy

At long last, the Brockmire pre-premiere has arrived. Which means you can watch it right now—on IFC.com, at Funny Or Die, on IFC’s Apple TV and mobile apps, on Youtube, on Facebook, on the AMC apps, and right here. So grab some headphones and get watching.

No seriously, get headphones.

Because whether he’s giving a play-by-play or ruminating on the world around him, Jim Brockmire calls it like he sees it. And how he sees it is very NSFW. His take on life is actually quite refreshing, even to the point of being profoundly sage. For proof just look at these pearls of unconventional wisdom from the premiere…

Brockmire On The Internet

“If I need porn I just buy a nudie mag, like my father and his father before him.”

Brockmire On Sex-Ed

“Kids, a strap-on is a belt with d— on it that mommies use to f— daddies.”
Brockmire-Strap-On

Brockmire On The Perfect High

“Somewhere between 10 cups of coffee and very low-grade cocaine.”
Brockmire-Perfect-High

Brockmire On The Tardiness of Spring

“Old man winter’s reaching his hand inside your coat to give that thing one more squeeze.”

Brockmire On Keeping Perspective

“I thought I hit rock bottom in a handicap restroom in Bangkok where a Thai lady-boy snorted crank off my johnson while a sunburnt German watched us on the toilet”
Brockmire-grain-salt

Brockmire On Humanity

“If you want to look directly into the gaping maw of oblivion, don’t look up to the heavens. Just look in the mirror.”
Jules-never-seen

See these nuggets and more in the first episode of Brockmire, and see the whole season beginning April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Brockmire-Hank-Azaria-characters-blog

Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Sneak_Peek

Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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