WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS HUGE SPOILERS FOR BOTH THE GRAPHIC NOVEL AND MOVIE WATCHMEN! DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE THOROUGHLY SPOILED!
So, as you may have heard, Watchmen, my most anticipated movie of next year (and possibly of all time) was pre-screened last night at a theater in Portland, Oregon. Passes to the screening were handed out discreetly a week ago to people unfamiliar with the book. Two days ago, a website leaked information about the screening and hordes of fans rushed to the theater, only to find, as Adrian Veidt would say, "passes were handed out thirty-five minutes ago"...or, more correctly, a week ago. I can only imagine the fans are rushing the site owner's house right now, and his fate may be less than pleasant...
Last night, people returned from the screening with nondisclosure agreements. Nonetheless, two stalwart viewers raced to IMDb and posted about the experience. One had never read the book, the other was a fan. Both greatly enjoyed the movie, with the non-book reader declaring it his favorite superhero movie. However, fans were less interested in the quality of the movie and more interested in the climax. In the book, Adrian Veidt (aka Ozymandias) teleports a giant, manmade alien into New York City, creating an explosion that kills a million people. The warmongering United States and Soviet Union ally against the nonexistent alien threat. Adrian exclaims "I did it!" and is left alive by Dr. Manhattan, Nite Owl, and Silk Spectre because otherwise, the world will fall back into chaos. Only Rorschach disagrees, and forces Dr. Manhattan to kill him.
In the movie, according to these two posters, things occur a little differently. Throughout the movie, Adrian and Dr. Manhattan are allegedly working on an alternative energy source project. Adrian secretly uses this technology to create powerful bombs which he proceeds to drop on major population centers. Dr. Manhattan is held responsible, but he goes along with the plan for the same reasons as the book. Rorschach is still stubborn, and gets disintegrated. Adrian is still left alive, a pivotal detail altered in David Hayter's 2003 draft, which featured a Hollywood-style showdown between Adrian and Nite Owl. Fans have suspected a collusion between Adrian and Dr. Manhattan ever since an eagle eyed fan noticed something amiss in this scene:
The terminal behind Dr. Manhattan (and his clones) shows a person that fans claimed was Adrian. Well, it looks like those "conspiracy theorists" might have been right. Now, I'm not sure how I like this new ending. On the one hand, what I want is an enjoyable movie, even if the ending is not perfect. On the other hand, if the ending leaves out pivotal details, then it becomes too naggingly "wrong" for me to enjoy. Right now, we don't have enough details about the context of the ending for me to make an accurate judgment. For now, I leave you with this random shot of Dr. Manhattan's crystal palace: