While director Zack Snyder is preparing to roll camera on his latest superhero film, ‘Batman vs. Superman’ (or whatever they’re calling it these days), it appears that the conversation has shifted to his previous DC Comics adaptation, ‘Watchmen’. And no, it’s not because Patrick Wilson, who played Nite Owl II in the film, is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in an unidentified role in ‘Ant-Man’.
Last week, producer Joel Silver spoke to Coming Soon and shared with the world what the seminal superhero comic series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons was once meant to be helmed by Terry Gilliam. After declaring that he liked Snyder’s version, Silver said that Gilliam’s would have been “a MUCH much better movie” because the final product ended up being “too much of a slave to the material.” Additionally, he went into detail about how the Monty Python member would have changed up the ending of the story:
“What he did was he told the story as-is, but instead of the whole notion of the intergalactic thing which was too hard and too silly, what he did was he maintained that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy, the world political structure. He felt that THAT character really altered the way reality had been. He had the Ozymandias character convince, essentially, the Doctor Manhattan character to go back and stop himself from being created, so there never would be a Doctor Manhattan character. He was the only character with real supernatural powers, he went back and prevented himself from being turned into Doctor Manhattan, and in the vortex that was created after that occurred these characters from ‘Watchmen’ only became characters in a comic book.
So the three characters, I think it was Rorschach and Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, they’re all of the sudden in Times Square and there’s a kid reading a comic book. They become like the people in Times Square dressing up like characters as opposed to really BEING those characters. There’s a kid reading the comic book and he’s like, ‘Hey, you’re just like in my comic book.’ It was very smart, it was very articulate, and it really gave a very satisfying resolution to the story, but it just didn’t happen. Lost to time.”
Now, Snyder has responded to Silver’s comments by speaking with The Huffington Post and calling Gilliam’s version “insane”:
“[I]f you read the Gilliam ending, it’s completely insane. […] Yeah, the fans would have stormed the castle on that one. So, honestly, I made “Watchmen” for myself. It’s probably my favorite movie that I’ve made. And I love the graphic novel and I really love everything about the movie. I love the style. I just love the movie and it was a labor of love. And I made it because I knew that the studio would have made the movie anyway and they would have made it crazy. So, finally I made it to save it from the Terry Gilliams of this world.
You know, the whole movie is a satire. It’s a genre-busting movie. The graphic novel was written to analyze the graphic novel — and comic books and the Cold War and politics and the place that comic books play in the mythology of pop culture. I guess that’s what I’m getting at with the end of ‘Watchmen’ — in the end, the most important thing with the end was that it tells the story of the graphic novel.
The morality tale of the graphic novel is still told exactly as it was told in the graphic novel — I used slightly different devices. The Gilliam version, if you look at it, it has nothing to do with the idea that is the end of the graphic novel. And that’s the thing that I would go, ‘Well, then don’t do it.’ It doesn’t make any sense.”
While many people did have some big problems with Zack Snyder’s ‘Watchmen’, I felt like it was an overall enjoyable film. At the very least, the opening sequence was really awesome. But that’s just my thoughts on it.
What did you think of Snyder’s adaptation of the graphic novel? Do you think that Terry Gilliam’s ending would have worked better? Would you have preferred to see Gilliam’s version over Snyder’s version back in 2009? Sound off in the comments.