Watchmen director Zack Snyder has a favorite added scene in the new Watchmen Director’s Cut. The blue-hued superhuman Dr. Manhattan has just taken his sporadic girlfriend Laurie Juspeczyk to Mars for a good heart-to-hyperconscious-heart. “We’re all puppets, Laurie,” he says. “I’m just a puppet who can see the strings.”
Is technology a panacea that can deliver man from his own idiocy or a neutral entity used for good or evil and locked the same physical laws as mere mortals? Such are the themes that Snyder tries to mine further in the re-edited version, which hit stores July 21 and includes 25 minutes of additional footage.
SciNoFi sifts the mass of SciFi news to find the bits worth knowing.
• Battlestar Weirdness: For reasons more arcane than the Cylons’ plan, Universal is talking to Glen A. Larson about making a Battlestar Galactica movie–based on the original Battlestar series. What the heck? I loved the original series in my bespectacled youth, (we were really starved for space fights back then), but they couldn’t hold a blaster to the reimagined series. In other news, the actor playing Ellen Tigh and Battlestar creator Ron Moore will be making guest appearances on CSI. Don’t ask why.
• Watchmen Watchmen Watchmen! Despite getting wrecked by most mainstream critics, Watchmen cleaned up this weekend with a $55.7 million haul at the box office. Anyone out there see it and think it’s awesome? I haven’t seen it yet, but my nerd network seems to be rating it a solid “meh.”
• Smells like Teen Kirk: OK, I know this has made the rounds, but everyone needs to know that about the Star Trek themed colognes: “Pon Farr”, “Tiberius”, and—my personal favorite— “Red Shirt”. Because tomorrow may never come. Also worth noting, Paramount put replicas of the models of the new Enterprise on display at the Arclight (a.k.a. best theater in the world ever) in Hollywood. Click through for images.
• Fantastic art Spectrum announced the 16 winners of the best in 2008 fantasy art. This is not the usual fantasy dreck promulgated by Wizards of the Coast and well worth the click.
• What’s on TV : Last week Knight Rider sped off into the sunset for good, but news isn’t all bad for sci fi fans. Heroes got picked up for one more season, and, perhaps more enticing, Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller is trying to generate momentum for a new Star Trek show, oriented back toward the original series. Also, Red Dwarf will make its return after 10 years with a two-parter expected to air over Easter in the UK.
By now, every sci-fi devotee and his grandmother has sounded off on Watchmen, Zack Snyder’s big-budget big-hoopla film version of the eponymous graphic novel. Love it or hate it (and most fans seemed to do one or the other) we can all admit that the movie remained faithful to the book, minus a few scenes and the absence of [spoiler alert] one giant alien squid.
We’ll leave the debates over the acting, direction, and overall adaptation to others (except to say that Jackie Earle Haley stole the show). But one aspect worthy of analysis is the story’s main conflict—the constant “looming” nuclear holocaust. Granted, we never actually see any evidence that the aforementioned holocaust is looming, save a few shots of Nixon upping Defcon levels—but we’ll address that later. When Alan Moore first published the book in 1986, the apocalypse on everyone’s mind was Cold War atomic bombs—which, as we’ve noted, no longer pack quite the same anxiety punch as, say, biological weapons. Today, gas masks and duct tape have replaced air raids and backyard shelters in the popular conscious, to the point where seeing mushroom clouds onscreen feels like you’re watching an ’80s homage.
Of course, none of this means that the nuclear threat is any smaller now than it was three decades ago: The danger of nuclear war is still present, and fear of missile attack still drives plenty of policy and military tech decisions worldwide. But, like Bird Flu, nukes seem to have a PR problem: Despite the fact that they could wipe us all out, the thought of them isn’t all that scary.