You knew it had to happen, and now it’s happened — someone has gotten their hands on Alex Tse’s script for Zack Snyder’s upcoming “Watchmen”, and they’ve written a review. But wait, before you get too excited, know this: what the reviewer mentions about the script, in particular the time period and some plot elements, doesn’t quite jive with what Snyder has said publicly about how he plans to approach the time (and specifically that time period), so the script being reviewed is most likely an EARLIER draft, and as such wouldn’t be the draft that Snyder and company are presently shooting in Canada right now. What does this mean? That the script has changed, and this review may not be entirely accurate.
In any case, here are some excerpts of UGO‘s review of the “Watchmen” script:
Tse dealt with all of these dilemmas and more. In the undated draft of the script that I read (122 pages long) Tse starts things off by showing us the murder of The Comedian, one of the few masked vigilantes left working for America after a bill made their kind of work illegal fifteen years earlier. By and large the draft that I read (and I have no clue if it’s the shooting copy or not) is faithful to Moore’s work but with changes to make the film more accessible to an audience not familiar with alternate worlds and the pre-existing comic book. For example Tse’s script is set modern day whereas Watchmen takes place in 1985. Instead of Russians posing the threat (as in the comic) it’s the Chinese army massing off the coast of Taiwan, it’s border tensions between Pakistan and India and it’s Israel’s fear of a middle east uprising that create the atmosphere of a world on the brink of nuclear war. Terrorism is mentioned and there’s even a scene where Dr. Manhattan teleports away from a discussion to stop two Islamic terrorists from smuggling in a load of plutonium through Long Beach. Tse further illustrates this difference by way of a scene which shows us the Manhattan skyline and the twin towers are still standing, having been saved in 2001 by the actions of Dr. Manhattan. There’s also less incredible technological advancements in the Watchmen movie screenplay than there is in the comic book; while Manhattan has made some leaps in technology possible, there are no airships, no electric cars, no weird looking cigaratte holders and Ozymandias’ lynx isn’t genetically engineered. These are minor issues and I believe Tse did the right thing in staying away from showing and then having to explain it to the audience. Remember, he’s only got around 120 pages to play with.
And the final verdict?
I liked it. I think that out of all the possible permutations that this Watchmen script could have gone, this is the closest that I’ve seen it come to the comic book. I would love to see 20 minutes of Black Freighter scenes in the movie but not at the expense of a necessary flashback or the budget. I’d rather see Manhattan flying over Mars’ Valley Marineris instead of Arizona’s Grand Canyon if it means we’re going to get a decent version of Watchmen in two hours. Snyder and Tse deserve the chance.
You can read the review of the review over at their site.