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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

watch it: ‘Watchmen’ opening credits


To the commenter who complained that this site has been all about Watchmen lately: tough noogies. I’m excited about it… and I think a lot of you are, too.

So here’s the amazing opening credits of Zack Snyder’s film. Warner Bros. has been trying to quash this video, which may be the supreme act of cluelessness in the face of the power of the Internet of recent vintage. This is better than most of the trailers of the film, and may draw in some folks who avoided the film over opening weekend.

I know I never get tired of watching this. I wondered recently if it’s unfair to call Snyder a visionary. This credit sequence may be evidence that it’s not… if he had anything to do with it, if it wasn’t entirely the work of special effects firm yu+Co.

My favorite moment: Ozymandias outside Studio 54 in the 1970s. That so perfectly captures the pop-culture appeal of masked avengers in the recent past of the world of Watchmen, and highlights in a way that’s quite poignant how far they’ve fallen in the eyes of the public in the 1985 of this world.

(If the video isn’t playing, try here — it still seems to be available at this link.)



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  • JoshDM

    It’s very cool, except Rorshach unnecessarily reiterates it all during his monologue fifteen minutes later.

  • MaryAnn

    Yeah, but it’s *his perspective* on what happened, which isn’t quite the same thing.

  • The credits help the audience get into how the Watchmen universe is close to – but unlike – our own. Like the change of the Hiroshima bomber from Enola Gay to Silk Specter I… how a superheroine interrupts the famous WWII Is Over photo of a sailor kissing a nurse… and of course, finding out where the Comedian was when he heard about JFK… all leading up to a five-term Nixon that kept a cowboy actor out of the White House in 1985…
    I remember another Snyder film, the Dawn of the Dead remake, where they had provided the first 15 minutes of the movie on USA Network (? or another channel) a few days before the movie came out in the theaters. I’d make good wager that was a smart marketing move that doubled the opening weekend turnout. And now the movie studio is trying to shut down the Internet video of the opening credits that I’d also wager would impress the undecideds that this might be a well-crafted film. All because they’re afraid they’ll lose control of the copyright or fail to make money. It’s called marketing to your audiences: most online viewers are geeks anyway, so why not let a few things (not the whole movie, after all) get out there for free to attract more customers?

  • Plus there’s the whole “show don’t tell” thing. :)

  • Jason

    I won’t pretend I understand labyrinthine copyright law, but as far as I know, while Watchmen is a Warner Bros. property, “The Times They Are A-Changin'” is not. Most likely, WB paid … Columbia? Sony? … to use the song for the film, the soundtrack, and home video, but a five-and-a-half minute Internet clip is probably not something they negotiated. I doubt either Zack Snyder or Bob Dylan minds if you get to see the opening credits on your computer, and even if WB enjoys the “free” publicity, I understand them needing to at least look like they give damn about respecting the rights of studios they license music from. If an original score had been used, the “leak” probably wouldn’t have been that big a deal.

    I just finished the book. Will see the movie this weekend. I like being able to pick out young Rorschach and Silk Spectre in the credits.

  • RogerBW

    Something I’ve heard from several places is that the opening credits are the most original thing about the film…

  • Something I’ve heard from several places is that the opening credits are the most original thing about the film…

    Well you can hardly fault a film based on another fictional endeavor of the same name for being unoriginal, can you?

  • RogerBW

    Michael, of course I can! :-)

    If I wanted to read the comic again, I’d read the comic again. It seems to me a towering waste that one of the most innovative and original comics ever written has been made into a film that is so thoroughly derivative and unoriginal.

    But then, I’m not a “comics fan” or a “film fan” – I’m a fan of well-done media whatever form they take. I believe that the form of the medium dictates to a large extent the sort of story that can be well-told in it, This is why, for me, transitions between book, television and film pretty much always fail, unless in effect they jettison the original story completely and tell one that’s better suited to the medium.

  • If they jettison the original story completely, what’s the point of even connecting it to the original in the first place beyond marketing?

    “Hey, let’s make a film out of Moby Dick, but let’s get rid of Ahab. That pesky whale, too. You know what? Set it in Hollywood in the 1950s…”

    It sounds like you’re annoyed that the movie even exists. Change the original story completely, and you’ve no longer got Watchmen.

    Or do you prefer that books aren’t made into movies at all? If that’s the case, I respect your opinion (though I disagree), though complaining that it’s not changed enough so as to be completely different makes for kind of a roundabout way to express it.

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